Amica Digital https://amicadigital.com Online marketing to grow your business Fri, 22 Feb 2019 02:33:21 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 How to protect your online business assets https://amicadigital.com/business/protect-online-business/ https://amicadigital.com/business/protect-online-business/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 06:07:03 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3558 How secure are your online business assets? It usually starts something like this… You type your website URL into your browser and you get a page that looks like this. [yourdomain.com] server DNS address could not be found. oops..you try again but get the same message.  You feel that big ball of panic rising in your stomach.  Your […]

How to protect your online business assets | Amica Digital

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How secure are your online business assets?

It usually starts something like this…

You type your website URL into your browser and you get a page that looks like this.

Domain expired

[yourdomain.com] server DNS address could not be found.

oops..you try again but get the same message.  You feel that big ball of panic rising in your stomach.  Your heart is racing.  What’s happened to my website?  Who do I talk to to get this fixed?  What are my customers going to think?

If this has ever happened to you, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It amazes (and frightens) me the number of times I ask a new customer some basic information about access to their website or their analytics, and they have no idea how to give me access or who to ask.  This doesn’t only apply to micro businesses, in fact they’re often more aware because they manage it all themselves.

Often what happens is that all of this ‘techie’ stuff is managed by a developer or agency working with you to build your website or provide online marketing services.  Over time, you lose touch with that developer or you stop working with the agency and you don’t think about boring things like domains, servers and access again until one day, you need them, then where do you start?

Online business assets you need to secure.

If you were running a bricks and mortar business, you wouldn’t dream of leaving the doors unlocked or giving sets of keys to people like your suppliers, your plumber / electrician and your printers.  Yet, with online businesses, I see owners giving people access to and in some cases even ownership of, their key online business assets.

Some key online business assets you need to secure include:

  • Domain
  • Website Hosting
  • Website (CMS) Access
  • Email Accounts
  • Advertising & Social Media (Google Adwords, Facebook) Accounts
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and/or Customer Database

Here are some of the security risks I regularly see and the implications of what can happen if you give access to the wrong people.

Domain

When you purchase a domain name, you don’t really buy it, you just ‘rent’ it from a Domain Registrar and you need to renew the rental every year or two, depending on who you registered it with.

Most Domain Registrars allow you to automatically renew your domain with a credit card linked to your account.  However, credit cards expire and if that happens, your Domain Registrar may try to advise you that you need to update your details, but not always.  If someone else purchased the domain on your behalf, then often their details are associated with the domain so any attempts by the Registrar to advise you that your domain is expiring will go to the person listed as a contact.  If you are no longer working with them, they may not forward the notices to you.   The Registrar will try to renew the registration but after a few attempts will likely give up.

Your domain registration then expires and your domain eventually becomes available for someone else to purchase.

Often the first you know there’s a problem is when you try to access your website and get that dreaded error message.

The other reason you need to know how to manage your domain is because some records need to be changed within the domain.  For example, if you want to change your hosting company or email hosting provider.

Securing this asset

  1. Keep a record of who you registered your domain with and their contact details.
  2. Make sure that the domain is actually registered to you and not to the person who purchased it.  This is rare, but I’ve seen it happen.  If you’re not listed as the Registrant then you don’t have a claim on the domain and the owner could let it expire or choose to sell it!
  3. Check your domain records to make sure that you are listed as the Billing Contact and preferable the Admin Contact.  You may choose to have the Technical Contact listed as a developer or a techie person you work with.
  4. Set the domain to automatically renew before the expiry date and make sure the payment details on file with the Domain Registrar are kept up to date.
  5. Add a recurring entry in your calendar to remind you of the date that your domain renews so you can manually check it

If you’re not sure where to start, use a lookup tool like mxtoolbox.com or whois.ausregistry.net.au or go back through your old emails and search for domain registration or similar.

Website Hosting

For most business owners this is a big black hole.  It’s the most technical part of running an online business and is usually outsourced to a hosting company.  This may be the developer you first worked with to build your website or it might be a Hosting Provider.  You usually pay a monthly or annual fee to your hosting provider and unless you’ve completely lost contact with them and your payment details are incorrect, then it’s rare for your hosting to expire.  Rare, not impossible!

Without hosting your website won’t appear on the internet.  You will get an error something like this:

Hosting error message Server Error

Apart from knowing who is hosting your website, it’s also good to know how to access your website files on your server.  This is usually provided to you via a cPanel or FTP login.  This login will enable you to access the part of the server that your website is using and allows you to manage things like your WordPress installation, databases, domain names, email accounts and back ups with little or no technical knowledge without breaking anything!

What is a cPanel

If you want to move your website to new hosting, this can be done much easier with cPanel of FTP access because all of the information about your website can be copied and moved to another server.

NOTE:  Not all hosting companies provide their customers with cPanel or FTP access which means you will need to ask them to make changes for you, including adding new email addresses, running backups and sending you your website files if you do want to move hosts.

Another thing to look into is which other websites are being hosted on the same server as yours.  If your website is being hosted on cheap shared hosting, then it’s likely that there are thousands of other website sharing the server – these are your neighbours – some are good, but if you’re in the middle of a bad neighbourhood be wary.  If one of your ‘neighbours’ installs a plugin or starts using up lots of resources on the server, then your website will start to slow down.  Similarly if you start getting super popular and getting lots of visitors to your website, then the hosting provider might require you to upgrade to a new plan or worse – suspend your account, which means your site goes down, and then require you to upgrade to get it back up!

Other options you might want to consider are a Virtual Private Server (VPS) where parts of the server resources are allocated to each website or Dedicated Hosting where you have your own server dedicated to your website only.

Securing this asset

  1. Keep a record of who is hosting your website and their contact details.
  2. Keep your contact and payment details up to date with your hosting company.
  3. Ask your hosting company if they provide cPanel and/or FTP access and if so, keep a note of your login details in a secure place.
  4. Consider the best (not just the cheapest) hosting for your website.  If your website is getting good traffic and/or is key to your business success (or failure) then consider moving from shared hosting to a VPS or Dedicated Server.

Website (CMS) Access

The ability to easily make changes to your website through a user-friendly interface without having to rely on a developer to code changes, is one of the great benefits of WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMS).

To make changes, you do need to be able to login to the ‘backend’ of your website usually through some kind of Admin access.  Most people with a CMS know how to login to their sites to make changes, even if they only use the login occasionally.

The two security risks I often encounter relating to CMS Access are:

  1. Weak (easy to guess) passwords
  2. Unknown or many users with Administrator access meaning they can make changes to and delete the content on your site.

You know you need to have a secure password, not only for your website login but for absolutely everything.  And, your passwords should not all be the same for every site you login to!  You wouldn’t believe the number of times a customer gives me their password to access one part of their business and then they tell me it’s the same for everything, even PayPal!

Just don’t do it.

Yes remembering different, complex passwords for the millions of places we login to is a pain in the butt – not only for you but also for anyone trying to work out your password to steal from you!  Just use one of the many password tools.  I use LastPass on every device.  Other good ones are 1Password for Windows, Dashlane and RoboForm.  They take a while to get used to and you do feel a bit like you are handing over control but better to hand over control to a company whose business it is to securely manage passwords than to a spammer or hacker right?  If you don’t want to use a password manager, then make sure you change passwords regularly and don’t save passwords to your browser.

LastPass password manager1password password managerdashlane password managerRoboForm password manager

The next problem I see a lot is where there are multiple users with high-level login access e.g.  Admin.  These are often past developers, freelancers or staff who you’ve given access to at some stage but who probably no longer need that level of access or any access at all.  If a user as high-level access to your website, they can make changes, delete content, link out to spammy or worse sites or accidentally or intentionally add/remove code from your site.

Securing this asset

  1. Review your passwords and make sure they are strong – 10-12 characters, combination of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols.
  2. Consider using a password manager to manage your passwords.
  3. Review the users with access to your website and the access levels they have and remove / revoke access to anyone who doesn’t need it.  NOTE:  Before you remove an Admin user from your account, be sure to assign any posts or pages created by them to another user (preferably yourself), otherwise this content may be lost.

Email Accounts

There are two things to review here.

The first is, who is hosting your emails? Often this is the same company that is hosting your website or your domain registrar but not always.  More and more, businesses are moving email hosting to Hosted Email services such as Google Apps for Work or Office 365.   I’m not talking about the free services such as gmail and hotmail which you might use for personal reasons, I’m talking about the paid business solutions.  These services are much more robust (0% downtime) than private email hosting,have super strong spam filters, usually a large amount of storage and they easily integrate with things like calendars.

If you don’t remember who is hosting your emails, you can use a tool like mxtoolbox to look up for email hosting records.

The second is, who has an email account associated with your business.  This is usually past employees.  If you can’t access your email hosting to remove email addresses, then you’ll need to ask your email hosting provider to remove them for you.

Securing this asset

  1. Keep a record of your email hosting provider.
  2. Consider moving to a Hosted Email Service.
  3. Review email address associated with your business and remove unused emails

Advertising, Analytics & Social Media Accounts

If you’ve used an agency to work on Google Adwords, chances are you’ve given them access to your Google Adwords account.  This is fine as long as you’re still working with them and want them to have access to information about the performance of your Adwords Account.

The same applies to Facebook Ads Manager and your Facebook Page.  Even if you aren’t currently advertising, if someone has Ads Manager access, they could do things like show competitor ads to fans of your page and if they also have access to your CRM or customer database, they could upload this list to Facebook and create a Custom Audience for your competitors to target!  Hopefully you’re not working with anyone this unscrupulous!

As more analytics data becomes available on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, people with access to your accounts will be able to analyse your visitors, posts, engagement, what’s working and what’s not and potentially use that information themselves or worse share with your competitors.  This is the same with Google Analytics.  This is a super powerful business tool if it’s set up right and provides you (and anyone you’ve given access) lots of valuable information about the performance of your business.

Think about what business information you want which people to have access to and how they might be able to use it for purposes other than helping you grow your business.

Securing this asset

  1. Review who has access to your Google Adwords & Google Analytics accounts and remove access if you are no longer working with them.
  2. Review Facebook Ads Manager and Facebook page roles and remove anyone you no longer need to have access.
  3. Review all Social Media accounts and remove access to anyone you no longer need to have access

CRM and/or Customer Database

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the money is in the list”. Whether you agree with that statement or not, you should protect your customer database like your money – don’t leave it laying around for others to steal.

Your customer’s contact details are not only valuable to you, they have been shared with you with an implicit understanding that you will maintain security of the data.

Most CRMs provide owners with the ability to export data into a .csv file which can then be imported into other systems such as accounting software, email marketing systems or even uploaded to Facebook to create a custom audience.

Securing this asset

  1. Review all users with access to your CRM, Email Marketing software and/or Customer Database and remove anyone who you no longer want to have access.
  2. Periodically export your database and save it to a local computer and/or cloud storage.

 

How did you rate?  How secure are your key online business assets?

I’m not advocating that you don’t give anyone access, what I am saying, is that you should be mindful of who has access to what and what they are doing with the data.  Of course you may need to give staff members, advisors, consultants or agencies access to information or to your systems if they are working with you but just remember to remove access when you cease working with them.

If you’d like us to assist you with securing your online business assets, get in touch and we’ll help you out.

Get in Touch

How to protect your online business assets | Amica Digital

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How to Grow Your Business Online https://amicadigital.com/articles/how-to-grow-your-business-online/ https://amicadigital.com/articles/how-to-grow-your-business-online/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:08:02 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2252 Small businesses need cost effective ways of promoting their products and services in order to grow their profits. Digital marketing services answer their needs by providing everything that a business will need to create an online presence through to maintaining customer relationships. For owners, a done for you service not only saves time but more importantly, […]

How to Grow Your Business Online | Amica Digital

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Small businesses need cost effective ways of promoting their products and services in order to grow their profits. Digital marketing services answer their needs by providing everything that a business will need to create an online presence through to maintaining customer relationships. For owners, a done for you service not only saves time but more importantly, helps you grow your business online.

Getting started

Online marketing consulting:

Every marketing strategy starts with a plan which includes a determination of the target audience, where they are on the Internet and what motivates them. It is also important to know the competition, study their online strategies and identify one’s business strengths and weaknesses. An online marketing consultant can provide valuable insights at this stage and create a digital marketing strategy.

Web development:

A website must be designed and developed to attract both the targeted audience and search engines. It must be visually appealing, easy to use and coded for search engine optimisation (SEO). The right website platform such as WordPress can boost SEO efforts on its web pages, leaving more time for link building and other off-page activities for directing traffic to the website.

SEO:

Building a website is not enough. Getting it to appear on page 1 of search results and driving multiple traffic streams to its pages must be an ongoing pursuit for you to grow your business online. There is no silver bullet to SEO— it requires a combination of tools and methods customised for a specific business.

Content management:

A website needs unique, fresh and relevant content regularly to attract the right type of people and rank well in search results. While content may be in the form of text, video, graphics, and audio files, the written word still reigns supreme because they appeal to a wide audience, don’t slow down loading times and are readable to search engines. The best content for web pages are SEO articles which provide useful information and contain the right keywords.

Other online strategies which can grow your business online include social media management, email marketing and online advertising.

By now, business owners understand how Internet marketing is vital for success. But with all the Internet marketing information being pushed on the Web, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know how and where to start. An online marketing consulting or done for you service can help by creating the appropriate digital strategy, recommend or implement website development, SEO and ongoing content creation as initial steps to get you started.

Paid Advertising:

It is becoming more and more difficult for visitors to find your website or see your social media posts organically (unpaid) because the search engines like Google and social media platforms like Facebook have changed their algorithms to encourage users (businesses) to pay to have their content seen by their target audiences.  Paid advertising such as Google Adwords, Facebook or Instagram advertising doesn’t have to blow your budget.  You can start small and test what works then when you’ve found the winning formula, then you allocate a greater budget to your paid advertising.


Call us on 1300 855 980 or  email to discuss what you can do to grow your business online.

 

How to Grow Your Business Online | Amica Digital

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Build Your Brand and Get More Visitors to Your Website https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/build-your-brand-get-more-visitors/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/build-your-brand-get-more-visitors/#respond Tue, 17 Sep 2013 03:12:49 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3417 This week’s online marketing news roundup is all about how to build your brand and get more visitors to your website.  I’ve found some helpful articles with practical ideas you can implement in your business.  I’m also sharing a few tools that you might find handy. How to Get More out of Google+ More people […]

Build Your Brand and Get More Visitors to Your Website | Amica Digital

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This week’s online marketing news roundup is all about how to build your brand and get more visitors to your website.  I’ve found some helpful articles with practical ideas you can implement in your business.  I’m also sharing a few tools that you might find handy.

How to Get More out of Google+

More people are starting to use Google+ as part of their social media marketing.  Although Google+ is still lagging behind Facebook in the popularity stakes, I’ve noticed more of my community are now on Google+ and it is now in 2nd place according to some recent stats.  The active user base grew 33% in the 9 months Jun 2012 – Mar 2013.  It can be a bit confusing to get started on a new platform, so these articles provide some tips on how to use it more effectively.

Social Media Examiner  share a post on 6 Ways to Maximize You Google+ Engagement

Natalie Sisson from The Suitcase Entrepreneur has been running a 10 Day Social Media Challenge and the Day 6 challenge was “How to Use Google+ to Tap into Your Network and EstablishYour Authority.”

Google Tools for Market Research

While we’re talking Google, Social Mouths posted a list of Google tools that you can use for market research:

  • Think Insights – studies on how different demographics use the web plus examples of campaigns
  • Customer Surveys – affordable way to survey people outside of your own database or mailing list
  • Global Market Finder – handy if you are wanting to expand geographically.  This tool gives you information on key search terms across geographies

Little-Known_Google_Marketing_Resources_You_Should_Consider_Using

Forum Marketing

With all of the recent changes in SEO, it can be confusing figuring out what works and what doesn’t. This post and podcast is all about how to effectively use forums, without being spammy,  to build your brand and send traffic to your website.

Key points covered are:

  1. Pick the right forum
  2. Choose your username
  3. Create a signature link
  4. Craft your profile
  5. Don’t be spammy
  6. Provide quality content
  7. Start new threads
  8. Post often

Paid Search

A lot of small business owners don’t use paid search (e.g Google ads) because they think it will be too expensive or they don’t know how to go about it.  Paid search (Google of Facebook Ads) can be a great way to test a market, build an audience or promote your brand.  It  can be especially useful for startups and businesses who sell products / services that people are not necessarily searching for.  By using Google’s display network or a remarketing campaign you can get your business and products in front of people who are not necessarily searching for your keywords.

This article on the Freshbooks blog provides an excellent overview on paid search for small business.

If you’d like to talk about running a paid search trial campaign contact me.

Affiliate Marketing

Would you like other people to promote your business for you? Would you like to be paid for promoting other people’s products?  Affiliate marketing lets you do both.   You can choose your affiliates so that only like-minded people promote your products / services, or you can expand to a wider affiliate community who have a large network and can promote your products / services to their community.

This Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing (available for $1.99 on Kindle) is a good starting point for helping you understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works.

Some of the popular affiliate companies in Australia are e-junkie, DGM and Commission Factory.   A lot of people think of spammy information product marketers selling low quality products but big brands like The Iconic, Style Tread, Katies and Brands Exclusive use affiliate marketing.  If done well, it can be a very good marketing strategy for your business.

You will need to manage and pay your affiliates, these two affiliate software tracking tools may be of help:

  • This one is a WordPress Plugin
  • This one is software but you can add it to your WordPress site

Do You Really Want to Grow Your Business?

Do you feel like your business isn’t growing fast enough? Do you wish you could afford to hire a team? Do you wish you could speak at an event…only if your business was bigger!  This thought provoking article by Laura Roeder is worth a read.

 Do-you-really-want-to-grow

 

Which of these marketing strategies are you using to build your brand and get more visitors to your website?

What else is working for you?

 

Build Your Brand and Get More Visitors to Your Website | Amica Digital

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Managing Google Analytics User Permissions https://amicadigital.com/business/managing-user-permissions-controlling-online-assets/ https://amicadigital.com/business/managing-user-permissions-controlling-online-assets/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2013 06:19:01 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3392 Do you have full control over your online assets? Often web developers set up Google Analytics (and other tools) for clients but only set them up as Users rather Admins. They set themselves up with full admin permissions which means they control the access. If you change developers or create a new website and don’t […]

Managing Google Analytics User Permissions | Amica Digital

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Do you have full control over your online assets?

Often web developers set up Google Analytics (and other tools) for clients but only set them up as Users rather Admins. They set themselves up with full admin permissions which means they control the access. If you change developers or create a new website and don’t have Admin access you may need to create a new Google Analytics profile which means you lose all the history on your old site.

Unless you are an Admin on the site, you can’t add additional users – so if you want someone else to have a look at your Google Analytics to help you with say SEO or conversion optimisation, then you won’t be able to.  You will need to ask your developer, or whoever set up Google Analytics, to set up a new user or you will have to give the person your Google Account details – not a good idea.

Not only can you not add additional users, but you can’t delete users either.  Let’s say a staff member had access to Google Analytics but then leaves your company and goes to a competitor.  They will still be able to log in to Google Analytics and share information about what’s happening on your website.  Similarly, if you move onto a new developer or lose contact with the old developer, unless you have Admin permissions, then you can’t delete the old web developer.

What are the Google Analytics User Permissions?

There used to be just two:  Administrator and User but this recently changed.  The new permissions are:

  • Manage Users: Can manage account users (add/delete users, assign permissions). Does not include Edit or Collaborate.
  • Edit: Can perform administrative and report-related functions (e.g., add/edit/delete accounts, properties, views, filters, goals, etc., but not manage users), and see report data. Includes Collaborate.
  • Collaborate: Can create personal assets, and share them. Can collaborate on shared assets, for example, edit a dashboard or annotation. Includes Read & Analyze.
  • Read & Analyze: Can see report and configuration data; can manipulate data within reports (e.g., filter a table, add a secondary dimension, create a segment); can create personal assets, and share them, and see shared assets. Cannot collaborate on shared assets.

Users can have multiple permission levels.  As the owner, you want all permission levels so that you have full control and can access all of the features.

How to set User Permissions in Google Analytics

To give a person access to your Google Analytics and to check whether you have Administration Permissions, log into Google Analytics, then select Admin.

You will then see “User Management” under each Account, Property and View (profile) level.  Unless you manage multiple accounts or multiple properties, you can set permissions at the Account level.  For more detailed information about the levels, read this article.

If the User Management boxes are greyed out or you can’t click them, then this means you don’t have “admin” access.  You will need to contact whoever set up your Google Analytics and ask them to modify your permissions levels.

 Google-analytics-user-permissions

It’s Not Only Google Analytics

It’s all of your online assets.  Here are a few examples that I commonly see with my new clients:

  • If you have a WordPress site, are you set up as an Administrator in your dashboard or an Editor or Author?
  • If your site was developed using a Theme, do you have the license number so that you (or a new developer) can access the theme’s user support and also receive updates that the Theme developer may publish (and which may be very important for security or functionality upgrades).
  • If someone else set up your email marketing, Facebook page, Google+ page or other social profiles, do they still have access to these?  We often forget to remove users when we are no longer working with them.
  • Are you listed as the registered owner and administrative contact for your domain – especially if someone else registered (and paid for) it for you.
  • Do you have the cPanel and/or FTP logins to your website?
  • Do you have access to backups your developer or hosting company is doing for you?

 

Your online assets need to be managed just like your offline assets.  Would you let a disgruntled ex employee keep a key to your store?  I don’t think so!  Same applies online.  Even if you and your developers / suppliers finish the work on good terms, if they are no longer working for you, then remove their access to your site but make sure they’ve handed everything over to you first.

Have you had a bad experience you’d like to share so others can avoid the same happening?  Please leave a comment below.

Managing Google Analytics User Permissions | Amica Digital

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Facebook Advertising & Promotions – Online Marketing News Roundup https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/facebook-advertising-online-marketing-news/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/facebook-advertising-online-marketing-news/#respond Thu, 29 Aug 2013 21:32:32 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3380 I’ve got lots to share in this week’s online marketing roundup including news on Facebook, a post about using Facebook advertising and other features to grow fans, tips on conversion optimisation and how to get your business to stand out in the Google search results.  Enjoy! Facebook Promotions Now Allowed on Timeline Facebook have made […]

Facebook Advertising & Promotions – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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I’ve got lots to share in this week’s online marketing roundup including news on Facebook, a post about using Facebook advertising and other features to grow fans, tips on conversion optimisation and how to get your business to stand out in the Google search results.  Enjoy!

Facebook Promotions Now Allowed on Timeline

Facebook have made more changes and this time it’s more good news for business owners with a Facebook Page.  The big news this week is that Facebook have changed their guidelines on page promotions.  In the past, if you wanted to run a promotion on your Facebook page, without being in breach of Facebook’s T&Cs and thereby risking having your page taken down (ouch!), you had to run promotions via a 3rd party.  You can read the updated Facebook promotions guidelines here and more on the blog post I wrote – 5 Ways to Use Facebook to Get More Fans and More Sales.

Google+

While we’re talking about social media, this study over on Moz showing correlations between Google+1s and higher search rankings caused a lot of discussion and debate and even Google’s Matt Cutts replied to a thread about it.  The study showed that after Page Authority (Moz score of how well a page will rank in Google), the number of Google+1s on a page is the highest correlated factor determining search rankings than any other factor!  As I said, it’s controversial but worth a read.

Google+-Moz

Google Search Results

Have you noticed that some listings in Google have more information than others?  e.g.  a photo of the author, reviews, event listings etc?  To get this information to show, you need something called Structured Data Markup.  This article lists 10 ways to markup your information.  The quickest and easiest one of these you can do yourself is Google Authorship, which I’ve mentioned before.  Some of the others are a little tricky so you may want to get in touch if you want these for your listings.

Local SEO

If you provide products or services to clients in a local area (suburb) e.g.  North Sydney, Geelong etc, then it’s important that your business stands out when prospective buyers / customers type in the suburb and the product / service, they are looking for.  This insightful article by Richard Marriott shares the answers from 28 local SEO experts from around the world to the question “What is the most Kick Ass strategy you used to make a brick and mortar business go from invisible to unmissable in local search?”

Conversion Optimisation Tips

This is a very informative slideshare presentation by Rand Fishkin from Moz.  If you don’t have a lot of time and/or understand the basics of conversion rate optimisation, skip to slide 25 and just read the 10 Tactical Tips.


If you want to give conversion optimisation a try, to figure out what works on your website and what doesn’t, the best thing to do is to split test a few things.  This article on The Daily Egg, shows 7 Quick Split Tests that can increase conversions.

Website Design

I have seen some very shady practices when it ones to website design and some clients have horror stories they’ve told me. However, sometimes the client contributes to the problem. This post from Small Business Trends points out the things you can do to avoid being part of the problem.

 

That’s it for this week.  If you find an article or have a topic that you’d like covered, please leave a comment or get in touch.  Until next week.

Facebook Advertising & Promotions – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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5 Ways to use Facebook to Get More Fans & More Sales https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/5-ways-to-use-facebook-to-get-more-fans/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/5-ways-to-use-facebook-to-get-more-fans/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 02:41:44 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3366 There is no doubt that Facebook is one of, if not the most popular social network in Australia.  According to socialmedianews.com.au in the June report, there were over 12 million Australian user accounts! As a business owner, how do you tap into this huge community? I’ve done a bit of research into Facebook Marketing and Advertising recently […]

5 Ways to use Facebook to Get More Fans & More Sales | Amica Digital

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There is no doubt that Facebook is one of, if not the most popular social network in Australia.  According to socialmedianews.com.au in the June report, there were over 12 million Australian user accounts!

As a business owner, how do you tap into this huge community? I’ve done a bit of research into Facebook Marketing and Advertising recently and want to share with you about 5 ways to use Facebook to get more fans and more sales.

1.  Use Facebook Graph Search

I signed up to the waitlist months and months ago but it never appeared. I’ve now just found out how to get immediate access to Open Graph.

1. Go to settings, change language to English (US)

2. Go to http://facebook.com/about/graphsearch/ and click “try it out”

3. Log out of Facebook and log back in and there it is! It looks like this:

Facebook Open Graph

Why do I want to use it?

To search for people you can “friend” and start to build a connection with or target for your FB ads.

For example, you can search for things like:

“People who like [facebook page] and [facebook page] who are not friends” or

“Bloggers who write for [facebook page]”

There are endless search terms…

Once you get this list of people, you can then either just like them or message them (but don’t be spammy) or copy their UIDs (user ID) into a list which you can then upload into Facebook as a custom audience!!  You can then create advertising campaigns and use your new custom list to make sure that your campaign is seen by a targeted list rather than a very general list.  Very cool.

2.  Use Power Editor

If you run Facebook Ads, you might already be familiar with the Power Editor.  You use it to create ads and to target the audience you want to see your ads.  You need to be using Chrome as your browser.  Full details about how to access Power Editor are here.

Facebook-Power-Editor

Why do I want to use it?

Power Editor allows you to create, manage and edit large numbers of campaigns at once – handy if you run lots of ads or manage ads for clients.

But that’s not the main reason you want it.

With Power Editor, you can be VERY selective about who you want to see your ads.

Have you ever wondered why your timeline shows certain ads that seem to be very relevant to you?  e.g.  if you are a female over 40, I bet you’ve seen at least one ad to do with “losing tummy fat” or some “miracle anti-wrinkle treatment”.

Choosing a targeted audience who you know are more likely to be interested in your products and services based on their other interests means that you get a much better return on your advertising dollar.

Possibly the greatest benefit of Power Editor is that you can create custom audiences from lists you already have – e.g.  your own newsletter list.  You can then create advertising campaigns which target those people specifically or with lookalikes – people like them.

Remember, before you embark on any advertising campaign, make sure you check Facebook’s guidelines to make sure you are compliant.

3.  Use Hashtags

If you use Twitter, you are probably already familiar with the hashtag #, (pound key for UK readers) which turns the word in front on the # into a clickable and searchable link e.g.  #marketing.

Facebook introduced hashtags earlier this year.   When you click on the link, you will see a list of posts that include the term.

Why do I want to use it?

The hashtag can help people who interested in a particularly topic to find your posts more easily. For example, if you are a wholefood advocate and you use the tag #wholefood in your posts, then when someone else writes about #wholefood and someone in their community, clicks that link, then they will be shown your post too!  Good way to get your posts in front of a wider community. You can also use the hashtag in your posts to help promote something like a #competition of #offer you are making. A lot of people still don’t use or even know about hashtags on Facebook so you might need to be patient with this strategy.

4.  Promotions

The big news from Facebook this week is that you no longer need to use a 3rd Party to run your promotions on Facebook!  Good news. According to Facebook:

Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

Of course, you can still use a 3rd party if you’d prefer.

Why do I want to use it?

To build your community and brand and ultimately send people to your website to purchase your products / services. According to data collected by Tiger Pistol, the most successful campaigns are simple, run for about 4 weeks, have smaller prizes (attract more entries!) and if the prize is an Apple product or travel related, then all the better!

You can see some examples of the types of promotions that Tiger Pistol have run for their clients.

Facebook-promotion-example-webjet

5.  Post Great Content

Last but certainly not least, is to post great content to your page on a regular basis.  One of the most often asked questions I get is “how often should I post?”  My answer, depends on how important Facebook is to your business and how much business it brings you.  I’ve heard that it’s optimal to post five times per day but I don’t know many businesses that do.  If you can post 3 times a day, you are doing OK.  Remember, that only about 8% of your fans will ever see your post in their timeline so don’t feel bad about over-posting!

Mix up your posts – use photos and videos, ask questions, share relevant posts from other pages, share links from websites etc.  Bring your own business personality to your page by sharing photos of your brand, products, customers.

Use your Facebook Insights Data and Google Analytics to measure and track what’s working for you…and do more of it.

Why do I want to do it?

Too obvious to answer.

Here’s another tip for how to use your content that you might not have used yet.

Did you know that you can now embed public posts from Facebook directly into your website by adding a simple embed code like this?

Post by Amica Digital.

This is great for sharing your popular content, customer reviews and comments on your blog.  Just go to the post, select the drop down arrow and choose embed post.

EmbedPost

There you have it.  5 ways to use Facebook to get more fans and make more sales!  I’d love you to joinAmica Digital Facebook page if you haven’t already.

Have you used any of these or would you like to share some other tips?  Please leave a comment below.

Can I ask you a favour?  If you enjoyed this article, would you please share it with others?  Thanks.

5 Ways to use Facebook to Get More Fans & More Sales | Amica Digital

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WordPress 3.6 and Other Online Marketing News https://amicadigital.com/news/wordpress-3-6-online-marketing-news/ https://amicadigital.com/news/wordpress-3-6-online-marketing-news/#respond Wed, 14 Aug 2013 11:57:46 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3351 WordPress 3.6 (aka Oscar) WordPress 3.6 (nicknamed Oscar) has been released. Here’s a few of the new features: The default Twenty Thirteen theme is designed for blogging and is responsive (for mobile devices) All changes to your posts are autosaved which means no more lost revisions.  Posts are also auto-locked which means if you have […]

WordPress 3.6 and Other Online Marketing News | Amica Digital

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WordPress 3.6 (aka Oscar)

WordPress 3.6 (nicknamed Oscar) has been released.

Here’s a few of the new features:

  • The default Twenty Thirteen theme is designed for blogging and is responsive (for mobile devices)
  • All changes to your posts are autosaved which means no more lost revisions.  Posts are also auto-locked which means if you have multiple authors and they both try to edit the same post at the same time, a warning will show so that you don’t overwrite each others updates.
  • There is a built in media player which plays your video and audio straight from your website so you don’t need to upload to YouTube, Vimeo etc, first. You can even embed Spotify and Rdio!  It’s important to remember that not all video formats are supported in all browsers.  Also, it’s best not to actually host your video files on your own server because it can make your website slow.  Better to host them somewhere like AmazonS3 or some other cloud storage and then just add the link to your site.
  • The usual security updates and bug fixes.

This is a major update so you should update your version of WordPress.

