Managing Overwhelm

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Home BusinessToday is Sunday and admittedly I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Not by things I have to do but by things I want to do and don’t have the time.

Is anyone with me?

Education for the Home Business Entrepreneur – Managing Overwhelm

Today I read this article by Mashable called 3 Phrases That Actually Make You Feel More Overwhelmed and I had an epiphany.

Basically the way you express your lack of time creates a bad mindset – which I totally buy into. Your mindset is the foundation that every business is built on.

The article says instead of saying, I don’t have time, I’m swamped, or I’m too busy – instead say that’s just not a priority for me right now.

Now here’s where the epiphany comes in -

What if you’re letting yourself off the hook from something that should be a priority?

I really think that saying something isn’t a priority instead of saying you don’t have time for it is a real good way to check things.

For example:

What if you said you’re too busy to do somethings that you KNOW will grow your business? Like those new projects that may bring new revenue into your business that you put on the back-burner because you’re too caught up in tasks in your business?

What if instead you said this -

“Growing my business isn’t a priority for me right now.” Let’s face it – that IS what you’re actually saying in reality.

Ouch.

The way you look at something changes it doesn’t it? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Tammy

 

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Behaviors Determine the Success of Entrepreneurs

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I get the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs every day. I’ve worked with some that have experienced huge success and I’ve also worked with some that just couldn’t get it together. Over the years I’ve learned the traits that divide. It’s not whose the prettiest or the smartest, those assets don’t have a lot weight in the entrepreneurial game.

It’s the behaviors and mindsets of the individuals that separate.

Some entrepreneurs are successful at creating the behaviors that equal success whereas others will spend most of their entrepreneurial journey struggling until they meet their demise.

The entrepreneurs that can’t seem to get their mindset mojo will spent their journey chasing dollars – and spending them. But unless they find a way to develop the mindset of success no matter what they’ll still find themselves back at square one.

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Home-Based Entrepreneurs Have Even More Challenges

There are millions of home-based business in the United States alone, and that number is expected to climb dramatically.

* 69% of new businesses in the U.S. start at home, and 59% of established businesses are home based.

* People of all generations are taking a chance on their own businesses: About 15 to 20% of the workforce–regardless of age– is engaged in running a startup or a more established business, once labor-force participation rates for each generation are factored in.

*Information taken from an article in Forbes Magazine. 

Paying your own paycheck is certainly not the path of the least resistance and working from home can certainly add to the challenge. As women we find ourselves of the mindset that we need to do everything (usually at once). We have the children to raise, the house to take care of, people to feed, perhaps animals to see after, bills to pay – and to add starting up a business to that?? Craziness! How could you possibly find it inside yourself to be the champion that births a successful business atop everything else?!

Well it’s difficult but not impossible. I’ve done it and I know plenty of others that have as well. It may be a path of resistance but it’s definitely traveled! Sure, in the journey things will suffer, not everything is perfect, the house may be messy,  you may not be as groomed as you used to be, and the pizza boy is definitely on the redial but everything works out in the end right?

If you have the right mindset, even with the challenges of home, you can in fact create a hugely successful business.

The Behaviors That Separate

One of the largest struggles of any entrepreneur is time. There’s not enough time to get everything done. There’s certainly not enough time to think ahead. What about the times you find yourself really busy – do you think that the business will always be there? Do you find yourself riding the wave? What happens when the wave peaks?

I for one do not ride waves. I want to be in total control of my business and I want every decision to be one of purpose. I can feel it when things are starting to get out of control and I will call a time-out fast. When I don’t feel that I’m in control of my business I get very uncomfortable and that’s when I start to make bad decisions.

What people of successful mindsets do during a very busy time is they take time to consider what they can do to sustain the growth and continue it. They don’t live in the illusion that it will always be there.

Here’s the behaviors that divide:

1. Plan and Set Goals – You have to have some sort of plan in your business. What exactly do you want to accomplish? In what timeframe? If you have a gage and a roadmap, you’ll recognize success. You’ll also have the awareness when it’s not happening. You’ll know when you need to step up your efforts.

