Unseen fear and how to overcome it

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Our brains are programed to fight for survival, similar to other animals. If a squirrel is on the ground searching for nuts, hears a tree branch break, feels a swoosh of wind and then feels a sharp pain in her side, she is going escape by running into the woods, barely thwarting the hungry hawk. What happens the next time that squirrel hears a branch break and feels a gust of wind? She’s going to run to the nearest tree, and her side is going to ache, even when the hawk isn’t around. Running for cover is now an involuntary response every time she senses that combination of experiences. Our brains are programmed in the same way. When we experience accidents or other traumatic events in our lives, our brains create responses to protect us from those things happening again in the future. As an example, imagine you fell out … Continued

Nine Months of Running 30+ Miles a Week Ends With a Beer (or Two)

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No beer has ever tasted so good, and what better place to enjoy one than at our favorite pizza place, Mellow Mushroom. My wife, Kory, had a Michelob Ultra. I had a Blue Moon with a splash of Sprite. We toasted completing the marathon — the culmination of 9 months of training. Just a few years ago I was a total couch potato. I never ran. In fact, I made fun of runners. It all sounded really stupid. That all started to change for me at my wife’s 40th birthday party. A friend of my wife’s started talking about how she was learning to run by listening to a podcast.

Some people shouldn’t be encouraged.

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There are many ways to fail in any business launch. The info-marketing business is no exception. You can choose a niche that is too large, under research your niche and launch the wrong product, market poorly, market too little or rely too much on joint ventures—and this is just the beginning of the list. Life is too short. I don’t want to be misled by someone who is trying to spare my feelings. If I’m missing something important, I want to be told. I assume the same with the clients I work with. That’s why it irritates me when I see others teaching to “pursue your passion” or “follow your dream.” That’s cruel. Only fools expect success without effort. You want to build the foundation of a business so that the business will continue to grow. It will take work, a lot of learning and a serious investment. But you … Continued

How to Build a Membership That Will Last for Decades

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Tupperware’s home party business was started and launched by a woman: Brownie Wise. A woman-led business was unheard of in the 1950s as, at that time, a woman’s place was in the kitchen, the nursery, and the bedroom. Few families had more than one car, leaving the woman home with the kids all day. Having the opportunity to make a little money by hosting parties became extremely attractive. Wise understood her target customer.

The worst time to plan for disaster

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I had a job for six years. I started as a bookkeeper and quickly became the company’s controller. Within two years, I had become the director of business affairs. Then I bought the business, just six years after joining the firm as a bookkeeper. I used employment as an opportunity to learn as much as possible. I set up the network server. I loaded Novell version 1.0, a program that, back then, came on about two dozen 5¼-inch floppy disks. I spent an entire Fourth of July holiday learning how to program Microsoft Access databases, building my own CRM systems to track member contact information, dues payments and conference registrations. While my job was a great learning ground, I soon figured out I’d never get paid what I was worth. My salary took money out of my boss’s pocket by lowering the amount he could take out as dividends from … Continued

Monthly Subscription Billing Checklist: Unless Your People are Doing This, You are Losing Money Every Month

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Through the process of working with several different membership marketers, Denise and I have discovered an alarming truth: few of their internal member relations teams are performing the basic systems necessary to retain members. Their people often mean well—they have the best of intentions—but they just don’t know what is necessary to ensure they are collecting the full amount of membership due revenue each month.

When I was in debt and scared

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My wife and I were having dinner in our dining room while the news played on the television in the adjacent living room. Although we weren’t paying much attention, one of the teases before a commercial break caught our attention. “Police shoot dog on Eddie Road! Story right after this break.” My wife, Kory, and I looked at each other. We lived on Eddie Road. We were accustomed to police stories being about neighborhoods on the other side of town. Now the police were shooting dogs on our street! It got worse. The news showed video of the house where the shooting occurred—and it was right across the street. Yes, directly across the street from the little yellow house where Kory and I lived with our 2-year-old daughter. The police came by to arrest a guy who had failed to appear in court. The guy sent his dog after the … Continued

Finally, a Newsletter Designed for Maximum Engagement and Member Retention

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marketing for painting contractors

You’ve got to check out this monthly newsletter published by Brandon Lewis of The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, the world’s biggest expert in marketing for painting contractors. His newsletter is only four pages long but it’s PACKED with member recognition. Brandon has clearly taken the emphasis off himself, opting to focus the newsletter on the terrific results his members are receiving, and providing successful examples for his brand-new customers to follow and believe in.  

Proclaiming the unpopular truths

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Imagine walking into a church just before the service begins, striding up to the front, getting everyone’s attention and proclaiming there is no God. Or—this could get you injured—imagine going to a Veteran’s Day ceremony and telling everyone their service to our country was just another job, like spending four years working at a Chrysler plant. How are you going to be received? At the least, you’ll be thrown out, maybe even roughed up in the process. People want to believe. If you challenge their beliefs, they will at least resist you and at worst start a fight. The cable news industry figured this out 15 years ago. Fox News created an audience by giving conservative viewers the news and commentary in a way they already believe. No one is convinced by Sean Hannity. Sean’s commentary reinforces what his audience already believes. In the same way, Rachel Maddow and Al … Continued

The Ruthless Truth About Member Retention, Revealed

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In January, my son, Robert William, and I attended the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a 24-hour race held in Daytona Beach, Florida. Then, this March, we attended the 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida” held in Sebring, Florida. A total of 36 hours of auto racing. Robert and I were lucky enough to be guests of VISIT FLORIDA, the State of Florida’s tourism promotion agency. I’ve served on the VISIT FLORIDA board of directors since 2006, reviewing their annual marketing plan, approving budgets, and advocating for increased funding for tourism promotion from the Florida Legislature. Every day, countries such as Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Mexico are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to lure tourists to their country instead of Florida. To ignore that threat and assume visitors will chose Florida even if we don’t promote the state is naive. After … Continued