Tag Archives: entrepreneur

The Realities of Working Online: Ten Glimpses

The Realities of Working Online: Ten Glimpses

 

Being able to earn a living by working on your own websites and projects is a dream scenario for many people, no doubt for the reader as well. There are countless people working in “regular” jobs that would love to have more freedom and the ability to make more money, and having a successful online business is an ideal solution.

So although it is an ideal situation I am sure that many people who would like to be in that situation don’t have a very accurate idea of what it is really like to earn a living by running your own online business.

This article will cover ten realities about working as a self-employed blogger or internet marketer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. You must exercise self-discipline

When I first left my full-time job to work online I had a lot of friends and family members comment about my schedule or ask questions about how much I’d be working. For some reason a lot of people think the flexibility that comes with running an online business means that you can be lazy.

If I had left my job to start a traditional business no one would ask me if I’d be sleeping in, but with an online business that seemed to be a common assumption.

In reality, earning a living from your own websites and blogs requires a great deal of discipline. There is no boss telling you to start work at a specific time, no designated amount of time for a lunch break, no exact limit on vacation days, and no one telling you what you need to be working on and how to spend your time.

You have to be able to make all of these decisions on your own, and you’ll need discipline to stay on task and to treat it like the business that it is.

2. Your income is not likely to be steady

One of the challenges is getting used to an income that will fluctuate from month-to-month and year-to-year.

If you’re used to working at a job with a consistent salary, like I was, there will be some changes once your primary income is from your own online projects, whether it is from websites that you own or from services that you provide to clients.

You can’t always know ahead of time how much money you’ll make in any given month, so you’ll need to be able to get comfortable with this situation. It’s a good idea to learn to live below your means, at least at first, to avoid a situation where your income is less than expected and you can’t afford to pay your bills.

3. Self-employment doesn’t mean that you don’t have a job or a boss

Working on your own websites and projects can possibly allow you a lot more freedom than you would have with a typical job, but this is not necessarily always the case.

For example, leaving a full-time job I had been working on growing my own website for about a year and a half, and even though the income from that site was growing nicely, it wasn’t enough to replace the salary I was used to making.

To supplement the income from my site I also had to do a lot of work as a freelance blogger and also was able to do some web design work for clients. The clients that paid me for writing and designing essentially became my new boss at my new job. While working as a freelancer does offer a little more flexibility than a typical 9-5 job, the ones who hire you are still essentially your bosses.

Whether it is an online business or a traditional business, being self-employed doesn’t mean that you don’t have a job.

If I stop working today there would be some residual income from product sales, AdSense, and affiliate products that would continue to come for some time, but if I did not continue to work on these things they would decrease and eventually dry up.

I would not, at this point, have a business that would run very efficiently or effectively without my own continued efforts. Essentially, I replaced my old full-time job as an employee with my current full-time job where I work for myself.

Yes, I do make more money now, I have more flexibility, and I enjoy what I do, but I have to remind myself that I still have a job.

The ultimate goal for most anyone who works online, myself included, is to eventually become a business owner where the business can be sustained without full-time effort or hours from the owner.

4. It takes significant time to build a business

When someone starts a traditional business they usually understand that it will take some time for the business to become profitable. Some successful businesses have a development phase which may take years before they really turn a profit.

When it comes to online businesses, most people have an expectation of seeing instant results. Building a business requires time, whether it is an online business or a more traditional business.

One important advantage that you have with online business is that the expenses and initial investment will usually be significantly lower when compared to a traditional business, but becoming profitable still takes time.

Over the years I’ve seen many people start websites or blogs or online businesses with great expectations but they give up within a month or two when they realize it’s going to take more time and effort than they expected.

You have to approach your online projects with the right mindset and realistic expectations; then you’ll be well ahead of most people and you’ll have a much better chance of sticking with it until you attain your goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. You will probably be misunderstood as to what you do for a living

I’ve worked on my own websites and blogs for more than 5 years now, and most of my friends and family really don’t have a good idea what I do or how to make money. If you tell people you make money by blogging, most people can’t conceive how you actually make money with a blog, and may get some pretty interesting questions.

6. Don’t forget to reckon with your business expenses!

In the world of internet marketing and “make money online” blogs you see a lot of products and courses that make specific claims about the amount of money that some other person was able to earn, but very rarely will you see many details about what expenses are involved. Not too long ago I purchased a product from a well-known marketer showing how easy it is to make $1,000 virtually overnight by following a specific system.

The course shows the exact amount of money that this person supposedly made using paid traffic, but there is no mention of how much money was spent to get that traffic.

