Top 5 Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

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Top 5 Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur—even if it is just to not have a boss breathing down your neck. But becoming a successful entrepreneur is about more than just a burning desire and luck. According to Seneca, luck is what happens when good preparation meets opportunity. It takes a few success traits to line up the stars in your favor, and in this post, we’re going to look at the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

# 1 Get into the Successful Entrepreneur Mindset

What’s a success mindset? Some people do everything right, but because their mindsets are not attuned to success, they have difficulty achieving their goals. Therefore, you need to get into the right mindset.

  • Discover your purpose–True happiness comes from fulfilling your purpose. When you are purpose driven, nothing can derail you from your path.
  • Be driven by passion, not money–When you’re driven by money, you will end up cutting corners and failing to listen to your market. Do what you love, and the money and recognition will come to you.
  • Know that there will be obstacles–Every business encounters rough seas from time to time, and it’s up to you to keep pushing through the obstacles to success.
  • Know your strengths, and acknowledge your weaknesses–Some of the most successful businesses are teams or partnerships. Why? Because individuals with the same mindsets work well together. They know their strengths, and they know when they need assistance or advice.
  • Be flexible–As your business grows, you will notice ways in which you have to adapt to changes in the market, or other challenges. Sometimes, accepting those changes is exactly what you need to make a small shift with massive consequences that take your business to the next level.

#2 Define What Success Means to You

Success has a different meaning to every person. What is it to you? Remember, there’s more to success than just money. Holistically approach your definition of success, and consider:

  • Will you have a balanced lifestyle with enough time for yourself, your family, and hobbies?
  • Does it involve being able to travel extensively while the business continues to grow?
  • Does success mean touching lives?

#3 Surround Yourself with the Right People

Positive people will encourage you to reach higher levels. Whether it is a wise word, an important introduction, or help when you need it most, the right people on your journey can make all the difference.

  • Choose your mentors wisely–A mentor could be anyone, from a family member or spouse to an author, an industry leader, or a well-known business guru.
  • Hire the right people–Look for employees who listen to clients and fellow employees. Excellent, passionate people will keep your company fresh.
  • Treat your employees well–If you’re employing people, remember that they make your business what it is. They work with your clients. They are your reputation. Treat them well, and they will look after your clients.

#4 Set Realistic Goals

This is where your mindset really matters, and why it is crucial that you set goals. No matter how big your goals are, the road to success is long and there will be ups and downs, but if you love what you do, you will be able to take it in strides and enjoy the journey.

When setting goals, consider your definition of success and set a time limit on when you’d like to achieve it. Now you can plan how to reach those goals in realistic increments of 6 months, one year, two years and five years.

Follow the 80:20 rule to success, which states that 80% of your success comes from 20% of what you do. Spend your time doing what matters. Be hands-on in the most important aspects of your business, and outsource the rest to capable experts.

#5 Know & Listen to Your Market

One of the main reasons why start-ups fail is because they assume the whole world is their market. That’s simply not true. Your market is the sector that can truly benefit from your product or service at the specific price range you offer. Even with the right niche product or service, you need to ensure that your market is viable for your success.

It is up to you to create a compelling value proposition that triggers customers into making a purchase. Your marketing should be finely tuned, and you need to be prepared to listen to your customers. Customer service is not only the function of the customer service department, but of every staff member.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, success is a mixture of important ingredients, but it is mainly a mindset of making a difference. The beauty of being a successful entrepreneur is how you can impact the lives around you and watching your start-up grow all because you were mindset ready.

David Gilks

About David Gilks

David Gilks is the Chief Traffic Coordinator at MOBE, focusing on corporate marketing and fulfilling traffic programs for MOBE’s clients. As a best selling Amazon author, international speaker & trainer, David is passionate about helping people transition from the corporate workforce into a home-based ‘lifestyle business’ to provide financial freedom and security.

To find out more about MOBE, My Online Business Education, click here!