WARNING:  Don’t update to WordPress 3.6 until you’ve done the following:

  1. Backed up your site – use something like Backup Buddy or ManageWP to make it easier
  2. Checked compatibility of your Theme and Plugins

If you need help updating your site, I can do it for you for a special price.

Contact Me

Of course, if you are already covered by my monthly maintenance & support plan, then it will be done for you as part of the regular monthly support 🙂

Hosting WordPress

For most of my clients, one of the most confusing aspects to creating a website, is hosting.  This video tutorial explains what hosting is and the different types of hosting.  It also explains the difference between domain registration and website hosting.

The main focus of this tutorial is on the cheapest and most basic type of hosting – shared hosting.  If you will get a high volume of traffic to your website or your website is critical to your business – e.g.  eCommerce store, I’d recommend that you consider a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which provides greater security.  You may also want to consider ongoing maintenance and support including CMS, Theme and Plugin updates & backups & security checks.

In-Depth Articles

This week Google announced that it is rolling out special “in-depth articles” listings in the search results.  This means for some in-depth topics (not defined), a special kind of listing will show up in the search results.

Google in-depth articles

If you write long, in-depth articles on a topic, Google provides guidelines on how to signal your articles as being in-depth:

1.  Write compelling, in-depth content
2.  Provide Authorship Markup
3.  Use Schema Markup
4.  Use proper pagination on long articles
5.  Optimize your logo

You might need help from your techie person for some of these because they are a little tricky to implement.

How to “do” SEO

One of the questions I’m asked most is “how do I do my own SEO?”.  There are a lot of things that make up SEO and they change often as Google’s algorithm changes but this very practical post by Ana Hoffman at TrafficGenerationCafe is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to DIY.  An important note to remember –  don’t overdo anything these days.  Write good content, share it in relevant places and mix it up a bit.

I shared this fun infographic I found which shows you how to approach your content marketing like a pick-and-mix lolly (candy) shop.

Build Authority in 15 Minutes a Day

LinkedIn is a great social network for connecting in more of a business sense than a social sense.  This article from Hubspot tells you how to use LinkedIn to build authority in just 15 minutes/day.

Linked In Thought Leader

source: hubspot

Are we connected on LinkedIn?  If not, let’s get connected!

Do you have any questions or comments about any of these articles?  If so, please leave a comment below, or leave a voice message and I’ll get back to you with an answer.

 

WordPress 3.6 and Other Online Marketing News | Amica Digital

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Facebook for Lead Generation – Online Marketing News Roundup https://amicadigital.com/news/facebook-for-lead-generation/ https://amicadigital.com/news/facebook-for-lead-generation/#respond Mon, 05 Aug 2013 09:15:35 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3320 In this week’s online marketing roundup, we’re focusing on Facebook as a source of leads and we share an example of a business doing it right – The Business Bakery.  We also share some useful SEO tools for small business owners and bring you an important update on Google’s latest stance on online Press Releases. […]

Facebook for Lead Generation – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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In this week’s online marketing roundup, we’re focusing on Facebook as a source of leads and we share an example of a business doing it right – The Business Bakery.  We also share some useful SEO tools for small business owners and bring you an important update on Google’s latest stance on online Press Releases.

Facebook for Lead Generation

Your Facebook Cover (& all social media profiles) can be used a lead generation tool for your business.  This article shows you some examples of what others are doing and a couple of useful links.

Are you using Facebook Ads as a lead source?  This guide to Promoted Posts shows you step-by-step with screenshots how to do it.

Here’s a case study on how to make Facebook Advertising effective on a small budget.

Here’s another example from The Business Bakery showing a Facebook Cover, Facebook Ad and website page where the branding and message is consistent, the images are engaging and the message is clear.    The brand is appealing to the target audience – owners of handmade or boutique businesses, there is a clear call to action in the Facebook Ad – join our kitchen, open NOW and the imagery is carried through from Facebook to the website landing page.  As you navigate from the Facebook Page to the Facebook Ad and the website, you know you are in the right place.

The Business Bakery

The Business Bakery Facebook Cover

The Business Bakery Facebook Ad

The Business Bakery Facebook Advert

The Business Bakery Website

The Business Bakery – Healthy Income Program, the Kitchen.

If you’re interested in using Facebook for lead generation for your business and need some help getting started, contact me.

Optimise Your Website Images

We all love images on our websites because they attract reader attention and make the site look pretty.  This article provides 5 tips to optimise your website images for SEO.  There are tools you can use to help optimise your images – especially to reduct file size.  The article mentions tinypng.org and one I use on sites is the smush.it plugin.

SEO For Small Business

SEO can be confusing and daunting but this article by Freshbooks, who provide cloud accounting software for small business, outlines a simple introduction to SEO for small business. Once you understand the basics of SEO, you might want to look at some tools.  This interactive (sortable) post at MOZ, provides a list of 100 free SEO tools.

SEO Tools

SEO & Press Releases

The big news in SEO circles last week, was about online Press Releases.  In Google’s latest update to the Webmaster Guidelines, they advised that anchor text links in Press Releases should be be marked as no-follow or there is a risk of penalty.  What does this mean?  Online Press Releases are still good for announcing news about your business but they should not contain keyword links, instead just add a URL link at the bottom.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

Do you use online Press Releases as part of your promotional activities?  They are a relatively inexpensive way to get news out about important changes in your business and if done the right way, they can be great for brining new visitors to your site.  We can help you write and promote your Press Release as part of our SEO services.

Find out More

Facebook for Lead Generation – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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Improve Your Online Marketing – News Roundup https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/improve-your-online-marketing/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/improve-your-online-marketing/#respond Wed, 24 Jul 2013 08:21:19 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3298 As a business owner, there is so much we can do to grow our business through online marketing.  We are bombarded with new ideas every day but it’s just not possible to do them all. In this week’s roundup, the focus is on what you can do to improve what you’re already doing. In each […]

Improve Your Online Marketing – News Roundup | Amica Digital

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As a business owner, there is so much we can do to grow our business through online marketing.  We are bombarded with new ideas every day but it’s just not possible to do them all. In this week’s roundup, the focus is on what you can do to improve what you’re already doing.

In each of these articles, you will find practical ideas that you can use to improve your online marketing.

5 Steps to Improve Your Online Marketing

This article on Copyblogger outlines 5 steps you can take to improve your online marketing.  Let me know which one you implemented.  For even more ideas, you can join Copyblogger and get access to a library of resources to help with your online marketing all for free!

How to do an SEO Audit of your website

When I’m asked to conduct a review on a website, these are some of the things I look for:

  • Overall look, feel, usability, functionality & effectiveness of the website
  • Opportunities for on-page optimisation
  • Keyword and search analysis
  • Links
  • Competitor sites
  • Social networking

If you want to do your own SEO audit, this article provides you with a cheat sheet.

If you’d like us to do an audit on your website and online presence, get in touch.

Suellen was absolutely fantastic – her review was prompt, thorough and revealing (all the things one wants in a review!). Her suggestions for moving forward are extremely helpful and I can tell she’ll have the ability to explain the finer ‘techy’ bits of it in layman’s terms (many times over if necessary!).

How to Engage Readers

Is there anything worse than spending a good few hours writing a cracking good blog post, hitting publish then…nothing.  What about posting a status update on Facebook asking your community a question and then getting no replies!  This article from Small Business Trends offers a few practical tips for driving engagement with readers.

Drive Reader Engagement

Source: Small Business Trends

Is Your Email Marketing Reaching Your Subscribers?

I use Gmail for my own personal and business email and recommend it to my customers. I’ve been using the new format for a few weeks and find it does help to focus.  However, as an online marketer, the new format may not be good for your business.  These two articles explain why and more importantly some steps you can take to try to minimise any negative impact.

Need More Customers?

This Moz article lists 21 tactics to acquire customers. Which ones can you put in place in your business?

I’m looking to do more around Partner Distributions and Double Loop Referral Programs.  If you have a partnering idea or know someone who needs online marketing support, refer them to me and you can benefit too!

How Psychology Drives Conversions

According to a recent infographic from Pardot, the five psychology principles that drive conversion behaviour are social proof, loss-aversion, anchoring, foot-in-the-door, and authority.  If you are interested in reading more, they have a full white paper you can download.

Psychology and Conversions

Using Link Building to Demonstrate Authority

There’s been a lot of talk in online marketing networks lately about whether link building helps websites to rank better or not.  It’s always good to hear directly from someone who is himself an authority.  Matt Cutts, from Google’s Search Quality Team was recently interviewed and had this to say:

Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover that [how relevant or important somebody is to someone else], and maybe over time social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.

Quality link building continues to be an important part of an overall online marketing strategy.  If you’d like more information about link building and how to do it the right way, contact me and I’d be happy to talk to you more about how it could work for your business.

 

Improve Your Online Marketing – News Roundup | Amica Digital

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Link Building and SEO the Right Way – Online Marketing News Roundup https://amicadigital.com/news/link-building-and-seo-the-right-way-online-marketing-news-roundup/ https://amicadigital.com/news/link-building-and-seo-the-right-way-online-marketing-news-roundup/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 23:27:04 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3266 There is a lot of talk about the right way to do link building and SEO in a way that helps your business. In this week’s online marketing news roundup, I have a few articles about building links to your website the right way and making sure that your posts and pages are optimised for […]

Link Building and SEO the Right Way – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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There is a lot of talk about the right way to do link building and SEO in a way that helps your business.

In this week’s online marketing news roundup, I have a few articles about building links to your website the right way and making sure that your posts and pages are optimised for SEO. I also discovered a handy browser extension to help you with keywords, some interesting research on homepage sliders and effective CTAs for multiple channels.

If you enjoy this article, please share it.

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Links

I’m sure you know that the ‘old’ link building methods can now harm your business.  Social media can however provide valuable links to your website. In this video tutorial Rand Fishkin from Moz explains 4 ways to go about it.

The Art of Natural Links

Link Building InfographicThis is an excellent infographic illustrating how to develop a natural link profile which won’t damage your website.  In summary, you want to build links from a variety of relevant websites and Web 2.0 places; make sure your anchor text (the bit you link to) is varied and includes keywords, brand words and general words.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO InfographicAnother infographic. This one by Brian Dean of Backlinko shows you how to go about on-page optimisation.  It illustrates 12 factors that search engines and users love.  If you use WordPress, then I highly recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin which makes this a lot easier.

A Handy Keyword Tool

ScoutI discovered a new tool this week – Scout by Wordtracker.  It’s a Chrome browser extension tool which creates a visual word cloud showing the keywords for any page you type into the browser.  Great for checking posts and pages on your blog and also for checking out other pages for ideas.

Do you Have a Slider on Your Website?

Almost every website customer I have wants a slider / carousel on their homepage, mostly because it looks good.  This article on Search Engine Land explains why they are bad for SEO and usability.

Maybe it’s time to rethink your design. If you would like your website redesigned or refreshed, get in touch.

Effective CTAs for Every Channel

We know that it’s important to have a Call To Action (CTA) to encourage visitors to take the action we want.  This article explains different CTAs across different channels – e.g. email, social media, blog, sales pages, PPC Ads.

 

If you have a question about online marketing, link building or SEO leave me a voice message with your question and contact details and I will get back to you with an answer.

Don’t miss the latest online marketing news. Sign-up for our weekly roundup and stay ahead of the game.

Link Building and SEO the Right Way – Online Marketing News Roundup | Amica Digital

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3 Tips from Top Online Marketing Experts to Apply to Your Business https://amicadigital.com/business/3-tips-from-top-online-marketing-experts/ https://amicadigital.com/business/3-tips-from-top-online-marketing-experts/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 01:13:50 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3243 [powerpress] [leadplayer_vid id=”51C253FC08160″] Topics Discussed: 00:30 – Top Tips from Online Marketing Experts 00:35 – Tip 1 01:15 – What you need to do before you can implement Tip 1 01:25 – Tip 2 01:47 – Best way to engage eCommerce customers 02:13 – Tip 3 02:45 – x% of pages deliver xx% of your […]

3 Tips from Top Online Marketing Experts to Apply to Your Business | Amica Digital

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[powerpress]

[leadplayer_vid id=”51C253FC08160″]

Topics Discussed:

00:30 – Top Tips from Online Marketing Experts

00:35 – Tip 1

01:15 – What you need to do before you can implement Tip 1

01:25 – Tip 2

01:47 – Best way to engage eCommerce customers

02:13 – Tip 3

02:45 – x% of pages deliver xx% of your conversions

Transcription

Hi, this is Suellen Hughes from the thekickstartbiz.com, and I’m here to share an online marketing news update with you. Last week, I attended a conference with some of the world’s top online marketing experts, both presenting and also in attendance. So, I’m going to share with you just three of the top things that I took away from the conference that I think you might be able to apply in your business.

The first one is about simplifying and focusing.

So the theme of the conference was about the top 4% and what this is is applying the Pareto principle, which is the 80-20 rule to your business, saying that 80% of your business probably comes from the top 20% of your customers, and then taking that even further and saying, “Well, let’s apply the 80-20 principle to that 20% and that gives you the top 4%.” So really, this message was about finding the top customers, the top activities, the things that you do in your business that really deliver the greatest results for you. Of course, in order to do that, you need to be able to measure what you’re doing. So put some measures in place and then track and see what happens, eliminate the things that aren’t giving you results, and focus on the things that are.

 The second part was about building and engaging with your community.

We heard from Ezra Firestone, who does a lot of work in the e-commerce space, and he shared with us some really interesting things that he’s doing that don’t only apply e-commerce but really to any online business. So the main thing is really about building rapport with your community and doing that through things like video, so having video on your thank-you page, having video on your about page, using video to answer frequently-asked questions that you get from your customers. So these are being used online for online shopping sites, but they can equally be applied to any online business really, so just making use of the technology to really build and engage with your community.

The third area is around conversion optimization, and this is a big one.

So many people and customers that I deal with focus on traffic. How many visitors am I getting? And really sometimes that might not be the base metric for your business. It’s actually better to convert the customers that do come. So whether that’s getting them on to your mailing list or getting them to sign up for your products or services, there are some really nifty things around conversion that were shared by Clay Collins. Clay was sharing with us that just 5% of your pages on your website account for around 95% of the conversions, so again do some tracking, have a look at your metrics, work out which pages are working for you and then really focus on those ones because they’re the ones that are going to give you the results.

The other tip he gave us was not to squander our thank-you page. So by that he means, if people are in a buying mode or they’re focused on saying yes, so that might be that they’ve said, “Yes, I would like to give you my email address and sign up for your newsletter instead of just sending them a standard email, perhaps put a video on that thank-you page or make them another offer or suggest to them some other action that they could take while they’re in that positive frame of mind, and again, related to the area of building rapport, use auto-responders or followup emails to continue to build the relationship with your clients. So send them a sequence of emails with some valuable information, it might be a cause, it might be some tools and techniques that they can use just to keep that conversation going. Even though it’s not a real conversation, it’s still a conversation that people are having in their heads. So, it’s a great idea to use those followup emails, not just for a week or a couple of weeks but for months at a time to really engage with your audience.

So those are the top three tips from me that I got from the conference. Number one, from James Schramko simplify and focus, stop doing all the things that don’t matter and that don’t give your results and just focus on the few things that really do matter. Build and engage with the community and use all the tools available to us to do that. Number three, really focus on conversion. Where do people sign up? Where do people buy from us?

I’d love to hear from you about how you can apply these in your business. Or if you’ve got any other tips that you found that have worked for you, please share them, either leave a comment or leave a voice message, pop on to the website and leave a message underneath the post. Okay, until next time, thanks. Bye.

 

Leave a comment below.

3 Tips from Top Online Marketing Experts to Apply to Your Business | Amica Digital

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How To Rank Higher on Google https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/how-to-rank-higher-on-google/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/how-to-rank-higher-on-google/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2013 08:01:55 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3213 If you have a website then I’m sure you want to know how to rank higher on Google – unless you are already in the coveted position 1, page 1 position for all of your keywords. With the most recent Google update Penguin 2.0, some website owners will have seen that they’ve dropped in ranking […]

How To Rank Higher on Google | Amica Digital

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If you have a website then I’m sure you want to know how to rank higher on Google – unless you are already in the coveted position 1, page 1 position for all of your keywords.

With the most recent Google update Penguin 2.0, some website owners will have seen that they’ve dropped in ranking and are now wondering what to do.   Higher ranking, means getting your website / business in front of more people which hopefully will lead to more traffic (visitors) and more business for you.  In this article, I cover 3 tips to get your website ranking higher.

Produce relevant, quality content.

Give Google what they want. It’s why Google exists and why it’s the most popular search engine.  If you search for something on Google and you are able to find exactly what you are looking for (relevant) and it meets your need or solves your problem (quality) then you will be happy…and Google will continue to be successful.

Here are some tips for you to put into practice:

Deliver what it says on the tin.

This is the reason that titles, descriptions, image alt tags and keywords are important.  They not only tell the search engines what your content is about but they also tell the searcher what to expect.  If the match between the search and the resulting listing is good, then there is a higher chance the search result will be clicked.  By making sure your on-page SEO is working well, you are making it easier for the search engines to find your content that is relevant to the search.

Don’t try to manipulate on-page SEO.  Instead, produce better content.  If visitors see your search result, click on it and realise it’s not relevant of high quality, then they will very quickly leave your site and this shows up as a high bounce in your analytics.

Keep it fresh.

If you want to rank on Google, then you have to give Google something to rank.  That means regularly adding fresh content – give the Google spiders something to feed on 🙂

This content can be a new page, a new post, a video, an infographic or a transcription and a link to a podcast.  You don’t need to publish content on your website every day but you should try to add something new each week or every couple of weeks minimum.  It takes time to produce quality content and like many business owners, time is one thing you don’t have a lot of!  Consider outsourcing some of your content.  You could pay someone to write a few articles for you, seek guest posts from other writers, create a video but then have someone else do the editing, transcription writing and even sharing it on other video sites.

People love case studies, real examples with real data, tutuorials and ‘how to’ content.   If you create fresh content, then your existing visitors will return to your website because they know there will be something new for them.  Google will find fresh content and index it.  The more content Google knows about, the better your chance of getting some of it ranking.

For some content ideas inspiration read How to Unleash the Power of Content “Ideas and inspiration for content that people love to share on social media” from Jeff Bullas including a slideshare presentation.

Be an Authority.

With the release of the Penguin 2.0 update, authority and brand are now even more important to help you rank better on Google.

What is Authority?

Authority is about being (or being perceived as) an expert in your subject matter.   It builds trust in you and your brand because people trust authorities – think police, fire fighters, military, security guards.  For the most part, they have instant authority and we trust them.

Still not convinced.  Read this post that recently appeared on Copyblogger “21 Reasons you Must Become and Expert

How to build online Authority.

One of the ways to build online authority that may help you rank better and more importantly get more people clicking on your listing on Google, is to put Google Authorship Markup on your site.   By adding Google Authorship Markup, you are telling Google, and searchers, that you authored a piece of content and Google will add your photo to the listing which in turn helps to boost your authority.

There are many posts explaining exactly how to do this, like this one on Kiss Metrics.

Google Authorship doesn’t in itself help improve your rankings…yet.

If you haven’t added Google Authorship Markup yet, then hurry up and do so because in this recent video by  Matt Cutts, from Google’s Search Quality team, he said

I think will continue to look at it to see how to use rel=author in ways that can improve search experience.

Amplify your content.

Once you’ve published your high quality, relevant content, with authorship attribution, you now need that content shared by other people to help it rank higher on Google.

If a lot of people are talking about something new or something great, it creates a buzz and you want to find out about it too.  It makes sense then, that if Google is getting lots of signals from different places across the internet that your content is creating a buzz, then it is more likely to rank higher than some other piece of content that no one is talking about.

Make it sharable

If people like your content, they might choose to share it with their community.  Make it easy for them to share by having social sharing buttons on your website.  Don’t make your visitors work for it because they won’t.

Ask people to share it.  Sometimes a simple call to action saying something like “if you liked this post, please share it” can help boost the number of shares.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

If you’re not prepared to market and share your own content, why should you expect others to?  After you publish your content, be sure to share it on social networks and other relevant places by:

  • Adding a link to your signature when you comment on other people’s blogs – but don’t spam the comments
  • Adding a link to your content in your email signature
  • Manually sharing a link to your post with a relevant comment on your social networks

Attract inbound links

Other people linking to content on your website from their site can help to push your site higher up the search results, providing the source of the link is relevant and good quality.

This is very important now.  In the past, link building was about getting as many links from as many places as possible back to your website in the hope that Google would rank your site highly because so many other sites were linking to it.  Not any more.  In fact, all of these old spammy, low quality links could now negatively impact your website and cause you to rank lower in the search results.  If you think you have low quality links pointing to your content, then it might be time to clean them up.

Having high quality, relevant sites linking to your content is a good thing, not only because it sends targeted visitors from that site to yours but also because it tells Google that your content is worth linking to and therefore worth ranking.

This article on Search Engine Journal,  is about creating sharable content and a common sense approach to link worthy content.

 

If you’d like us to advise what you can do to get your website ranking higher on Google , then order an Online Marketing Review for your business.

Order Here

 

How To Rank Higher on Google | Amica Digital

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How to Backup Social Media Content https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-backup-social-media-content/ https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-backup-social-media-content/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 07:13:22 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3181 Most of us have multiple social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and probably more!   We update our profiles regularly and often store content on them that we don’t have anywhere else.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of people having accounts closed, or hacked – hopefully it hasn’t happened to […]

How to Backup Social Media Content | Amica Digital

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Most of us have multiple social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and probably more!   We update our profiles regularly and often store content on them that we don’t have anywhere else.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of people having accounts closed, or hacked – hopefully it hasn’t happened to you.

I was recently asked by a client

how do we backup our Pinterest Boards?

I did some research and found out that it isn’t that easy to figure out how to backup social media content so I’ve written this post to share what I’ve learned.

My starting point was a quick Google search to see whether anyone else had the solution.  I found a few recent articles like this one, but nothing comprehensive so I did my own investigating.

For each of the social networks, I checked to see whether there was any way to backup from within the site itself.  Here’s what I found.

Pinterest

I wasn’t able to find how to backup Pinterest from within Pinterest itself.  There is no support in the help section at all.

There are a couple of 3rd party, paid solutions that I found:

  • Pin4Ever – lets you backup all of your pins, boards, likes by creating an HTML website which you can access from your computer.  There is a free version offered giving 1 backup within a month of signing up.  Paid versions depend on how often you want to backup.  They require you to sign-up and pin their link to your Pinterest Boards to make it work.  It felt too messy for me so I abandoned it. [Since writing this post, pin4ever have updated their website and it is much cleaner and a better user experience – see more in the comments below].
  • PinBackUp – a backup and analytics tool “coming soon” – you can sign-up but it doesn’t work yet 🙁
  • IFTTT – IFTTT (If This Then That)  is a service that allows you to create ‘recipes’ that allow you to do all sorts of things like – save a photo you’re tagged in on Facebook to Dropbox,  create Evernote from an email, post starred RSS feed content to Buffer etc.  It’s a fantastic service and I use it for a few things.  There is a ‘recipe’ which allows you to send new content from Pinterest to a Dropbox folder but I couldn’t get it to work and it seems to only work for new content – not a complete backup.

I did find a solution but you need to read on to find out what it is!

Facebook

Backing up your personal Facebook profile is pretty easy.  Click on the the gear icon – upper right, go to Account Settings then click Download a Copy of Facebook data.

How to Backup Facebook

You have the option of choosing a standard download or an expanded archive which provides more history about your activities on Facebook.  Ever wondered why certain ads appear in your timeline, with the expanded archive, you’ll see the ad categories Facebook has worked out are most applicable to you!

When it’s done, you’ll receive an email informing you that your backup is ready to download.  Click the link in the email and then save your backup onto your computer.

Easy right?

Well not quite.  The backup only saves personal profile information, not your Facebook Page information.  For that you’ll need another method which I’ll explain further down.

Twitter

Dead easy.  Go to your Twitter profile, select the gear icon, then settings, account, scroll to bottom and click ‘Request your Archive’.  An email will then be sent with a link to download your archive.

Twitter Backup

Google + (and YouTube, Gmail, Apps etc)

This one is easy too.  Google allows you to download your data a few different ways.

First, when logged into Google (Google+, Gmail etc) select the drop down arrow located next to your photo in the top right of your screen, then choose Account.  From there select ‘download your data’ from the menu on the left, then either click the ‘Download Data’ button or select to download from the individual services you are signed up for.

Google

Google Backup

 

There is another way to download your Google data from other Google services including Blogger, YouTube, Drive etc.  It’s called Google Takeaway.  This allows you to download an archive of individual services or all of them at once.  It takes a litlle while if you use a lot of Google services (or have a slow internet connection).  When it’s done, you can save the archive to your computer, or wherever you like.

Google Takeaway

Linked In

Another social network that makes it difficult to download your data.  There doesn’t appear to be a way to do backup or download from within Linked In itself, other than manually downloading each section but that seems a less than efficient way to do it.

Services to Backup Social Media Content

After researching each of these to see whether it could be done easily, free of charge directly from the service itself, I then decided to test out a paid solution.  I looked at a two options including:

Backupify

This service provides automatic backup of your Google Apps, Salesforce and Personal Apps (Facebook & Twitter).  It backs up daily to the Cloud (Amazon S3), encrypts the data allows you to download it to your own computer and has a one-click restore for Google in case you need to restore your data.

Services for Google, Salesforce and Personal Apps are priced separately and range from free for Personal Apps (3 services) to $19.99 (25 services).  It doesn’t support Pinterest, Instagram or Linked In.

Backupify looks like a solid solution, especially for Google Apps, Facebook and Twitter.  It didn’t answer my client’s question about how to backup Pinterest though.

Frostbox [new addition]

After publishing this post, a comment was left by Maggie from Frostbox letting me know about their service.  I signed up for the beta and gave it a go.  It is really easy to use, offers backup for Facebook Profile (not Facebook Page), Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Flickr, Gmail, Instragram, Tumblr and Evernote!  It is easy to use,  displays your backed up content on a Dashboard divided into content boxes like Video, Photos, Mentions, Connections etc.  It is currently free to use and they are offering free storage while in Beta.  Definitely worth a look.

SocialSafe

This service is focused on social networks and supports Facebook, Facebook Pages, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Twitter & RSS blog feeds.  Each time you sync your accounts, SocialSafe adds any new data since the last sync.  You can automatically schedule it to sync your data every day or weekly.  Once you sync data, you can view it in a ‘journal’ style and even get insights into most popular items and activity by day so you can see when you are most active!

Backup Social Media Content with Social Safe

Price is determined by the number of accounts you want to backup ranging from $6.99 per year for 4 accounts up to $27.99 per year for 20 accounts.  I went for the $6.99 option and backed up Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and my main Facebook Page.  It was super quick and easy to do.  The only downside is that you can’t actually download your data or restore it as you can with Backupify, instead it is stored in the SocialSafe app on your computer.  If anything happened to your accounts and you had to restore data, then this service probably isn’t the best for that.  However, at least you have a copy of all of your data on your own computer which you control and hopefully backup regularly!

 

So there are a few different ways to backup social media content.  It was a great question and I hope you learned something from it.  I did!

Do you have any backup tips to share?  If you have found a better way, please leave a comment and let us know so we can all learn what works best?

How to Backup Social Media Content | Amica Digital

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Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 29 May 2013 https://amicadigital.com/news/online-marketing-news-29-may-2013/ https://amicadigital.com/news/online-marketing-news-29-may-2013/#respond Tue, 28 May 2013 21:36:39 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3153 The big news in the online marketing world this week is Google’s latest update, known as Penguin 2.0.  If you are doing the right thing when it comes to SEO, then you have no need to worry.  If you’re not sure what the right this is, get in touch!  Other stories this week include keyword […]

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 29 May 2013 | Amica Digital

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The big news in the online marketing world this week is Google’s latest update, known as Penguin 2.0.  If you are doing the right thing when it comes to SEO, then you have no need to worry.  If you’re not sure what the right this is, get in touch!  Other stories this week include keyword tracking, Trip Advisor, Facebook updates and chats and email marketing.  I’d love to hear which of these articles you found most useful for your business.  Send me an email or leave a comment or voice message.

Penguin 2.0 – Are You at risk?

Real SEOGoogle has just updated it’s algorithm again and rolled out another big update – Penguin 2.0.  This update is focusing on advertorials and link selling websites.  So what do this mean for SEO as a means of  getting visitors to your website?  This article explains how Real SEO is the answer.

Tools to Track Your Keywords

Do you know for which keywords (search terms) your website is ranking well?  How about your competitors?  Here are 8 keyword tracking tips including some tools (free and paid).

How to Protect Your Reputation on Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor Reputation ManagementTrip Advisor.  Love it or hate it, if you are in the travel industry, you better make it work for you because it is the largest travel portal in the world.  This article, which includes a downloadable checklist, provides good advice on how to manage the reputation of your travel business on Trip Advisor.

Get More Out of Your Social Media Marketing

Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report  2013 (available for free download until tomorrow!) – highlighted 9 benefits respondents attributed to social media marketing.  This article takes each of these and provides actionable tips for you to implement.

Is Your Facebook Page Up To Date?

Facebook - The Kickstart BizHow long since you updated your Facebook Page details?  This article provides 11 checks to ensure your Facebook Page is up to date.  My own page needs work so I will be implementing these checks myself!

How to Host a Facebook Chat

Have you hosted a Facebook Chat?  I’ve participated in a few myself and they are fun and a great way to get engagement with your community.  Jodi from MyShabbyChicBoutique even uses Facebook Chat to occasionally run a live market to sell her gorgeous handmade goods.   This article explains how to host a Facebook Chat for business.

How to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

Email MarketingIs email marketing part of your online marketing strategy?  This is part 7 of an 8 part post giving practical tips on how to make your email marketing more effective.  It covers, which tools to use, how often to email, how to double your open rate and more.   Make sure you go back and read the past articles.

 

 

If you have a question about online marketing, leave me a voice message with your question and contact details and I will get back to you with an answer.

 

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 29 May 2013 | Amica Digital

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Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – May 20 2013 https://amicadigital.com/news/weekly-online-marketing-news-roundup-may-20-2013/ https://amicadigital.com/news/weekly-online-marketing-news-roundup-may-20-2013/#respond Mon, 20 May 2013 11:18:51 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3106 In this week’s online marketing news roundup, I share news from around the web on the latest developments at Google+, pointers on content conversion, practical tips on SEO, AdWords case studies and more news to help you grow your business online. Google+ Stream, Hashtags, Photos and Hangouts It’s been a busy week for Google this […]

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – May 20 2013 | Amica Digital

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In this week’s online marketing news roundup, I share news from around the web on the latest developments at Google+, pointers on content conversion, practical tips on SEO, AdWords case studies and more news to help you grow your business online.

Google+ Stream, Hashtags, Photos and Hangouts

It’s been a busy week for Google this week with the  launch of a new Google+ design which has a very ‘Pinterest’ look about it with larger images, responsive design (view changes based on screen size) and the introduction of #hashtags for finding other related articles.

Google have also improved the ‘Photos’ providing auto backup, unlimited free storage for standard size images, sorting, enhancements and other animation.  Looks impressive.  Google may takeover from Facebook as my preferred photo storing and sharing platform.  Watch the video below to learn more.

As well as a new Google+ design, Google also released the Google Hangouts App so you can now use Google Hangouts, including text, video and photo sharing – for free. It looks like fun – watch the video here.  Now to find people to ‘Hangout’ with!

Want Better Content Conversion?

6 Content HacksIn this excellent article by Dan Norris from Informly, Dan explains 6 hacks to boost the conversion rate of your content.  These are all great ideas that can be easily implemented to bring you better results.

Audit Your Site For Optimisation Opportunities

I’m often asked by clients what they need to do to rank better in Google or to get their website content working better.  This article provides a solid checklist you can apply to audit your website and is similar to what I use when I conduct a website audit for new clients.

SEO on a Shoestring Budget

SEO on a Shoestring BudgetPaying an SEO specialist to do your SEO on a monthly retainer can be too costly for some small  businesses but if you have some time, this article tells you 3 ways to perform SEO on a shoestring budget.