Generating $1,000 in gross receipts is not the same thing as turning $1,000 in profit. Business expenses are often minimized when it comes to making money online, but it is crucial to consider these expenses when calculating how much you expect to earn.

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income is a rare example of someone who mentions expenses in his monthly income reports.

7. Income potential is known to be high

With a traditional job your potential earnings may be limited by various criteria: the type of work that you do, the length of time that you’ve worked for the company, the degrees or certifications that you have, the co-workers salaries, and even the amount that your boss makes. In some cases these limitations are rather arbitrary and preclude you from earning what you are truly worth to your employer.

Earning a living from your own websites and projects is completely different. There are no limitations, and if are able to become good at what you do the potential is very high. Of course, there are no guarantees that you will make more than what you could make at a traditional job, and many people will never be able to reach that level. However, the potential is there, and if are willing to work hard, have some patience, and learn a lot along the way, there are many opportunities for making money online.

8. You’re building assets by the work you do online

When I left my full-time job I took my last pay check a week or two later, and that was the end of my income from that job. In 2013 I finally reached the position of being able to sell the website that had been making income at for several years (and also my primary “job”), and when I walked away from that website/job I was able to turn a healthy profit from the buyer..

When you’re working on your own websites and projects it is like building assets that can be used to bring in future revenue for you, or which could be sold to someone else. A profitable website is truly an asset. The mailing list you’re building is an asset. Any goods or services you create are assets. All of these things help you to earn a living now, and unlike a typical job, you also have the potential to get turn a healthy profit by selling the assets.

When you’re working for someone else as an employee it is the other way around in that you’re essentially helping them to build assets for their future profit, and they are paying you in return for that kind of work.

This ability to build valuable assets would surely be the favorite part of what I do. Going back to point #7, being able to build and sell assets has everything to do with the high income potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The future is not something you can count on

Things in the online world change very quickly and you have to be able to adapt in order to remain successful. Digg sold for $500,000 in 2012, just four years after they turned down a $400 million dollar offer. Other popular sites like MySpace also have become out of favor fairly rapidly.

It’s not just huge, massively popular social media sites that can be impacted by changing trends. The algorithm changes by Google have led to serious damage for businesses large and small over the past couple of years for those who may be vulnerable.

When it comes to online business, the future is not guaranteed. You’ll need to be able to implement creatively and constantly learning and improving, because things can change very quickly.

10. You’ll have to be flexible and think ahead of the curve

Because things can change so quickly, and because the future can be a gamble, as an internet marketer you’ll need to flexibility and willingness to evolve. You’ll need to improve upon what you are presently doing and learn new things in an ongoing way. If you’re able to keep adapting you will have better odds to remain successful well into the future.

Merrill Sloan

Contributor

Success – What’s Keeping You Back?

What are some of the things that hold you back from succeeding?  Could it be the time factor? Or perhaps it’s that you don’t have the necessary financial resources.   Maybe it’s your personality . . . you set up barriers to success even before starting something by thinking it’s not in your nature or you don’t know what to say or do.   Perhaps you’re not technically savvy!

Think about it!    If you had the opportunity today,  to make a huge difference in your life tomorrow or even in the coming months, what would it be worth to you?  How much effort would you be willing to put into it?   How much time would you devote to this effort? 

In today’s hustle and bustle world, with economic uncertainty all around, wouldn’t  it be nice to have more time to devote to family and the things in life you truly enjoy? If you were financially secure, wouldn’t that make life so much more enjoyable?

What if there was something that you could do about it?   Would you follow through?  If push comes to shove, could you overcome your objections and leap over the barriers holding you back from success?   How motivated are you to change your situation? 

 

In order to have success, you must know, choose and be who you are.  In other words, success is finding who you really are, your core values, then consciously choosing which of these things you want to keep and which you will change or discard.   Then let that “you” be present all the time, every day, in all that you do. 

The habits you form go hand in hand with success.  It’s essential that you form habits that align with your values for you to be successful in whatever area of your life you wish.  

Have you assessed the areas that might be holding you back?