All Things Are Possible, Susan

Starting Your Dream Business in Your Middle to Late Years

Starting-Your-Dream-Business-in-Your-Middle-to-Late-Years_37154469-1024x682Starting Your Dream Business in Your Middle to Late Years

Starting Your Own Business in your middle to Late Years is more possible than you may think.  In reality, if you’re in your forties, being the next big entrepreneurial success story might not come across your mind. Yet, middle-aged entrepreneurs are owning the market in the steady rise of businesses worldwide. According to Inc. magazine’s, Starting a Business in Your 40s Makes More Sense Than You Think, those who take the entrepreneurial plunge in their mid to late forties are far more likely to succeed in launching a new business than those 20 years their junior.

It’s a popular belief that young people are the bearer of breakthroughs while the middle-aged have too much to risk to even start a business. The problem is, that’s not true! Young businessmen like Mark Zuckerburg and Andre Mason did rise to become one of the wealthiest before 30, however, most of the successful entrepreneurs known to mankind had their break during their midlife. This proves that you’re never too late to realize your billion-dollar idea.

Twitter started with Evans William at 34 years old. Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company when he was 40 while Asa Candler launched Coca-Cola at 41. Gordon Bowker took coffee at a higher level with Starbucks at the age of 51, McDonald’s first flipped its burgers with Ray Kroc at 52, and Arianna Huffington shared news through Huffington Post when she was 55.

Now here you are, getting on in years, with the same aspirations you had 25 years ago. You might think opportunity had already passed you by—Pshaw!

Don’t be fooled by people’s opinions. Like all other 40-to-50-somethings, you’re right on time. Once you got your idea and a capital to use, there’s no better time than the present to start your dream business.

What They All Have in Common

Being an entrepreneur means taking a risk, but still having smart decisions in mind. This is where the middle-aged have an advantage. Their years of industry experience, reliable financial resources and goal to create a business that will benefit others going forward increases the odds to success. Unlike the young, mature entrepreneurs are more cautious, with greater sense of responsibility and are likely to commit to what they do as they have much to lose than those who’re still in their 20s.

Starting a business also requires a solid product or service. A unique idea is good, but it’s not a requirement. You just need to sell it different or better—making it big always depends on your passion and interest.

Try to imagine a life without Ramen noodles. Thanks to 48-year-old Momofuku Ando in 1958, it is now, more than half a century later, a staple “go-to” snack, which is a must-have in many college dorms across the country. Many companies reproduced this idea with twists in variations and are making money out of it.

Everyone, regardless of age, should research any venture thoroughly. Not only will you be able to know how your business can go in the long run, it will also reduce risks of falling short when launching your business.

Your Advantage

Compared to your younger counterparts, you have a treasure chest loaded with an arsenal of assets you’ve spent years accumulating. It’s now time to open it up and use your edge to build your dreams.

  • Experience: You have years of hard work and real world experience under your belt. You’ve seen, been, and done a lot of different things. You know what you want and how you intend to get it.
  • Networks: You’ve been doing what you do for a long time and know who is who. You know a lot of people, and have great professional and personal connections. Your years of experience have helped hone exceptional interpersonal skills to get partners and even customers trying out your product or service.
  • Responsibility: You’re not afraid of responsibility—you take it head on. After all, you’re already taking care of a family, home, car, and paying all your bills. You have a true understanding of how to lead and be in control, along with the ups and downs that come with it.
  • Passion: Every entrepreneur has a deep passion to strive for success, which is exactly what can catapult you right to the top. Unless you have this, your dream to make thousands or even millions won’t happen.
  • Resilience: Being a little older, you are apt to be more flexible and can better handle all of the frustrations that come with starting a new business. You are less likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of adversity.
  • Accountability: At the end of the day, you will stand behind your decisions. You are willing to admit when you make a mistake and work harder than anyone to fix the problem.

Midlife Action Plan

Remember, age is not a factor in determining success. You’re ready to hit the ground running and it’s time to put yourself out there. Make connections and get some advice from people who’ve been where you are now. Talk to a financial expert to ensure you’re on the right track, and get your ducks in a row.

Depending on your financial situation, you might want to consider taking on a partner to ease some of the startup pains. You should also look into Angel Investor Groups in your state for startup funding in case your capital is not enough for your startup.

Always know you can make your dreams happen and midlife is the right time for it.