Want to Rank like an SEO Master?

So you’ve done your site audit, already implemented the 3 ideas in the last article and now you’re ready for more?  This detailed SEO Blueprint provides a complete framework for SEO for those of you who love a bit of  DIY!

SEO – How Your Mum Thinks it Works

With Mother’s Day having just been (in Australia and the US anyway) this funny article shares the conversation between an SEO and his mum.  I’m thinking of trying this out on my mum!

Are You Wasting Money on Adwords?

AdWords Case StudiesGoogle Adwords (or other pay-per-click advertising) can be an excellent way to bring new, targeted visitors to your website but if not well implemented, it can be a huge budget suck.  This case study of Google Adwords advertising by 4 Accounting Software companies provides good, practical lessons on what to do and what not to do.

Ready for Twitter Advertising?

Previously Twitter advertising was by invitation with a minimum monthly spend but it has now opened Twitter Self-Service Advertising for everyone – well everyone in the US for now.

What Does your “About Us” Page Say About You?

See 6 examples of great About Us pages and some lessons you can apply to yours.

WordPress Dominates

WordPress DominatesDo you have a WordPress website?  If so, you’re in good company with the majority of the Top 100 blogs using WordPress according to a new study by pingdom.

 

If you need a new website and want to join the in-crowd, find out more about our Websites That Work.  Read More

 

 

 

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – May 20 2013 | Amica Digital

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Understanding Google Analytics – Infographic https://amicadigital.com/articles/google-analytics-infographic/ https://amicadigital.com/articles/google-analytics-infographic/#respond Fri, 03 May 2013 00:18:43 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3057 Google Analytics is a fantastic free resource for measuring and tracking what’s happening on your website. Jeff Sauer of jeffalytics created this incredible infographic in the form of a periodic table displaying the vast array of functions and options available within Google Analytics. Courtesy of: Depth of Knowledge by Jeffalytics If you visit Jeffalytics, you will […]

Understanding Google Analytics – Infographic | Amica Digital

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Google Analytics is a fantastic free resource for measuring and tracking what’s happening on your website.

Jeff Sauer of jeffalytics created this incredible infographic in the form of a periodic table displaying the vast array of functions and options available within Google Analytics.

If you visit Jeffalytics, you will be able to download and print a PDF to hang on your wall as a handy reminder.
If you need help working out how Google Analytics works and how you can make it work for your business,  this post about how to measure the effectiveness of online marketing will get you started.

Understanding Google Analytics – Infographic | Amica Digital

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How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Marketing https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-measure-effectiveness-of-online-marketing/ https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-measure-effectiveness-of-online-marketing/#respond Mon, 29 Apr 2013 09:55:45 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2993 Where to Focus your Online Marketing Efforts There is so much freely available information about how to market your business online that as a business owner who wants to attract buyers to your business through Google and social media you can DIY online marketing – time, skills and interest permitting! The problem is not how […]

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Marketing | Amica Digital

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Where to Focus your Online Marketing Efforts

There is so much freely available information about how to market your business online that as a business owner who wants to attract buyers to your business through Google and social media you can DIY online marketing – time, skills and interest permitting! The problem is not how to do it, but rather where to start and how to work out which online marketing will work best for your business.

  • Do you need to put time and effort into your website design?
  • Do you have enough content on your website that is of interest to potential buyers?
  • Is your website showing up when people search for products or services that you offer?
  • Do you know what terms potential buyers are searching for and if your website shows up for those terms?
  • Is the time you’re putting into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc paying off?
  • Should you do some paid advertising?
  • Do visitors to your website find what they are looking for?  Do they turn into buyers?

If you know the answer to these questions, then you already know where to focus your online marketing efforts.  If you don’t know the answers, then there is a danger that you are wasting time and/or money on your online marketing.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Marketing

I’m going to assume that you are using Google Analytics (GA) or at least have it installed on your website already.  If not, then read this tutorial about how to install Google Analytics on your website or ask your web / techie person to do it for you. Almost every piece of data you need to measure the effectiveness of your online marketing is available in Google Analytics – which of course has the added advantage of being free!  If you want to dig a bit deeper into what’s going on with your website and get some insight into your competitors, then there are other tools for doing this, which I’ll share – but they do cost so you need to decide whether you will get the value from them. When I speak to business owners about Google Analytics, they either say:

  1. Yes, my web guy put it on my site but I don’t know how to access it
  2. It’s there and I look at it but I don’t really know what it’s telling me
  3. I’m not good looking at charts and data – it’s all a bit overwhelming
  4. Yes, I use it (but often when I start asking questions about what they are measuring, it becomes clear they are not using it well)

To make it easier for you as a business owner to get a quick overview of your key metrics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your online marketing, I’m creating some tools to help you.

What to Measure

Everything!  I’m only half joking. The more data you have, the more informed decisions you can make.  The trick of course is to take action based on what the data is telling you. What you measure will in part depend on your starting point.  Are you just starting out in business or have you been doing some online marketing for a while?  The main thing is to get started with whatever data you have and then build on that as more data becomes available. Thinking about the online marketing that you do will help you work out what you need to measure.  Here are some of the key areas to measure:

Website

  • How fast are my website pages loading?
  • Is my website showing up in the search engines (especially Google)?
  • How many pages of my website are listed by Google?

Visitors

  • Where do people find out about my website?
  • Which terms do people search for to find my website?
  • Which other websites are sending visitors to my website and to which pages?

Content

  • Which pages of my website are most viewed?
  • How many pages do visitors look at and in what order?
  • Which pages lead to the most sales?

Social

  • Which social networks send me the most visitors?
  • Is my content being shared on social networks?
  • Which social networks bring the best quality visitors?

Conversion / Revenue

  • Do visitors take the action I need them to? (e.g.  sign-up to email list, buy a product, contact us)
  • Which search terms bring me the most buyers?
  • What is the ROI of my online marketing?

There are obviously many more but if you are tracking these, then you will have a pretty good overview of what’s going on in your business and where you need to take action.

Tools to Track and Measure the Effectiveness of Online Marketing

Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools

As I mentioned earlier, Google Analytics is an excellent tool for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of online marketing activities.  To make Google Analytics even more useful, I recommend that you also use Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and connect it to your GA account.  This free tool will give you more information about the search terms (queries) your visitors are using to find your website and the click-through-rate for certain terms.  It can be a little tricky to set up but the instructions are easy to follow or just ask your tech support person to do it for you.  If you don’t have tech support, we can help you out with  – just send us an email. One of the most useful, and under-used, features of Google Analytics is the ability to create (and import) dashboards.  With a dashboard, you can go to one page and see a snapshot of all of your key metrics.  You can then dig deeper into any one metric to get further information if required.    You can set up your own dashboard from scratch based on your specific business goals or activity you want to track.  As I mentioned earlier, you can also import a dashboard that someone else has created.  This can be useful for ideas or to save yourself some time.  Have a look at DashboardJunkie for a few examples. One of the best articles I’ve found explaining how to use dashboards, including a video tutuorial is by Aaron Fletcher at GeekFree.  He created this Dashboard for Small Business but you need to have conversion goals set up for it to work.  You can set conversion goals for not only sales but things like opt-ins.  Aaron explains how to do that in the article. If you are just getting started with Google Analytics and haven’t yet set conversion goals, then you might want to use my simple KPI Dashboard I created to get you started.  To import it into your Google Analytics, all you need to do is log into your Google Analytics account and then click the image below, select the profile (website) you’d like to import the dashboard to and that’s it.  Now go to Dashboards in GA, select The KickstartBiz KPI Dashboard and your data will be there on one page.  You can even edit it to suit your specific business needs.

The Kickstart Biz KPI Dashboard

Other Useful Tools

With Google Analytics set up with Goals, Dashboards and Google Webmaster Tools, you can get a LOT of data and insight into what’s going on with your website and traffic.  However, there are a few limitations:

  • Relies on JavaScript and Cookies to provide data so not 100% accurate
  • Doesn’t provide much information on links, keywords, competitors or social networks
  • Some delay in data (usually 1-2 days behind)
  • Reliance on a single source (Google) and no ownership of data
  • Data is anonymous – tells you what happened but not who did what

There are a lot of other tools that you can use to provide all or some data about the effectiveness of your online marketing.  Many of these are paid tools and whether or not they are worth the price, will depend on how much data you need and how you are going to use it.  Here is a list of some of the paid tools that I use to run my business and to analyse results for my clients.

  1. AHrefs – this site provides detailed information about the links coming into and going out from your website
  2. SEM Rush – this tool provides information on keywords (organic and paid) and competitors
  3. Google Keywords Tool – another free tool by Google for analysing keywords, and cost-per-click
  4. CrazyEgg – provides a heatmap of clicks on your page
  5. SEOProfiler – all-in-one software providing data on keywords, linking, competitors, site performance and more
  6. YouTube Analytics
  7. Facebook Insights

Some other popular tools which I know others use but I don’t personally use are:

  1. Putler – analytics for PayPal merchants
  2. KISSMetrics – tells you not only what happened but who did what
  3. Clicky – similar features to Google Analytics but in real time
  4. Clicktale – similar to CrazyEgg

As with all data, it’s not so much what it tells you but what you do with it that matters.   But, as Peter Drucker said “what gets measured gets managed.”    If you put some basic metrics in place, review them regularly and take action based on what the data is telling you, then you will be well on the way to measuring the effectiveness of your online marketing.   What are the main things your measure in your business?  Leave a comment below.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Marketing | Amica Digital

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Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 25 March 2013 https://amicadigital.com/news/online-marketing-news-25-march-2013/ https://amicadigital.com/news/online-marketing-news-25-march-2013/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2013 06:03:54 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=3017 [leadplayer_vid id=”514FE575510D8″] Facebook Change Terms and Conditions Nothing new there, you might think!  The good news is, this time the changes are great for small business. Facebook has removed all of the previous restrictions they had on what you could put on your cover photo.  The only thing that remains is that “covers may not […]

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 25 March 2013 | Amica Digital

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Facebook Change Terms and Conditions

Nothing new there, you might think!  The good news is, this time the changes are great for small business. Facebook has removed all of the previous restrictions they had on what you could put on your cover photo.  The only thing that remains is that “covers may not include images with more than 20% text”.  This means that you can now use your cover to share offers, discounts, your contact details and encourage people to like your page. New Facebook Cover Rules If you change your Facebook Cover, please post an update on my Facebook Page so that we can all see and learn form each other.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing

All of us know the value of a high quality database of people who want to know more about our business. We spend time and effort trying to get opt-ins but have you thought about opt-outs?  I don’t mean people who unsubscribe, but rather where you unsubscribe people from your list! Why would you do that?

  1. You don’t want a big list with a low open rate.  Not only is it demoralising, but it costs you money if you are paying for an email marketing service like Mailchimp, Aweber, etc.
  2. You can separate your higher value subscribers and therefore tailor your messages better because you know they are more engaged with what you have to say.
  3. Helps you to have a clean list, which helps get through the spam filters.  If the email service providers (like Gmail) recognise that your IP address sends a lot of emails that bounce, then they are more likely to block emails from you.

Here’s an article with some examples showing how to do it in a “nice way” without upsetting people who actually would like to stay on your list.

Did You Know?

Two things I discovered this week that I probably should have known but didn’t.

Google Calculator

  • You can create videos from still images directly from YouTube!

From YouTube, click “upload”, then you get a few different options including Photo Slideshow. Drag images into the uploader and YouTube will magically create a video slideshow from the images.  You can even add an audio track from YouTube or leave it with no audio. You then upload this and voile!  You now have a video.  If you want to be really clever, you can then edit the video with annotations. This is a quick way to create video which you can link to from your website or better still embed directly onto your website. Let me know if you use this method to create a video so that I can subscribe to your YouTube channel. YouTube Subscribe Widget Here is a great plugin for WordPress which puts a widget on your website encouraging people to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

More Google SEO Updates Coming

Google is continuing to update algorithms to make it’s search results as relevant as possible to it’s users.  That means, make sure you are adding fresh, original content to your website. Rather than trying to drive all of your traffic using old SEO methods, focus instead on getting visitors to you website by posting different types of content in different places. Here is an article about 15 types of content marketing that works.  How many are you using regularly to send more visitors to your website?

Handy Tools

A couple of apps and sites I found this week to save you time. The first is Cloud Magic which you can use in your favourite browser or on your phone.  It allows you to search across many of your apps (e.g.  gmail, evernote, dropbox, twitter, facebook, Microsoft 365 and more) from one search bar.  Great when you need to find something fast. The second is a site which tells you what WordPress Theme and Plugins a site is using.  It’s called What WordPress Theme is That?  It’s useful if you see a website that you like the look of or that uses a funky feature and you want to know more about it.  There are other tools and sites like this but this one is very user-friendly.

Weekly Online Marketing News Roundup – 25 March 2013 | Amica Digital

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What’s a Brand Worth? https://amicadigital.com/business/whats-a-brand-worth/ https://amicadigital.com/business/whats-a-brand-worth/#respond Tue, 22 Jan 2013 06:50:16 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2908 [leadplayer_vid id=”50FE2D3788D44″] Hi I’m Suellen Hughes from The Kickstart Biz and I’m shooting this video while on holiday on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. I’m staying at the Palmer Coolum Resort with my husband and son. We’ve holidayed here for a about 5 years yet this is our first time at the Palmer Coolum […]

What’s a Brand Worth? | Amica Digital

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Hi I’m Suellen Hughes from The Kickstart Biz and I’m shooting this video while on holiday on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia.

I’m staying at the Palmer Coolum Resort with my husband and son. We’ve holidayed here for a about 5 years yet this is our first time at the Palmer Coolum Resort. Up until last yer, the resort was known as the Hyatt Regency Coolum.

In this video, I’m going to talk about branding and the importance of customer reviews on online review sites.

In 2011, Clive Palmer, Queensland’s richest man, purchased the resort and subsequently paid an undisclosed sum to remove Hyatt who had been managing the resort for the past 20 years.  Initially the resort was to be re-branded the Coolum Golf Resort and Spa.

What value did the Hyatt brand add to the resort?

Well, firstly Hyatt is an international brand, associated with 5 star accommodation. Holiday makers expect a certain standard of accommodation at a Hyatt property. They would likely book Hyatt accommodation in the knowledge and comfort that the hotel would meet their expectations.

Secondly, Hyatt marketed the Coolum resort on their website and in other marketing materials so holidaymakers who didn’t necessarily know the Coolum region, could still find the resort.

There is certainly high value in a highly regarded, international hospitality brand like Hyatt.

So, what happened next?

The resort is now called the Palmer Coolum Resort, named after it’s owner Clive Palmer who himself is a bit a of ‘brand’ name. But is it the right brand for a luxury resort?

The common concern is that Mr Palmer is a miner trying to run a resort, and his lack of experience and know-how in the hospitality industry is showing.

The magnate’s move to stamp his larger-than-life personality on the resort has backfired and a resort that prided itself on it’s exclusive reputation has become a laughing stock.

For example, Jeff the Dinosaur, an 8.5m tall, 20m long, Tyrannosaurus Rex, now resides on the 18th hole of the PGA golf course.

Public areas are festooned with photographs of Palmer, any in poses with celebrities and politicians. and there are even hotel TV channels dedicated to him and his work.

Black and gold signs reminiscent of the generic food brands dot the grounds, advertising “fantastic food” at Palmer Grill and other venues.

He has even opened the Palmer Motorama filled with his own private vintage car collection!

But the question is, has this change in brand been detrimental to business?

Well, it’s early days but signs are not good.

During Australia’s busiest holiday season when other Sunshine Coast resorts were reporting high occupancy rates, the Palmer Coolum Resort is virtually empty. I don’t know for sure what the occupancy rates are but judging by the lack of people at the pool, spa, restaurants and kids club, they can only be around 10% at best. This is a big resort and has never felt over-crowded but this holiday it is almost deserted. I’m not complaining. We have the pick of the resort.

However, that’s a short term view and I worry that unless things change, there won’t be a resort here next year and that would be a real shame. Not only for me and my family but for the 600 or so staff, the local businesses and for Australian tourism.

Lessons for business owners:

A great product is sometimes not enough. It’s important to build the right brand message.

The resort ticks all of the boxes

  • PGA Golf Course
  • 9 swimming pools
  • 6 tennis courts
  • Beach club
  • Kids club & activities
  • 6 restaurants
  • Choice of accommodation – family villas, golf villas, standard rooms

Despite all of this, the resort was still empty.

Customers share their reviews, and other customers take notice.

Staff are friendly, service is efficient but some customer reviews on sites like Trip Advisor have been terrible since the brand change. Of the 60 reviews rated ‘terrible’ or ‘poor’, 40 of them were written since the brand change.

We had read the reviews prior to booking and as a result, almost didn’t book. Had we not been before and not spoken to a staff member who gave us the lay of the land, we would have gone elsewhere based on the reviews alone.

It is encouraging to see that the resort management are responding to reviews in a positive way. Let’s hope it’s enough.

If not, perhaps we can take a cruise on Palmer’s Titanic II, a replica of the Titanic currently in construction. Don’t think we’ll take the maiden voyage though!

That’s it for this video. I’m back to enjoy the peace and quiet. Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts on branding and customer reviews.

What’s a Brand Worth? | Amica Digital

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Why Businesses Need to Embrace the Trend in Mobile Device Usage https://amicadigital.com/articles/businesses-embrace-mobile-device-usage/ https://amicadigital.com/articles/businesses-embrace-mobile-device-usage/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2012 05:53:49 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2874 It is evident that mobile devices and the use of applications have become hugely important in the day to day running of most people’s lives. According to a recent survey on mobile phone usage, statistics show that over 84% of respondents indicated that they owned or would own a smartphone by mid 2013. As a […]

Why Businesses Need to Embrace the Trend in Mobile Device Usage | Amica Digital

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It is evident that mobile devices and the use of applications have become hugely important in the day to day running of most people’s lives. According to a recent survey on mobile phone usage, statistics show that over 84% of respondents indicated that they owned or would own a smartphone by mid 2013.

As a business owner I would suggest that the use of mobile technology is one trend that you should be embracing. Here are several reasons why.

Use Applications to engage directly with customers

All across Australia and the rest of the world more and more people are taking advantage of the various applications available via their smartphones, tablets and laptops. It is clear that the general public like the idea of apps and this is a good thing for you, the business owner looking for an effective way to reach out to the public. There are apps for all kinds of things these days and if you develop one or more for your business then you give yourself the best opportunity of getting customers to interact with the business directly from whatever mobile device they are using.

If you own a cafe or restaurant your mobile app could be used by customers to check daily specials, make a reservation, recommend your restaurant to a friend or redeem a special offer you provide to loyal customers.

Mobile devices can help to streamline the businesses everyday functions

As well as the ability to significantly increase the communication between the various departments in your business, you can also benefit from the streamlining of other aspects. This includes improved customer relationship management, quick access to inventory statements at any time or anywhere, and the ability to effectively adopt time management. It really depends on the type of business that you are running as to how exactly you can utilise the benefits of the available mobile devices, but in my opinion all businesses will be able to take advantage of this technology.

If you need to collect customer details, instead of having them complete a paper form, which then needs someone to input into your computer, you could put the form onto a mobile device such as an iPad which can then be uploaded directly into a customer database.

Give your customers information they need when they need it

Thanks to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, it is now possible to give your customers access to information when they need it, without having to wait for you or your staff to get back to them.   Nowadays, consumers want immediate access to information.  They don’t want to wait. If they can’t get what they want from your website or by browsing online, they will quickly move on and if your competitors are savvy, they will find the information they need from then and you will have lost a customer and their business.

40% of people use their mobile phone to compare prices online and to look at reviews before making a buying decision.

Many experts that monitor the trends in businesses believe that the use of mobile devices in business is an important and valuable one. I believe it is a good idea to embrace it now while you can still take it as an advantage because very soon it will become the norm for all businesses.

How can you use mobile technology to improve your business, provide a better service to your customers or streamline your business activities?

Sources:

Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index – September 2012
http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/11/point-of-sale-payments-smart-devices.html
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3236-mobile-devices-business-competitiveness.html
http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/news/mobile-small-business-trends-for-2012.html

Why Businesses Need to Embrace the Trend in Mobile Device Usage | Amica Digital

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A New Playing Field in SEO and Content Marketing https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/a-new-playing-field-in-seo-and-content-marketing/ https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/a-new-playing-field-in-seo-and-content-marketing/#respond Sun, 02 Dec 2012 04:40:31 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2852 Running a company online can be a tricky business. There are so many things to consider in order to give yourself the best chance of survival. As well as the ordinary day to day tasks that a regular bricks and mortar business needs in order to function, there are other considerations to factor in such […]

A New Playing Field in SEO and Content Marketing | Amica Digital

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Running a company online can be a tricky business. There are so many things to consider in order to give yourself the best chance of survival. As well as the ordinary day to day tasks that a regular bricks and mortar business needs in order to function, there are other considerations to factor in such as the important matter of your website’s SEO and content marketing in order to build up awareness of your products and services.

SEO plays a role in your content marketing strategies and is a delicate art to master at the best of times. Unfortunately it is an art that few of us can ever hope to fully master, especially when the playing field is constantly changing. By the playing field I am referring to the search engine Google that we all have to be found on, if we want to have a successful online business. Algorithm changes in the form of ‘Pandas’ and ‘Penguins’ are constantly coming into force. This means that business owners need to constantly update their SEO and content marketing strategies or find themselves at a severe disadvantage overnight.

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As Google makes updates to its algorithms it is possible that your SEO techniques become redundant or possibly even begin to hamper your efforts.

These are just a few of the updates that Google have released in 2012:

  • Page Layout – This was effectively designed to target websites that showed too many advertisements above the fold.
  • Penguin – This algorithm update is designed to penalise content which has been “keyword stuffed”. It now analyses content based on its quality rather than the keywords.
  • Landing Pages – Google made updates in order to detect the quality of a website’s content and made improvements to related-queries.

These are just a few of the changes that have been made in the last few months and if you are on top of the game when it comes to SEO it is likely that you already knew about these. What this demonstrates however is that SEO is dynamic. Some changes are minor and require just a few minimal adjustments to your website and marketing strategies in order to offer continued effectiveness. Other updates are quite drastic and you could find your website and all your marketing content at the bottom of the pile within a matter of days.

There is no simple solution to navigating the SEO minefield but if you start with great content for your marketing and a website that is well laid out with a constant supply of useful, original and relevant information for visitors, then the battle is well on the way to being won.

Google algorithm updates are mainly designed to force website owners into providing the best and most relevant content to internet users. Those that already put a lot of effort into this aspect of their online business will not be overly concerned with the changes in the playing field because it is so much easier to adapt.

Sources:

http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change
http://socialmediatoday.com/pruneau/994091/10-point-checklist-content-marketing
http://www.seo-news.com/seo-copywriting-talk-your-client-through-it/#more-2527

A New Playing Field in SEO and Content Marketing | Amica Digital

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Google Update: Exact Match Domains https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/google-update-exact-match-domains/ https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/google-update-exact-match-domains/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2012 00:27:07 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2785 Click play to watch video Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam team, tweeted that Google’s algorithm has been changed again: What does this mean? Google is trying to stop websites that use keywords with high search results in their domain names (exact match domains) but with poor quality content, from ranking highly in search results. […]

Google Update: Exact Match Domains | Amica Digital

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Click play to watch video

Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam team, tweeted that Google’s algorithm has been changed again:

Matt Cutts Tweet

What does this mean?

Google is trying to stop websites that use keywords with high search results in their domain names (exact match domains) but with poor quality content, from ranking highly in search results.

For example:

A website called www dot acnetreatments dot com (exact match domain) had low quality content, was “spammy” and didn’t really offer acne treatments so is not very useful to people searching for acne treatments.  The latest change in the alogorithm is trying to stop sites like this ranking highly in search results.

(Note:  this is an example for illustrative purposes and it is not my intention to single out this domain, should it exist, nor infer that it is poor quality)

Exact Match or Brandable Domain?

Until this latest change, there was some debate about whether to go the keyword Exact Match Domain (EMD) path or to go for a “brandable” domain. Those in favour of EMDs thought that having the popular keywords in the actual domain, would boost search rankings, which it could be argued was the case until this last algorithm change.

If you like to know the facts, then you might like to read the full study done by theopenalgorithm back in March.  It has some very insightful data as seen in the chart below which shows that there is a positive correlation between EMDs and high search rankings.

Chart: Exact Match DomainsDescription:http://theopenalgorithm.com Tags: charts powered by iCharts

The other option is to have a “brandable” domain name.  If you think about some of the biggest names around – Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, these are all Brand domains.

The domain doesn’t contain the keyword – although ironically, in some ways these brands are now keywords. Given this recent algorithm change, the case is even stronger for brandable domains.  If you can find a domain with your brand name and keyword then that’s great but remember, shorter is generally better than longer, again showing a positive correlation in The Open Algorithm studies. Almost 18 months ago, Matt Cutts answered the question about EMDs and brandable domains.

How to get your brandable domain ranking well

Remember, Google is trying to serve up the most interesting, relevant, useful content to it’s users.  So give them what they want by adding fresh, original, sharable content to your website on a regular basis.

Make sure your website has the key elements in place following Google’s guidelines – Good Website Design, Technical Matters covered and Quality Content. Build your brand through good online marketing and PR and increase your online footprint by getting your brandable domain in multiple places like YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks.

Own the RacecourseMost importantly, produce and share useful content that is relevant to your customers so that they visit your site regularly and share your content widely. If you would like to learn how to own your space, I recommend you take a look at this excellent short course “Own the Racecourse” by James Schramko click here to visit this site (affiliate link).

This short course comprises 12 short modules with video and full transcription plus an invaluable checklist that you can use to implement what you learn.  In a lot of courses, you learn what to do but not how.  In “Own the Racecourse” you not only learn what but also how to create, publish and share relevant, useful content for your audience.

Google Update: Exact Match Domains | Amica Digital

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How to Maintain and Backup Your WordPress Website https://amicadigital.com/business/website-backup/ https://amicadigital.com/business/website-backup/#respond Thu, 16 Aug 2012 03:20:39 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2642 Websites need regular maintenance and support to keep them running well.  Even more importantly, they need to be backed up in case anything goes wrong. A monthly maintenance plan is a cost effective way to keep your website updated and working efficiently for visitors to your website. All websites need some level of support and […]

How to Maintain and Backup Your WordPress Website | Amica Digital

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Websites need regular maintenance and support to keep them running well.  Even more importantly, they need to be backed up in case anything goes wrong.

A monthly maintenance plan is a cost effective way to keep your website updated and working efficiently for visitors to your website.

All websites need some level of support and maintenance and websites built on the very popular Content Management System (CMS) WordPress, need to be updated regularly.

Why does my WordPress website need to be maintained?

WordPress is an open-source CMS which means that millions of developers around the world are working on new themes and new plugins and WordPress itself is also constantly under development as new functionality is added, bugs fixed and security threats addressed.  This is all great for you if you own a WordPress website because it means your website and ultimately your business, is benefiting.

However, if you don’t keep the WordPress CMS and your themes and plugins updated, then your website may be vulnerable not only to security breaches but performance may also become an issue, leading to a slow or “broken” site.

What maintenance is required?

The maintenance and support required for your WordPress website, generally falls into the following categories:

Backups and Recovery

Backing up your website regularly is good business practice, just like backing up your computer.  Unfortunately, many business owners neglect these important tasks or assume they are being done by someone else.  There’s nothing worse than losing your website or your important files only to find out that the backup you were relying on doesn’t exist or is so out of date it’s useless to you.

There are two main things that need to be backed up on your WordPress website – your database, which contains all of your posts, comments, links etc and your files which contain images, themes, plugins, scripts and codes.  Both of these need to be backed up regularly. Most, but not all,  hosting companies backup their servers which contain your WordPress site (along with all the other websites on the server) but accessing a copy of the backup of your site can take time and it’s good practice not to rely solely on your hosting company.

WordPress CMS Updates

WordPress is not a static system.  It is constantly being updated with new functionality added, bugs fixed and security patches developed when the system becomes vulnerable.  Some updates are minor but others are major, often because they address a security risk and should not be ignored.  You don’t want to leave your website open to being hacked.

Themes

If your website has been developed using a free, premium (paid) or custom theme, then that theme may also be updated by the developers to add more functionality, fix bugs or security issues.  Updates to Themes tend to occur less frequently than other updates.

Plugins

Because WordPress is an open-source CMS, it means that millions of developers around the world are able to develop programs that help your website do clever things.  Plugins are updated to fix bugs, address security concerns, add functionality and they also need to be updated when there are updates to WordPress.  Your website will usually continue to function even if you don’t update plugins.  However, you may find that the plugin stops working altogether or becomes unstable over time.  It’s also a good idea to review the plugins you are using to see whether they are still required or can be replaced with a better plugin.  Too many plugins can slow your site down, so you should try to keep them to a minimum.

Other

There are a few other areas that you should keep an eye on.  These include things like:

  • users – has someone left your business or have you changed a supplier who you’d previously granted user access?
  • database tables & post revisions – if you make regular changes to your website, it’s good practice to clean up and archive to keep your site running well.
  • comments – deleting spam and reviewing unapproved comments
  • security & site performance – you want your user experience to be great and a fast, well performing site is part of that experience .  Make sure you don’t have any broken links, bad code, or  security loopholes and that your PHP, Javascript and other code files are up to date.

How often should I maintain my site and perform backups?

Well, if you are like most business owners, probably more often than you are!

We all get busy and forget to do these non-urgent but important tasks, often to our detriment.  We wait until our website crashes or a customer calls to tell us they can’t access our website – now we are kicked into the urgent and important mode and need to react quickly to get things fixed.  This is a very stressful and often costly place to be.

To avoid that, I recommend a regular maintenance schedule for your WordPress website.  How regular will depend on how important your website is to your business, how often you make changes to your website and how risk averse you are.

As a minimum, you should do monthly backups and keep these in at least two different places.  If you update your website content regularly, you may want to do daily or weekly backups.

You should always backup your website before you do an update – to WordPress, a Theme or a Plugin. Things can and do go wrong so you want to make sure that you can at least restore to the latest working version of your website.

Updates that address a security threat should be done immediately but updates that just provide additional functionality are less important.

How do I backup & maintain my WordPress website?

There are a few options available to you depending on your technical skill and what it is you’re trying to do.

  1. Automated tools.  I like both ManageWP and BackupBuddy
  2. Use Plugins – there are many to choose from
  3. You can use an FTP client – like FileZilla
  4. Via your Hosting provider server software like cPanel to access myPHPAdmin
  5. Pay someone else to do it for you

You can find detailed instructions on how to backup your WordPress website at codex.wordpress.org

Find out more about our WordPress Maintenance Plans

Contact Us For More Information

How to Maintain and Backup Your WordPress Website | Amica Digital

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How Much Does a Website Cost? https://amicadigital.com/business-start-up/how-much-does-a-website-cost/ Wed, 01 Aug 2012 00:17:12 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2247 Survival in the global economy requires innovative business strategies such as marketing your business online. As mobile and internet technologies converge, more commercial activities are taking place on the internet, making the website an indispensable tool for any business. Business owners who understand the importance of having an online presence often wonder how much does […]

How Much Does a Website Cost? | Amica Digital

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Survival in the global economy requires innovative business strategies such as marketing your business online. As mobile and internet technologies converge, more commercial activities are taking place on the internet, making the website an indispensable tool for any business. Business owners who understand the importance of having an online presence often wonder how much does a website cost and is it a worthy investment?

How much does a website cost?

The cost of creating and maintaining a website can vary according to the design elements, complexity of its functions and the type of internet marketing services required to support it.  It is possible to create your own website for “free” using an open source content management system like WordPress.com or a website building like those offered by many hosting companies.  Although these websites are free / low-cost, the functionality they offer is often restrictive and in some cases, if you change hosting companies, then you lose access to the CMS your website is built on meaning you will no longer be able to make changes.  Following is a list of some of the aspects of website design that influence how much a website will cost you.