 

 

Here is a list of potential areas that might be holding you back:

  • Waiting for the right moment  — this could be disguised as procrastination or even fear.  There never really is the right moment so it’s pretty much a waste of time to wait for one.  If you are living true to your values, every moment should be acted on within the best of your interests.  Be aware and take the opportunity and run with it.
  • Needing approval from others – If you understand you are responsible for everything past and present in your life, you will understand that you will be responsible for your future.  Taking action and having faith in your own decisions will make you a leader, and you will not need the opinion or approval of others.
  • Perfectionism —  The need to always be perfect is almost a form of self-harm as it will never happen because perfection does not exist.  If you think about it, when is anything ever perfect?   It will be much better to be happy and proud of the achievements that are already made, rather than be unhappy when there is always “something else to do”.
  • Not apologizing for making mistakes – Admitting when things go wrong is something we are not too comfortable with.  The people that you have the best connection with and value the most are ones who are open and honest with you.  People respect honesty.  If you want to be respected, in business and in life, learn that apologizing for your mistakes is imperative.
  • Too stubborn to let go – Nothing lasts forever.  Ideas come and go, so will good people, employees, partners, business associates.  Learning to let go will allow you move on.  You need to find a way to allow things to leave your universe as easy as they came in.  It is helpful not to create an emotional attachment to things as they will become harder to let go.  You will make way for the new when you lose the emotion and lose the stubbornness. Know that whatever you are holding on to does not define you so no need to cling to it. 
  • Not willing to do something beyond your duties –  As the saying goes “you get out what you put in”, a little more effort goes a long way.  The super successful do not sit around reveling in their accomplishments.  They are thinking of how they can do more and continue to excel.  Step out of your comfort zone and try something you don’t usually do.  It may just become addictive!
  • Comparing yourself to others – Looking at others and measuring whether you have achieved what they have achieved, or comparing what you own to what they own is unnecessary.  Success is a personal matter so find what’s important to you, what success looks and feels like to you, and be in control of that feeling.  
  • Not assessing your mistakes – we all make mistakes.  However, if you repeatedly make the same ones over and over, then it’s time to assess.  Ask yourself honest questions.  Why the mistakes are happening and why you didn’t act differently from the last time.  This assessment will help you find better solutions in the future.
  • Spending too long worrying about the outcome – we all worry from time to time.  If you let worry take over, this will hinder your success.   Realize there is only so much that you can control and many things are out of your control.   Continue putting in hard work, relax, and what will be, will be. 
  • Not working on your  weaknesses – We all have weaknesses and it’s a good thing because, for every weakness, you have a strong area.  Identify your weak areas and then spend a bit of time daily to work on improvement in these areas. 
  • Taking life too seriously – We have a lot more on our agendas as adults compared to when we were kids.  Life can get you down, but when you feel that way, remember how wonderful life is and think about all the great people and great moments that have helped to bring you to where you are today.  Set a goal for yourself.     “At work, I’ll always stay focused and think of what to improve.” 

Your success is important, but you have full control of making it what you wish. 

Judy Curtis,

Contributor

 

 

 

Who Are You Really Marketing To?

 

"…25-30 year old single women with annual incomes over $75,000, who live in San Diego, who like to shop…So if we are pretending we’re a clothing store, these might be some of the questions we should ask:

Where do they shop?

What magazines do they subscribe to?

What blogs might they read?

What do they struggle with when shopping?

How do they share their shopping experience?"     

      –Derric Haynie, CEO Splash

So, I'm new to the world of marketing.  No, it's not my educational background and I am surely not "fluent."  So, when I took a few minutes to read the above article (http://hive.pe/eG) written by Derric Haynie of Splash, I was amazed that there was so much to learn with regard to marketing!  Apparently, I'd been utilzing some aspects of marketing for quite some time now and hadn't even realized it. 

Have you ever completed a profile on an online dating site?  Whether or not you were providing misleading demographic information for your profile, you were probably marketing toward a certain mate.  So you created a profile in such a way that the hope was that you would attract a certain someone who had all the characteristics that you were looking for.  Am I correct?  Well, even though this example is quite simple, you were using some aspects of marketing.  If you included photos along with your description and traits, then you (in a nutshell), were utilzing the phenomenon known as "buyer persona."

I invite you to check out Derric's blog, especially if you are like me and you are new to this world of marketing.  I thought it gave a great overview of this topic and it has forced me to think more about who my target audiences are in more detail.

I'd love to hear thoughts once you've had a chance to read Derric's article.

When Opportunity Knocks!

As Gloria Estefan once stated:

"The sad truth is that opportunity doesn't knock twice. You can put things off until tomorrow but tomorrow may never come. Where will you be a few years down the line?  Will it be everything you dreamed of? We seal our fate with the choices we take, but don't give a second thought to the chances we take."

There is profound advice in the above quote.   Hand write it on a sticky and put it where you will see it often. Or better yet, keep it with you on your smartphone. Study it often. Opportunity abounds.   Always has… always will.  Especially in tough times. But it NEVER knocks twice. In fact, opportunity doesn’t knock at all.   It never makes a sound. Opportunity is something you SEE… something you FEEL… something you SENSE.  