As an example, how were your sales last year? Were you happy with that number? If no, we’re halfway through 2014, is it any different? If no, did you think it would just sort itself out? Did you think you would get lucky?

Even if you start out small, set goals in your business for today. What do you want to accomplish by January of 2015?

2. Make Tough Decisions – Successful people are always prepared to make tough decisions. We don’t just stay in situations because it’s easier or we’re too afraid, or perhaps we fear confrontation. I can create a million scenarios. For an example consider this, do you have toxic relationships in your business? What about with your clients? Do you have clients that make you dread even getting up everyday? Do you have clients that don’t pay you on time or not at all? Perhaps it’s time to fire those clients!

When I started being really profitable in my business was when I learned not to do business with people that first didn’t value my business enough to pay me, and secondly didn’t treat me with the respect I deserve. I will fire a client in a minute – and I won’t think twice about it. I have look out for my own business first. Everyone does.

Remember the speech the airline stewardess does, “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” Apply that rule in your business as well.

3. FOCUS – Entrepreneurs that have successful businesses have laser focus. Stop being busy in your business! Being too busy is a self-inflicted diversion that creates the illusion of productivity. When you end your day – what got done? How much closer are you to your goal?

If you want to create a successful business you must create the behavior that understands the value of knowing exactly what you want from your business. Who is your ideal client? How will you reach them in a way that expands your business?

You are in charge here. You run the business – don’t let it run you.

Tearing Down the Walls

I have a new hero! Her name is Carrie Green and she is owner of the Female Entrepreneur Association. I watched her Ted Talk in awe (actually I watched it 3 times) and I felt so connected to her! She told the story of being lost on the journey of looking for her purpose, which I totally related to. She tells in detail how she pulled herself away from fear and purposely programmed her mind for success.

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Photo credit to Ted Talks.

Here are some highlights of her Ted Talk:

“People are missing out on amazing opportunities because of bad decisions – due to a bad frame of mind.”

“Perhaps you say you’ll do it tomorrow, and then tomorrow comes but you never do. All of those fabulous ideas stay locked inside.”

“Success is no accident, you have to do it on purpose.”

Carrie is dead-on, success is NOT an accident – so why do so many people try to just fall into it? Or why do they wait for it to just happen to them?

Why are they surprised when it doesn’t happen they way they wanted it to?

Click here to listen to Carrie’s Ted Talk.

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How Home-Based Business Owners Can Get What They Want

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home based businessLast week in my blog I wrote about something that’s literally the core of all success, the mindset. I wrote about the 6 attributes that separates mediocre entrepreneurs from extremely successful ones. This week we’ll stay within that topic but talk about a different angle, the art of persuasion.

Being able to persuade others is critical to an entrepreneur’s success. I was talking with one of my friends about this and the funny thing was when I mentioned having a talent to easily persuade others, she took that as a negative thing. I found it interesting how she related persuading others as deceptive which is completely false.

Sure, there are slimy people out there that are trying to make a buck off people dishonestly, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re a home-based business owner, you’re going to have to sell your product. If you’re going to sell your product, you’ll need to talk people into it.

As a Home-Based Business Owner You’ll Need to Understand the Art of Persuasion

I decided to talk about this topic when I watched a television program a few days ago on the National Geographic Channel called How Can You Get What You Want a segment from the series The Numbers Game. I was fascinated by the program which stated the entire world was built on persuasion. Doctors persuade patients to take medicine, teachers persuade students to learn, TV persuades us to do just about everything, and as a business owner you must persuade someone to buy something.

Here are some examples of persuasion used on the show: (Content credit to the National Geographic Channel.)