Logo design and web graphics:

A business logo is used to represent the company’s identity or product and helps promote a desired company image. A logo can make or break a business which is why companies invest in logo design services which require artistic talent and graphic design skills to render an eye-catching and meaningful symbol. Web graphics use colour, fonts and aesthetic design to set the tone of a web page and attract site users.

Website design and development:

Much of a website’s cost goes into website development, particularly in designing its structure, flow and interactive functions. Static pages containing text and image content require less time and effort to create unlike the more interactive functions such as shopping cart, online payment, sales pages, contact forms, email capture, and surveys.

One of the other factors impacting website design and development cost is how tailored or customised you want your website to be.  At one end of the spectrum, you can use a standard template or theme, some of which are free, and design your website on this theme.  Although you can add your own logo and possibly colours, the layout and style can be used by anyone else who uses that theme so your website may look a bit like someone else’s.

At the other end of the spectrum is a customised website that is unique to your business.  The design, layout, functionality is all developed as you specify and no one else will have a website that looks like yours.

Sophisticated tools and applications have made it easier to create impressive websites, bringing down costs of website development even of the most customised requirements.

Web content/articles:

Web pages need fresh content such as articles, videos, pictures and audio files in order to attract a targeted audience and rank well in search engines. While anyone can write articles for a website, an online marketing specialist can provide search engine optimized content. The cost of SEO articles will depend on their length and topic difficulty. Videos, infographics, images and audio are other forms of content that you may want to add to your site.  These days you can create these yourself if you have the time to learn and dedicate to it.   Professional online marketers are usually much faster, have access to smarter technology and the good ones will make sure that your content targets your audience and meets your business goals.

SEO:

Getting a website to appear in search results requires a comprehensive strategy from setting up website technical elements through to generating inbound links. SEO is vital to website success and must be an ongoing process to yield the desired results.  Google’s Penguin and Panda updates levelled the playing field around SEO because people who were “gaming” the search results were penalized.  This is good news for SMEs because it means that if your content is good and your SEO provider is using white hat techniques to bring high quality links to your website, then you will benefit through higher-rankings.

Social media integration:

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube carry importance because when your content is shared by others, it is an indication that you are considered an authority and the search engines such as Google will rate your content highly.  It is very easy to integrate social sharing icons into your website.  However, getting people to use them, requires good content and effort on your part.

Ongoing website maintenance:

A website is an investment and there will be some ongoing maintenance costs. This includes things like hosting, refreshing layout and graphics, backups and updates to the CMS.  If you have a CMS that allows you to make your own changes, then you can minimise ongoing maintenance costs by adding your own content and making changes.  However, unless you are a skilled website developer, you should leave the more complex changes to your web development expert.  Creating your website and taking it live is just the starting point.  As with any business asset, in order to keep or increase it’s value, you need to manage it.  The same goes for your website.  Make sure backups are done regularly, make sure there are no security breaches of your website and ensure that version updates are implemented.  Don’t rely on your hosting company doing these things unless you are 100% sure these services are covered as part of your hosting arrangement (which they rarely are!).

How much to budget

As outlined above, there are a variety of factors that influence the overall cost of a website.

The most basic type of website, usually the ones you see advertised for $500, is usually very limited in what it can do.   In many cases, these types of websites are brochure style, meaning they are nothing more than a digital brochure. The content is fairly static and does not need to be updated.

The other type of website, a dynamic website is designed to attract leads and encourage your website visitors to take action on your website – e.g.  calling you, signing up, making an enquiry or purchasing online.   These websites are also known as direct response websites and are another marketing channel for your business.   If you want to market your business online with the goal of generating leads and building a relationship with buying customers, then you will want a direct response website. It is possible to have an entry level website professionally developed, which is well coded and has some basic content and graphics included for well under $1,000 but you should budget around $2,000 for a good direct response website.

If your business relies heavily on the internet and online sales, then you will need to invest more in your website which will be one of your major channels to market.  You will need to keep the content updated and fresh to encourage buyers to come back to your website.  You will need good copy on your website to convert visitors to buyers and you will need most likely need some eCommerce functionality enabling visitors to buy direct and make payments from your website.  Your website will most likely have a variety of content such as articles, videos, blog posts, images and a lot of it. For a website like this, you could spend anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or more depending on your business size, complexity, number of products and business objectives.

Have a look at our new Website Packages

How Much Does a Website Cost? | Amica Digital

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How to Create Content Faster https://amicadigital.com/internet-marketing-2/how-to-create-content-faster/ https://amicadigital.com/internet-marketing-2/how-to-create-content-faster/#comments Wed, 16 May 2012 02:04:21 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2446 Fact:  Small Business Owners are busy. Fact:  Google and more importantly, your website visitors, subscribers, customers, like you to create new content for them.  Would you go back to the same store time and time again if they didn’t regularly refresh their stock? Problem:  Coming up with content ideas, creating the content and sharing it […]

How to Create Content Faster | Amica Digital

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Fact:  Small Business Owners are busy.

Fact:  Google and more importantly, your website visitors, subscribers, customers, like you to create new content for them.  Would you go back to the same store time and time again if they didn’t regularly refresh their stock?

Problem:  Coming up with content ideas, creating the content and sharing it takes time.  Time most small business owners don’t have!

Solution:  Marie Forleo put out a great video this week with 8 tips to help you create content faster.

Here’s are the tips with my spin added.

[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2] Flip the internal switch

Stop listening to your negative voice.  You know the one that tells you that you are not good at writing.  The one that tells you that you don’t have anything interesting to write about.   Stick a sock in that voice’s mouth and listen to your positive voice.

[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2] Begin with the end in mind

Think about what you want your audience to know or do as a result of reading your story or watching your video, then reverse engineer your content to deliver that.

[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2] Keep a topic list

When you read an article in a magazine or online or when a great idea pops into your head at 3am.  Write it down.  I use Evernote for this. I have a folder set up called “Content Ideas” and I clip URL’s, write myself a note and even take photos of magazine articles and them to the list.  If you’re not into digital media, just keep a paper list in your diary – really you still use a paper diary?

[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2] Make it short & sweet

We’re all busy!

[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2] Plan it out

Spend an hour to create a 3-6 month plan of topics (which you’ll have on hand from Tip 3!) think about upcoming events and dates to tie into and then use an editorial calendar to slot in when you are going to write about what.

[dropcap2]6[/dropcap2] Don’t write & edit at same time

Just write – spelling mistakes and all, get it out of your brain. Then edit later. I heard this from Ed Dale & it works!

[dropcap2]7[/dropcap2] Remember Parkinson’s Law

Work expands to fill the time allotted. So give yourself a time limit & stick to it.  Put yourself under pressure for 30 minutes, get it done.  Much better than procrastinating about  it and putting yourself under pressure for a weeks!

[dropcap2]8[/dropcap2]  Be the vessel not the source

This one was a bit woo, woo for me  – something about believing you are destined to deliver a message.  Here’s my spin on it.  You have customers who want to hear from you.  As a business owner – give them what they want.

Bonus Tips

A few extras I thought I’d add – because I like to go the extra step.

[dropcap2]9[/dropcap2] If you can’t create, curate.

Just like I’m doing here.  Add your views about a topic of interest to your audience.  Collate your best reads (in Evernote) and then share them with your audience with a comment from you about why you think they will benefit from reading / viewing.

[dropcap2]10[/dropcap2] Find your medium

If you don’t like to write, then find another way to share your message.  Create a video, record a podcast, draw a picture or take a photograph.

[dropcap2]11[/dropcap2] Get someone else to produce the content for you

You could invite someone to write a guest post for your blog.  You could pay a writer to write a series of articles for you.  You could interview someone about a topic and record it.

Of course, producing the content is just the starting point.  The next step is to share it with your audience and for them to share it with their friends and community.  If you liked this article, please use one of the share buttons to the left to share it with someone else.  If you have your own tips to add, then leave a comment below.

If you need to do more to grow your business online through Content Management or Online Marketing, we can help.

Find out More

 

How to Create Content Faster | Amica Digital

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How to Get on Google to Boost Online Business https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/how-to-get-on-google/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/how-to-get-on-google/#respond Mon, 07 May 2012 04:27:05 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2257 The online buying process often starts with an online search in Google, the search engine giant. For this reason, Internet marketing specialists systematically implement search engine optimisation (SEO), particularly for ranking well in Google. Creating a website is not enough unless it is supported with effective strategies on how to get on Google. What Google […]

How to Get on Google to Boost Online Business | Amica Digital

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The online buying process often starts with an online search in Google, the search engine giant. For this reason, Internet marketing specialists systematically implement search engine optimisation (SEO), particularly for ranking well in Google. Creating a website is not enough unless it is supported with effective strategies on how to get on Google.

What Google Loves

Google’s primary objective is to provide its users with the most relevant search results and web pages that provide the best user experience. Following this underlying purpose, Google has published some guidelines that teach website owners how to get on Google.

Website design

Aesthetics plays an important role in attracting a specific audience to a web page. While actual design elements can vary depending on the target market, as a rule of thumb, a website must observe basic characteristics such as a clean looking page with lots of white space.

In addition to finding a website visually appealing, a site visitor must be able to easily find their way around a website, move from page to page, access links and easily find what they need through descriptive headings, links arranged in logical sequence and a user site map.

Keywords or words or phrases commonly typed into search boxes are significant in Google. Carefully researched keywords, when used in reasonable quantities on a website’s pages, are picked up by Google and later shown in search results.

Technical matters

Loading times and file readability are vital to website success. Fast page loading times encourage visitors to stay and enhance user experience. Google, however, views web pages differently by crawling the code behind a page for text content that may provide clues to what a page is all about. Thus, Google may find it difficult to index flash files. Image files may be indexed if they are accompanied by descriptive words in their Alt attributes so make sure you take the time to add titles and descriptions to your images. Moreover, flash files weigh down a web page and can slow down loading times. A website must be tested to ensure that it appears correctly in different browsers and that all links actually work.  You can check the load speed of your website pages using this Google tool which also tells you what you can do to improve.

Quality content

Create pages that provide useful, unique and keyword-rich content. Originality is essential as Google’s recent algorithm change eliminated or demoted search rankings of duplicate content. Using the right keywords to best describe the content of a website is also another factor in SEO. Online businesses must invest time and resources in keyword research to obtain the best keywords.

Content you share  on your website should always be useful and interesting to your visitors.  That could be an article providing information, an interesting infographic or a “how to” video.  Experiment with different media.  Remember that Google’s stated mission is to

organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

To allow them to deliver this mission, they rely on you, their customers. The better regarded you are by your customers and community, the more Google will take notice of you.

Google reminds website owners that no single tool or technique can teach anyone how to get on Google. Through its published guidelines, Google teaches that a combination of website design, technical elements and content quality improve search rankings for attracting the right type of clients.

If you want to know how to get on Google and grow your business online, have us complete an Online Marketing Review of your website and online presence.

Find out more

How to Get on Google to Boost Online Business | Amica Digital

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Business Plan for Online Success: 2012 Marketing Trends for Driving Business Growth https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/2012-marketing-trends-for-driving-business-growth/ https://amicadigital.com/growing-online/2012-marketing-trends-for-driving-business-growth/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2012 03:38:47 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2240 Internet technology, tools and applications advance rapidly and are changing the way business is conducted online. Online media platforms evolve, ushering changes in online consumer behaviour and marketing practices. Keeping up with the changes and trends can be difficult for owners of small and medium-sized businesses and the challenge for them is knowing where to focus their […]

Business Plan for Online Success: 2012 Marketing Trends for Driving Business Growth | Amica Digital

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Internet technology, tools and applications advance rapidly and are changing the way business is conducted online. Online media platforms evolve, ushering changes in online consumer behaviour and marketing practices. Keeping up with the changes and trends can be difficult for owners of small and medium-sized businesses and the challenge for them is knowing where to focus their attention and resources for best results.

Australia online marketing statistics

Internet penetration in Australia is high with 90% of its population going online everyday. Among the social media sites, Facebook is currently the favourite with approximately 10.8 million Australian Facebook users. While social media is increasingly integrated in Internet marketing, the starting point of online business is still the website which provides much more control than other Internet platforms. Business owners realise the importance of websites for business but only 50% of Australian businesses currently have a website.

Not knowing where to start,not having enough time, not knowing how to create an online presence and the absence of an online marketing strategy are common issues plaguing business owners.

Anyone can learn internet marketing through online courses, workshops, and authority websites but translating concepts into action and implementing them successfully may require guidance through coaching and professional Online Marketing Consulting.

Any course of action, whether online or offline, begins with a business plan which outlines and identifies business goals, strengths, challenges, the market, competition, systems, tools, resources and budget requirements. Creating a business plan is an important exercise as it will become a tool for measuring performance, obtaining consistent results and implementing changes when necessary.

Trends in Internet Marketing

Social networking:

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and YouTube help drive traffic and create social proof which search engines use to rank websites in search results. Social platforms are inexpensive ways for promoting awareness to a wide market because of their viral capabilities. Integrating social media buttons in websites also promote interaction with existing and potential customers.

Managing social media profiles can be time consuming.

While a presence in multiple networking sites can help business growth, time-poor managers and owners may have to focus only one or two powerful platforms such as Facebook and Google Plus. Facebook has the world’s largest social media population with over 700 million users while Google Plus has marketing tools for advertising, building reputation as an authority and enjoys the support of search engine giant Google.

Rise of the social consumer:

Online consumers are now more involved in marketing campaigns, providing user-generated content such as reviews, suggestions and comments, and making buying decisions based on positive reviews and social media popularity.  Search engines such as Google are now using these consumer reviews and social sharing to serve up search results based on social networks.  Managing your reputation and brand online has never been more critical.

 Mobile commerce:

The convergence of mobile and internet technology has made it possible for more consumers to access websites, purchase and pay for items on their mobiles. Manufacturers are now adding QR codes to product packaging hoping to boost mobile sales. Websites need to be optimized for mobile viewing if they want to capture the growing mobile consumer market.

Online marketing strategy

Goal setting

Determine the current status of a business, what it has achieved so far and what its goals should be. A website must be consistent with business goals such as increasing leads, conversions or income.

  • Increase leads by growing a community or mailing list using list building techniques such as adding a squeeze page, offering free items in exchange for email addresses, publishing useful content and adding an email capture form.
  • Increase conversions by improving landing pages and sales copy to induce more people to buy a website’s products or services.
  • Earn more income by increasing prices, adding more value and targeting better customers.

Market research

Passion alone is not enough to drive online business success; there must be a market that needs a website’s products or services. Identify and target a segment of a market, learn all there is to know about the target consumer or client, their needs and language. A clear understanding of the market and the target audience lays the foundation for intelligent keyword research and content creation.

Keyword research

Incorporating the right keywords in a website’s technical elements and text content promote search engine visibility and top search rankings that help drive internet traffic (visitors) to a website. Distinguish buying from browsing keywords and use them according to a website’s goals.

Website development or site audit

Businesses building a website need web development services which blend design and technical elements to create web pages that attract both site visitors and search engine crawlers. Existing websites need to undergo site review for identifying elements which hamper site visibility and user experience.

Content strategy and development

Useful content with the right keyword density and keyword placement promotes site stickiness and return visits. Moreover, quality content promotes sharing and linking, stimulates comments, follows, +1s and Likes which constitute social proof, an important factor in search engine rankings. An effective content strategy that is implemented consistently can increase a website’s immunity against sudden changes in search engine algorithms which are aimed at providing the most relevant and useful content to Internet users.

Social media strategy

Generating quality inbound links or links to a website boost site traffic and search rankings. Social media is not only useful for discovering market needs and problems but also for engaging influencers who can share website content and create links to it. Social media also provide a much needed push for website content, making it more visible to users and search engine crawlers. Press releases help push website content because users spend most of their time reading, commenting and sharing new articles they come across on the Internet.

(Source: https://amicadigital.com/business/online-marketing-trends-2012-webinar/ )

Keeping up with rapid advances in online marketing can be a challenge. Learning what needs to be done must lead to decisive action and using the services of an Online Marketing Consultant for creating an online business growth plan can save time and money. A digital marketing plan must be simple and easy to understand, provide clear directions in a step by step format for the busy owner or manager to implement.

Have us prepare your Online Business Growth Plan.  Find Out More

 

Business Plan for Online Success: 2012 Marketing Trends for Driving Business Growth | Amica Digital

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Basic SEO Business Guide: How to Get on Google’s Top Search Results https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/basic-seo-business-guide-how-to-get-on-google/ https://amicadigital.com/seo-3/basic-seo-business-guide-how-to-get-on-google/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:06:00 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=2243 Organisations of all sizes, types and functions know the importance of a website for reaching their intended audience. Creating a website is not enough. It needs an internet marketing strategy known as search engine optimization (SEO) for generating site traffic. Internet traffic constitutes the lifeblood of websites, from which businesses attract potential customers and clients. […]

Basic SEO Business Guide: How to Get on Google’s Top Search Results | Amica Digital

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Organisations of all sizes, types and functions know the importance of a website for reaching their intended audience. Creating a website is not enough. It needs an internet marketing strategy known as search engine optimization (SEO) for generating site traffic.

Internet traffic constitutes the lifeblood of websites, from which businesses attract potential customers and clients. Much of a website’s internet traffic is drawn from search engines such as Google where the average internet user typically starts a buying activity to fill a need or conducts research to solve a problem. Internet users tend to click on the web links appearing on the first page of Google, in fact in the first few listings. Thus, businesses strive for visibility on Google’s top search results in order to succeed in a competitive environment.

There has been a lot of coverage of the recent Google updates which have resulted in a few big websites receiving warnings and/or losing their search position in Google.  SEO remains important to businesses and understanding how SEO works is key.

Understanding SEO

Getting into the top search results requires a combination of SEO techniques which make a web page more visible to Google. Delivery of search results are based on 3 key processes Google performs: crawling, indexing and serving. (Source: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=70897)

Crawling

Google must find a website in order to know it exists and its contents. It sends out a crawler, also known as googlebot, which is an automated program that constantly roams the Internet and views web pages. Googlebot looks at a web page following an algorithm or formula which directs which sites to crawl, how often and how many pages to fetch from each site. The crawling process begins with a list of web page URL’s submitted by webmasters in its directory and from sitemap data previously collected. Googlebot looks at the code of a website, detects links in each page and adds them to a list of pages to crawl. It also gathers new pages, changes to existing sites and dead links for updating Google’s index.

Indexing

It’s important for Google to index a website after finding and viewing its pages. Indexing involves storing various data such as those found in content tags and attributes. While Googlebot can process many types of content, it may have difficulty viewing and indexing rich media files such as Flash.

Serving results

Google delivers search results containing website links and some information after a user types key words into the search query. Search rankings are determined by relevancy, measured by hundreds of factors contributing to how useful or helpful a website is to Internet users.

SEO, therefore, combines website design, technical elements and content quality to enable crawling, indexing and delivering a website in search results.

Web design

Google aims to provide the best site experience to its users. A website that is free from clutter and possesses a clear structure is easily navigated and allows site visitors to quickly find content on its pages. Navigation based on the homepage and which flows from general to more specific topics are intuitive and easy to use. A row of internal links placed at the top or bottom of every page provides quick navigation back to a previous page or to the next page. Be sure to use text, rather than images, for navigation. Incorporate 2 sitemaps, one for Internet users and another for search engines to find all the pages in a website.

Technical elements

Website loading time and googlebot’s ability to view a website’s files contribute to a website’s search rankings. Fast loading time improves site experience while certain files such as Flash and other rich media are not readable to crawlers. Crawlers can detect text content enclosed in html tags such as title tags, description meta tags, and image alt attributes. Create unique and accurate page titles and site descriptions, incorporating the name of the business and physical location or a few of a website’s offerings. Page titles must be brief and concise while site descriptions can use a sentence or two to explain what the website is all about. Google search results typically display the page title followed by its site description appearing as a snippet of the web page. Other technical matters include using robot.txt files for instructing crawlers which pages not to crawl, anchor text, and generating xml sitemaps for crawlers.

Content quality

While SEO aims to make a site visible to search engines, the website’s ultimate audience is the Internet user. Thus, Google strongly suggests that website owners and webmasters utilise SEO techniques based on what’s best for their site’s visitors and to avoid too much SEO directed at the search crawlers. Producing high quality content that is interesting and useful to Internet users consistently drives traffic and is likely to withstand constant algorithm changes.

In recent months, Google has announced a series of modifications which can affect search rankings, in an effort to eliminate duplicate, spam and irrelevant content. (Source: http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/02/search-quality-highlights-40-changes.html) Webmasters may respond to algorithm modifications by tweaking design and technical elements to conform to the search engine giant’s requirements. All throughout the modifications, what remains clear is that unique, fresh and quality content can promote and maintain top search rankings. Content must cater to the needs and problems of the intended audience.

Ideas for compelling content include:

  • Creating new and useful services
  • Writing original research information
  • Announcing an exciting news story
  • Providing clear guides and solutions

Relevancy is also determined by the presence of keywords in website copy. The best keywords match the phrases which target users type into search queries. Avoid overstuffing a web page with keywords as Google crawlers are programmed to ignore pages with unreasonably high keyword density.

Quality content promotes organic backlinks which add website value and indicate relevancy as Internet users love sharing interesting and helpful content in social media sites, emails and forums.

SEO is not a one-off process as the Internet environment constantly changes with new technology, types of content and user behaviour. The best time to start SEO is at the earliest stages of website development when it’s easy to adjust website design and technical elements. Existing websites also need SEO to boost or maintain search rankings or to recover dropped results as a result of algorithm changes and other factors.


To learn more about our SEO Services for small to medium enterprises,  call us on 1300 855 980 or click here to send us an email.

 

Basic SEO Business Guide: How to Get on Google’s Top Search Results | Amica Digital

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Predictions for what will be *hot* online in 2012 https://amicadigital.com/business/online-marketing-trends-2012-webinar/ https://amicadigital.com/business/online-marketing-trends-2012-webinar/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 02:56:06 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1948 This is the time of year when you will be planning how to grow your business, increase your profits and stay ahead of the competition in 2012. Whether you are the owner of a business, an aspiring entrepreneur planning to start a business in 2012 or working for a large corporate, it’s impossible to ignore […]

Predictions for what will be *hot* online in 2012 | Amica Digital

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This is the time of year when you will be planning how to grow your business, increase your profits and stay ahead of the competition in 2012.

Whether you are the owner of a business, an aspiring entrepreneur planning to start a business in 2012 or working for a large corporate, it’s impossible to ignore the online world we now live in.  Keeping up with all of the changes can be overwhelming, especially when there is so much else to do.

If you are a business owner, you know how much there is to do and you know you need to focus on the activities that will give you the biggest return.

If you are just thinking about starting your own business then you will quickly realise how much there is to learn and can easily become sucked into online time-wasting which will not help you grow your business fast.

For small-medium business owners the internet provides huge opportunities to reach customers that would otherwise not be possible.

But it’s a rapidly changing landscape that can easily become a time and money waster.

Are you keeping up with changes in online marketing?

I talk to a lot of people who are completely overwhelmed and struggling to keep up to speed with what they need to do to grow their business, especially where to focus online.

They understand that the internet is critical to their growth plans but there are so many changes and developments that it’s hard to keep up and even harder to work out where to spend their time and money for maximum results.

Google makes approximately 500 search algorithm changes a year, that’s an average of two algorithm changes every business day!

Where are you going to spend your time and your marketing budget in 2012?

What is most important to your business right now?

  1. Increasing leads – growing your community / mailing list?
  2. Increasing conversions – getting people to buy your products /services?
  3. Earning more income – increasing prices, adding more value, targeting better customers?
Is your website working as well as it needs to bring you visitors?  Are you spending enough time or too much time on social networking like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?  Do you know how the  latest Google Social changes will impact your business?  Do you sell products / services online?  Do you understand the best way to reach your customers and engage with them online?

My predictions for what will be *hot* online in 2012.

Watch the video below where you can discover my predictions for what will be hot online in 2012.  Get a jump start on your competitors by focusing on “the next big trends” instead of being one of last year’s “me toos”.

Get your own Online Marketing Plan now!

The Online Marketing Plan assists small-medium business owners and entrepreneurs just starting out in business, to have a step-by-step plan and a clear direction for growing their business online.

With my extensive business experience, together with my knowledge of internet marketing, I’m able stand back from your business and work out the best online strategies to help you achieve your goals.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think will be big online in 2012 and how you are going to take advantage of it to grow your business.

Predictions for what will be *hot* online in 2012 | Amica Digital

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Business Highlights and Lessons for 2011 https://amicadigital.com/business/2011-highlights/ https://amicadigital.com/business/2011-highlights/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2011 02:07:27 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1917 As a small business owner, I like to spend some time at the end of each year reflecting on my key lessons and learnings for the year.  I then use this information to feed into my planning for the next year. If you prefer to watch & listen, rather than read, then you can watch […]

Business Highlights and Lessons for 2011 | Amica Digital

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As a small business owner, I like to spend some time at the end of each year reflecting on my key lessons and learnings for the year.  I then use this information to feed into my planning for the next year.

If you prefer to watch & listen, rather than read, then you can watch the video.

Here’s a summary of my 2011 business highlights and lessons which have general lessons for all small businesses.

Highlights

  1. I made my radio debut early in the year with a slot on a community radio show.  I ran a 4 Week Kickstart Challenge with listeners.    I was scared when I was first asked to do it but I did it anyway and it was fun!
  2. I gave a presentation on Social Media at the Australian Image Consultants Association.  It was confidence building to share my knowledge with others and see how excited they were to apply it to their own business.
  3. I created new online coaching programs for my personal development business – Transforme.  This is a form of income that does not depend on me trading hours – I won’t say it’s passive because it took work to develop and I will need to keep it refreshed.
  4. I wrote and published my first eBook – How to Start a Business.  I now have a valuable product I can offer my subscribers.
  5. I launched a new business – The Kickstart Business and developed three Done For You online marketing packages – Shoestring, Savvy, Showstopper – to help you grow your business online faster.
  6. I attended a fantastic 3 day internet marketing event  – Fast Web Formula 3 – and even managed to be one of 10 finalists in a video challenge from over 200 people! Pretty good considering I didn’t even know how to make a video a year ago!
  7. I joined a supportive and inspiring networking group – The Table of Fabulousness – whose members are all small business owners.  We meet monthly for a working Home Boardroom Lunch over the kitchen table!  Having a trusted network is invaluable!

Lessons

2011 also provided some hard-earned lessons for me.

  1. As a small business owner, it’s impossible to do everything.  Focus and simplicity is the key.  Chasing the next bright shiny object is not.  To minimise temptation, I’ve unsubscribed from all but a few of my most valued lists.
  2. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to build an online business.  The key to doing business online, is getting offline and talking to people IRL (in real life).
  3. At some point, you need to stop learning and start implementing.  If you don’t build it and ship it, you won’t earn a single dollar.
  4. Health, family and friends are super important.  You never know how long you have.  Live a full life and die empty.  In loving memory of Carolyn McCormac.
  5. It’s not possible to run a business on passion alone.  Just because you’re “passionate” about something doesn’t mean there is a market for it.  Once you know there is a market for your product or service with paying customers, then of course it helps a lot to be passionate about your business 🙂
  6. Fail forward.  That was a new term I learned at the internet marketing event from Ed O’Keefe.  As a high-achiever and perfectionist, I hate to fail.  I’m learning that failing helps us move forward when we learn the lessons and do things differently next time.  The world doesn’t come crashing down either!
  7. The internet and social media are constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up.  Make use experts to keep up to date but most importantly, provide products and services that help people solve problems and share quality content using multiple channels.

All in all, 2011 has been a year of growth and learning.  I’ve met some amazing new people, tapped into great networks and am ready to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small-medium business owners to grow profitably through online strategies. Thank you for being part of my community and especially to everyone who took the time to comment on my blog posts throughout the year.  You make it all worthwhile.  I hope you find some time to reflect, rest and enjoy time with loved ones over the holidays. One final request from me.  I’d love to hear your highlights and/or lessons for 2011.  Please leave a comment or if you’d prefer to keep it private, drop me an email.

Get a jump on your competition by discovering online and social media trends for 2012 and develop your own online business growth plan.  Join me for my complimentary online presentation “Online and Social Media Trends for 2012” which I’ll be running on Friday 13th January, 2012.  Here’s the registration link.  Please share with anyone else you think would like to join in.

Business Highlights and Lessons for 2011 | Amica Digital

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Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 3 https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-day-3/ https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-day-3/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2011 05:02:44 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1833   Learn from leading internet marketers I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online. I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation. Here is the link to the video […]

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 3 | Amica Digital

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Learn from leading internet marketers

I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online.

I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation.

Here is the link to the video summary of FWF3 – Day 1  including James Schramko, Ed Dale, Suraj Sodha, Simon Johnson and Leanne King.

Here is the link to the video summary of FWF3 – Day 2  including information about Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, Copywriting, Software Development and Podcasting.

The video below is the final in the series and includes valuable tips from a Video Marketing expert, one of top Affiliate Marketers in the world, an expert in Local Business Consulting and a multi-millionaire who is truly inspiring.

You can also view a slide presentation on Slideshare or email me and I’ll send you a free PDF copy of the presentation.

The whole event was professionally videoed and the content is absolutely outstanding for anyone wanting to start or grow business online.  The videos are available from Fast Web Formula 3. (affiliate link)

In the video, I mentioned Kyle Tully’s Consulting Tycoon program which is a self-study program taking you in detail through the steps to become a Local Business Consultant working with small businesses to help them grow their business online. (affiliate link)

I also mentioned my Done For You Online Marketing Packages.  If you are ready to grow your business online and need to assistance to make it happen faster, then please have a look at my packages and then contact me to discuss your needs.

If you are already online but not getting the results you’d like, then let me do a complimentary website review and I’ll tell you the actions to implement to get better results.

I hope you found something new that you can implement to grow your business online. If you have any questions about any of the content in the video, please leave a comment below, or if you’re too shy, just drop me an email.

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 3 | Amica Digital

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Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 2 https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-day-2/ https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-day-2/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 00:15:49 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1823 Learn from leading internet marketers I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online. I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation. Here is the link to the video […]

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 2 | Amica Digital

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Learn from leading internet marketers

I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online.

I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation.

Here is the link to the video summary of Day 1  including James Schramko, Ed Dale, Suraj Sodha, Simon Johnson and Leanne King.

The video summary below is of Day 2 and includes information about Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, Copywriting, Software Development and Podcasting.

You can also watch the video on YouTube, view a slide presentation on Slideshare or email me and I’ll send you a free PDF copy of the presentation.

The whole event was professionally videoed and the content is absolutely outstanding for anyone wanting to start or grow business online.  The videos will be available from mid-November and are available on pre-order from Fast Web Formula 3.

I hope you found something new that you can implement to grow your business online. If you have any questions about any of the content in the video, please get in touch.

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 2 | Amica Digital

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Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 1 https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-web-day1/ https://amicadigital.com/business/growing-business-online-fwf3-web-day1/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2011 22:32:21 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1814 Leading internet marketing gurus share their tips I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online. I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation. The video below […]

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 1 | Amica Digital

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Leading internet marketing gurus share their tips

I recently attended James Schramko’s annual conference Fast Web Formula 3 and heard from leading internet marketing gurus about the latest developments, what’s working and what’s hot for growing business online.

I’ve shared my key learnings from each speaker in a three part video presentation.

The video below is a summary of Day 1 and includes James Schramko, Ed Dale, Suraj Sodha, Simon Johnson and Leanne King.

You can also watch the video on YouTube, view a slide presentation on Slideshare or email me and I’ll send you a free PDF copy of the presentation.

The whole event was professionally videoed and the content is absolutely outstanding for anyone wanting to start or grow business online.  The videos will be available from mid-November and are available on pre-order from Fast Web Formula 3.

I hope you found something new that you can implement to grow your business online. If you have any questions about any of the content in the video, please get in touch.