Rather than what we've been trained to expect, opportunities behave quite differently. You must have powerful lenses with which to see and sense them.  It is impossible to see opportunities surrounding you unless you have sufficient vision. It is impossible to seize these opportunities unless you have sufficient power. The bottom line is that seeing and seizing opportunities requires real power.   Personal power is a choice.

 

VISION, OPPORTUNITY, and SUCCESS are linked, and for most people, just outside their line of sight. So, get more powerful glasses!

Consider the following:

  1. Do you have the physical energy to chase down and capture opportunities given to you? 
  2. Do you have the sense of purpose to actually see opportunities you are presented with?
  3. Do you have the team-building synergy to get other people to help you with those opportunities?
  4. Do you have the organizational skills necessary to systematically pursue those opportunities… or is your lack of organization holding you back from even getting started?
  5. Do you have the action-oriented mindset necessary to move those opportunities beyond theory and into your life?

Are any of the above five areas of performance standing between you and the opportunity?     If so, what will you do to improve it?

Let me close with another quote that resonates with me.

"If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade!" ~   Tom Peters

 

Judy Curtis,

Contributor

 

Entrepreneurial Skills Needed To Effectuate Positive Social Marketing Changes

There is a distinct dissonance regarding the behavior and social change espousements between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing has some redeeming qualities for the good. This diversity of opinion gets played out in program planning meetings, conferences, policy debates and resource allocations (such as found in RFPs and TORs). Not everyone who works to solve intractable problems needs to be a social marketer; yet, learning some basic marketing skills will be advantageous because the most important aspect of marketing today rides with the entrepreneurs who are shaping the social changes and solutions.

 

1. Entrepreneurs Learn to Listen
Entrepreneurs are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires an analytical mind—the process is not at all passive. By being trained in the analysis of your prospective customer using focus groups, and other appropriate techniques, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your VIP members and investors want.

2. Entrepreneurs Learn To Make Better Decisions
Knowing how to find and interpret data about your VIP members and investors means that you’ll derive a better understanding of the problems you are facing and how to tackle them in new ways. Of course, you’ll also get in the habit of shortcutting through a lot of unnecessary paperwork and honing in on the relevant data and revelatory insights that are most important.

3. An Entrepreneur Matures In His Communication Skills
The best marketers learn how to gain perspectives into different personality types and how to apply different techniques for engaging with them, based on what their idiosyncrasies are. This could be described as learning tact.

4. An Entrepreneur Does Not Waste Time
Because everyone is on a shoe-string budget, you have to be particularly perceptive concerning the prioritization of resources which is fundamental for small and large organizations and independent operators. Being creative about who ultimately falls into your sales funnel and concentrate on, the ways you reach them, and how to economize while still being effective will help you turn into an efficiency machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. An Entrepreneur Must Be Aware Of The World Situation

Marketers have to be aware of what’s going on in the world culture. This means they read, attend social gatherings, try to figure out what kind of trends are making waves, and generally pay attention to the zeitgeist. No matter what industry you operate in, one must learn to be particularly sensitive to their milieu, which is very advantageous in results shown. One must become accustomed to not focusing on the details of the situation one is found in but train oneself to focus on the bigger picture. This will ultimately payoff by enabling more productive work ethics and help one do better in their chosen workspace. As a byproduct of this kind of focusing one will probably end up having a keener interest in a lot that’s going on around you, which makes one a person who is more interesting for others to be around.

Leading In Social Change

If the foregoing matters are carefully worked through then the foundation is laid for the entrepreneur to be perceived as the leader who can be emulated. This is the most effective way to become an influence for the good in the role of societal movers and shakers. This kind of functioning must be consistent and without hypocrisy in order to acquire the standing to bring positive changes to the way business is carried out. This is the challenge for the entrepreneur, but the dividends are huge.

Home Based Business – Is it for you?

home.based_.business.success

In today's economy, it's hard for a large majority of the population to make ends meet. Everywhere we look our expenses creep upwards while our income lags behind. One salary households struggle to get through the month and have been known to "rob Peter to pay Paul". Even in households with two salaries coming in, there are times when there is more month than money!

Juggling the family finances can at times be trying. What's the answer? Perhaps a second job . . . it's an option if you don't mind giving up some family time for additional work time. Try paring back the expenses, if that can be done. Stretch your dollars as far as you can. Go through the storage bins and closets and have a yard sale or advertise items online as that could bring in some extra cash. Most of us have been around this block at one time or another!

Enter the technological age with all the advances in how we connect with our world. The portability of an office is at hand in the form of smartphones and tablets. Business can be conducted from any location as long as a phone and internet connection are available. Given the ease in which you can conduct business using modern technology, it is not a wonder that the number of households with home-based businesses has shot up substantially in the last few years.