  1. Give a reason – If you’re standing in line and want move ahead of the person in front of you the study showed that 94% of the time when someone gave a reason versus just saying the word please they actually would allow you to jump ahead of them.
  2. Dress the part – A recent study found that people were 3.5 times more likely to follow a man wearing a business suit across a busy intersection than the same man in casual attire. Dressing professionally makes people think you’re more credible than if you are dressed normally, and so they are more likely to believe you and trust you as an authority figure.
  3. Present a visual – Get those PowerPoints ready! Presentations that use visual support are 43% more persuasive than those that don’t because visual aids help people remember and understand things better, which improves their chances of acting in a certain way.
  4. Grow a beard - A recent study in the Journal of Marketing Communications found that men with beards were deemed more credible than those who were clean shaven.
  5. Speak fast - Studies have found that speaking quickly, like at around 200 words per minute, is more effective in short-term persuasion. Fast talkers give listeners less time to come up with their own arguments, and so the listeners are more likely to just agree rather than embarrass themselves by stumbling over their words. So I guess this is why auctioneers talk so fast?
  6. Body language is powerful – One study found that you can convey 80% of a word’s meaning using nonverbal cues such as posture, facial expressions, and hand movements.

Is Persuasion Manipulation?

I think that many people feel that persuasion is a form of manipulation which is why there was a negative implication when I discussed it with my friend.  According to an article written for Forbes, called The 21 Principles of Persuasion written by Jason Nazarpersuasion is not manipulation – manipulation is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in their own interest. Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.

So stop thinking about those slimy snake oil salesmen when you think of being persuaded, it’s actually a mutual process. Let’s face it, everyone is selling something!

This topic really hit home with Rachel Bailey of Parenting by Heart, “I’m a home-based business entrepreneur who has a TOUGH time trying to “persuade” my ideal clients to buy my services and products. Even though I’m pretty confident that my services really do solve a problem, I hate the idea that I’m being too pushy or salesy so I don’t make the money that I could be making. I’d love to find out exactly what makes people feel like I’m helping, not selling.”

I’ve filled an entire practice by doing one thing really really well. I KNOW my ideal client. I know them intimately. Everything I do in my business down to the website that I designed was from their point of view, based on what I knew they needed. I constantly say out loud, “this isn’t about me” just to remind myself.

That being said, I want to ask Rachel to change her mindset. I want her to consider that what she has to offer to her ideal client isn’t just a service, but a gift. If you really believe that, then what you sell doesn’t really need to be sold but instead just needs to be explained so that your client clearly understands the value.

Now, as long as you’re confident that you’ve created a product that aligns with your passion and is of great value to your ideal client you should make a conscious decision to release yourself from any concern of over-selling. The confidence you have in your product and your process will shine through, thus attracting your client.

Persuasion Isn’t Manipulation – It’s Science

When conducting research on this topic I came across a great video on YouTube called Science of Persuasion by Influence at Work. Wow, this video gave an excellent perspective and I recommend that you click the link and watch it because I couldn’t possibly include all the great points it made.

home based business

(Photo credit to Influence at Work)

The video explains that researchers have studied what influences us to say yes at the request of others for over 60 years. They mention that it would be nice to consider that we make an educated decision based on all the available information. But the thing is, that isn’t the reality. They reference to the increasing information over-loading lives that we now live and as a result we create short-cuts to make our decisions.

I thought it would be fun to identify these 6 short-cuts which they refer to as the Universal Principals of Persuasion and then I will elaborate on them from a home-based business owner perspective. Understanding these short cuts and using them in an ethical manner, as they explain, can significantly increase the likelihood that someone will be persuaded by your request and say yes.

1. Reciprocity – Simply put, people feel obligated to give back what they receive. If you do someone a favor for example, they feel obligated to do a favor for you. People are more likely to say yes to those that they owe. So from a business perspective if you provide your audience with great information that’s valuable and helps them in some way, they feel obligated. As a result, they’re more likely to buy from you in the future.

2. Scarcity – It’s a known fact that people tend to want more of the things they can have less of. This is why so many businesses make a big deal out of going out of business sales. I have a furniture store down the street from me that I know has went out of business at least 5 times in a few years. This can also explain why we tend to buy things at the last minute – the threat of losing an opportunity thats valuable actually encourages us to buy. The video explains that it’s not enough to tell people about the benefits they’ll gain for purchasing your product. You’ll also need to point out what is unique about what you sell and what the potential customer stands to lose if they don’t buy.