Growing Business Online | Fast Web Formula 3 | Day 1 | Amica Digital

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Big Wake Up Call | Stop the BS https://amicadigital.com/business/big-wake-up-call-stop-the-bs/ https://amicadigital.com/business/big-wake-up-call-stop-the-bs/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2011 22:20:49 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1721 Do you love reading blogs and listening to podcasts? I do.  I like finding the nuggets of useful information that I can apply to my own life and business.  I mostly read blogs and listen to podcasts about starting a business, growing business online, internet marketing, entrepreneurial mindset and health & fitness. Today I was listening […]

Big Wake Up Call | Stop the BS | Amica Digital

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Do you love reading blogs and listening to podcasts?

I do.  I like finding the nuggets of useful information that I can apply to my own life and business.  I mostly read blogs and listen to podcasts about starting a business, growing business online, internet marketing, entrepreneurial mindset and health & fitness.

Today I was listening to a podcast recommended by one my latest favourite bloggers Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe.

The podcast started like many others with the Podcaster  interviewing a “guru” (Penelope Trunk) about a topic of interest to listeners.  However, after the usual introductions and backstory, the podcast suddenly took a very different direction.

My big wake up call.

This podcast really struck a chord with me.  You see, I’ve been running online businesses since I quit my corporate career and started my own business back in 2007.   I’ve had some success.  I made a small profit with my first online business Transforme which is for people wanting to make a life change.  I’m also earning income online from The Kickstart Business through online coaching and my internet marketing services.  I haven’t yet  replaced the salary I was earning in corporate.  I still need to supplement my online income with offline consulting and coaching.

So what was my wake up call?

I don’t want to spend my days writing.

I love working with aspiring entrepreneurs and offline  businesses to show them how to earn income online.

I love learning about internet marketing, applying it and seeing results.

I’m good at figuring out the kind of products or services my clients can sell online and helping them to create them.

I’m skilled at sorting through the scams and con-artists to find the genuine, talented and experienced people who know what they’re doing.

I understand how businesses operate, I know how busy business owners are and I make change happen behind the scenes so they don’t have to worry.

Yet…I’m spending all of my time behind my computer, fretting about what to blog about, feeling bad about not getting my newsletter out on time, trying to engage through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.  Losing confidence in my own abilities.

I’m an extrovert and I enjoy being with and interacting with people.  Real people.  In the flesh (or by phone / Skype).  I’ve been behaving like an introvert – writing, reading, spending time alone.  It’s energy sapping for me.  I need to be around people to be at my best.

I have to find my own way

I am no longer going to spend waste my days and my skills.  I am going to spend my days talking to people who:

  • Want to start a business or grow their offline business by selling products / services online but don’t know how to do it and don’t have time to learn
  • Are completely overwhelmed with information and don’t know where to start or who to trust
  • Are frustrated because they know they have to get online just to keep up with their competitors but are struggling to find the time or money to do it
  • Are worried about how to grow their business when they don’t have any time or energy left to take on any more

A friend said to me last week “your content is great but your delivery sucks”.  It was a hard truth to hear.  She is 100% correct.

In my last post “20 Essential Online Business Skills” I said that if we try to do it all, we will end up failing in business.  I have no intention of failing, I’m determined, driven and a high-achiever.  But to avoid failure, I need to do something different. I have to find my way, based on my skills, my lifestyle and my values.

So, you may find that things are a little quiet around here for a while.  I’m taking a blogging sabbatical.  I’m going to figure out the best way for me to help Australian entrepreneurs and small business owners get started and grow their business online.   I’m going to find my way to shine above the shonky internet gurus out there taking advantage of people who don’t know any better.  I’m going to work out how to reach, connect and deliver to people who need my skills.

I’m not disappearing.  I’m refocusing.  I’ll still blog when I have something I need to share and think that a blog post is the best way to do that. In the meantime, if you need me, just get in touch.  In the words of Lauren Bacall “you do know how to whistle don’t you?  You just put your lips together and blow.”

In case you don’t know how to whistle, here are my contact details.

Big Wake Up Call | Stop the BS | Amica Digital

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20 Essential Online Business Skills https://amicadigital.com/business/online-business-skills/ https://amicadigital.com/business/online-business-skills/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 22:20:38 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1675 If you were looking for a new job, would you even bother to apply if you reviewed the job specification and found that you didn’t have the required skills or experience? If you are thinking about starting a business or growing your business online, have you thought about the skills and experience you need?  Would […]

20 Essential Online Business Skills | Amica Digital

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If you were looking for a new job, would you even bother to apply if you reviewed the job specification and found that you didn’t have the required skills or experience?

Essential online business skills

Image: Flickr by Articulate Matter

If you are thinking about starting a business or growing your business online, have you thought about the skills and experience you need?  Would you give yourself the job as business owner if you were interviewing yourself?

Being a solopreneur or small business owner is possibly one of the most challenging roles you will ever have!  If you make a success of it, then it will also be one of the most rewarding roles you will ever have.

When thinking about starting a business or growing a business online, we focus on tasks, activities and what needs to be done but do we spend enough time thinking about what skills and experience are needed?  Do we objectively self-assess our own skills before leaping into action?

Skills and experience needed to be a successful business owner

Drawing on my experience from my days in Human Resources, the starting point for filling a position was to write the dreaded job description.  That usually involved working out the key activities required of the role and the associated qualifications, skills and experience.

If you were writing the job description for the role of solopreneur, entrepreneur, business owner or whatever other title you choose to call yourself, what would it contain?

Here’s a list of 20 essential skills needed to run a successful online business:

  1. Strategy & Planning – for setting goals, actions and measuring performance
  2. Writing – to write blogs, emails, business correspondence, web content
  3. Marketing – for promoting your business
  4. Graphic Design – to create graphics & logos
  5. Web design & development – for building and maintaining your website
  6. Social media – for managing social networks and profiles
  7. Networking – for interacting and engaging with people at events
  8. Communication – ability to get your message across and build rapport with your customers
  9. Commercial – knowing how to price your products and services and what to pay your suppliers
  10. Financial – managing the business (& personal) finances
  11. Bookkeeping & Accounting – making sure you stay on top of the tax requirements
  12. Typing & Administration – doing all the filing, daily upkeep and correspondence
  13. Research & Analysis – staying current with trends and happenings in your market and how your business is tracking
  14. Sales – being able to sell your product and service
  15. Time management – juggling all that needs to be done
  16. IT skills – the know-how to fix your technology when it lets you down
  17. Self-confidence – if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will
  18. Resilience – the ability to bounce back from set-backs
  19. Technical – your “trade” skills e.g. coaching, photography, painting, cooking etc
  20. Please add your own here!

Ok, so I cheated and only listed 19 but I want you to add your own to the list based on what you need to be successful.  Any others come to mind?  I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with at least 10 more that I haven’t thought of.

So does that mean that unless we have all of these skills, we shouldn’t even bother to start a business?  No of course not.  It does mean that you have to recognise the skill gaps and either work out how to close them or you need to find people with the skills to do the work.

How to close the skill gap

Once you recognise that you have a skill gap, you should decide how critical that skill is to your business and how often you need to rely on that skill.  You could complete  a Training Course, self-learn by finding good online materials and practicing and you can learn from people who already have the skill.

We all have strengths and development needs and you may be able to trade skills with someone else.  For example, if you are great at writing, but not so good at design, you could offer to write some content for someone else in return for some great graphics they produce for your website.

What if it takes a long time to develop these skills?  Well you need to start somewhere.  Over time you’ll grow and develop and get better.  Many aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business fall into the trap of not starting until they feel they have all of the skills.  They attend course after course, download every free eBook on offer, spend hours reading books and blogs but still don’t feel they are ready.  This is a trap to avoid.  Just make a start.  Accept that you’re not yet perfect and focus on improving over time.  As the saying goes “practise makes perfect”.

In the short terms you might decide that you need to find someone else who with the skills to do the work for you until you are skilled enough to do it yourself.  Or you might decide that this is a skill that you just don’t want to learn and choose instead to outsource.

When starting a business, finances are often tight.  We worry about spending too much money before we have any clients and therefore income.  It can be tempting to try to do everything ourselves in the belief that it isn’t costing any money.  While this may be true in that you’re not paying someone, it also means that it will take you longer to pay yourself because you spend so much longer on tasks that could be completed quicker and better by an expert.  Outsourcing allows you to focus on using your skills in the best way for your business while leveraging the skills of others to save you time.

Big organisations have an HR department, Marketing department, IT department, Finance department.  If you work in corporate job you wouldn’t even consider trying to develop all of the skills to do these jobs.  You should think the same with your own business.

Running a business does demand that we be a jack (or jill) of all trades but trying to do it all will inevitably mean being a master of none and a business failure.

 

Which other essential skills would add to the list?  Do you outsource tasks when you don’t have the skill to do it yourself?

 

If you recognise that you would be better to outsource some activities in your business, take a look at my Done For You Online  Marketing Packages.  I’ve created three packages to suit different budgets.  You can even mix and match based on the skills and tasks you need to outsource.

20 Essential Online Business Skills | Amica Digital

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How Facebook Exposed My Life https://amicadigital.com/business/how-facebook-exposed-my-life/ https://amicadigital.com/business/how-facebook-exposed-my-life/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2011 23:05:10 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1661   Changes, they are coming! Unless you’ve been hibernating in a cave without any internet connection, you’re probably aware that Facebook announced some major changes at the recent f8 Conference.   If you want a quick summary of the new features, here’s a link to a Mashable post, it even has a link to the […]

How Facebook Exposed My Life | Amica Digital

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Changes, they are coming!

Unless you’ve been hibernating in a cave without any internet connection, you’re probably aware that Facebook announced some major changes at the recent f8 Conference.   If you want a quick summary of the new features, here’s a link to a Mashable post, it even has a link to the f8 conference video if you’re really keen!

One of the changes that I suspect will generate a lot of discussion is the new Timeline.  If you’re a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that I’m an aspiring geek,  I love technology and I’m an early adopter – OK I’m attracted to Bright Shiny Objects (BSOs).  This means, I couldn’t resist having an early look at what these changes are about.  If you can’t wait until the 1st October when the changes start rolling out, then you can have an early peek by following these instructions by Techie Buzz.

I’m not going to go into the details of what’s on the Timeline because you can read about that in plenty of other places.  Mari Smith, the Facebook fountain of knowledge, is holding a free webinar explaining all of the changes on Friday 30th (very early Saturday morning in Australia).  You can register here – a recording will be provided.

My life exposed

Facebook Timeline

My first impression was WOW!  Facebook knows a lot of stuff about me and it’s all right there in the open for all to see.  I felt a bit exposed.    The thing is that all of this information was already available to anyone who cared to go searching for it.  The difference is Open Graph Protocol, which I won’t even pretend to understand, now exposes all of this information, rather than it being hidden away.

Once I got over the initial shock of seeing my life exposed, I had a play around with it and I’ve decided that I like it, a lot.  It provides a kind of visual history of my social activities online and offline and it’s a fun way to remember.

It’s not only what I expose, but what others expose about me

I’ve already seen a lot of comments and have received a few requests from Facebook friends to change settings so that their information is not shared. Of course I’ve done as they requested because I think the decision about what we share online (and offline) is a personal one.

I’ve also seen some very strong posts about the changes and particularly about the privacy issues.  Some people feel that these latest changes are a step too far, particularly because some applications (e.g.  Spotify) will no longer allow you to sign up unless you do so with your Facebook login.  Why would they do that?

Open Graph, allows sites and apps to publish your activity to Facebook, similar to the way the “like” button does but it also allows sites and apps to publish your activity in the new Ticker which means that all of your friends will be able to see what you’ve been up to – whether you want to share that or not!

I’m fairly relaxed about all of that, perhaps too relaxed.  I don’t have anything to hide.  I can’t imagine anyone being interested enough in what I’m doing that they’d bother to sit and watch the Ticker for information about my comings and goings.

I don’t know whether the changes are something to be truly concerned about or whether it’s just another change that will fill the Ticker and give people something to be upset about.  As with all things, time will tell.  My bet is that, as with all of the other changes Facebook have made over the years, the majority of the 800+ million Facebook users will continue to share and will now share even more – whether we intend it or not.

What does it mean for business pages?

My understanding is that the changes will only affect personal profiles for the time being but according to Mashable, Facebook have indicated that they will make Pages consistent with Timeline in the near future.

The more immediate issue facing owners of Facebook Pages is the requirement for apps to migrate to OAuth 2.0 by 1 October – wonder if there’s a reason they chose that date?  I said I’m an aspiring geek which means I don’t really understand all of the details behind this but what I do know is that as of 1 October, if you have used a developer to create say a Welcome Tab or use any other apps to create tabs on your Page, then they need to have an SSL Certificate or the App will be disabled!  If you’re uncertain, check with the developer or visit the app page and ask whether their app will be compliant.  If not, find one that is!

What do you think?

Has Facebook gone too far?

Will you be more vigilant about what you sign-up for?

Is Facebook selling out by mining data and giving businesses and advertisers access to our information?

Have you read any great posts about the changes?

Are you already using Timeline?  What do you think?

How Facebook Exposed My Life | Amica Digital

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The No Geek-Speak Guide to SEO https://amicadigital.com/business-start-up/simple-guide-to-seo/ https://amicadigital.com/business-start-up/simple-guide-to-seo/#comments Sat, 17 Sep 2011 01:13:38 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1564 If you are doing business online, blogging or even just “surfin’ the net”, then you will have heard the term SEO, which of course stands for Search Engine Optimisation. If you’re like most people, you will be familiar with the term, will know that there are a lot of people selling SEO services but you […]

The No Geek-Speak Guide to SEO | Amica Digital

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If you are doing business online, blogging or even just “surfin’ the net”, then you will have heard the term SEO, which of course stands for Search Engine Optimisation. If you’re like most people, you will be familiar with the term, will know that there are a lot of people selling SEO services but you probably don’t really understand what it is or how it works.

I’ve had numerous conversations over the past month with very smart, savvy people doing business online and a lot of them just don’t understand how SEO works and how it can help them win more business online.

The purpose of this post, is to explain in simple, non-geek language, how to win more business online using SEO to help potential customers find you.

SEO - Helping you win business online

Winning business online takes more than a good website

You’ve bought your domain name and developed your website but you need more than that. It takes a few other things to come together:

    • The people searching for services you offer, need to be able to find you on Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.
    • When your website is found by prospects, it needs to “speak to their pain” or answer their burning questions
    • Your website needs to encourage visitors to take action – e.g. call for appointment, buy a product
    • You need to capture visitor information and then communicate with them regularly to build loyalty
    • Ideally you want visitors to return to your site and refer other people too

That’s all common sense but the big question is how to achieve that?

Three groups of activities to get business online

  1. You have to have something to sell that people are willing to pay for. To test this, you need to do some research to find out how many people are searching for your products / services and the value of those visitors to your business.
  2. Your website needs to be designed and coded correctly so that visitors can find it. This is achieved through good web design & development and on-page optimisation.
  3. The search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc) need to find your website and push it to the top of the search list for the key terms that your prospects / visitors are looking for. This is achieved through off-page optimisation and it takes time because of the complex, secret algorithms the search engines use.

Taking each group separately and what can be done.

Know what people are looking for

Websites and therefore businesses, are found online by people searching for something in a search engine. To make is simple, I’ll just generalise and call all search engines Google. If you want to see a list of all the search engines, then have a look at this Wikipedia list of Search Engines. I’ve never even heard of most of them!

The starting point to an online strategy is knowing the key words or phrases that your prospects are searching for and then working out which of these is most valuable to your business. This is known as your keyword strategy.

The common name used is keywords but that’s a bit misleading because keywords can be a single word or a phrase e.g. “Fitness” or “best fitness clubs for women”. You are trying to find the words or phrases that your potential customers search for. So think like a customer or if you’re too close to your own business, ask other people what terms they’d search for.   To work out your keywords, you need to do some research. This includes researching your competitors, finding out how many people are searching for the keyword and whether it’s worth investing any time or effort in it trying to rank for it.

It can be very easy to get to the top position of Google if your keyword is not very competitive but if it’s not very competitive, chances are not many people are searching for it. If you have an uncommon name like mine for example, it’s easy to get to the top of Google but the only people searching for my name are people who already know me – so not so great for attracting new business.

Warning: Some unscrupulous SEO companies will guarantee to “get you on the first page of Google” in days but often the way they do this is by getting you listed for a keyword that just isn’t worth ranking for. What’s the point of ranking if no one is searching?

In my experience, businesses don’t put enough effort into keyword research which means they don’t know what terms potential customers are searching for or where to focus their efforts to attract more new business. Keyword research is an ongoing activity because the market and traffic changes. You should continually test and refine your keywords based on analytics. If you want to learn more, I recommend you take a look at James Schramko’s fantastic course Traffic Grab. You can even watch the first three modules for free, including one about research.

There are a number of different tools you can use to research keywords – some are free, others paid but even the paid ones often have a trial period. Here’s a list of a few that I use:

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool – free and easy to use. Check keywords by volume, check competitor keywords.
  • SEO Quake – analyse keywords and competitor sites
  • Wordtracker – find similar search terms to a keyword
  • Alexa – similar to SEO Quake
  • Market Samurai – the big daddy of research tools. Free 30 day trial then paid
There are a lot of others too. Let me know if you have a favourite.

Once you know your keywords, you can then build your on-page and off-page optimisation around these words.

On-page Optimisation

On-page optimisation activities can be managed by the website owner as long as you have access to the website “backend”, CMS / cPanel. A quick side note, don’t ever pay for a website that doesn’t give you this access yourself otherwise you will be paying someone every time you need a small change made!

There are ten main things you can and should do with your site to increase its page position on Google. The good news for you is that if none of these things are currently done for your site, you should see results if you put these in place. The bad news is, it takes time and some of the activities are quite administrative. However, they can be learned quickly and therefore done cost-effectively.

  1. Get your site indexed by the search engines – Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe has a good post on how to do this
  2. Give all pages and posts Titles, including keywords
  3. Give all pages and posts a Meta Description because this shows up in the search results
  4. Use headings on your posts and pages
  5. Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for your important text – used for formatting text & can be read by all browsers
  6. Don’t use too many images and where you do make sure you include Titles, Alt Text & Meta Description
  7. Make sure your domain name registration is not due to expire soon
  8. Create regular content using keywords but written in a natural style that makes sense to your visitors
  9. Make sure your URL structure is correct
  10. Proof read and get rid of any obvious mistakes or poor layout

Unfortunately, on-page optimisation only accounts for part of the search results. It is very important though and should be done because this is what’s visible to your site visitors and prospects.

Off-page Optimisation

The main activities that influence your ranking with the search engines is off-page optimisation. As with on-page optimisation, there are a lot of things you can do off-page and most of these are to do with building authority – what other websites say about your website. The greater your authority, the better your website will rank with the Google.

One of the main influences of authority is the number of other websites linking to your website. This tells Google that your site is respected. The higher ranked the websites linking to you, the better but don’t get hung-up on only linking to top sites – a mix is good. The links coming into your site are known as backlinks (also called inlinks, inbound links, inward links).

There are a lot of ways to get backlinks:

While all of this can be done yourself, it is very time-consuming and there are literally hundreds of places you can potentially list your site. This is why many businesses choose to outsource the off-page SEO to experts. The SEO experts do this all day every day so they have software, processes and know-how and the good ones keep up to date with the latest methods.  Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has an excellent post called The Backlinking Strategy That Works where he visually explains how all of this works.

If you decide to outsource you need to make sure that “white hat” techniques are used. This means that the company does not submit your site to shady, unethical or bad neighbourhoods and they don’t use techniques that the search engines frown upon. You also need to get a report that tells you what work has been undertaken and what results are achieved.

There is a lot more to know about SEO and this article only scratches the surface. I hope that it has simplified SEO for you and more importantly given you some ideas about what you can do to grow business online.

 

Have you paid for SEO services?  What was the result?

What tools and methods do you use to win business online?

Do you think there are better ways to win business online?

 

The No Geek-Speak Guide to SEO | Amica Digital

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Learn How to Make 6 & 7 Figures Online https://amicadigital.com/business/making-6-7-figures-online/ https://amicadigital.com/business/making-6-7-figures-online/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2011 05:00:46 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1543 Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Sisson from The Suitcase Entrepreneur about a new program she is launching with Natalie MacNeil from She Takes On The World. Natalie Squared, as they call themselves, are on a mission to empower women to play a bigger game and to build successful 6 &  7 figure businesses […]

Learn How to Make 6 & 7 Figures Online | Amica Digital

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Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Natalie Sisson from The Suitcase Entrepreneur about a new program she is launching with Natalie MacNeil from She Takes On The World.

Natalie Squared, as they call themselves, are on a mission to empower women to play a bigger game and to build successful 6 &  7 figure businesses through their WE Mastermind program.  I like the sound of that!

These inspiring women have created a video series explaining their vision for WE Mastermind.

You can watch the WE Mastermind videos and download the free Lucrative Product Launch Blueprint here.

Both Natalies have recently been named in the Forbes list of 25 Most Influential Women Tweeting About Entrepreneurship so they know what they are talking about.

I’ve been following Natalie Sisson for about a year as she travels the world running her business.   Natalie has a lifestyle (and a business) that many of us dream of! You see, she has built herself a business that  is location independent.  That means that she can run her business from anywhere in the world! And she does.

Natalie squared are really passionate about giving women the skills, knowledge and platform from which to play a much bigger game while creating the lifestyle they want that fits in with their aspirations, relationships and family.  I’m passionate abou that too!

This is their vision:

WE want to create a powerful movement of women entrepreneurs creating profitable online businesses and dominating the online world. WE are building a world-wide community of 10,000 + empowered women by 2014 who are building 6 & 7 figure online businesses through our WE Mastermind.

Now, that’s a vision I want to be part of.  Do you?

In their WE Mastermind program, they provide the knowledge, top resources and killer coaching plus access to product launch experts to ensure lucrative launches and million dollar mindsets.  Over 6 months they will provide 12 Step by Step Modules to take members from zero to a $5,000 launch.

Watch my interview with Natalie to find out more.

Natalie squared are running a webinar called `How To Build A Thriving Online Business And Your Ideal Lifestyle‘. During the webinar, they will share:

  • Which women are making 6 & 7 figures online and how you can be doing the same.
  • How to find your sweet spot so that you can create lucrative product launches based on what you already know, what you’re good at and what you love to do.
  • How to use their exclusive product launch formula to launch your first profitable product that makes you $5K in less than 6 months.

The webinar will be held on Thursday 8th September at 8pm (EST, New York), that’s Friday 9th September at 10am (AEST, Sydney). Click here to convert the time to your location.

Places will be limited and based on the number of comments on the WE Mastermind Facebook page and the videos, it’s going to be popular.
Register here to secure your place on the webinar.

I am one of a select group of affiliate partners to WE Mastermind but even if I wasn’t an affiliate, I would still be promoting this program because I know and trust Natalie squared and I am 100% behind their vision.  This is the time for you to build a thriving online business, giving you freedom, choice and control.

To show you how committed I am to WE Mastermind, if you decide to sign-up for WE Mastermind using my link (which means I will be paid for my referral), then you can receive at no extra cost, 6 months access to my online Kickstart Coaching.

You can ask me any questions that come up for your during WE Mastermind or anything else related to starting a business or growing your business online.  You submit a question, query, idea or problem and I will respond to you within 2 business days, sharing all of the knowledge and expertise I have, or can find, to answer your questions.

I usually charge $97 per month for my Kickstart Coaching so this offer is worth $582 to you but you must sign-up for WE Mastermind with my link to get this special bonus.

If you are ready to grow your own 6 or 7 figure business, then sign-up now and join the WE Mastermind movement and you’ll be on your way.

Please share this post with everyone you know who wants to play a bigger game and build themselves a successful online business.

Learn How to Make 6 & 7 Figures Online | Amica Digital

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Twitter Productivity Tools & Processes https://amicadigital.com/business/super-tweeter-or-silly-tweeter/ https://amicadigital.com/business/super-tweeter-or-silly-tweeter/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2011 06:23:03 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1499 I got a lot of feedback and comments on my post about Why I Was Ready To Quit Social Networking.  It seems I’m not alone in my feeling of overwhelm, angst and inefficiency. I received some great tips and advice too including: We use Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) at the ABN [Australian Businesswomen’s Network] to manager our weekly […]

Twitter Productivity Tools & Processes | Amica Digital

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I got a lot of feedback and comments on my post about Why I Was Ready To Quit Social Networking.  It seems I’m not alone in my feeling of overwhelm, angst and inefficiency. I received some great tips and advice too including:

We use Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) at the ABN [Australian Businesswomen’s Network] to manager our weekly tweets and Facebook posts. We use it to schedule the ‘absolutely must post’ entries and then supplement with spontaneous post to articles, news etc in real time. In September we’ll be launching a new social media for small business podcast that will address tips and tools for social media use as well as recommendations of social media management tools and applications.  Suzi Dafnis, Australian Businesswomen’s Network.

I want to update you as I find new and better ways of managing my social networking and pass on what I learn so that you can benefit. My focus is on productivity and efficiency, rather than strategy – which is a whole other topic.

First on my list is Twitter.

Are you an efficient Tweeter?

How many hours per day do you spend on Twitter – tweeting, RTing or reading other tweets?   Do you check Twitter constantly throughout the day or just a few times?  Do you schedule tweets or tweet-as-you-go?  Do you know when to tweet for maximum impact or do you just tweet when you can? Before I embarked on my drive for efficiency, my Tweeting activity looked like this:

  • Tweet at any time, whenever I found a few minutes, when I needed a distraction
  • Used Hootsuite to organise Twitter friends into lists and to post across Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Only scheduled tweets when I was promoting a new product or service offering
  • Worried about not responding or retweeting my friends’ tweets
  • Losing track of new followers and not engaging with them

My Twitter habits were far from efficient!

Top Twitter productivity tools

I did a lot of searching for tools to help automate the process. There is no shortage of free and paid tools available.  I did notice that some of the tools recommended in posts as recent as 2009/10 were no longer available.

It’s a fast moving world and the rules of the game change quickly. The functionality provided by the social networks also grows, removing the need for some tools that were once necessary.  A lesson here, choose your tools wisely and don’t become over-reliant on any single tool.  It may not exist tomorrow!  Twitter included.

Remember that my focus is on finding tools to help make me more efficient.  There are loads and loads of tools, courses and blogs about how to use Twitter, and other social networks, strategically, but that’s not what I’m looking for right now. With that in mind, here’s the tools I’ve explored and used in my quest to becoming more efficient on Twitter.

Just Unfollow

My first step was to clean out my “friends”  – the people I was following.  I started out with over 600 people I was following.  The reason I wanted to reduce this number is to make my lists more manageable and to bring more focus to the people in my community.  I want to engage, not just gather lots of friends. I used Just Unfollow to see who I was following that wasn’t following me and if I didn’t recognise them or didn’t consider they’d add value to my knowledge or that of my community, I unfollowed them.  That cleared out 165 people.

This is a paid service but it only costs $12 per year to get started.

ReFollow

You’re probably thinking, she just unfollowed 165 people, why is she now refollowing?  Don’t worry, I’m not going crazy.  ReFollow is a very handy tool.  It not only allows you to unfollow people not following you (I found this one after Just Unfollow) it also lets you do a lot of digging around your followers and friends.

I used ReFollow to identify anyone who hadn’t tweeted for over 15 days (inactives) and then deleted them.  No point following people who have nothing to say. There are lots of other things you can do with ReFollow like see who’s following you, that you’re not following, sort by when you started following, search for users who are following another user and search for keywords.

This is also a paid service starting at $5 mth, increasing based on how many people you want to follow/unfollow.  There is a free version but you can only see the results of the search.  To unfollow/follow, you need to go into Twitter which is a pain.

Hootsuite

I’ve been using Hootsuite for a few years and I like it a lot.  I tried Tweetdeck as well but just found I liked Hootsuite better and so I’ve stuck with it.

I use Hootsuite to manage Twitter, Facebook Profile, Facebook Pages and LinkedIn.  I have my friends organised into lists such as:

  • Watch-list (people in my community who I want to build relationships with and who share my target audience)
  • Friends & Family
  • Small Business Resources (people I can tap into for specific information e.g.  copywriters, web designers, graphics etc)
  • Subject Matter Experts (a few different lists for people specialising in areas I’m interested in – personal and business)
  • Small business network (a very close networking group who I support and who support me – my “go to” group)
  • New Follows
  • Mentions & Direct Messages

I went back through my lists, recategorised and deleted.  I use Hootsuite like a dashboard and now I can see more clearly and quickly what my community is tweeting about.

I use the free version of Hootsuite right now but I have used the paid version previously as I wanted the analytics, RSS feed and bulk scheduling options that the paid version provides.

Tweriod

I know, odd name 😛  Useful tool though.  Tweriod analyses your tweets and followers tweets and tells you the best times to tweet to maximise your exposure.

Here’s a screenshot of my results:

Twitter Productivity Tools

It’s free and you can request one analysis per month.  There is also a paid option of $2.95 with a PDF download and more extensive analysis.

Timely & Buffer

With Hootsuite, I schedule tweets, based on times my followers are most likely to see them per my Tweriod analysis.

However, only one tweet at a time can be scheduled with Hootsuite, unless using the paid version and even the paid version is a bit cumbersome.

One of the principles of efficiency I learned from my days as a Management Consultant doing process improvement work, is to batch like activities.  Tim Ferris also speaks about this in the 4 Hour Work Week.

I don’t want to auto-tweet but I do want to schedule my tweets so that they are spread out over the week, even on the days I’m busy.

I also wanted a tool that would allow me to tweet about articles I read using Reeder on my iPad and other topics of interest I find on various websites while I’m online.

I recently found Timely, thanks to a video by Laura Roeder which you can watch here.

I love Timely because I just send tweets to it and it automagically tweets them out when they’re likely to have highest impact.  It’s free and I love it.

I also use Buffer, the Chrome Extension for a similar purpose as it’s quick to post directly from a URL while I’m online.

Gmail Filter

One of the frustrations I found was keeping up to date and engaging with new followers.  I would see an email notification about a new follower pop into my inbox. I’d have a quick look at the person’s profile and maybe follow them immediately or think I’d come back later to engage more but never did.

I’ve now set up a filter in my gmail so that all new followers go directly into the filter and once per week, I go through them all, report/delete the spam followers, take time to review profiles of new followers and then send them a direct message to engage with them. Those that respond in a non-spammy way I then follow and add them to my New Follow list and monitor their tweets.  After a week, I decide whether to keep following them or not.

Is it possible to become a super Tweeter in a week?

After a week, I feel much more in control of Twitter.  I’m happy with the process so far and feel way less anxiety about it.  I won’t say I’ve completely cracked it in one week.  There are further tweaks to be made and it’s only one week in so I haven’t tested how the process works over a sustained period.  I’ve had to dedicate a few hours to research and setting up my new process but I feel it’s been time well spent.

I’m now following just under 400 people, which is still about 100 too many to be truly manageable I think but  I’ll see how I go.

I’m still a bit concerned about personal versus business use and haven’t quite found the right balance but I will take on the advice of Annabel Candy from Successful Blogging and Get in the Hot Spot who left the following comment:

In my experience you should [mix business and personal]. In moderation of course. There are a gazillion business experts I could go to for advice but you’re the one and only Suellen Hughes and that’s why I’m here.

In my experience a little bit of personal (but not toooo personal!) makes business better:)

Thanks for that Annabel.

Looking forward to getting stuck into Facebook next.

 

Do you have a process in place for managing your Tweets?

What are your must have Twitter productivity tools?

Do you have any questions about any of the tools I mentioned or about my process?

Please leave a comment and share this post by clicking one of the share buttons below.  Oh, and if you’re not already, please follow me on Twitter @suellenhughes

Twitter Productivity Tools & Processes | Amica Digital

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Why I Was Ready to Quit Social Networking https://amicadigital.com/business/social-networking-overload/ https://amicadigital.com/business/social-networking-overload/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2011 06:25:32 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1453   How Many Social Networks Do You Use? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Empire Avenue, Foursquare, Klout. These are the main social networking sites I’ve been using for both business and personal networking. Nothing unusual or special about that right?  In fact, some of you are probably thinking – is that all? What about Flickr, Instagram, FriendFeed, […]

Why I Was Ready to Quit Social Networking | Amica Digital

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How Many Social Networks Do You Use?