Whether a person starts a home-based business on a part-time basis or whether a person jumps right into full time at the onset, there are many advantages. Among these perks are personal freedom and independence. Time spent in traffic can be redirected towards spending more time with family. There are no bosses, no dress code, no set work schedule, and no office politics to deal with. Personal drive, discipline, and time-management skills are required.

There are tax advantages to having a home-based business. A percentage of most household bills including mortgage or rent, utilities, property taxes, insurance, phone and internet bills can be deducted based on the percentage of your house that is used for your home office. Be sure to follow the Tax Guides for Small Businesses as set out by the Government. Any improvements or repairs to your home office are also deductible business expenses. Be sure and keep all receipts.

Many home based business expenses are tax deductible including tax preparation fees for your home based business; education expenses for classes you take to improve your business skills; software and office supplies purchased to use for your business, and transportation used for business purposes (deduct expense for mileage traveled for business at a per mile/km amount). All items you need to conduct your business are deductible.

There are other positives when considering a home-based business. Start up costs of a home-based business are considerably less when compared to starting a brick & mortar business or owning a franchise. You get to expand your skills as you deal with all aspects of running a business. You get to set your own schedule, therefore, it will be a little less stressful when having to juggle demands of work and family. You are rewarded as the harder you work, the more money you can make.

There is a multitude of home-based businesses to choose from so be prepared to spend some time and effort checking out the opportunities before deciding which opportunity to pursue. Be sure to take into consideration your lifestyle. Think about whether you would want to be able to conduct your business from more than one location; if not now, perhaps in the future. Plan ahead. It's just as easy to choose a business that can be conducted primarily over the internet than a business that requires a more permanent location.

Give starting a home-based business some thought . . . it may be just what you need!

Judy Curtis,

Contributor

Boost Your Success as a Blogger – 7 Tips

All blog writers want their blog to be successful—this is the one thing they all have in common. For most blog writers, success is loyal followers.

Regardless of when or why you began your blog, a few modifications here and there to your blog and your mindset can transform things for the better.   Here's a list of 7 tips to help you be successful as a blog writer.

1. Finding Your Niche

This little bit of advice has been jumping around the Internet since the beginning of the first effective blog.   Still, a lot of beginning writers don’t take this advice, partly because a lot of new writers aren’t sure what to write about and partly because they don’t know what a niche is.

Niche is described as, “a specialized but profitable corner of the market.”

What we really mean when we say to “find your niche” is to slim down the focus of your blog.   Referring to anything and everything that comes to mind is great if you’re composing for yourself, but visitors may discover it to be disorderly and challenging. What visitors really want is an assortment of relevant and beneficial content on the same subject to help fix an issue or query.

Examples of areas include:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Writing

While it’s correct that there are blogs on essentially every industry, the key to really succeeding and reaching your focus on industry is to filter your subject even further. Choose a gap in the marketplace and concentrate on that. This will decrease competitors while making you a go-to professional in your industry.

An example would be if you desired to start a blog about your travels.  Instead of concentrating on travel in general, you might concentrate on an individual nation or town. That way, you are likely to become the number one go-to blog for people who will be visiting that area.

2. Self-Promote

Promoting your own venture on public networking or within your team of buddies is overwhelming for a lot of people. You don’t want to appear to be boasting, and you definitely don’t want to come across looking like spam.

If you want to be successful, however, you have to tell others to get the word out, and who better to do that than you? It’s all part of the marketing procedure, and writers have to figure out how to use public networking and use feedback on blogs to promote themselves.

Many writers and public networking lovers recommend using 80% of your public feedback and shares to enhance other people’s works and 20% of it advertising your own services and products.  Sometimes tooting your own horn isn’t all that bad. The key is to find balance between self-promotion and humbleness.

3. Build on What Works

Use your web page statistics and comments feature to see how visitors respond to these new concepts. If you’re not seeing any sign of a response in your statistics, study visitors to see what they think.

Experimenting is all an element of the procedure, so don’t be worried about trying something new. Start guest posting, a new weekly blogging series, and try placing ads.

Testing one thing here or there isn’t likely to harm your writing exercise. Some of these tests often lead to a surge in visitors. What's promising is that you can always dump the ones that don’t work.

4. Perform an “Above the Fold” Test

Above the fold includes the content you see when you first view your blog. It’s anything that you see without scrolling.

Since you only have a few moments to create an excellent first impression and help visitors determine what they’re looking for, you want the most essential info above the fold. For example, individuals should be able to tell who you are and what you do without scrolling. If it’s not obvious in your blog headline, there is value including a tag line. If you want to highlight your call-to-action, that should appear above the fold as well.