Watch a Free Video to Find Out More, Click Below

41Remember, All Things Are Possible!

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Success in Internet Marketing

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Success in Internet Marketing: It’s As Easy As Jumping Out of an Airplane

Can you recall the first time you were in a car or on a motorcycle that was moving so fast that it made you anxious? How did you feel getting on a steep, twisting roller coaster or other thrill ride? Was it fear you felt before your first bungee or parachute jump? You hoped it would all go all right but you weren’t certain it would…remember? But when it was over, you couldn’t wait to do it all over again, right?

matt lloyd 183Failure to Jump

It’s estimated that 97% of people who get into Internet marketing fail to make any money at it. That’s astounding to me but I understand why it is.

There are plenty of things a person who has started a business could do and, in my experience, they will naturally gravitate toward the tasks that they understand and feel they have the best chance of obtaining a result with. I am talking about things like setting up a blog or designing a logo or a business card.

All those things are fine and will be needed at some point but, especially in the beginning, they won’t move a new business ahead in any meaningful way.

I compare this approach to people who are too frightened to jump or the ones who are hanging around the amusement park doing everything but getting onto a ride.

The actions that will move your Internet marketing business forward are usually completely strange and new for most people. They don’t understand them. They don’t know if they will get it right. So, they procrastinate and find other things to keep them busy. They never jump.

It’s Not a Business Until…

Just like you can’t have a college without teachers or a party without guests, you can’t have a business without customers.

I may be wrong about peoples’ fear of the unknown. Perhaps they’re not afraid but rather not aware of which actions are the most important ones to take. They don’t realize that not all actions are of equal value.

The primary concern of any person starting up in Internet Marketing should be to obtain their first customers, make sales and get the money coming in.

So, the blogs and business cards can wait. The various apps or plug-ins that seem so urgent to get, install, and use—it can all wait. All energies should be directed into activities that will drive traffic to your offers and provide leads that you can turn into customers.

A High-Converting Offer

For someone who chooses to be an affiliate marketer, selling someone else’s products, the simplicity is that you need to find a high-converting offer and drive traffic to it.

What is a high-converting offer? It’s not the product itself. It’s information about the product that’s both informative and persuasive enough to cause someone to take an action, such as to give you their email address or even buy the product straight off. It’s effective at increasing interest in the product. It converts readers into sales leads and customers.

When I say “information,” I mean the written or video content on a landing page that tells you about the offer. Five (or even five hundred) people could market the same product, using their own offer, and each will convert differently. A great, valuable, and desirable product marketed with a poorly conceived sales pitch will not be high converting.

At MOBE, we’ve tested and re-tested our offers until we’ve isolated the ones that have the highest possible conversion rate.

Once you identify a high-converting offer, all you’ve got to do is place ads to promote the product and drive traffic to the offer (product landing page). This is not news; you’ve likely heard me talk about this numerous times before. The more people you can get in front of the offer via your promotion, the more leads and sales you will make.

The Right People

There are some advertising people who will tell you that if the offer is good, you just need to get in front of people. But I have not found that to be true. If you’ve got a great offer on yarn and knitting needles, it doesn’t matter how many teenage boys or truck drivers see it—it’s not going to convert them.

So, it’s a matter of getting your offer in front of an audience that’s interested—mildly, moderately, or extremely—in your type of offer.

If you’re promoting a home business opportunity, you would want to get your offer in front of people who are looking for extra income opportunities or their own business. With a little Googling, you can figure out what websites, blogs, and forums those kinds of people spend time on. You can figure out who the home business gurus are. You can identify which print publications this crowd might subscribe to. Those are the sorts of places you’d want to place ads for your offer.

Then it’s just a matter of choosing one traffic method (type of ad) and working with it until you get a result.

Will everyone who sees the ad click on it or contact you? Probably not, but within the community of people who frequent such sites and publications, you will have a larger percentage of response than you would just reaching out to a general audience.

Final Thoughts

People who are new to online marketing definitely need to spend some time learning things. But don’t get caught up in the cycle of endless learning at the expense of doing things that

will actually move your business into business.