Social Networking Tips

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Empire Avenue, Foursquare, Klout.

These are the main social networking sites I’ve been using for both business and personal networking.

Nothing unusual or special about that right?  In fact, some of you are probably thinking – is that all?

What about Flickr, Instagram, FriendFeed, YouTube or any number of the hundreds listed on Wikipedia’s – List of Social Networking Websites.

A lot of people are much more active than me at social networking.

So why  was I ready to quit social networking?

Social Networking is Free but There’s a Cost?

There’s so much social networking to be done that it all got a bit too much for me.  I felt I was letting my community down if I wasn’t responding to their tweets, updates, recommendations and shares.

The final straw was Empire Avenue (EAv).  Nothing against Empire Avenue – in fact, I love it.  That was the problem.  My competitive streak kicked in and I felt that if I wasn’t paying enough attention to my shareholders and my stock, that my stock price would start tanking – which it did.  I started spending more and more time checking EAv and buying and selling shares.

It’s “free” but the true cost to me was very high.  I wasn’t getting anything done!

Business, Personal or Both?

I know everyone says to “be yourself” online and I agree to an extent.  I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not but I do want to maintain a “professional” standing on my social networks because I use them for business and personal networking.

The problem I have is that I don’t want to clutter the streams / feeds of my ” friends and family” with my business networking. Equally, I don’t want to dilute my business brand by sharing my personal life with my business contacts!

Some people recommend using different identities for personal and business.  This feels like doubling the workload to me.

Others suggest using social networking for  business only.  I like socialising with my friends and family online – especially as many of them don’t live locally so that’s how we communicate.

One of the reasons I like Google+ so much is that I can choose who I want to share information with by grouping my community into Circles.  Sure people can still search and find everything I’ve written and that’s fine.  I don’t have anything to hide.  I just don’t want them to have to read it if it’s not relevant to them.  Google+ is still relatively quiet though so that’s not the solution for me just yet.

I’ve ended up neglecting my friends and family but that doesn’t sit well with my values.  Sure, I can use personal messaging, email or direct messages but that’s an artificial step and not the natural way to engage on social networks.

Systems and Processes are Key.

This is obvious.  I’m an organised person.  I get a lot done.  Yet, when it comes to social networking, I’m all over the place.  I tweet sporadically. I post at odd times, when I’ve got a spare second.  I comment when something catches my attention.  I’m not using metrics to tell me what’s working.

I use Hootsuite which I love.  It allows me to organise the people I follow into categories (streams) and I can update across multiple social networks at once.  It also allows me to schedule tweets, which I do sometimes but it’s clunky.  It also has an RSS feed on the paid version which is a useful feature.  I don’t see the point of “auto-tweets” or system-generated quotes of the day so won’t do that.

I have no interest in attracting hoards of followers just to play the numbers game so I won’t use any of those auto-follow tools either.

I use some digital curation tools such as Reeder which allows me to post tweets and updates directly from my iPad as I find articles and posts I think my community might enjoy.

Apart from that I’m afraid to say, it’s all a bit haphazard.

Leave it to the Experts.

You may think you’ve come to the part of the post where I share my tips and tell you I’ve cracked it and can now manage my social networking in 10 minutes a day.  I wish!

What I’ve decided to do, is get some help from some experts and from you 😛

I’ve got a gazillion things I need to do and I don’t have time to work out my own best system for managing my social networking so I’m going to copy.  My husband (a.k.a. Adonis) shared with me the quote “creativity is great but plagiarism is faster”.  Now generally, that would be a no-no but in this case I think I’ll take that onboard.

I’ve scanned the people on my radar who know about the social networking and I’m going to learn what I can from them and put it into practice.

Here are the people I’m going to copy learn from:

  • Lara Solomon – from Social Rabbit – everything Facebook plus she’s Chief Rabbit and I’m Chief Kickstarter 🙂
  • Laura Roeder – for Twitter because she just made a video called “Twitter on 10 minutes a day” and she rocks
  • Lewis Howes – because he’s written a book called LinkedIn Master Strategies and was just in Australia & said nice things 🙂
  • Chris Brogan – for Google+ because he was an early adopter and has already spent many hours learning about it
  • Robin Dickinson – for Empire Avenue & Klout because he is a systems kind of guy and he got me into them 😉
  • Stepcase Lifehack – because it’s about hacks – “tips and tricks that get things done quickly by automating” – gotta be some juice in there

That’s my starting list.  I’m going to choose one topic at a time and see what I can learn and more importantly, action.   I love social media so I hope that I can find a way to get my mojo back and make it work for me personally and for my business.

Do you have any tips and tricks for managing social networking more productively you’d like to share with me?
Am I the only one feeling a bit overwhelmed?  What are your frustrations?
Who do you recommend as the “go-to” person for social networking?

If you liked this post or think others might, please share it.  Let’s connect on the social networks if we’re not already and I can learn from you too.

Why I Was Ready to Quit Social Networking | Amica Digital

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How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook for only $5 – Part 2 https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-write-an-ebook-part-2/ https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-write-an-ebook-part-2/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2011 22:53:29 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1397   In Part 1, I shared with you: Why you need an eBook Where to start What to write your eBook about Where to physically write your eBook How to produce your eBook In this post, I’m going to focus on what to do with your eBook once you’ve created it. How and where to publish […]

How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook for only $5 – Part 2 | Amica Digital

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In Part 1, I shared with you:

  • Why you need an eBook
  • Where to start
  • What to write your eBook about
  • Where to physically write your eBook
  • How to produce your eBook

In this post, I’m going to focus on what to do with your eBook once you’ve created it.

How and where to publish your eBook

Most of us will either publish our eBooks on our blog/website or offer it to our subscribers via an email/newsletter.  Your eBook may be so fabulous that you want to self-publish as an iBook on Amazon, Kindle or iBooks.  I found this great blog post by Dragos Roua describing exactly how to do that.

How to publish your eBook

To publish it on your own blog or website, all you need to do is upload the PDF file to your server.  Once you’ve done that, make a note of the URL. This is the link you’ll need to direct your traffic to so that they can download your eBook.

If you have a WordPress site and want to post your eBook in your sidebar, as I’ve done on this page, you can use the text widget to add an image of your eBook cover and then either an opt-in form which directs subscribers to the URL to download your eBook or to a sales page where they can purchase your eBook.    If you get stuck with this, ask your web developer to help you out or contact me and I’d be happy to talk you through it.

How much to charge for your eBook

This could be the topic of a blog post all on its own so I’m just going to cover some basic points here.

Many people offer an eBook as a freebie in exchange for contact details and permission to add the subscriber to your contact list.  This is sometimes called an “ethical bribe”.  There is nothing wrong with doing this and we are living in a world of freebies so many people have come to expect it.

However, more and more online businesses are realising that the quality of the contact gained in this way is not great.  We’ve wised up to these internet marketing techniques and are providing rubbish emails or unsubscribing as soon as we’ve received our freebie.  If people aren’t prepared to pay a small amount for your eBook, are they going to be prepared to pay even more for your other products?

Other people charge a small amount  and use the eBook to up-sell or promote other higher priced products.

“The demand you get at a price of zero is many times higher than the demand you get at a very low price.” Kartik Hosanagar, Assistant Professor, Wharton. (extract from Business Model Generation, Osterwalder & Pigneur).

Even charging $1 will significantly reduce the number of sign-ups you’ll get but the quality of your list may be better because the person is only going to part with their cash if they are truly interested in your topic.

Whether you offer your eBook as a freebie or charge for it will be driven by your objectives.  What do you want from your eBook – to build your list, to make money, to increase your profile, an affiliate product, to build relationships?

Let people know about your eBook

You’ve written, produced and published your eBook.  Time to relax and let it all happen.  WRONG!  Now the work begins to let people know that your eBook exists.  It can be the greatest eBook in the world but if no one knows about it then it’s useless.

You can start letting people know about your eBook well before you even start writing it.  In fact, it might help you stick to a deadline, knowing that you’ve told the world to expect it 🙂

When you’re ready to launch your eBook, you will need to let your audience know by mentioning it in your newsletter, on social networking sites and of course promoting it on your blog or website.

Sticky eBooks have created a fun Launch Personality Quiz which is surprisingly accurate!  Find out which of the six personality types you are:

  • Explorer
  • Idealist
  • Connector
  • Strategists
  • Artist
  • Marketer
The quiz summarises your strengths and weaknesses based on your launch personality.
You may find yourself resisting the final launch because you fear rejection.  I wrote about that in my post Do The Work a few weeks back. You need to hit the button and let it free!

Leverage your eBook

You will have invested time and effort in creating your eBook and unless it becomes a best seller, you will want to use your eBook as leverage to grow your business in other areas.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Turn your eBook into an eCourse (which I’m in doing) by adding videos, audio, worksheets and other supplementary material.
  • Coach your clients in how to put your eBook content into action in their own business (which I’m also doing).
  • Create a presentation/talk that you could give and get yourself on the speaking circuit
  • Run a workshop using the eBook as the curriculum
  • Read your book out, record it and turn it into a podcast or run a webinar.

Make it work for you…and your clients.

Finally, learn from the processand make it even better next time around.  You might only get a few new subscribers to your list and only make a few dollars but you will learn loads.  For a start, you’ll know exactly how to produce and publish your next eBook.  You can ask for feedback from those who read it about how to make it even better.  You will learn that even if it’s a complete flop, it isn’t the end of the world, just an opportunity to grow.

 

Have you self-published your eBook as an iBook on Amazon, Kindle or iBooks?

What do you think about offering an eBook as a freebie versus a paid product?

What other ideas do you have to leverage your eBook?

How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook for only $5 – Part 2 | Amica Digital

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How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook on a $5 budget – Part 1 https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-write-an-ebook-part-1/ https://amicadigital.com/business/how-to-write-an-ebook-part-1/#comments Wed, 10 Aug 2011 04:48:06 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1381   Do you visit websites and see the great looking ebooks people offering in return for your contact details and wonder how to create one for your own site? In this post, I want to share with you the process I followed to create my own eBook, on a shoestring budget of only $5. Why […]

How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook on a $5 budget – Part 1 | Amica Digital

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Do you visit websites and see the great looking ebooks people offering in return for your contact details and wonder how to create one for your own site? In this post, I want to share with you the process I followed to create my own eBook, on a shoestring budget of only $5.

Why you need an eBook

Well you don’t need an eBook but here are some reasons you might want an eBook:

  • to demonstrate your expertise to potential customers
  • to incentivise people to give you their contact details
  • to give your audience a sense of what you know and your style
  • to offer a low-risk, low-cost way for your community to experience your products or services
  • to leverage work you’ve already done (more on this later)
  • to earn a little extra income on the side
  • to give back to your community (if offering a free eBook)
  • for the fun of creating a book – even if it is an electronic one!

I’m sure you can think of a whole lot more reasons.  Leave me a comment and let me know why you want / have an eBook.

Where to start

You know you’d like to create an eBook for any or all of the above reasons but the problem is, where to start?  What will you write about? What do you know about to be able to write enough content for an eBook? These are good questions and I suspect a lot of people get stuck at this point and talk themselves out of writing anything.

The negative little voices probably start saying things like:

  • I can’t think of anything to write about
  • Everything has already been said on the topic I know about
  • I’m not very good at writing
  • I don’t have time to write an eBook
  • No one will be interested in what I’ve got to say about [insert your topic]
These thoughts are normal and even the most talented authors go through this sort of self-doubt.  You’ve just got to get over it.  Take a chance, get started.  So what if your first attempt isn’t a best seller, you’ll have learnt some things along the way and you can do it better next time.

What to write your eBook about

Obviously it needs to be something of interest to your community and your target market.  I help people who are interested in starting a business so I wrote my eBook – How to Start a Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time and Money.  I wanted the eBook to provide a good overview of the main steps involved, provide some tips from my own experience and some great resources I’ve found and used.

Research the topic before you write the book to see what else is in the market.  Although I found other eBooks and websites sharing information about starting a business, many of them focused on one specific step.  I decided to bring everything together in one place.

If you write about something you know a lot about, you’ll find it much easier.  The words will flow and you will be able to produce it quickly because you won’t have to do lots of research.

Try to make your content “evergreen” if possible.  This means don’t write content that will be quickly out of date.  You don’t want to have to rewrite your eBook to keep it up to date with latest changes.

Where to physically write your eBook

You’ve decided to write an eBook, you know what you’re going to write about but what people get stuck on is where to physically write it!  This might seem obvious but I have talked to people who have a great idea but haven’t done anything with it because they don’t know the ‘mechanics’ involved.

The easiest way is to just write your eBook as a document.  Use whatever software you normally use to write a document; Microsoft Word, Pages, Open Office etc.  Use what you’re used to.  Now is not the time to learn a new software package.  I recommend that you just start writing.  Don’t worry about format, layout, editing and production – you can do all of that later.  Just write.

If you have a Blog, you might already have content that you can re-purpose.  Have a look through all of your posts and choose your best ones, most popular or those that you thought deserved more attention and pull them together as the starting point for your eBook.  Even though this content already exists on your Blog, pulling it together into an eBook makes it easier for your readers to access.

How to produce your eBook

Once you’ve finished writing, collating or curating your content, the next thing to do is think about what you want your eBook to look like and how to actually produce the finished product.

You want your eBook to be visually appealing to your readers.  Here’s some tips:

  • Add some colour
  • Use headlines and fonts

  • Don’t     be     afraid    of    white     space
  • Add some graphics 🙂 😉 😛

Give your eBook a memorable title.  You could make it something catchy, something funny or as I did just tell readers what they’ll get “How to Start a Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time & Money”.

Design your cover.  This can be quite tricky and frustrating.  I recommend you take a look at “e-Book Evolution – Cover Recipe Book” from Sticky eBooks – it’s free.  It describes exactly how to create covers using Open Office (which you can easily apply to Word or Pages).  You can also outsource this.  I used fiverr.com to design my cover and convert it to a 3D image for, yes $5!

Check your eBook for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.  Remember to write the content for your audience.  It doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect and you can write it to reflect your own style but it needs to be professional.  If grammar isn’t your strong point, then engage an editor to review it for you.

Once you’re happy with the look of your eBook, simply convert it to a PDF document and voilá, you have created an eBook!

Watch out for Part 2, which I’ll post on Friday, where I’ll share with you:

  • How and where to publish your eBook
  • How much to charge for your eBook
  • How to let people know about your eBook
  • How to leverage your eBook

ebook - How to Start a Business

Do you offer an eBook to your community?  If so, leave a comment with a link to your site so we can check it out.

What do you look for in an eBook?

What’ the best eBook (free or paid) you’ve come across?

 

Please share this offer with others who may be interested in learning how to start a business.

 

How to write, produce, publish and sell an eBook on a $5 budget – Part 1 | Amica Digital

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Is it a Birkin? Is it an Apple? No it’s… https://amicadigital.com/business/is-it-a-birkin-ip-rights/ https://amicadigital.com/business/is-it-a-birkin-ip-rights/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 04:44:33 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1305   …a copy.  Or is it? Yesterday I was very excited to take delivery of my long-awaited Together Bag from LA-based accessories brand Thursday Friday.  The bag is a canvas carry-all with a screen-printed Hermes Birkin on the front, back bottom and sides.  I pre-ordered the bag online back in early June, with an expected […]

Is it a Birkin? Is it an Apple? No it’s… | Amica Digital

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…a copy.  Or is it?

Thursday Friday Together BagYesterday I was very excited to take delivery of my long-awaited Together Bag from LA-based accessories brand Thursday Friday.  The bag is a canvas carry-all with a screen-printed Hermes Birkin on the front, back bottom and sides.  I pre-ordered the bag online back in early June, with an expected delivery date of August so I was thrilled when it arrived a little early.

Unless like me you love must-have “it” fashion, you are probably wondering why I’m sharing this news with you and why the heck I’d think you’d be even vaguely interested.

Well, here’s why.

Is it a Birkin?

When I first saw the Together Bag, I thought it was a fun idea and would make a nicer shopping tote than my green Woollies environmental bags I often use.  I know!  Quelle horreur!

I did wonder whether it was OK to buy a canvas bag with an iconic brand screen-printed on it but I just thought it was fun and as I’d read about it and seen it in the fashion mags, figured it was fine.

Unfortunately Hermes don’t feel the same way.

In January, Hermes took legal action against Thursday Friday for “trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition and dilution by tarnishment.”  Hermes claimed that Thursday Friday were “riding on the recognition and reputation of the Birkin Bag to sell its otherwise generic tote bags.  In doing so…creating confusion among the public and is putting  [Hermes’] reputation at risk.”  Ouch!

In  defense, Thursday Friday filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming that it was Hermes’ “attempt to destroy a new business for the alleged sin of producing a tote bag that has the gall to imply that paying $6,000 for a fancy purse is just a little ridiculous.” Double ouch!!

It is important to note, if for no reason than to clear my own conscience, that at no time did Hermes use the words ‘counterfeit,’ ‘copy,’ ‘imitation,’ ‘copyright,’ ‘design patent,’ or ‘trade dress’.

The matter was settled on 9th June.

If you’d like to read more about the case, including the actual court documents, an excellent account is provided on the  Law of Fashion blog.

Is it an Apple?

Darren Rowse, Problogger shared a link on Google+, originally shared by Simon Mackie, of a blog written by Bird Abroad called “Are You Listening, Steve Jobs?”  (Phew, that took a bit of getting to!)

In the blog, the writer shares a story about stumbling upon what she thought was a genuine Apple store in Kunming, China.  Of course, it was a complete fake but a very good one.  So good, that apparently even the staff believe they work for Apple!

Honestly, you have to read it and see the photos to believe it.

Is it wrong?

The two women behind Thursday Friday are Roni and Olena.   Their respective backgrounds on their “About Us” page are impressive. Both read like serial entrepreneurs and go-getters.

Roni is Harvard-educated, is in an indie rock band, previously headed a successful accessories label and runs LA-based Maths-Club.

Olena was an innovation manager for the airline industry, ran an IT consultancy and has launched StyleWellness, a company that markets wellness products.

These women are not new to business.  They seem to know what they are doing.   Did they wonder whether what they were doing might be on the edge?

I’m sure whoever is behind the fake Kunming Apple store knows full well that what they are doing is well and truly over the edge!

How can you protect your brand and IP?

In the case of both Hermes and Apple, they had taken measures to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) and Brand.  For Hermes, this enabled them to defend their rights through legal action.  As for Apple, well although the case would seem  clear-cut, dealing with IP Rights in developing nations like China may prove difficult and take a long time.

If you are starting a business, no matter how small  it is when you start out, you need to make sure that you protect your IP and brand.  You don’t want your big idea stolen by the person you shared it with in confidence, who shared it with someone else in confidence, who shared it with someone else…you get the point.

IP Australia recommends using one of more strategies:

Commercial Strategies

  • Trade secrets and confidentiality agreements
  • Rapid production and development coupled with brand loyalty

Formally Registered Rights

  • patents
  • trade marks
  • industrial designs
  • plant breeder’s rights
  • business, company and domain names

Automatic Rights (no formal registration required)

  • Copyright
  • Circuit layout rights (no, not gym class circuits!)

Legal Protection

  • Common-law
  • Consumer protection legislation (fair trading)

So as I toddle off to do my chores with my new Thursday Friday Together Bag, I think I will feel OK.  Or will I?

I just ordered a brand spanking new iMac from the genuine online Apple store and I can tell you, I will be feeling more than OK about that when it arrives 😀

Some of what I’ve written here has a slightly humorous side but for anyone who has had their idea, product or even their business stolen from them will probably not find any of it at all amusing.  This is a serious issue.

What are your views?

What have you done to protect your IP Rights?
Do you have an IP / Copyright horror story to share?
Is my Thursday Friday Together Bag OK or should I be ashamed to use it?
 
If you enjoyed this post, please share it.

 

 

Is it a Birkin? Is it an Apple? No it’s… | Amica Digital

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Google+ A Valuable Tool For Small Business? https://amicadigital.com/business/google-a-valuable-tool-for-small-business/ https://amicadigital.com/business/google-a-valuable-tool-for-small-business/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 05:56:40 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1276   There’s been a lot of talk in my circles (no pun intended) over the past week or so about Google+. “What is Google+?” “Can you send me an invite please?” “How do I get an invite?” “How is it any different to Facebook?” “What’s the point of it?” “Will it take off?” What is […]

Google+ A Valuable Tool For Small Business? | Amica Digital

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There’s been a lot of talk in my circles (no pun intended) over the past week or so about Google+.

Will Google+ last?

“What is Google+?”

“Can you send me an invite please?”

“How do I get an invite?”

“How is it any different to Facebook?”

“What’s the point of it?”

“Will it take off?”

What is Google+?

I know that most of you already know what it is but I have had a few people ask, so for those few…at it’s most basic, Google+ is a new social network which has been dubbed “Google’s answer to Facebook”.  There was a limited release of  a Beta (test) version in late June.

You may have noticed the Google +1 button appearing on Google searches and some blog posts – including this one.  This is all part of the total project which according to Mashable “turns all of the search engine into one giant social network.”

There is a lot of information about Google+ so I don’t intend going into it in detail.  If you want more, I suggest you have a look at Mashable.

It works a lot like Facebook, allowing you to share photos, news, updates and other information with your friends.  It has some fun features like Huddle allowing you to have a group chat with a bunch of friends and Hangout which is kind of the same thing but with video and chat.  I’m sure more features will be added over time.

How do I get an invite?

You need to be invited by someone who already has a Google+ account or receive a Field Trial invitation from Google  if you have a Gmail account.  Each person gets a few “invites” when they join but in my experience these are grabbed fairly quickly, hence the begging and pleading for invites that you may have seen going around.

The other interesting thing is, if you want a Google+ account or want to use the Google +1 button,  you will first need a Google Account.

How is it any different to Facebook?

It does look similar and it does similar things but personally  I like the visual elements of “Circles” and “Hangouts”.  There’s an article in PC Mag ” 6 Things Google+ Can Do That Facebook Can’t” and it cites:

  1. Easily share photos, link, post with select friends (not everyone)
  2. Plan event details with live video chat
  3. Watch a YouTube video in real time with friends
  4. Curate content based on your interests
  5. Instantly upload photos and videos to the cloud and decide later how to share them
  6. Quit ( have you ever tried to delete your Facebook profile?)

What’s the point of it?

For Google, there’s a very big point.  It needs to get in the social networking game in a big way.  Advertising dollars also plays a big part.  Targeted advertising in Facebook is excellent and Google needs to be able to compete.

From a user perspective though, is it just another time wasting social network?  Perhaps.  It’s too early to tell but after just one week, I can see it replacing Twitter for me personally and I do love Twitter.  I can also see it replacing Facebook over time. I’d love a single social network that allows me to do everything from one place and Google+ is shaping up to deliver that.

What about as a business tool?  I like that I can set groupings of “friends” and decide who sees what content.  It means I can share my personal photos, posts and news with friends but not with my business networks.

As an online coach and business consultant, I can see the Hangout and Circles being very useful for running group coaching and training. It may well replace Skype for video calls.  I love that I can quickly and easily curate content in one place.

Those are the benefits I can see after just one week of very limited use.  I’m sure there are many people out there already working away at being the Google+ equivalent to Facebook expert Mari Smith 🙂

Will it take off?

I was lucky enough to get an invitation about a week ago (thanks Mark).  When I first signed up, it was really quiet.  I did think “what’s the point?”.  It reminded me of when I first joined Twitter and didn’t get it 😉

One week on and it is suddenly busy!  I keep finding more and more people I know or know of.  I don’t think there are any official stats from Google but I’ve seen estimates of close to 5 million.  Facebook has around 750 million.

I’m an early adopter of technology so I love it if for no reason other than that it’s new!  Yes, I’m attracted to Bright Shiny Objects.

According to a Mashable poll, 47% of the 8,300 respondents voted “I absolutely love it and can’t wait to play with it”. It will be interesting to see how poll results after a few more people have had the chance to play.

It’s early days, but I think it’s going to be HUGE!

What do you think?
If you have a Google+ account, let’s connect here.
If you like this post please share it and +1 it 😉

Google+ A Valuable Tool For Small Business? | Amica Digital

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Do The Work https://amicadigital.com/business/do-the-work/ https://amicadigital.com/business/do-the-work/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2011 05:19:28 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1251 Does this apply to you? You’ve got a task ahead of you. It might be a new product you want to develop.  It might be that you want to start a business.  It might be a burning desire to write a book or create a piece of art.  Maybe you want to drop a few […]

Do The Work | Amica Digital

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Does this apply to you?

You’ve got a task ahead of you.

Do The Work

Steven Pressfield "Do The Work"

It might be a new product you want to develop.  It might be that you want to start a business.  It might be a burning desire to write a book or create a piece of art.  Maybe you want to drop a few kilos and get yourself in shape.

You are committed to your task yet…

You spend a lot of timing thinking about what needs to be done.  You read articles and books about the subject.  You talk to people about it.  You research; search the web; download lots of great information and free “how to” guides.

The task remains unstarted.

I see this with clients all of the time and I’m guilty of doing it myself.  Weeks, months and sometimes years go by and the task remains unstarted.   It looms.  It turns from something we eagerly anticipate to something we dread.  We know if we complete the task, the rewards and satisfaction will be great.

But still, we find reasons for not starting.

Here’s some of the reasons excuses you might come up with:

  • I need to understand more about my topic
  • I want to get my head around it
  • I want to see what the competition are doing
  • I want to find the best way
  • I need time to plan and think
  • I want my website / brand to be finished first

While these are all well and good, none of them result in output or action.

So what’s that all about then?

Have you read Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work!”?   If not, I highly recommend it.  It’s available as a Kindle eBook and it’s a really quick read.

In the book, Pressfield tells us that the reason we do all of these other things rather than taking action is due to resistance (i.e.  self-doubt, fear, procrastination, perfectionism, narcissism etc.) and that’s the real reason we do all the other “stuff”.

He tells us that “Resistance” is the enemy and we need to deal with it as such.  It will be with us always so we must be on the lookout.

He says “The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

This reminded me of a post I wrote a while ago “I Wish I Had The Guts To”.

Just Get Started

As you can probably guess from the title, Pressfield tells us to just Do the Work.  Get started, even if we’re not ready.

Put pen to paper, paintbrush to canvas, fingers to keyboard, face in front of video, feet in your runners!  Just start.

So, after reading the book, I started.

That day and the next I sat and I wrote.  I focused.  I didn’t tweet, post comments, do status updates or research.  I wrote.  The more I wrote, the more motivated I was to write.  I felt a huge sense of relief.  I was on fire!

The result?  I finished my latest eBook.  How to Start a Small Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time and Money.

It’s not ready to “ship” just yet because I want to tweak it, have it edited and a professional cover designed.

Now, you may be thinking “ahhhhh, she’s resisting” – but you’re wrong .  OK, you may be a little bit right 😉  But I’m pushing that enemy away.  I’m going to face the resistance head on and I’m going to officially launch the eBook the week after next.  I’m also going to do something very generous for all of my subscribers.

Are you in the game?

My favourite part in Pressfield’s book is where he shares the story of having written a screenplay which was a dismal failure and was slammed by the critics.  He was obviously gutted until his friend helped him see things differently.

His friend told him “That’s the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines.  Stop complaining and be grateful.”

I love that advice!

So many people fail before they even start because they allow resistance to take over and destroy them.

It’s scary putting yourself out there. What if no one likes it?

Fine.  I’ll learn.  I’ll improve. I’ll try again.

But I won’t sit on the sidelines watching everyone else play wishing I had the courage to get in the arena.

A Personal Challenge

What tasks do you have ahead of you that you’ve been resisting?  It doesn’t have to be something huge.

If you “Do The Work” and share it with me.  I will post it here and promote it for you.  Whatever it is (well as long as it’s a G rating).

Write.  Create.  Draw.  Record. Launch.  Ship. Publish.

Let’s see how many people we can get to take action.  Please share this post widely.

Do The Work | Amica Digital

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Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – #5 Your Support Network https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-5-your-support-network/ https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-5-your-support-network/#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2011 02:10:24 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1232   This is the last post in the series on Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business.   So far I’ve covered the first four keys: Key #1 – Get Over Your Fear Key #2 – Understand Your Business Key #3 – Take Time To Plan Key #4 – Selling & Marketing Your Business Key #5 […]

Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – #5 Your Support Network | Amica Digital

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This is the last post in the series on Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business.   So far I’ve covered the first four keys:

Key #1 – Get Over Your Fear

Key #2 – Understand Your Business

Key #3 – Take Time To Plan

Key #4 – Selling & Marketing Your Business

Key #5 – Your Support Network

When you first start out, you will very likely be a team of just one.  This is even more reason that this key is so important for you.

It’s tough being a business owner and you will ride the emotional roller-coaster through extreme highs and extreme lows, possibly within the hour!  You will need support to get you through the lows and you’ll want to share the highs with people who understand that you’re not just blowing your own trumpet.

What support network do you have in place – family, friends, networking communities, a mentor / coach, mastermind group?  Different networks play different roles.

I recently heard Natalie Archer, an Executive Coach, describe five key roles around our five fingers:

Thumb – Coach – asks you the tough questions and gives you encouragement *thumbs up*

Pointer – Competitor – learn from them and do better *watch out, I’m after you*

Middle – Critic – keep you on your toes but sometimes need to tell them where to go *flip the bird*

Ring – Collaborator – someone to share ideas & dreams with *happily married*

Pinkie – Confidant – mentor, someone you trust and can rely on *pinkie promise, pinkie swear*

This is a good starting point.  How many of your five fingers can you put a name to? If you’ve got gaps, how do you find people to fill these roles?

5 Keys to Starting Your Own Business

You can ask other people who they work with.  A recommendation is always good – especially for roles like a Coach, Mentor and Partner.

You can start to follow people on social networks and engage with them. Don’t broadcast.  Ask questions and engage.  Build a community.

You can subscribe and comment on blogs and build a relationship that way – not only with the blog writer, but also with subscribers who will also see your comments.

I met one of my mentors at a weekly coffee meetup.

You need to invest time and energy and make sure that you vet people carefully.  You want the best people on your team.   You want a good mix – including people who challenge you and help you to grow.

The other thing to consider early on is what you can outsource or have other people do for you.  There are good options available these days using freelancers, virtual assistants and contractors.

Some of the tasks that you might consider outsourcing include:

  • Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation / Marketing, Facebook  Welcome Page, Twitter Background Design
  • Logo Design, Graphic Design
  • Copywriting, Editing, Transcription
  • Bookkeeping, Filing, Call Centre / Help Desk

Here’s a list of sites I’ve used personally or which people I know and trust recommend:

oDesk and Elance – both provide access to millions of freelancers with skills including web design, SEO, customer service, project management, administrative assistance.

Transcription Services – Bridie’s Typing Services and The Transcription People

Writing, Editing and Copywriting – Desolie Page and Karri Flatla

I recently used fiverr.com to create an e-book cover and a banner.  It was the best $5 (well $10 actually) I’ve spent – service was fast, process was simple and quality was absolutely fine.

Other great sources are Forums and word of mouth referrals.

In corporate jobs, we are trained in delegation and teamwork and these same skills apply when we are running our own business. The difference is, we often have to delegate tasks to people who are outside of our business so I’d argue these skills are even more important as a business owner than as a corporate manager.  You’ll get the most out of your team if you treat them well and with respect.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend most time with” so think about that.  Surround yourself with people you want to be like.  Who do you aspire to be?  Who do you want to learn from?  Who motivates you to succeed?   Who understands your problems and can help you move ahead?

 

Common Mistake #5 – Lone Ranger

 

The final common mistake is Lone Ranger syndrome or trying to do it all yourself.  Mind you, even the Lone Range had Tonto to keep him company  😉

Many entrepreneurs are high-achievers, perfectionists and control freaks.  Successful entrepreneurs learn to let go, to delegate and to trust others.

A high percentage of all new business start-ups fail within the first 5 years and I’m sure there are many contributing factors; one of them is that we just burn out trying to do it all.  It’s ironic because many of us start our own businesses for lifestyle reasons and then end up working longer and harder than we did when we had a J.O.B.!!