3. Authority – This is the theory that people will follow the lead of credible knowledge experts. People are more likely to trust a doctor that has diplomas on the wall for example, or a fitness instructor that is very buff and healthy looking in appearance. The science of authority is, it’s important to signal to others what makes you a credible and knowledgable authority before you make your persuasion attempt. This theory is why testimonial marketing is so powerful. It would be a bit boastful to go around telling others how great you are. But what if someone does it for you?

4. Consistency – You should always be consistent with things you’ve said and done in your business. So in essence when seeking to persuade someone using the consistency principle, people will look for active commitments preferable in writing. For example one recent study showed that a health center reduced missed appointments by 18% simply by asking the patients to fill out the future appointment card themselves instead of the staff writing it for them.

5. Liking – People prefer to say yes to those that they like. But what causes someone to like you? Research tells us there are 3 very important factors. First of all we like people who are similar to ourselves. Secondly, we like people who pay us compliments. Finally, we like those who cooperate with us toward mutual goals. This principal is why it’s crucial to choose an ideal client target instead of selling to everyone. It’s so much easier to create this bond first with potential customers that we really understand and secondly that we share common ground with.

6. Consensus – When people are uncertain about something they will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own. As an experiment and in an effort to cut down on towel usage a hotel put up a sign in their bathrooms that simply stated, “75% of our guests reuse their towels during their stay, so please feel free to do so as well.” The towel reuse rate rose 26%. This is ANOTHER reason why testimonial marketing is powerful and crucial. Instead of relying on our own ability to persuade potential clients, we can let others do it for us.

How good at you at influencing others to buy? Will this information help you to do better? If so please leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on this article.

 

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Search Marketing for Beginners

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When was the last time you looked under the hood of your Internet presence? The web is a huge part of our lives – especially if you have a business! It’s something that has to be managed and maintained just like anything else. If we don’t, bad things could happen.

It’s ideal if you perform a web check up at least once a month.

 search marketingSearch Marketing – Reputation Marketing

If you have a business to consumer model it’s crucial that you monitor your reputation. For example, if you own a restaurant when people decide they’re going out for dinner that night and they feel like something a little different what do they do? They get out their handheld and they do an Internet search for a local spot. THEN once they make a decision they’ll do a search to see what people are saying about it. Nobody wants to spent their time and money at a place that has a bad rap. ANYONE can leave feedback about you.

Today with the Internet everyone has a voice – for better or worse. I spoke with someone the other day and he said that he decided that he wasn’t going to give into that situation (reputation marketing). Guess what? I don’t need your permission. I can leave bad feedback about your place of business whether you participate in the situation or not. So to ignore it is not only not very smart, but it could be costing you money.

Large companies like Verizon Wireless for example have made very steep investments in very sophisticated tools that monitor what people are saying about them. Want to have a little fun? Go talk some smack about them on Twitter and then just count down. It won’t be long before someone is Tweeting back to you offering their assistance. Now this is how it works FOR US. :-) We finally have a little leverage against the big guys.

There are actually tons of great tools out there but I will share with you a few of my favorites for monitoring your reputation.

1. Google Alerts -

I LOVE Google alerts! As an Internet personality I have to monitor my name and my website on a regular basis to make sure nobody is talking smack about me. Google Alerts is also how I learn when people mention me and link to my content on their websites which is always a very welcomed surprise.

Another great way to use Google Alerts is to monitor competitors. But my favorite way is to get articles written on specific topics. You do Google Alerts on specific topics and everything that was written on it and published on the Internet can be sent you daily or weekly. Click here to set up your Google updates. I read mine every day you’ll love it!

2. Tweet Beeps

This sort of works like Google Alerts only it’s just for Twitter. There is a charge for the premium service, you can click here to check that out.