Try using a 1-to-4 ratio: one hour learning, four hours doing. For instance, spend one hour learning about a particular traffic method and then apply what you learned for four hours. Create the ad and place it.

What you will find is those four hours of doing are where the real learning occurs. You will also make real progress that way. That progress will lead to success.

Ready To Jump??  Jump out Here  jump

Remember, All Things Are Possible,

Susan Tuck

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Survival Strategies for Cash-Strapped Online Entrepreneurs

survival-strategies-for-cash-strapped-online-entrepreneurs-71551253-1024x682Survival Strategies for Cash-Strapped Online Entrepreneurs

When you’re first getting started with an online business, there’s a lot to manage. Even if you simplify things by putting your efforts behind a proven business model, there’s still a learning curve, and budgeting for advertising can be tricky.  In fact, people often ask me how they’re supposed to find the money to advertise when they don’t have a job, or they quit their job in order to focus on their business full-time.

matt lloyd 183Jumping Right In

The approach you take to funding your advertising campaigns will really depend on how much risk you’re willing to accept and what you’re willing to do in order to focus on your business full-time. In other words, what kind of sacrifices are you prepared to make?

In my case, for example, I assumed more risk than most people would probably be comfortable with. Back in 2009, when I was less than a year into the business, I quit all of the odd side jobs I had because I wanted to focus exclusively on growing my business.

I even went beyond quitting my jobs. At the time, I was a university student, so I received a monthly payment from the government that was earmarked for students, who generally don’t have a lot of money.

Even though I qualified to receive that money, I opted-out of it because I wanted to remove any and all safety nets from my life. The whole idea was to put myself in such a stark situation that only the success of my business could lift me out of it.

That’s what worked for me; burning all bridges so I had no choice but to succeed.

Now, I realize, of course, that for most people’s situations, this approach may not be advisable. But if you want to focus on your business exclusively, you’re going to have to hustle a bit.

In my case, hustling meant looking around and selling anything I didn’t need anymore; an old laptop, an old bicycle—pretty much anything of value that I no longer had a use for. I’d sell it and immediately invest the cash in my business. Sometimes I’d even borrow the money (mostly via credit cards); but, for the most part, I hustled for it.

Now, occasionally, I did have to put my advertising on hold because I couldn’t afford it. But even during those times, I continued promoting my business with time-consuming free traffic strategies. I’d just do them until some money came in, and then I’d go right back to paying for traffic. (I always recognized paid traffic as the best way to grow my business; it’s much faster and much more scalable.)

So, that’s the one answer to the question of how to find money to advertise: hustle. Creating money out of thin air is just one of those skills that every entrepreneur needs to develop. There’s no substitute for resourcefulness.

Wading into Your Comfort Zone

If you want to be a little more conservative in your approach, another option is to have a part-time job on the side while building your business. For some people, this is the only way to pay the bills while getting up and running. And that’s fine. Just be careful not to get too comfortable relying on your part-time income. Your mindset needs to be: This is not a hobby; I’m 100 percent devoted to growing my business and leaving my job behind.

If you are going to have a part-time job, you should limit it to a few hours a day. Do good work, but treat it like what it is: a short-term side venture. The rest of your time should be focused on growing your business as much as you can.

Also, if you do go the part-time job route, try to find a job that aligns with your own business goals. For example, in my early twenties, I took a telemarketing job that was 100 percent commission-based.

The reason I took that job was because I knew it would make me stronger in terms of dealing with rejection—and it would force me to learn how to sell very quickly because if I didn’t sell, I didn’t get paid.

Looking back, I can see how that job really helped me. I only did it for about three months, but it taught me to sell. And the skills were directly transferable to my own business. Keep this in mind if you decide you need a part-time job to fund your operation.

It’s never easy getting a business off the ground. Money will always be tight when you’re starting out. But if you hustle, train yourself to be resourceful and keep distractions—including any part-time jobs—to a minimum, you’ll persevere and eventually become successful.  Matt Lloyd

 

Get Your Business Off The Ground Here

Remember, All Things Are Possible,

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Richard Branson and Entrepreneurship

richard-branson-entrepreneurship-8-easy-lessons-achieving-extraordinary-success-1024x682Richard Branson and Entrepreneurship: 8 Easy Lessons to Achieving Extraordinary Success

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, is one of the most distinguished business personalities in the world, with a company name just as distinct as his silver-haired locks.