Your chances of success will be greatly improved if you get yourself a team – even a virtual one.  Don’t just rely on family and friends – often they don’t understand and don’t share your enthusiasm.  Tap into a support group that you can rely on for good advice and constructive feedback.

Finally, don’t try to get everything for free and do it yourself.  Remember, time is your life.  When your time is up, so is your life.  Some things are worth paying for.

 

That brings me to the end of this series on Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business:

  1. Get Over Your Fears
  2. Understand Your Business
  3. Take Time To Plan
  4. Selling & Marketing
  5. Your Support Network

You will see that the bold letters form the acronym GUTSY and it takes a gutsy person to leave behind a corporate job to start their own business.

By now, you might be feeling like this is all too hard or there’s so much to do that it’s a bit overwhelming. Well, it’s not that hard if you’ve got clear steps to follow, a logical approach and someone to ask for help when you need it.  That’s why I created the 60 Days to Start-up Bootcamp.

If you’ve enjoyed this series on Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business, please take a second to share it using the buttons below.

 

Which of the five keys do you think is the most difficult to get right?
Do you have any tips you’d like to share about starting or running your own business?
What other topics related to business, career or lifestyle are you interested to know more about?

Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – #5 Your Support Network | Amica Digital

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Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #4 Selling & Marketing https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-4-selling-marketing/ https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-4-selling-marketing/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 02:29:55 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1206 The last post in this series on the “Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business” was all about what I consider to be the “unsexy” stuff around planning and numbers. Key #4 is about Sales and Marketing – the sexy stuff 😉 I was at conference recently, and one of the speakers said “business owners […]

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #4 Selling & Marketing | Amica Digital

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The last post in this series on the “Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business” was all about what I consider to be the “unsexy” stuff around planning and numbers.

Key #4 is about Sales and Marketing – the sexy stuff 😉

I was at conference recently, and one of the speakers said “business owners who don’t like to sell, have skinny children.”

Starting Your Own Business - Key #4 - Selling & Marketing

Image: Flickr: heymynameispaul

No matter how good your product or service, you need sales and marketing skills and systems to get your message to your prospects so that they can buy from you.

Today, getting the message out is much easier and more cost-effective than it used to be before we had access to the internet and social media. In the “olden” days, we had to rely on paid advertising in newspapers, magazines, TV or use sales people to get out and spread the word about our great products and services.

Today, with minimal spend (but not necessarily minimal effort) , we are able to create a website, get our businesses listed on Google Places, use search engine optimisation (SEO) methods that helps Google, Yahoo and ultimately potential clients find us.

We can create social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn so that we can communicate directly with our community and if we like, for just a few dollars a day, we can advertise on these platforms too.

If you compare the cost and reach of an offline advertisement in a local paper or for that matter in the Yellow Pages, with an online, targeted advertisement on Google – you’re looking at a few thousand dollars in the paper versus a few hundred dollars on Google. It just opens up a whole opportunity for us to reach potential customers.

The key is knowing where to spend your time for the biggest buck.

This starts with a Marketing Plan. Work out where your potential clients are hanging out, which social networks they are using and the pros and cons are of each.

Decide the best online and offline strategies for your business and work out a calendar of events for the year.   This will help you to prioritise your activities and will also make it easier for people selling on your behalf, such as affiliates, to schedule your promotions into their calendars.  Remember, if you want to place an advertisement in a magazine, you’ll need to allow plenty of lead time.

The other key activity is to start to build your contact list so that you can communicate directly with your prospects and customers.   There are lots of tools and systems available – many for no or low-cost such as Mailchimp, Aweber and Constant Contact for email and list management; WordPress for  blogs and websites and Anymeeting for webinars. Web technology  is a great way to not only market but also to deliver your products and collect payment.

Recommended Resources

Traffic Grab*

One of the best Internet Marketers around at the moment, in my view, is James Schramko who runs the Freedom Ocean podcast with Tim Reid. James has recently  released a product called Traffic Grab which is like the insiders guide to SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for dummies.   Traffic Grab includes video files, audio files,all fully transcribed plus a mind map showing how it all comes together.

I’m not suggesting that you should do SEO/SEM yourself but Traffic Grab provides you all of the information you need to do the basics for yourself and to make sure that when you pay someone to do it, you know what they should be doing.

Steps*

Lara Solomon who many of you will know as Chief Rabbit at Social Rabbit, has co-created a fantastic program called Steps which teaches you how to make the most of Facebook Pages and LinkedIn for business.  The big advantage of the Steps program is that you are learning and doing at the same time!  You literally create your Facebook Page or LinkedIn profile as you go.  It covers the basics and advanced techniques and you have the option of purchasing the whole program for $147 for a 1 year membership or individual modules from just $25.

*Note:  Affiliate Links.

The key purpose of these systems is to allow you to build the know, like & trust factor with your potential clients.

Common Mistake #4 – Wasting Time on Social Media

Social networking is fantastic for connecting with your customers and community but it can take up a lot of your time for little or not return.  There are so many options available to us today that we could spend all of our time setting up and maintaining our social media presence.

You need to work out what’s best for your business and that must be driven by where your clients are. For example, if you love Facebook but your clients are not using Facebook to make buying decisions, then you better find another platform for business and keep Facebook for personal use.

A website is still one of the main sales and marketing tools available to you but you can waste big dollars on websites that don’t work well for sales. There’s no point having a pretty website if it doesn’t bring traffic / potential clients.

No matter how skilled you are at getting your website developed and your social profiles set up, you still need to be able to make them work for you.

I’ve been watching, learning, researching and analysing social media from a sales and marketing perspective for a few years now and I now believe that offline sales and marketing activities are essential for building your client base. Activities such as attending the right networking events, speaking opportunities and meeting/talking one-on-one to potential clients will help you to build credibility faster than focusing only on online sales and marketing methods.

Unless your name or brand is already well-known, then you will struggle to make sales if you focus 100% on online activities.  Sure, you can use techniques to drive traffic to your site.  You can offer a commission to affiliates for sending prospects or clients your way but for people to buy high-value products or services, you need to engage with your prospects and clients offline as well.

There are a lot of people ready to tell you that you can make a lot of money online and you can, but if you look at  the well-known gurus, you’ll see that most of them started out using more traditional offline methods to build a solid client base and reputation and then, once established, shifted their efforts more toward online activities.  I strongly believe that for start-up businesses, offline marketing and selling coupled with online delivery is the best approach.

Case Study

Two online women entrepreneurs I love are Marie Forleo and Laura Roeder.  Marie and Laura recently shared the revenue breakdown for their businesses.

Marie Forleo Revenu BreakdownLaura Roeder Revenue Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to see the detail clearly but in Marie’s case, 57% of her revenues came from face-to-face activities such as her live events and her Adventure Mastermind for which she charges $1-2k and $20k per person respectively!  A higher proportion of Laura’s revenue comes from online products but she still gets 14% of her revenue from consulting fees for which she charges $5k per day.Both Marie and Laura are well-known brands, have been in the game for a long time and both appear on the speaker circuit.  So, although they are online entrepreneurs, they still do plenty of offline selling and marketing.

Avoid wasting time and money by planning your sales and marketing activities and getting clear about where you will spend your time and dollars to maximise the number of buying clients.

There are many things to think about when it comes to marketing and selling but at the end of the day, you still need to have a good product that people want to buy and you need to be able to tell them about it and ask them to buy it. To do that you need to learn to enjoy selling!

In the final post in this series, I’ll be sharing Key #5 – Your Team.

 

Do you love or loathe selling?

What are your views on online versus offline selling and marketing?

What tips can you share for people who think selling is slimy?

 

If you liked this article, please share it.


 

 

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #4 Selling & Marketing | Amica Digital

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Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #3 https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-3/ https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-3/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2011 12:30:03 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1122   This is the next post in my series on the “Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business”. So far, I’ve shared the first two keys: Key #1 – Get Over Your Fears Key #2 – Understand Your Business Key # 3 – Take Time To Plan OK this is the unsexy part and it’s […]

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #3 | Amica Digital

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This is the next post in my series on the “Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business”.

So far, I’ve shared the first two keys:

Key #1 – Get Over Your Fears

Key #2 – Understand Your Business

Key # 3 – Take Time To Plan

Planning

Image: Svilen Milev, courtesy sxc.hu

OK this is the unsexy part and it’s quite a long post but hang in there.

Every business book, start-up website, guru, university lecturer and advisor will tell you that you need to do some planning and I agree with them but it needn’t be a huge time-consuming, expensive process.

Here are the main things to think about:

Legalities and Business Structure

Before you start trading and even before you decide on a name or purchase a website, there are a few basics you need to have in place.

The first thing is to decide on the structure of your business.  Each country has a different framework so you need to check what applies in the country you’ll be trading.

Government agencies such as the ATO and Small Business websites also provide a lot of useful information.

A good Bookkeeper or Accountant will be able to help you work out the structure that’s best for your business and get you set up with things like ABNs, GST registration and good record keeping processes.

Business Name and Licences

The name you are going to call your business is a big decision for many of us and as more and more small businesses are created, finding a name that is unique and helps you stand out is getting more difficult – particularly if you want to get the domain name as well.

There are three ways to name a business:

  1. Your Own Name or combination of names if a Partnership.
  2. Description of What You Do – e.g.  Glossy Hair Salon, Elite Coaching Services, Transforme – The Kickstart Business
  3. Made Up Name – or just a word e.g  Apple, Google

Once you’ve come up with a catchy name, you need to check that it’s available for use, i.e.  not already registered.  You can do this online using the Australian Business Register.

You may also want to check for any registered trade marks with IP Australia.  Finally, if you want your domain name in the same name as your business name, then make sure that it’s available by searching for it on one of the many domain name registration sites.

Depending on the type of business, you’re in, you may need to obtain a Business Licence.

Did You Know? In Australia, if you are setting up an online business, trading only online, and earning <$75k p.a., then you don’t need to register a business name, register for GST or have an ABN?  You must however, pay income tax.

Business Model

You then need to think about which business model is best for your business? Let me explain the term business model. To make it simple, I think of it as how you make money – who is going to pay you, for what, why are how?

The key to starting your own business, is to think about the business model that is best for you.  Here are some examples:

  • Membership or subscription model where people pay you for a set amount each month for access to information / products / services
  • Direct sales model where you sell products or services business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C)
  • Selling via a community – think Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and party plans
  • Paid advertising – offline such as in magazines or newspapers or online using Google AdSense for example
  • Affiliate Marketing earning commission by selling other people’s products or services.

There are lots of options to explore and you may combine a few different ones – for example direct sales via website that also has a monthly membership program.

Recommended Reading: If you are interested in exploring different business models, I highly recommend “Business Model Generation” by  Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. Also available as an iPad App!  You can download a template for capturing your business model on one page.

Financials

Now it’s time to start thinking about the money. How much will it cost you to set-up your business, produce your product, promote your services, pay staff (eventually), pay yourself (eventually, hopefully).

Once you’ve added up all the costs, you need to think about the funding. How will you pay for all of this? Do you have enough savings? Can you borrow from the bank?  Do you need an investor?  Will you get a business partner to contribute funds?  How much will you charge for your product / services?  How long will it take you to receive payment?

In the first key to starting your own business – getting over your fears – I talked about getting your finances sorted out. I want to make it clear that I was talking about your Personal Finances – what it takes to run your life. What I’m talking about here are your Business Finances – what it takes to run your business. That is a distinction worth making so that you don’t end up bankrupt.

I am not a numbers person, but I’ve learned the basics and when you’re starting out, it doesn’t need to be too sophisticated. You can get a clear picture with just a simple spreadsheet with a few linked worksheets.   As you grow, you will probably want to work with a Bookkeeper, Accountant and probably invest in a system such as XeroSaasu, Freshbooks or similar.

Business Plan

The final part to Key #3 is pulling it all together into a Business Plan which is a living document that sets out, in one place, your plan for making your business happen. This is not a tome that sits on a shelf but a document that excites you and helps bring you back on track. It is the business tool that helps you realise your goals.

Your Business Plan doesn’t have to follow a set format or template but you should make sure you cover the following:

  • Background Information about the business and the owners
  • Company Purpose sometimes called vision or mission
  • Products / Services description and pricing
  • Market Analysis including industry, competition, customers, positioning
  • Operating Plan covering structure, goals & objectives, timing, management team, risk management
  • Sales & Marketing Plan how products /services will be sold
  • Financials including Budget, Profit & Loss Projection, Balance Sheet Projection

Live Example: If you’d like to see a real example of a Business Plan developed by a start-up business, have a look at this Slideshare presentation by Luk Beautifoods

 

Common Mistake #3 – Underestimating how long it takes

The common mistake that almost every business owner / entrepreneur will tell you, is that they underestimated how long it would take them to reach their goals and overestimated how much they would make. That ultimately leads to problems with cash-flow – not being able to pay the bills.

There’s a lot to do when you’re running a business and it’s easy to waste time on activities that don’t result in sales.

Taking the time to plan upfront, will help stop you falling into the trap of wasting time and effort on things that just don’t matter instead of focusing on the things that will make you money.

In the next post in this series  Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business, I’ll be sharing Key #4 – Selling & Marketing

What lessons can you share about planning your business?
Are there any useful tools, templates or resources you use?
How often do you review your Business Plan?  What about your Financials?

 

If you liked this article please share it.

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #3 | Amica Digital

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Why Is Doing Business Online Like Weight Loss? https://amicadigital.com/business/why-is-doing-business-online-like-weight-loss/ https://amicadigital.com/business/why-is-doing-business-online-like-weight-loss/#comments Mon, 30 May 2011 02:06:02 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=1045 Online Business and Weight Loss are two phrases that return hundreds of millions of search results in Google and other Search Engines. They’re also topics close to my heart since I’ve invested many hours of my life in both! I got to thinking about the similarities between running a business online and weight loss and […]

Why Is Doing Business Online Like Weight Loss? | Amica Digital

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Why is Doing Business Online Like Weight Loss?

Image: Aneta Blaszczyk sxc.hu

Online Business and Weight Loss are two phrases that return hundreds of millions of search results in Google and other Search Engines.

They’re also topics close to my heart since I’ve invested many hours of my life in both!

I got to thinking about the similarities between running a business online and weight loss and was surprised to find so many.

Here’s a few.

It’s A Head Game

There are a lot of overweight people who know they need to lose weight but just can’t find the motivation to do it.

They know it’s not good for their health.  They feel uncomfortable, even miserable.  They miss out doing things with their friends because their weight holds them back.  Sometimes their personal relationships suffer.

Despite this, they continue to overeat, not exercise and make excuses for being overweight.

I see the same pattern with people who are stuck in a job they don’t like and dream of starting their own business yet despite being miserable, missing out and letting relationships suffer, they stay in the job and make excuses for not leaving.

When the overweight person stops with the excuses, gets over whatever is stopping them from making the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes and takes responsibility, they are ready to take action.

But this is just the beginning of the mindset change.

To be successful, they need determination to stick with their diet and exercise plan.  They need to ride the highs and lows of the numbers reflected on the scales.  They need to overcome fear, fatigue, disappointment and they need to feel pleased with themselves over the small wins.

Just like the mindset required for doing business online.

Health Warning: Do not rely on motivation. There will be days that you just aren’t motivated and need to JFDI anyway!

You Can’t Do It All In 1 Week

Weight loss usually happens at a rate of 0.5-1kg (1-2lbs) a week so if you’ve got a big weight loss goal, then you need to chip away at it, one week at a time.

You need to determine your goal weight based on what’s realistic given your age, height and genetics.  You need to work out an achievable goal and timeframe based on how much effort you’re prepared to put in.

Setting mini-milestones along the way also helps to keep you on track.  A great approach is to set these mini-milestones around things other than weight.  For example, to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping.  Mini-milestones help you to keep focused particularly if you have a lot of weight to lose.  It gives you something within reach rather than something that seems unreachable because it’s so big.

Rewarding yourself for small successes is also important.  When you can fit into those Size 12 jeans, buy them!  When you run for 30 minutes without stopping – book a massage.

Same for running a business.  Set realistic, achievable goals with mini-milestones and remember to reward yourself for small successes along the way.

Health Warning: Rapid results are not always sustainable.

Diets Make You Thin, Exercise Makes You Hot

What’s the secret to sustainable, long-term weight loss?  Eat a little less. Do a little more.  Yes, that’s it.

Many people (myself included) have tried to lose weight through exercise alone without making any dietary changes.  Unfortunately, this isn’t ideal and the goal ends up taking longer to achieve.  Its the combination of diet and exercise that produces the results.

Of course, it’s not that easy to do.  You need to work out the number of calories required, the macronutrient breakdown, your metabolic rate, your resting & maximum heart rate, your shopping list, menu and recipes, your exercise plan, your training schedule and more.

There are a lot of actions required to achieve your overall goal.

The good news is, once your body is getting the right fuel, in the right quantity and is physically in shape, it starts to deliver results much quicker.

Thinking about how that applies to running an online business, we need to do a bit of everything.  Write good content, develop good products, website SEO, networking, administration, collaboration, client engagement etc.   We need to complete a lot of small actions to achieve our goals and get our business working efficiently. It’s hard work in the startup phase but the momentum builds over time.

Health Warning: Beware of fads.  They seem to offer a quick, pain-free solution but they rarely deliver what they promise.

The Tale Of The Tape

The dreaded scales!  Some people are obsessed with them and weigh themselves as soon as they get up, then again after a pee, then again before the shower and after, before and after lunch, before bed.  You get the picture.

A bit like checking  Twitter 😉

Most of us know that the weight on the scales doesn’t tell the whole story.

There are a lot of other measures and indicators available to us – how our clothes fit, body measurements, Body Mass Index, Hip:Waist Ratio, Blood Pressure, Resting Heart Rate, to name a few.

The key is to find a couple of key measures based on our goals, track these regularly and consistently and most importantly make adjustments to our activity based on what the metrics are telling us.

Analysing metrics daily, weekly, monthly, annually will tell us different things.  Looking for trends over time tells us a lot.

One of the big benefits of using more than one metric is that sometimes, we do everything 100% to plan, yet the results don’t come 🙁  It is extremely disheartening getting on the scales after a perfect week of exercise and clean eating to discover no loss or even a slight gain.

It is equally disheartening doing everything to plan in our business only to find the results just aren’t there.  Don’t make rash decisions based on one metric. Sometimes there’s a lag between activity and results.

Health Warning: Some unscrupulous people manipulate before and after shots.  Success Stories are not always what they seem. As they say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Doing It With Others Is More Fun

Weight loss groups like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) are very popular and have good success rates.  Part of the reason for this is to do with the accountability and support provided to the members.

Losing weight is hard work and it’s good to know that others are going through a similar battle.  It’s also good to be able to talk to other like-minded people who are equally ensconced in meal plans, training plans, kilograms lost and girth measurements!  It can be very tedious listening to someone go on and on about these things if you’re not going through it yourself.

In the same way that support groups and personal trainers help people to lose weight, networking groups, coaches and mentors do the same for business. Having people you can share your woes and successes with, go to for help when you get stuck, learn new techniques from and who keep you accountable will greatly increase your chance of business success.

Health Warning: Beware the saboteurs who, often unintentionally, throw you off track. They may seem like supporters but they derail your plans and slow down your goal achievement.

There are a lot of people promising fast results with minimal effort but the truth is, it takes time, can be hard work and requires a long-term commitment.

 

What lessons from areas of your life can you apply to running your business?

Where have you had great success?  What was necessary for you to achieve that success?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Is Doing Business Online Like Weight Loss? | Amica Digital

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Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – Key #2 https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-2/ https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-2/#comments Mon, 23 May 2011 22:59:28 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=993 Last week I shared the first key to starting your own business – get over your fears.  If you’ve faced your fears, stared them down and walked right over them, then you’re ready for the second key. Key #2 – Understand Your Business Now, this sounds basic but it is one of the most challenging […]

Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – Key #2 | Amica Digital

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Last week I shared the first key to starting your own business – get over your fears.  If you’ve faced your fears, stared them down and walked right over them, then you’re ready for the second key.

Key #2 – Understand Your Business

Now, this sounds basic but it is one of the most challenging and crucially important things to do.  This is the foundation of your business.  Before you do anything else – registering a name, building a website, getting business cards made – you need to be super clear about what your business is about.

First, you need a business idea.

Some people have lots of ideas but can’t seem to take them to the next step.   Other people haven’t got a clue what sort of business to start.  They struggle to come up with even one idea.  They know they would be good at running a business if only they could figure out what that would be.

The good news is, there are techniques and tools available to help you work out some business ideas based on your skills, experience and interests.  Here are some tips:

  • Do a Google search for “business ideas” and you’ll find plenty of websites sharing top business ideas.  Have a look at entrepreneur.com where you can search for ideas by interest, category or profession.  Startup Smart post startup ideas and case studies almost daily.
  • Learn from others in your profession. Whether you’re a coach, writer, consultant, project manager, accountant, marketer or HR professional, you will find people in your profession who have started their own business.  Visit their websites or arrange a coffee to ask them questions and get ideas.
  • List the skills, knowledge, experience that you have that you could share with others.  You don’t need to be a guru or an expert.  You just need to know more about a topic than other people.  Take the time to write these down and consider engaging the services of a coach to help draw out hidden talents that you may take for granted.

My Tip I’m going to be a party pooper here and say that I don’t believe that “finding your passion” is the answer.   Yes, if you are going to run a business, then you better be enjoy it because you’ll be living it but it takes more than passion.

Once you’ve got your big idea, you need to research and test it.

There’s no point starting a business if you can’t find clients who are prepared to pay for your product / service.  There are some great free online tools available to help you with the research – like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, news sites and Groups.  These tools help you work out what your potential clients are talking about, the language they use, what terms they search for.

Some other activities you should consider:

  • Research the competition.  A lot of people think they have to have a unique idea for starting a business  but you don’t.  Look at potential competitors in a business area you’re interested in.  Use tools such as Alexa and SEO Quake to understand more about what competitors are doing.  Look for gaps in what they’re offering and work out how you could provide similar products / services in a better way. It may be that your particular style or personality is your point of difference.
  • Do some market research by looking at the top selling non-fiction books on Amazon, searching the most viewed articles on article submission sites like ezine articles and use tools like Google Insights to check trends and popularity of search terms.

My Tip You need to be a little bit careful here because if you’ve got a really fab idea, you don’t want anyone stealing it.  You need to protect your Intellectual Property.   A good place to start is with IP / Patent government site in your country. E.g. IP Australia.

Defining a niche will make marketing your product / service much more targeted.

You need to be able to describe and visualize your ideal client – down to giving them a name, age, marital status, location.  You need to know what their problems are and how your idea can solve their problem.  Then, you need to be able to explain why what you do is the best solution for them, rather than any other option they might have.

A good starting point to help you define your niche, is to think about the type of people you’d most like to work with all day, every day.  The trick here is to focus.  Don’t try to be everything to everyone unless you have lots of time and a huge marketing budget.  You might come up with two or three different groups of people and test each of these to find the best one.

Once you’ve worked out your ideal client, you need to figure out how to get your message to them and whether they have the capacity to pay for your product / service.  There’s no point defining a niche if that niche won’t pay what you need to charge.

I can’t stress how key this key is. I myself got stuck here but once I got clear about my niche and my ideal client things started to flow.

My Tip Just because you define your niche doesn’t mean you exclude everyone else.  For example.  My niche is smart, professional women who are fed up with the daily grind of corporate life and want to start their own business.  If men or stay-at-home mum’s decide they’d like to work with me, I don’t exclude them.  I just don’t focus my marketing efforts on attracting them.

Finally, you need to work out your brand.

This includes things like your marketing materials, business cards, logos, colours, look and feel.  But it’s much more than that.  Branding is all about the messages you send out to the world, every time you interact – whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, your website or in person.  Remember, in small business, you are your brand.

I’ve found a great resource to help you with your branding.  It’s called The Build a Brand Workbook and it takes you through step-by-step instructions for creating and implementing a standout brand for your business.  (This is an affiliate link which means that if you purchase the book, then I’m paid a very small commission but there’s no extra charge to you.)

Working out what your business is going to be, who you will serve, where you will find your ideal clients and how you will represent yourself in your chosen market takes time and effort but trust me, the time you put in upfront will save you loads of time and money down the track.

 

Common Mistake #2 – I can help everyone

 

The belief that you can help everyone or that everyone needs your product/service – even if you can or they do!

If you’re not clear about exactly who your business is serving, the niche you’re targeting and what makes you unique, then you will find yourself opening a lot of oysters and not finding many pearls and for anyone who’s ever opened oysters, it’s hard and painful.

To avoid this common mistake, you need to stop trying to be everything to everyone and focus.  You need to stop worrying that you are missing out on potential customers – there will be plenty of clients for you if you focus on finding exactly the right people for your solution.  I’m not talking about the law of attraction, or abundance theory here.  I’m just saying that if you focus on your ideal clients, be consistent and stay on message, the right people will find you.

If you do this, you will become a recognised “expert” or “authority” in your field and this will allow you to charge a premium rate for your products / services.  If you try to be everything to everyone, your message becomes diluted, you become just another player / commodity and you will be forced to compete on price – and that’s ugly.

 

Do you agree that it’s important to define a niche for your business?
Do you have an ideal client?  What would it be like if you only worked with ideal clients and no one else?
Have you fallen into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone?

 

In the next post on the Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business, I’ll be sharing Key #3Taking Time to Plan.

I’d love to hear your experience with starting your own business, so please share your story.

Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business – Key #2 | Amica Digital

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Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #1 https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-1/ https://amicadigital.com/business/five-keys-to-starting-your-own-business-key-1/#comments Tue, 17 May 2011 02:36:38 +0000 http://thekickstartbiz.com/?p=973 Starting your own business is an exciting, busy and sometimes frustrating time. Most people think about starting their own business for a long time before actually taking the plunge and doing anything about it. If you’re at the “thinking” stage and ready to move into “doing”, then these five keys to starting your own business, […]

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #1 | Amica Digital

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Starting your own business is an exciting, busy and sometimes frustrating time. Most people think about starting their own business for a long time before actually taking the plunge and doing anything about it.

If you’re at the “thinking” stage and ready to move into “doing”, then these five keys to starting your own business, avoiding common start-up mistakes will set you off on the right path.

Key #1 – Get Over The Fear

The big mistake that keeps you in a job you hate, or if that’s too strong a word, keeps you in a job you’re not happy in, is fear.

For you that might be fears around money – worrying that you won’t be able to afford to pay the mortgage, school fees or put dinner on the table.

Or, it might be that you fear that you might fail – even though you’ve had a successful career, you might worry that you don’t have the skills or ability to make it in your own business.

You might even fear that you’ll be too successful! You might worry that you’ll end up having even less time than you do in your corporate job and have to work evenings and weekends to keep your business running.

Whatever your own situation, the key to getting over the fear is to work out what’s really stopping you. You need to spend some time thinking about why you’re putting up with a job or a situation that’s making you unhappy, rather than taking the steps you need to make a change.

A simple way to do this is to make a list of all the reasons why you haven’t made a change. What are you worried about. You’ll find that most of your fears / excuses, can be addressed once you’ve worked out what they are.

Tim Ferris author of The 4-hr Work week suggests another great activity for getting over your fear.  What you do is, imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen if you pursued your dream. Would it cause permanent damage? What steps would you take to get things back on track? Chances are you could turn things around right?

Now imagine the more probable scenario – what is more likely to happen? I bet it’s likely that you could produce a moderate outcome rather than the worst case scenario.

You also need to take stock of where you are today. What is your financial situation, what are your strengths, what skills do have and where do you have gaps?   Be realistic and factual here. It’s like doing a personal audit.

If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you find a good Financial Adviser and talk to them about options.  One of the experts featured in my 60 Days to Startup Bootcamp, Kate McCallum, a Director with Multiforte shared three steps to take to help us get clear about our financial requirements:

  1. Work out how our expenses; how much we need to live on each month – include fixed items such as mortgage, fees, car repayments and variable such as spending money for lifestyle items.
  2. Work out how much income we expect our business to generate and by when – Kate suggested best case, worst case and likely case scenario are worth considering.
  3. Work out the gap between expenses and income.  Once we know our expenses from step 1 and our income from step 2, we have a clearer picture about how much we need in reserve.

A word of warning here. You might decide that you do have what it takes to start your own business, but unless you have the finances to live for at least 6 months without any income. Then don’t quit just yet!

You will most likely need to make some decisions – you often can’t have it all. You might need to make some trade-offs. Only you can decide whether you’re prepared to pay the price – whether that’s the price of staying in a situation you’re not happy in, or the price of making a change.  I covered this in more detail in my post called “I Wish I Had The Guts To“.

The most important thing is to spend time working this through.  Before you make the leap, you need to be comfortable with your decision because at times it will be tough going.

Common Mistake #1 – Fire, Aim, Ready

So, that leads us on to the first common start-up mistake to avoid.

I call it the shoot first, ask questions later mistake.

One day, it all just gets too much and you make a rash decision and just quit your job, or maybe you don’t quite take it that far but you do tell your boss / colleagues etc where to go.

The flip side to this mistake is not taking any action! I guess that would be Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim and then you life a life of regret because you let fear hold you back.

I’m not here to tell you that being an entrepreneur is the path to joy and happiness for everyone. What I would like you to do is work out what’s right for you. You might decide that although you’d love to run your own business, it’s just not the right time or you don’t have all of your ducks lined up just yet. At least understand what action you need to take so that you’re making progress. If you decide that you are ready, then that will give you the confidence that you’ll need when the going gets tough.

By spending some time to understand your fears and to take stock of your current situation the first of the five keys will be yours.

If getting over fear is something that you need to do more work on, I suggest you take a look at Natalie Sisson’s Fearless Factor series over at The Suitcase Entrepreneur.

What fears hold you back from starting your own business or making changes in areas you’re not happy with?

What fears have you conquered and how?

In the next post on the Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business, I’ll be sharing Key #2Understanding Your Business.  If you have any questions about this post or anything to do with starting your own business, please leave a comment so that I can answer it for you.

 

 

 

Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business – Key #1 | Amica Digital

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Kochie’s Tasty Takeouts https://amicadigital.com/business/kochies-tasty-takeouts/ https://amicadigital.com/business/kochies-tasty-takeouts/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2011 22:57:07 +0000 http://blog.transforme.com.au/?p=903 Last week I was lucky enough to attend “Kochie’s Business Builders Bootcamp” gratis thanks to the generosity of my friend Cindy Luken, who was a speaker on a panel session. Marketing Power I’d seen the marketing promotions everywhere. If you live in Australia it was hard to miss, and given that I’m about to run […]

Kochie’s Tasty Takeouts | Amica Digital

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend “Kochie’s Business Builders Bootcamp” gratis thanks to the generosity of my friend Cindy Luken, who was a speaker on a panel session.

Bootcamp Debrief

Own photo taken during Bootcamp Debrief

Marketing Power

I’d seen the marketing promotions everywhere. If you live in Australia it was hard to miss, and given that I’m about to run my own Bootcamp, I read through the program with interest. The line-up of speakers was impressive – Mark Bouris, Suzi Dafnis, Julia Bickerstaff, Naomi Simson, Camilla Franks and of course David Koch, to name (drop) just a few that caught my eye.

Green-eyed Monster

To be totally honest, even though it’s embarrassing to admit, I was envious and disheartened. David Koch, a well-known media personality was running a Business Bootcamp just one month ahead of mine. How could I possibly compete with him? All that marketing budget and media power. The great line-up of speakers. Even the name – Business Bootcamp! I was feeling despondent and ready to give up on my own plans.

I consoled myself by brushing the event off as an just another conference, like so many others with lots of interesting people talking, sharing their own experience, promoting their own companies with a few networking opportunities thrown in.

Until I was offered a ticket! For free! How could I not go and check out the competition 😉

How Was it?

In a nutshell, the event was inspiring. Many of the speakers were impressive, some surprisingly so. Justin Herald, Rachel Botsman (girl-crush alert) and Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin were the standouts for me. Justin because I liked his sarcastic wit coupled with his “find a way to make it happen” attitude. Rachel, Social Innovator (I wish I knew about that job when I was deciding on a career path) who was smart, savvy and truly enthusiastic (& 7mths pregnant BTW). Sebastien because he talked a lot of sense and he is involved with Club Kidpreneur.