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3. Topsy -

I would have to say that Topsy.com is one of my VERY favorite tools for SO many reasons! I can do a search on myself and my business to see who is talking about me and sharing my content – but the best thing is it literally searches the ENTIRE Internet. It searches through Twitter, videos, photos  -  you name it! I also love Topsy for a whole different reason than reputation management. It’s great for getting ideas on blog topics! Just do a search on Internet Marketing for example and you will find out what people are talking about! This is a great way to create content around relevant topics that are hot and happening!

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4. Take it Old School -

This is my favorite way to do a quick Internet check. Type in the name of your business, city and state into Google. Then just glance over the first 5 pages in the search. You may be surprised at what you find. What I HATE is a lot these shady directories populate YOUR information into their fields on their websites. They want you to find it – they want you to know that it’s incomplete. Then they want you to call them so they can sell you their premium service. Don’t do it! Tell them to remove your information or you’ll sue them. That will get them to take it down pretty fast.

 search marketingSearch Marketing – The Skippy on Local Marketing

If you own a business and have a listed phone number I’m willing to make a bet that you get a fair number of phone calls every single day promising that they will put you on the first page of Google and that they will list you in every local directory under the sun. Let me tell you right now there is absolutely zero value in having your link spread across every single directory. In fact, it’s now considered to be spam. Google has made tons of updates lately and that is changing the entire ballgame. Now if you don’t want to take it from me, fine! Take it from Brian Dean of Backlinko and Neil Patel of Kissmetrics who are International SEO Rock Stars! I had a Google Hangout interview with them a while back and got their input on local marketing. You can click here to watch that on YouTube.

The problem is, these local marketing snake oil salesmen still prey on the fact that you don’t know any better. There’s absolutely no value in having tons of links on low-grade obscure websites that no one has ever even heard of! Now there IS value in being listed on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Yahoo Directory, Bing Places for Business, and Google Places. Make sure you have only ONE listing otherwise your efforts are wasted.

Search Marketing – Content Theft

I’ve been lucky that this has only happened to me once, I kindly asked them to remove it and they did. I work really hard to create great content for my readership and it’s NOT cool to steal it from me. Especially when it’s considered spam to duplicate content on the Internet. So imagine having your content stolen and then Google slapping you with a spam offense. Not cool! Check out CopyScape they have a great tool for monitoring your content and making sure it doesn’t get stolen.

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Search Marketing – Website Check Up

Just like you take good care of your car so it runs well – you need to take care of your website. How’s it functioning? If you have some really nasty errors on your site it can cause your page not to be indexed by search engines. Here’s a great video from Matt Cutts of Google (head of search), he talks about how errors can impact your site index, just click here.  Here are a couple of tools that I love, Visible Net and WooRank. Just put in your website address and see what it tells you. You’ll want to print out the list and share it with your developer so you can get it fixed.

Search Marketing – Searchers Point of View

When was the last time you looked at your website from your ideal client target’s perspective versus your own? What do they see? Do they find what they need immediately? Was the website written for their point of view or your own? Are there lots of great resources for them there? What about how your website looks? How does it look on mobile for example? Did you know that the majority of the population now searches the Internet with a handheld device? Take your mobile phone out and look up your website. How does it look? This is what your searcher sees – are you happy with it? If not, it’s time to make some changes. Ignoring this shift in the way we search the Internet will cost you money.

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Search Marketing – Measure Your Impact

Type in what people would if they were looking for what you do and see if you come up. If you’re a local business include city. For example if you’re a plumber in Atlanta Georgia the search would be plumber Atlanta Ga. If you’re a local business and you don’t come up on page one you may as well not even be on the Internet. The reason is people now have 8-second attention spans and will take the results they seek from page one. So if you’re not in the search, you’re leaving some money on the table.

It’s imperative that if you’re working on a search engine strategy (Sorry we won’t go into details on that now, that’s another article!) you optimize your site for the right phrases. A great tool for local search engine is the Google Keyword Planner which is traditionally set up for adword customers. You’ll need to set up an adword account to us this tool but you don’t have to actually place an order. Click here to check it out.

Just FYI if the SEO company you use ever asks you what search words you want, this is a red flag – FIRE THEM because they’re unqualified  - it’s not like ordering fries, it’s about the facts.

