Controlling you without you knowing it

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Our brains are programmed 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

What to do next

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Some people shouldn’t be encouraged. 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 … Continued

How the worst can come without warning

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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

From debt overwhelm to financial freedom

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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

Are We Witnessing the Death of Free Trial Memberships?

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What if you could make twice as much money for every new member you recruited? And, what if you made more money overall from your membership program? That’s what early indications are showing us when you abandon free trial memberships. The idea behind free trial memberships was you’d end up with more long-term members because some people would join for free who would never have joined for a paid membership. Then, because they’d joined and fallen in love with the membership, they’d want to stay for life. I’ve had my doubts since I first heard the free trial offer taught. After all, I discovered long ago that sampling wasn’t an effective membership marketing approach. We used to send copies of newsletters to prospects, to give them an idea of what they’d receive as a member; it never converted as well as other offers. What worked was highlighting a problem they … Continued

Becoming Known for Speaking What They Don’t Want to Hear

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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

Attracting New Members with a With Delegation Tools

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Before I created and sold information products, I delivered consulting services for many years. Most projects required strategic planning; some entailed creating systems and business process; and others involved marketing. While the projects varied in scope, they had one thing in common: The business owner always thought his or her employees were the problem. I was brought in to train the team, and if necessary, replace one or more team members. Yet, I often found the staff’s problems were a simple reflection of the boss. Every time I’ve come across an entrepreneur with a “dysfunctional” team of employees, I’ve found it is the entrepreneur who is dysfunctional. The team is just trying to hang on. I’ve promoted staff training programs for many industries over the years, and I have a product for the info-marketing industry called Relief for Frustrated Info-Marketing Staff. I especially like programs that are designed for the … Continued

How to stand out from the swirl

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You and I are bombarded by commercial messages. While Consumer Reports estimates the average American receives 247 commercial messages each day, it seems like I get more than that in emails alone. Each of us has to adopt a coping mechanism to get through the day without spending all of our time reading and listening to advertising. You and I ignore most of it. We delete the email unopened, we pass by the billboard unread and I bet you are even ignoring the ads in the right column next to this article. Of course, it’s the only way we can get through our day. Each of us focuses on what matters to us. If it doesn’t seem important at first glance, it’s immediately ignored. Our customers are making those same judgments. Each time you and I send an email, display a web advertisement or send a direct mail piece, our … Continued

Something I believed that held me back

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“I’m amazed at how much you get done.” I hear this all the time from clients and friends. Actually, I’m the one who’s amazed. Not because of how much I accomplish, but because they are impressed. It doesn’t seem like I’m accomplishing that much to me. All I see is the long list of unfinished projects left to do. Still, I’ve picked up a few insights I can share about getting things done. “The do-it-yourself movement ruined America.” My friend Rob Berkley said this at a recent mastermind meeting. His comment really struck me. In the drive for independence, costs savings and the feeling of accomplishment, we strive to complete projects by ourselves. Years ago my wife and I tiled our bathroom and kitchen floors. We rented the expensive masonry saw, but we had to buy several other tools. Plus, we had to learn a lot of new skills. I … Continued

Unleash a Vibrant Community Among Your Customers to Become the No. 1 Player in Your Industry

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What if you owned more than 45 percent of your market? The mutual fund company, The Vanguard Group, does just that. More than 45 percent of the money flowing into mutual funds today goes into a Vanguard managed fund. You’d think they wouldn’t need to do much for their customers. In fact, since they specialize in index traded, set-it-and-forget-it type investment vehicles, you’d think they wouldn’t need to communicate with their members. In fact, the opposite is true. The Vanguard Group has one of the most vibrant customer tribes in the investment world, and it’s a large part of their success. My friend and client Ben Glass of Great Legal Marketing passed along a January 2016 article from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance entitled, “The World According to Bogleheads.” The term “Boglehead” may not mean much to you, but I’ve been a Boglehead since 1991. Actually, we weren’t called Bogleheads then; instead … Continued