I’m sure you followed the Twitter #kbbevents stream or knew someone who attended or have read about what the presenters spoke about, so I don’t intend covering that ground here – although more than happy to share with you if you’re interested – just ask 😉

What I’d like to share with you are my personal takeouts that I think you might find tasty.

It’s Good to Press the Flesh

As a solo business owner, I spend a lot of my day talking to myself or my computer. Sure, I’m online so I interact with community on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter and with my clients via my online programs but mostly, it’s just me and the screen. At the Bootcamp, I really enjoyed being in a physical room, with people physically present. I’m an extrovert, so I get my energy from interacting with others and at the end of the two days, I felt re-energised and had met some great people – including Jen Brown from Sparta Personal Training who I’d only ever known “virtually”.

Filling Seats is Tough

Even with all that marketing spend and media power, I don’t think the conference was at capacity. I’m not sure how many they expected but I think there were around 700 people in total. I’m also not sure how many people like me, were there for free but I didn’t meet a single person who paid. I’m absolutely not bagging out the promoters, so please don’t send hate mail! I do want to share how hard it is to get the message out to the right community and get that community to part with their dollars, even for a much publicised event. It’s tough. It takes perseverance and creativity – especially if marketing funds are limited. The other thing I realised is, that sometimes you might choose to give a bit away to create the buzz.

You Never Know Who You Might Meet at Lunch

I mentioned Club Kidpreneur earlier. When I heard Sebastien mention it, I took a note to find out more because I wanted to find out whether I could get involved and I thought it might be good for my young son. I figured I’d track it down post-event and see what I could find out. During the next break, I was introduced to a guy by someone else I’d just met and as it turned out the guy, Eamon was a Director of Club Kidpreneur which is about “building a community of passionate business owners / mentors willing to inspire and teach Australia’s next generation of kids to be more entrepreneurial.” How’s that for serendipity!

Technology is the Biz

I took my iPad (no, not iPad2 sadly) and I used it to take notes, send tweets, record some of the sessions and bookmark recommended websites and resources as the speakers mentioned them. HP were a sponsor and emailed out Top Daily Tips each day and were promoting the benefits of their ePrint technology. Many of the speakers were tweeting live and during each session, delegates could participate in live polling on the topics, ask questions & comment via SMS / Twitter – all of which were displayed on the big screen and which made for some funny moments (e.g. Lauren Brown, are you single? I’m 6’2″, funny and handsome!). I love technology and enjoyed watching it being employed for fun and productive use.

Technology

Photo courtesy Jen Brown – Sparta Personal Training

Women Are Doin’ It For Themselves

It was fantastic to see so many women, not only speakers but also delegates. In corporate world, I attended my fair share of conferences and on the most part, the majority of presenters were men and the majority of delegates were men. At the Bootcamp, there were smart, sassy, savvy women happily sharing ideas and lessons. It was refreshing. I did wonder whether women are so fed up with the glass ceiling, inequality and inflexibility of corporate land that we’re just taking matters into our own hands and running our own businesses the way we want instead.

Ideas are Good but Action is Better

There was plenty of good advice and information shared throughout the 2 days. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to participate in a Business Bunker – a breakout group of 10-15 participants but heard they were great. I got lots of ideas and we were urged by many speakers to take action with what we were learning. We were even told that we could email our “one action item” to Kochie’s team and they will send out a reminder to us to make sure we implement. I’ve already executed on a couple of ideas (Club Kidpreneur, website analysis, marketing plan) and built others into my plans.

I Know I Can Do It

I’m more motivated than ever to promote and run my Bootcamp. Instead of feeling like no one will be interested in what I’ve got to say, I now know that’s just not true. There were so many questions from people wanting to know how to put the ideas into action. We all know the information is out there and we all know that a lot of it will be available free of charge but we are busy and we want it now. The Business Bunker sessions were full because people wanted the personal attention where their own specific issues could be addressed. I know I have a great product. I know there is a market for it. I know my Bootcamp will be intimate and practical and I know that anyone lucky enough to be part of it will have a kick start on their journey to entrepreneurship.

As Michelle Gamble from Marketing Angels told us, business owners need to be “fearless, focused, relentless and consistent”.

Did you attend Kochie’s Business Builders Bootcamp? What did you like best?
Have you ever seen competitors doing something similar to you and lost self-confidence?
What ideas are you putting into action this week?

Kochie’s Tasty Takeouts | Amica Digital

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Entrepreneurship. All It’s Cracked Up To Be? https://amicadigital.com/business/entrepreneurship-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-2/ https://amicadigital.com/business/entrepreneurship-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-2/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 23:40:22 +0000 http://blog.transforme.com.au/?p=883 Last week I contributed to Dr Shannon Reece’s Weekly Question “What was the catalyst in your life that drove you onto the entrepreneurial path, and what keeps you on it?” Over 100 entrepreneurs shared their stories. I loved my corporate career I worked for good companies, starting my career in Human Resources before later becoming […]

Entrepreneurship. All It’s Cracked Up To Be? | Amica Digital

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Last week I contributed to Dr Shannon Reece’s Weekly Question “What was the catalyst in your life that drove you onto the entrepreneurial path, and what keeps you on it?” Over 100 entrepreneurs shared their stories.

I loved my corporate career

I worked for good companies, starting my career in Human Resources before later becoming a Management Consultant. I’ve worked in about 40 organizations across a range of industry sectors. I had challenging and stretching development opportunities and promotions.

On the whole, I had really good bosses. In fact they were so good, I’m still personal friends with some despite not having worked for them for over 20 years!

I got to travel the world, experience life as an expat in Singapore, New York and London and I met amazing people from all around the world (long before social networking made it easy!). I even met my husband through my career! And of course, I earned a lot of money doing it.

So what was the catalyst that drove me onto the entrepreneurial path, despite such a great career?

Well, despite all of the upside, there was also a lot of downside. Many weekends on a plane, foregoing social events, missing my family, living an unhealthy lifestyle and feeling like a puppet – not in control of my own life. Work was my life.

After the birth of my son, I returned to corporate life in a part-time role thinking that would be the best of both worlds. It wasn’t. I know a lot of women manage it and I take my hat off to them.

I was torn between wanting to do a great job and wanting to be a great mother and have a life. I was miserable. I felt like I was failing at everything.

I had to work out how to put myself back in control.

I wanted to build a lifestyle that gave me the flexibility to spend time with my son when he was a toddler and as he progressed through the school years. I also wanted to do something intellectually challenging that allowed me to earn an income doing something that I love.

I’ve been running my own business now for nearly four years

But it hasn’t all been a straight path from Point A to Point B. In fact, far from it! I’ve meandered. I’ve headed down paths only to come to a dead end. I’ve hit the proverbial fork in the road and had to make a decision about which path to take. I’ve loved it and loathed it – often in the same hour!

Have I ever thought about giving it all up and going to get a J.O.B.? Sure! But the thought of having to go back to corporate world where I’d have to commute to an office, deal with office politics, be physically present between 8am and 6pm and work my butt off for a salary, just makes my stomach churn. Even just writing about it now, I can feel my anxiety level rising.

So, what is it about running a business that’s so appealing?

I recently asked on Twitter “what do you most like about running your own business?”

Here’s a summary of some of the responses that came back:

  • For me, it’s the unique ability to create my own context
  • Flexibility, control, freedom, ability to to listen to feedback & translate to action wherever possible
  • Being able to create MY stuff MY way in a way that works for ME
  • It serves my dream life
  • (There’s) no real limit as to how successful I’ll be
  • Freedom to be
  • Being free to pursue my own goals & desired outcomes & not those of others. Being the chess player & not the piece is 4 me.
  • My business works for me to provide the cash-flow AND the time-flow to enjoy life at its best. *It* is there to serve *me*.

Thanks Tweeps for your contribution

Sound appealing? To me it does.

But is entrepreneurship all it’s cracked up to be?

Feeling like a puppet?

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can only answer that question from my own personal perspective and the answer for me is “yes, but…”

    1. You need to be realistic about your earning potential.
      Chances are, you will take a drop in income when you first start out. Sure, there are lots of success stories out there where people managed to make more than they did in a corporate job but for most people it takes time to build a business and replace or exceed the income. Work out what financial reserves you have and how you’ll manage the cash flow.

 

    1. It’s important that you love your business idea because you will live it 24/7.
      You will be reading, networking, learning, creating and immersed in your business. It’s hard to switch off. You need to create work/life balance and this can be even harder when you work for yourself, particularly if you’re a driven, motivated, high-achiever.

 

    1. Self-discipline is critical.
      It’s easy to spend time doing things that have nothing to do with building your business. You can sleep in late. You can go for a run mid-morning. You can meet friends for lunch. You can get the washing, shopping, cleaning done. You can spend hours on Twitter, Google, YouTube and Facebook. Before you know it, the day, week, month is gone but your business is flailing. Having a structure to your day/week and systems in place helps.

 

    1. It can be an emotional rollercoaster.
      Every business owner I’ve ever spoken to says that they experience emotional highs and lows, often in the same hour! You need to develop resilience and find coping mechanisms help you through. Don’t rely solely on friends or a partner and don’t try to deal with it alone. Get a good support network in place.

 

  1. It’s not for everyone.
    If you want someone to tell you what to do, when to do it and how to do it, then stick with a job. If you can’t afford to or don’t want to take financial risks, then stick with a job where someone pays you a salary. If you’ve found a job that you’re excited about, that fits with your lifestyle, that is fulfilling, that ticks all your boxes, then hang on to it – you’re one of the lucky ones.

I’d love to hear your views about whether you think being an entrepreneur is all it’s cracked up to be or whether it’s all a bit over-rated.

If you’ve got a question for me about running a business, please ask it. I’m happy to share all that I know.

P.S. If you are ready to make the leap from corporate job holder to entrepreneur, then join my free webinar, where I’ll share the five keys to starting your own business, avoiding common start-up mistakes.

Entrepreneurship. All It’s Cracked Up To Be? | Amica Digital

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Stop Reading. It’s Bad For You https://amicadigital.com/business/stop-reading-its-bad-for-you/ https://amicadigital.com/business/stop-reading-its-bad-for-you/#comments Wed, 09 Mar 2011 04:50:11 +0000 http://blog.transforme.com.au/?p=854 Yes you did read that correctly. Of course I mean after you’ve read this article 😉 I love reading. My bookshelves are overflowing with books. My husband loves to read and our  son loves to read too. I read fiction, non-fiction, business books and books about running. I hate it when people ask me “what’s […]

Stop Reading. It’s Bad For You | Amica Digital

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Yes you did read that correctly. Of course I mean after you’ve read this article 😉

I love reading. My bookshelves are overflowing with books. My husband loves to read and our  son loves to read too. I read fiction, non-fiction, business books and books about running. I hate it when people ask me “what’s your favorite book?” Why? Well, I’m hopeless at remembering titles and authors and I’ve read so many great books that I find it hard to choose a favorite.

If I love reading so much, why am I telling you to stop?Stop Reading

Well, I’m talking about getting caught in the common trap of trawling the internet seeking out the latest and greatest articles and posts from “those in the know”. Downloading the free ebooks that promise you how to attract thousands of loyal clients in your sleep. Why oh why do I get sucked into those catchy titles? I must’ve downloaded over 100 ebooks in the past year. I’ve probably read one quarter of them at best.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing free resources out there. Some are so good in fact, that I don’t understand why they are being offered for free. Well, I do know why. They are offered as a marketing hook, a list building magnet, a client relationship building tool etc.

I’ve also paid for some articles and ebooks and guess what? I’m 100% more likely to read the articles I’ve paid for than those that are free. I know this is true for people who download my freebies too. Less than 50% actually open the first email containing the download links! I don’t know how many of those that open, then read / listen but I bet it’s not 100%! Now this could say something about the quality of my freebies but I think it’s more of a reflection of internet behavior in general.

But why I am saying reading is bad for you? Well, it’s bad for you if you spend waste your valuable time trawling, downloading and skimming articles instead of doing what you need to do to take your business to the next step.

It can also be bad for you if you become so overwhelmed by the abundance of information that you end up stuck and unable to work out which “advice” to follow. You have a university degree worth of information but can’t put pen to paper to write that exam essay!

Finally, it’s bad for you if you if it starts playing with your head. You know “Wow, that’s a fantastic ebook and she’s offering it for free! There’s no way I could produce anything that good. Oh, I’m never going to make a success of my business. No one will want to listen to what I’ve got to say, never mind pay money for it.” Or something along those lines.

I’m not really suggesting that you should stop reading completely but here are a few tips to help you avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.

Limit yourself to one hour per day

I believe in keeping up to date and in continuous learning, so searching for new and interesting ideas is worthwhile but limit yourself to one hour per day maximum. Don’t do it during your prime productive time. Choose a time like lunchtime or later in the evening (instead of or while watching crap TV).

Search for specific articles

Think about what you’re currently working on and what ideas, inspiration or knowledge you need to take the next step. Be disciplined and only search for articles that you can use this week. If you happen to come across something interesting, then flag it or tag to read later.

Learn the lesson and take action

Read the article, listen to the audio or watch the video and take notes as you go. Decide exactly how you are going to apply it to your business. What actions will you take?

Use technology

Use bookmarks, Instapaper, a web reader like Google Reader, Kindle / iBooks and other technology to save time and to organize your reading lists. If you have an iPad, you can then save everything to one of these applications and read it when you have downtime – waiting for the kids at soccer practice, while eating lunch, in bed or at the beach.

Stop negative self talk

If you find yourself slipping into negative thinking as you’re reading an article, stop. Either reframe your thinking and work out how you could improve on the article and make it work for your business or stop reading and move onto a task that you makes you feel good about yourself.

I do hope you’re still reading 😉 In my weekly newsletter, I share my top tips, tactics and tools of the week and those that I recommend are definitely worth adding to your favorite Reader.

Do you find yourself downloading freebies but not ever reading them?
Can you relate to the negative thinking?
What tips can you share to make reading for business productive?

If you liked this article, please use the buttons below to like or share with others.

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Everyone Wants to Be Rich, Happy & Hot https://amicadigital.com/business/everyone-wants-to-be-rich-happy-hot/ https://amicadigital.com/business/everyone-wants-to-be-rich-happy-hot/#comments Wed, 02 Mar 2011 04:54:04 +0000 http://blog.transforme.com.au/?p=848 One of the people of my watch-list is Marie Forleo and if you visit her blog, you’ll see that her tagline is: Where Women Entrepreneurs Live Rich, Happy and Hot Nice eh? As a woman entrepreneur, I certainly want to be rich, happy and hot. But today I feel poor, pissed off and far from […]

Everyone Wants to Be Rich, Happy & Hot | Amica Digital

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One of the people of my watch-list is Marie Forleo and if you visit her blog, you’ll see that her tagline is:

Where Women Entrepreneurs Live Rich, Happy and Hot

Nice eh?

As a woman entrepreneur, I certainly want to be rich, happy and hot.

But today I feel poor, pissed off and far from hot!

You see, I’ve had one of those weeks. You know the ones where nothing seems to work like it should. Let me share my woes – they say sharing makes you feel better so let’s see.

  • My internet connection is sloooooooooow and I don’t know why but the result is it’s taking me ages to get things done
  • I wanted to make some changes to my website but didn’t have the know-how so have to wait for my web developer to do it for me
  • My taxes from last year have been hanging over my head and I had to get them done even though I really wanted to spend the time doing other things
  • I’m creating a new program which I know will be great but that stupid negative little voice inside my head won’t shut up
  • I want to bounce some ideas around but I don’t want to burden my networking community because they’re all busy too
  • I had to delete over 150 “likers” from my Facebook fanpage and only 38 have “re-liked” which is pretty depressing 🙁
  • I saw a sales promotion for a program about “how to build a thriving online audience” featuring gurus like Corbett Barr, Leo Barbuto, Gary Vaynerchuk and Danielle LaPorte but I’ve spend my training budget so can’t do it.

I could go on, and on, and on, but I realize you’ve probably already got the violin out! I know, none of these things are big disasters and as my stepson would remind me “they’re very 1st world problems.” He’d be right of course. But the thing is, they’re my problems and I have to deal with them.

The reason people like Marie Forleo, Corbett Barr, Leo Barbuto, Gary Vaynerchuk, Danielle LaPorte and hundreds of others are in business, is because these are the sorts of issues entrepreneurs face and have to deal with – especially those of us in the startup and early growth stages.

So what am I going to do about all of these terrible problems?

Deal with the overwhelm

Serendipitously I read a blog post over lunch (yep that’s what we entrepreneurs do for lunch!) written by another person on my watch-list Peter Shallard – The Shrink for Entrepreneurs. It was all about dealing with overwhelm. You know, when it all gets too much? He advises to “Be in the Now” meaning don’t focus on all that has to be done at some point in the future. Instead deal with what can be done right now.

Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint

As many of you know, I’m a runner – well an aspiring runner. I’m also terribly impatient. I want everything NOW! My husband (AKA Adonis) introduced me to the wonderful phrase “instant gratification is too slow”. That sums me up perfectly. However, I need to remember when it comes to growing a business, I need to be patient. I’m in this for the long haul. It takes time so I need to give it time.

Ask for help

I’m a big believer in the strength and power of networks, communities, support groups – whatever term tickles your fancy. I’m an extrovert so I get my energy from other people. I need people to talk to, share ideas with chew the fat with. I’m just not very good at asking for help, especially when I need it most. You see, I don’t like to be a burden and I hate not being good at things so asking for help can be tough but I need to JFDI.

Tell the negative voice to eff off

This is hard to do. I’m a high achiever and a perfectionist. Yes, I’m a nightmare to live with 🙂 The result is that I’m never satisfied and always think I can do better. For me, it also means I think everyone else is doing it better than me, faster than me or smarter than me. Some days that negative voice just doesn’t let up. It shouts rather than whispers. I need to tell it to hush. I need to teach that positive, supportive little voice to speak up and speak often.

Ahhhhh. I’m feeling better already. Rich, Happy, Hot….not yet but working on it.

As an entrepreneur do you ever feel this way?
Do you have any other tips to help me and others like me?

If you’ve liked what you’ve read, then please like it. If you know someone else who might benefit, please share it.

Everyone Wants to Be Rich, Happy & Hot | Amica Digital

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I wish I had the guts to… https://amicadigital.com/business/i-wish-i-had-the-guts-to/ https://amicadigital.com/business/i-wish-i-had-the-guts-to/#comments Wed, 23 Feb 2011 06:00:36 +0000 http://transformeblog.wordpress.com/?p=646 People often say to me “I wish I had the guts to do what you do.” OK, most don’t say exactly that but that’s the sentiment. Sometimes they’re talking about me running my own business, sometimes they’re referring to me running a marathon, sometimes it’s about me telling it like it is 😉 Although I […]

I wish I had the guts to… | Amica Digital

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People often say to me “I wish I had the guts to do what you do.” OK, most don’t say exactly that but that’s the sentiment.

Sometimes they’re talking about me running my own business, sometimes they’re referring to me running a marathon, sometimes it’s about me telling it like it is 😉

Although I hear it a lot, I’m still surprised when people say it to me. I don’t think what I do is anything extraordinary. I think everything that I do, other people can do and maybe even better! I don’t think I’m anything special. But I am. You see, I don’t wish it, I make it happen.

Is wishing just an opportunity to moan about what’s missing from your life instead of taking action to change it? I’m not saying that everything you wish for you can have, but what if you decided to stop wishing and start getting? What would you have to do differently? How much do you honestly want it and do you have the guts to get it?

Here is a 5 step plan to building guts.

    1. Step 1 – Get Over Your Fear.  There is usually good reason. You’ve had other priorities, you’ve been too busy, you can’t afford it or perhaps you’ve tried but failed. Thinking about why you don’t already have what you wish for, will help you work out what’s been holding you back. In my experience, fear is the single thing that stops us taking action to get what we want. Everything else is an excuse (often valid) but fear is really at the core of it.I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-hour Work Week” (now on my iPad!), and he suggests an activity that I think is great for getting to the bottom of fear.What you do is, imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen if you pursued your wish. Would it cause permanent damage? What steps would you take to get things back on track? Chances are you could turn things around right?Now imagine the more probable scenario – what is more likely to happen? I bet it’s likely that you could produce a moderate outcome rather than the worst case scenario.Finally, think about what it’s costing you not to pursue your dream? How will you feel in another 10 years if you don’t take action?
    2. Step 2 – Get Uncomfortable.  OK, this is where you need to get straight with yourself. It’s fine to wish for something that is within your means but if your wish is well beyond your means (resources, capability, control etc.) then your wish is a pipedream and you should see it as that and move on.There’s a difference between something being beyond your means and beyond your comfort zone. Having the guts to take action, usually means getting uncomfortable. Believe me, running a marathon is not comfortable! Running a business means learning new skills and feeling uncomfortable at times.Just do it anyway. Have guts, get uncomfortable.
    3. Step 3 – Work Out What it Will Take. I’m not talking here about winning the lottery 😉 What I am saying, is work through the steps required to achieve your wish.Let’s take an example – I wish I didn’t have to travel for work and be away from home all week.What actions could you take? What options do you have? Are you working with facts or feelings? How long will it take?Taking the time to work through what’s required, helps you see a clear path for what action you need to take. If you don’t take this step, then you really don’t know whether it’s achievable. You’ll don’t know how much guts you need until you know what needs to be done.
    4. Step 4 – Pay the Price. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”. Once you’ve worked out what it will take to get your wish, ask yourself two questions.First – Am I willing to do what it takes to get this?
      Second – When I get it, what will it be like?Using the same example as we did in step 3, if you look at what needs to be done and the mere thought of it is overwhelming, then the chance of you doing something about it are slim to none. The price you’d have to pay for your wish is too high.Thinking then about the second question; if you did change jobs or started a business that gave you the flexibility to be home more, then what? Would you be wishing you had some time to yourself? If you are home more, will there be an expectation on you to do more around the house? Will you lose your frequent flyer miles and have to pay for flights and holidays in future?Everything comes with a price – if you say you want it , make sure you mean it!
    5. Step 5 – Take Action. Or, JFDI! Stop making excuses, stop moaning to others, stop thinking, wishing, dreaming. Instead start doing. If you get to this step, then you know why you haven’t already got what you want, you know it is possible for you to have it, you know what it will take to get it and you are prepared to pay the price. So now, take action.It sounds simple enough but this is where a lot of people come unstuck.They just can’t seem to make things happen.I work with clients who have most of the answers in their heads, some even have them written down in detailed plans, yet they don’t take action. Why?For some it’s fear of failure.Some are good thinkers and planners but not implementers.For others it’s procrastination – they can’t decide where to start or whether they’re doing the right thing or when’s the best time.

      There are good reasons for not taking action and if you find yourself stuck, then at least have the guts to get some assistance.

There it is. A five step plan to building guts.

I’m not trying to be trivial or to suggest that it’s easy to get what you want. What I am attempting to do is to inspire you to do something about your wishes so that they don’t just stay wishes.

What do you wish you had the guts to do?
Have you made a gutsy change? How did that work out for you?
Have you ever had to face your worst case scenario? What happened?

Are you fed up with the daily grind and wish you had the guts to start a business? My  “Kickstart Mastermind” program will be held later this year.  To make sure you don’t miss out on the early bird offer, sign up for the fortnightly Kick Start Newsletter so that you are the first to find out how to register.

I wish I had the guts to… | Amica Digital

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Are You Up To The Challenge? https://amicadigital.com/business/are-you-up-to-the-challenge/ https://amicadigital.com/business/are-you-up-to-the-challenge/#comments Wed, 02 Feb 2011 01:20:39 +0000 http://transformeblog.wordpress.com/?p=731 This week I launched a 4 Week Kick Start (4WKS) Challenge as part of a weekly radio segment I do with Niki Springett on Northside Broadcasting 99.3FM. The idea of the challenge is to inspire the listeners of the show to stop wishing, thinking, planning, resolving and to start taking action to make change happen. […]

Are You Up To The Challenge? | Amica Digital

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This week I launched a 4 Week Kick Start (4WKS) Challenge as part of a weekly radio segment I do with Niki Springett on Northside Broadcasting 99.3FM.

The idea of the challenge is to inspire the listeners of the show to stop wishing, thinking, planning, resolving and to start taking action to make change happen. If you’re sick of breaking commitments to yourself (and others around you) then you might like to join the challenge too.

Each week, for 4 weeks, I’ll share an activity that you can do to kick start change. This will require you to do some thinking and if you’re keen, spend some time each week completing a task.

Each task is designed to move you toward a better life by giving you self-insight and personal growth in areas that are currently holding you back. The activities are practical and not all “woo woo, fluffy, daily affirmation” things (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my style).

The topic for Week 1 is “Stop Putting Up With and Start Getting What You Want”.

The reason for starting with this topic is because all of us put up with stuff. It’s usually a combination of small stuff and big stuff. Here’s some examples directly from my clients:

  • Putting myself last
  • Not having faith in myself
  • Not finishing things due to fear of failure
  • Putting off paying the credit card to enjoy life now
  • Not keeping up with emails
  • An untidy house
  • A broken photocopier

The thing is, over time these items build up and bring us down and we either explode about something apparently trivial or we end up feeling frustrated, angry or disappointed with ourselves and others.

So, the first activity in the Challenge is to make a list of all of the things you are putting up with. These are called Tolerations.

Part 1 – Make a List

Take a piece of paper and just start making a list all of the things that you are putting up with. Start writing things down – no matter how trivial they seem. Add to your list as more things come up for you. Keep your worksheet close by your bedside as you try to fall asleep at night because that’s often when we stew about the things that are annoying us.

Part 2 – Take Action

Decide which items on your list you will no longer tolerate. For each one think about the changes you will make. That might include asking others to do things for you, letting go of duties or responsibilities, getting qualified or skilled or just deciding to do something that you want to do with no regard for what others may think.

A True Story

What I want to share with you in this post is a true story of how putting up with things stops us from getting what we want.

A client, I’ll call her Jenny, came to me for coaching because she was very unhappy in her job. She was in a senior role in a large organisation and had a very successful career. She earned very good money. Her husband also had a senior role and they worked long hours but managed to build in time for each other and their two school-aged children. They went on good holidays together, had a lovely house in an exclusive suburb and a good social network. All sounds pretty good right? Wrong.

As I coached Jenny over a few sessions, she told me that she’d never really loved her job but was a high-achiever who applied herself and didn’t like to fail. As a result, she’d been promoted and head-hunted to bigger and better roles. It all kind of happened around her and she went with it. Her problem was that she was now dependent on the money to fund her lifestyle, defined herself by her career, felt that her husband liked that she had such a good job and she felt trapped.

No one knew that Jenny felt this way because she kept it all to herself and kept up the facade of a being a successful career woman, wife and mother. As she spoke to me about how she was feeling, she was very emotional. She had been putting up with doing a job she just didn’t like, the expectations of others, her own needs and desires going unmet and inside and was feeling desperately unhappy. When I asked her why she put up with feeling this way and not doing something about it, she said she didn’t want to disappoint anyone. She also felt that she would be a failure if she admitted to feeling like this.

Jenny had made the decision to tolerate being unhappy to apparently please other people and to feed her own self-perception.

Jenny eventually spoke to her husband about how she was feeling, worked out what she wanted to do and a plan for making that happen in a way that she was comfortable with and that didn’t destroy all of the good things she had going. She is still a successful career woman, wife and mother but now she’s also happy.

The reason I wanted to share a real experience is to show you how much and for how long we put up with things and what an impact it has on us.

By taking stock of the things we are tolerating and then taking action to put changes in place to eliminate or reduce these tolerations, we can start to live a better life.

So, if Jenny’s story resonated with you or got you thinking about the things you’re putting up with, then why not join the 4 Week Kick Start Challenge? More details are available on my website.

If you enjoyed this post and think others would benefit from reading it, please use the buttons below to share it.

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Have you stopped putting up with something that you weren’t happy about?
Do you have a story to share about tolerations?
Are you up for the 4 Week Challenge?

Are You Up To The Challenge? | Amica Digital

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Wanting it just isn’t enough https://amicadigital.com/business/wanting-it-just-isnt-enough/ https://amicadigital.com/business/wanting-it-just-isnt-enough/#comments Thu, 11 Nov 2010 03:51:32 +0000 http://transformeblog.wordpress.com/?p=559 This week’s blog has been triggered by a whole bunch of conversations, events, other blog posts and a few of my own ponderings. As the title says, it’s about why wanting it just isn’t enough. Here’s a few of the trigger events: I want to lose weight I want to put all those great ideas […]

Wanting it just isn’t enough | Amica Digital

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This week’s blog has been triggered by a whole bunch of conversations, events, other blog posts and a few of my own ponderings. As the title says, it’s about why wanting it just isn’t enough.

Here’s a few of the trigger events:

I want

I want

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to put all those great ideas I just learned into my business
  • I want to start my own business
  • I want to be with him
  • I want to help her
  • I want to write a book
  • I want to start a business
  • I want to have a baby
  • I want to run a marathon one day
  • I want to go on holidays
  • I want to find a new job
  • I want to have a buff body for summer

You’ve probably got many more you could add to the list – some you’ve heard, some of your own.

So, all this wanting got me wondering, why is it that some people want something, then go and make it happen, yet others want something (sometimes very much) yet just can’t seem to get past the wanting and into action mode?

Here are a few of the reasons I’ve uncovered:

  1. It’s too scary. Some of the things we want are big and we know that it will take a big change or a lot of effort to get them and when we start thinking about that, it’s too overwhelming so we stop thinking and just keep wanting.
  2. Don’t have the skills. We just don’t know how to go about getting it. We need skills, knowledge or help from others but maybe don’t even know where to start.
  3. Too many other priorities. Let’s face it, we want a lot! There are many things fighting for our time, our money, our focus and energy.
  4. Fear of failure. This is a big one. If we say we want something, without ever doing anything about it, then we never have to face the possibility that we just can’t have it or that we might not have what it takes to get it.
  5. Fear of success. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for” or in this case want for. It is possible that we want something but getting it comes at a high cost and we’re not prepared to pay price.

So “I want” to offer some solutions to these and I’m going to! Here are my ideas for when you’re ready to kick start some action….when wanting it just isn’t enough.

    1. Eat the elephant one bite at a timeI’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. Eating a whole elephant in a single meal would be too much for even the biggest appetite; but by breaking it down into meal size portions, bagging it up for future meals and eating the first meal, you’ll have that elephant eaten in no time. Apologies to the elephant lovers and vegetarians.
    2. Ask. Simple. If you don’t know how, ask someone who does and keep asking and learning until you do know how. If you don’t know who to ask for help, ask someone who to ask! Surrounding yourself with people who can help just makes sense. Yet, so many times I talk to people who are battling away on their own.The reason I created The Kickstart Business is because I know that people need support to be their best. I also know that finding the right support can be time-consuming and overwhelming. The more information we have access to, the more options there are and the more confusing it can be. I offer you solutions in one place. Easy.
    3. Work out what you really want. If you want lots of things then you need to prioritise what you want the most. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the other things, it just means you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Try writing down all of your wants then trading one off against the other to test which you want more. Eventually you should have a prioritised list.
    4. Get over yourself. We don’t want to look stupid, we want others to like us, we want to make mistakes. If you want it bad enough then get over these excuses and take the risk – you just might succeed and get what you want and more!
    5. Get real. With yourself. If you want something and it’s important then you’ll find a way. If it just isn’t worth it then let it go and enjoy what you’ve got. Write a list of all that you have already and be thankful for all of that.

If you’ve now decided that wanting it just isn’t enough, then go get it.

I’d love to hear your views.
Is it really this easy? If you want it – go get it?
Can just wanting it be enough?
Is there something you want but even if you put these ideas into place, you still couldn’t have it?

I’ve given you bite size questions. I’m asking you to comment. I really want your view. If I don’t get any comments, I’ll ask again next week. I’ve enjoyed thinking about this topic and writing about it and now I can get onto getting my next want 🙂

Wanting it just isn’t enough | Amica Digital

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