Here’s a picture of an example search using the Google Keyword Tool with the plumber in Atlanta Ga as an example:

search marketing

The information on this table is based on 30 days, so over a months time approximately 880 people in Atlanta look for a plumber typing in the phrase plumber atlanta. The word high means that the competition to rank for that keyword is high, but don’t worry you can still rank with that phrase with the right strategy on that low number of a search, I’ve done it many times. Now if that number was 1 million instead of 880 now that would be a different story. Here’s the mindset, the reason I’m showing you this is because I want you to realize the impact of the way people type in the information and how much power this can give you in your marketing efforts. So keywords aren’t about what you think they are, instead they’re about what people type in that you can rank for.

Now, if you’re focusing on a wider search, that’s a bit more complicated, you can use a great tool I love called Keyword Spy. See the drawing below, make sure you click on the word Keywords, then you can start typing in phrases that are related to what you do. Here you can not only use this tool for a keyword strategy but it also gives you great ideas on what you should write about in your blog based on searches. It’s great to write about things that are important – but to write about things that are relevant – now THAT gets you web traffic!

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I hope you enjoyed this guide! Use it once a month to give your Internet presence a good check up and you’ll receive optimal results! Please don’t forget to share this post!

Cheers!

Tammy

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Niche Marketing Impacts Time

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niche marketingLast week we talked about the 8-second attention span and I got lots of great feedback on that post. Now, this week I want to talk in more detail about niche marketing and why it’s so crucial in our busy and over-connected world. However, in this post I’m going to take a little bit of a different approach and talk about the big picture.

What’s the one thing that we can’t seem to get enough of?

I’ll give you a hint – it’s something that even though it’s very expensive, it never seems to be properly valued by its owner.

Okay, I will tell you.

The answer is TIME. Our time is very expensive.

Here’s a question for you, do you know what your time costs? I know what mine costs and it’s a factor that I use to make my decisions every day. So what does time have to do with niche marketing? Everything!

One of the things that holds back a new entrepreneur is not knowing exactly what to do and spending time on the wrong things. They typically know what they want the outcome to be (independent wealth :-)). However, they just don’t know how to get there. What stumps them is a few different things. First off, if they’re bootstrapping, they’re not investing any real money in the business which means they have to do a lot of the runt work themselves – which slows growth and profitability. Secondly, they tend to run a business without any sort of real plan of action, which consequently, also slows growth. Then you have the impact of making bad decisions which costs money and also, once again, delays growth.

However

If an experienced and really smart person told them step-by-step exactly what to do, as long as they did it, they could eliminate some costly mistakes and make the gap between start up and profitability much smaller.

Niche Marketing works the same way.

The longer you’re not focused and taking action, the more money you’re losing. Tweet this!

How Niche Marketing Impacts Time

When it takes less time to get a new customer that saves money. If you want to get new customers faster choose a lane. Pick an area of expertise and absolutely kill it. Determine a client or customer profile, then live and breath them. Know what their needs are, their habits, their obstacles, what keeps them up at night, and everything in between. Then align your expertise or product with that client profile. The next step is to become a very valuable resource and a leader.

Stay very focused on your target market and your vision. The mindset is, instead of chasing prospects down, they’re drawn to you. Let me tell you, this works. I have built a very profitable practice with this strategy. I love this quote by Tony Hsieh of Zappos, “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” Tweet this!

The hang up is we think hmmm…… if we focus over here, what are we missing over there? People are so afraid that they’re going to miss an opportunity that they try to be everything to everybody.

Meanwhile, they’re on the hamster wheel, robbing-peter-to pay-paul, being the jack-of-all-trades. Guess what? They’re wasting time. Time that they could have been profitable if they just would have chosen something, mastered it, and rode it for the long haul.

Are you selling to everyone? How’s that working out for you?

If you need some help picking a niche market I just launched a new training product that’s absolutely free! Click here to check it out.

Hey, if you don’t mind would you give my free training a tweet out? I would love it!  Give it a Tweet shout out! 

 

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