Test your own site by using the Clue App to set up a free 5-second test.  Don’t like the results? It’s worth rethinking your website layout.

5. Make Your Blog Sticky

Sticky is a term that means you’re motivating individuals come back to or stay on your blog. For example, you might link to an appropriate article from your blog’s archives. You can do this within the material, or you can list additional sources at the end of each short article. The idea is that these hyperlinks point to your own material and offer visitors more in-depth information on the topic or a related topic.

As you do this, everyone is more likely to keep coming back and subscribe to your  blog. You can also make your blog sticky by inviting visitors to subscribe to your blog or by making your RSS feed available with the click of a button.

6. Ways to Extend Your Blog

To get individuals to stay and keep returning, it’s worth increasing  your reach outside of simple blog posts. This allows you reach more individuals who appreciate other types of content and contact, and it keeps your blog from getting boring.

Examples of ways to increase your reach include:

  • Releasing videos
  • Starting a podcast series
  • Hanging around industry forums or social media
  • Sending out newsletters

7. Create Quality Content

People have been saying it for a long time, and the saying still applies.  CONTENT IS KING!

Without well-written and interesting material, your blog isn’t going to go anywhere. Yes, your blog style and your promotion methods are essential, but they’re essentially ineffective if you don’t have quality material. Individuals may come because of the promotion, but they’ll remain when you provide material they need.

Pro tip:  Developing material customers “need” can include anything from educating them on something to offering them entertainment.  While writing a blog about yourself can have its advantages, you should always be concentrating on fixing the reader’s issues first (whether they are looking for advice or a good laugh.) 

Fulfilling your visitors’ needs is what will generate visitors to sign up to your blog.

Judy Curtis,

Contributor

 

Why You Must Become An Entrepreneur

Why You Must Become An Entrepreneur

If anyone has lately been searching for a job lately it soon becomes clear that it’s not just startups that do not want traditional employees, Google does not want them, small businesses don’t want them, agencies don’t want them.

Who do they want then? Entrepreneurs.

And companies are using lots of resources to get them.

For example 30% of large tech companies have already set up a seed fund to provide capital for startup entrepreneurs. In the administration of traditional companies, entrepreneurship is more sought after than ever before in history. The use of the term “intrapreneur” dates back to 1992, but it is historically at the present era that intrapreneurship has become a global phenomenon with companies hiring entrepreneurs-in-residence, holding “hackathons”, which are company-wide startup competitions, and encouraging employees to work on creative projects by allowing them a percentage of their regular hours to learn entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneurial worker has become a popular person. However, the question is then, Where does that leave employees who were molded in the tradidional way, the ones that you could tell what to do and they would do it. Does that literally mean that everyone needs to become an entrepreneur?

The robot model wherein employees just do what they are told is quickly becoming outdated.

Consider an appliance building factory. You can either hire two people at $50,000 per year or buy a robot for $100,000 that will serve you for 15 years, with no coffee breaks, 365 days a year 24 hours a day and no absences due to Illness and the like.

No wonder robots are catching on. The current world robot population is around 10 Million. In South Korea, where the highest number of industrial robots exist there are 347 robots per 10,000. How valuable are these robots? By 2030 it is estimated that robots will perform as well as humans at most manual jobs. That means that it would be good to look into the future and consider our job prospects, whether our jobs will still exist in 10 years.

The good news is that there is one quality that robots don’t have – a human factor- which distinguishes robots from entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have the capacity to understand humans, to know the problems humans are faced with and to be able to create value out of nothing.

Suppose You Don’t Want To Become an Entrepreneur

What if entrepreneurship just rubs you the wrong way? You are a very good at what you do and you just want to keep things the same? Ok, then let’s suppose in your lifetime there will not be any robots able to do what you do. Well, there is another problem you have to deal with: other people. There are people living in other countries who are willing and able to carry out the same work you do for less, being the same level of a specialist as you may be. In many areas of work roles does not matter if other people live elsewhere. And here is a compelling statistic; wherever you live, there are probably other nations where the type of work you do is cheaper. For example, IT coders from Russia code for 3 times less money than American coders. If we consider India, the rates would be even cheaper. But what about the newly emerging labor sources?

If there might be any safe haven from this entrepreneurialization of labor, it might be that your creativity would prevail to preserve your merit. If it falls to you to be creative perhaps this would preserve your particular niche of employment. However you must consider that an entrepreneurial creative type person would probably try to leverage his creativity outside his main job, so that he would receive more recognition as being someone who is considered to be creative. This creative aspect could be manifested in blog posts, an interesting ebook or an exceptional profile on LinkedIn.

So everything resolves to this: you need to be someone who can create their own opportunities and market the result. That’s entrepreneurship. If you happen to be a mid-level manager, you’ll never rise to the top unless you are able to create substantial value for the company, measured by profit. That’s what it means to sell. And if you don’t want to rise in the ranks, then sit tight, your replacement will probably be someone more dynamically entrepreneurial.

For those who are not happy about this turn of events, this state of affairs is actually a betterment of the workplace. The world is becoming better, but in order to stay competitive you only have to do one thing; you have to change with it – and the best way is by learning to become an entrepreneur.

How to be an authority


How to be an authority (Know Your Why First)

Being an authority figure in the online space should really be the goal of any website. When you are an authority figure you have the power to socially influence through your actions and words which means you hold a great deal of power & trust in front of your audience. The Bing Webmaster Blog recently put out a great piece on being an online authority which I think everyone should read. Please keep in mind that being an authority figure does not come from slapping together a mediocre plan. It takes though and dedication to put together a fierce action plan.

From Google:

“If a site is an authority in your industry, you can bet that it will be for Google as well. So if you’re a web designer, a link from Smashing Magazine or A List Apart helps, as a lot of other web design sites will be linking to those sites, thus causing those sites to be ‘hubs’ in the web design space.”

— Joost De Valk, Yoast

Being an authority online comes with huge benefits.

  •     Increased rankings for individual website pages
  •     Industry authority
  •     Heavy online influence
  •     Increased business
  •     Immense traffic spikes

Basically there is no down fall to being an authority figure in any industry but if you truly want to get there you have to lay out a path in the right direction to make it happen.

Here are some great ways to get on the right path to be an authority figure in your space:

Be Knowledgeable

If you are just getting started in your space you are not going to influence anyone overnight. Authority requires seasoning and experience in a space along with being able to present that experience in the right manner in front of your target audience.

Get Active in your Community

You absolutely have to get active socially in front of your community. If you want to be viewed as a leader you will have to engage with your audience on social communities like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You also want to make your website a destination spot that promotes back and forth interaction. (important)

Be a Resource

You want your audience to come to you for advice and help. Once they start turning towards you for help that means they are starting to look at you in a whole new different light.

Encourage Sharing

If you want others to share your material you are going to have to share their material as well. Encourage proactive content sharing so your audience can learn from not only you but from the people around you too. This will allow you to become a central hub which is really the focus of your efforts.

From Google: (again)

Its generally held that when an engine assigns deep links to the content of your website, you’re an authority.  And while this is more or less true, the engine seeing you as an authority happens well in advance of those links appearing.

As you produce useful content, we try to match that useful content against queries.  If the actions searchers take indicate they are pleased with your content as a solid resource, then we try you again the next time.  This testing happens a lot.  Hundreds of thousands to millions of times, depending on query volumes and content matches.

We watch the patterns of interaction and soon enough, those resources that searchers seem to be particularly pleased with start to float to the top.  We’re not just talking click-through-rates here, either.  We’re talking the entire signal-set that influences ranking at work here.

  •     Do you have unique, useful content?  Check.
  •     Do you produce new content frequently? Check.
  •     Do you have a solid history?  Check.
  •     Do you have trustworthy links pointing at your content? Check.
  •     Do you have an active social presence?  Check.
  •     Do people retweet and like your social content? Check.

Negative Trust Influences

What can you do to your own site, or could a competitor do to you, that will nuke your trust and therefore rankings?

“I always think that links have a positive or negative value. Let’s say the BBC gives you a +10,000 and a spammy blogspot link gives you a -100, you still have a positive 9,900 score. The problems occur when the BBC get hit with a link selling penalty, if your backlinks have fallen into negative equity things go south quickly.

Get caught selling links and your link value could shift from a positive value to a negative value, so I re-visit my clients links monthly and check out what’s happening to the sites that link to them”

    — David Naylor, Bronco

Buy and Sell Links – First is if you are obvious in your link buying, don’t expect to last long in the search engines. Mr Cutts is very keen on tracking down and destroying sold links. There are even some sites that are so “dirty” in Google’s eyes that a purchase in the right place and right time can nuke you over night. Don’t believe me? Ask the right people at the right conferences to show you the evidence. That’s all I am saying 🙂

Bad Neighbors – If your links are not paid but still associate you with the seedier parts of the interwebs, don’t be surprised if you are seen as guilty by association.

Comment Spam – Leave the spam up, get it indexed, and watch your results rocket to the bottom. It’s the “broken windows” theory of SEO.

Unnatural Growth Patterns – Google will look carefully at your link growth for any signs of unnatural acquisition. This isn’t to say that if you get on the front page of Digg and garner 20k visitors and as a result, 100 fresh links that you will be penalized. What is likely though is they will take a closer look if your brand new domain arrives out of the gate with one page of content and 10,000 links overnight.

Lack of Link Diversity – Are your links coming from friends and your own sites or are they arriving naturally because your content is awesome?

Thin or Spammy Content – Duplicate, scraped or feed content, or spammy gibberish is likely to get marked down. As you would expect, Google is aiming to promote the highest quality. They will use human checks, algorithms and watch the behaviour of their customers to see if what they are delivering meets expectations.

So the first element to emphasize is make your site evolve as naturally as possible!

 

“You can manufacture authority with a very intelligent link building campaign but more often than not it’s the natural growth of the site and links with other sites in the same industry that gives Google reason to trust the site.”

 

    — Patrick Altoft, BlogStorm

How to Build a Blog Audience

Everyone is looking for information online today.  There is an almost insatiable need for information that blogging can help to satisfy.  You will gain much greater exposure by adding a blog to your IBOToolbox promotional efforts. 

Optimizing your blog posts for search can do two things: 

  1. Creates information that your target market is looking for. 
  2. It feeds the search engines with content that can be ranked to that it can be offered to your audience.  

Whatever promotional efforts you undertake, always remember the reader.  Without knowing all of the complex aspects of SEO – (Search Engine Optimization), when your efforts are designed with the reader in mind, you will be following the Google guidelines and help your information to be found on the search engines.  .

There are some important guidelines to follow in helping your blog posts to rank. 

Step 1 – Keyword Research 

In order to find words your target market may use to find information, use the following sources to check monthly traffic volume.   Who wants to write content that no one is searching for, right?

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Google Trends

Wordstream

Ubersuggest

Wordtracker

Google each of these companies and you will find sites that offer both a free version, and in come cases, a paid version of their keyword research tools.  Note:  Google's tools are free, you just need to sign up for an account.

Instead of targeting a single keyword, try to use a variety of related keywords in a natural way as you write your post.  

An example might be writing a post for the keyword phrase “chocolate”.

You might want to include phrases such as:

gormet chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate desserts, chocolate bars. chocolate milk, chocolate cake, etc. 

Step 2 – Blog Post Title

It could be argued that the title is the most important piece of information your blog.  This is the short snippet of information that will appear on the search engine results page.

If your content is appealing, but your post title is mediocre, chances are no one will ever see your content. If your blog post title is highly attractive, but your content is weak, the may click on the link to your post, but not read your post.

You need to sort of tease your reader to be interested enough to click on the post title to see more, such as the following examples.

 

10 Secret Recipes from the Kitchens of Chocolatiers

Mouthwatering Chocolate Desserts for Special Occaisons

5 chocolate recipies you will not be able to live without

 

Each of these titles uses a formula known for getting clicks, uses the keyword phrase, (or a variation, like Chocolatier). 

Types of posts that attract clicks are:

  • Questions
  • Lists
  • How-to
  • Secrets
  • Mistakes

Here are a few additional rules:

  • Keep it less than 65 characters
  • Use the focus keyword only once
  • Don’t stuff it with keywords

Keep titles in a natural, highly readable format.

Step 3 – Choose the name of the post file – the URL

Here are some theories about this. 

One says you should use the complete title in lower case, with hyphens in between each word, like this.

/10-secret-recipes-from-the-kitchens-of-chocolatiers/

That will work well.  

The other idea is to keep url's as short as possible, like this.

/10-secret-chocolatier-recipes/

Both are valid, but remember you want to reader to understand at a glance what your blog post is about., not what the search engines are looking for.  

A few more recommendation for blog URLs:

  • Do not use the date
  • Be careful not to duplicate url's
  • Use dashes, not underscores
  • Use all lowercase letters instead of mixed upper and lower case

Step 4 – Description

If you are creating blog post on a WordPress blog, the meta description is important because the search engines will see it even if your readers do not. 

When writing your descriptions you want to provide a summary of what your post is about.  Use the targetd keyword phrase.

Keep it under 160 characters. Don’t stuff with keywords. Write it as an introduction to your post.  

 

Step 5 Headings

It’s a simple thing, but it is easy to overlook formatting. 

Books have chapters because they help to break up the content in segments and make it easier to read. It also helps in Search Engine Optimization.  

Step 6 Internal Linking

Internal links help market your blog and make more interesting by linking to additional related content. 

This provides a next step for the reader.  They spend more time on your site.  You can also provide links to related content not on your own site.  Readers benefit and search engine's like that as well.  

 

John Lombaerde – Goldfinch Digital Publishing

Contributor