The successful British entrepreneur has come a long way from his academically underachieving roots. According to The Evening Standard, when the then-16-year-old Branson left his independent school in Buckinghamshire, his headmaster Robert Drayson said, “Congratulations, Branson. I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire.”

Drayson’s prediction was wrong on both counts. The young, dyslexic Branson, went on to become a billionaire. In fact, Forbes estimated Branson’s net worth to be $5 billion last July 2015.

With a business mindset at the tender age of 16, to now leading one of the biggest brands in the world, aspiring entrepreneurs have many vital lessons to take from the Branson story. To start it off, here are eight lessons to help you weave your own success story—the Branson way.

1. Be Bold When Building Your Brand

This is your name. Your brand. Your personality. It’s absolutely crucial to plan a good strategy and get a major edge in your niche. How people will perceive your business is important to appeal to the right prospects. You wouldn’t want to come across as “corporate” when you’re going for the less serious type of business and vice-versa.

In the book Richard Branson–Losing my Virginity, Branson explains that the name “Virgin” was suggested by one of Branson’s first employees (during the infant years of Virgin Records) because they were all new at the business.

That quirky name, despite failing to reflect the group’s many services, is interesting and catchy. As the company scaled, the name developed into an instantly recognizable brand.

It takes a lot to be bold when building up your brand. You need to think of an appealing name that will instantly click with your customers, similar to Virgin Group. But at the same, you should consider the advantages of having a company name that instantly says what you do.

You can write keywords for your business, use your name then ramble the letters or put together unique words—whatever works for you, but keep in mind to make it simple and easy to remember.

2. Persevere through the Pitfalls

In your journey as an entrepreneur, you will inevitably encounter many obstacles before you achieve success. But it’s during these moments you need to remember the reason why you began in the first place. Whatever that reason is, hold on to it no matter how “superficial” it may be.

If you wanted to launch a business just so you can have an X amount of dollars in your bank account over the next two years, so be it. If it’s because you feel the world needs your service, even better. These simple, yet attainable goals are going to help you to persevere through the tougher times.

For Branson, launching an airline service was not an easy task. He explained in his autobiography, “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them… from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it [Virgin airlines].”

Despite the difficulty and risk involved in launching an airline service, Branson battled on, and now boasts to have one of the world’s leading airlines.

3. Take Risks and Grab Chances

Success won’t come to you if you only dream big, but take no action. You should be proactive enough to turn those ambitions into reality.

The moment you see an opportunity, grab it while you can and do your best to turn it into a profitable income. Having launched a number of different business ventures, from a record label to a travel franchise, Branson has never been one to shy away from taking such risks.

In 1978, the Necker Island was put up for sale by its owner, Lord Cobham, for $6 million, according to Wikipedia. Because of his modest financial situation, Branson put in a bid for $150,000. The offer was inevitably refused as it was nowhere near the asking price. A couple of years later, however, in a desperate need of capital, Cobham called Branson and accepted to sell Necker Island for $180,000.

Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks and chances. Even if an opportunity seems “out of your reach”, make the offer or present your pitch. You truly have to be “in it to win it”.

4. Find Solutions to Reap Success

It’s often said that innovations solve problems and make good money. As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to be a scientist or an inventor to create something new to generate income. All you need is to take what already exists in the market and reinvent it in a way customers can see it as better or unconventional.

In a similar sense, Branson found a gap in the aviation market and decided to find a solution for it. He wanted to resolve flight cancellations, which had been a cause of a lot of disgruntled and unsatisfied passengers. Thus, Virgin Atlantic was born.

The airline company provides chartered flights to customers who minimized delay and cancellations. Virgin Atlantic subsequently grew into one of the world’s leading airline services with revenue of just under $3 billion.

Whatever field you are heading into, keep a keen eye on industry trends and identify the problems. Any issues you find could be converted into a new business idea by bridging the gap with your solutions.

For example, if consumers within your niche are not getting the best customer service from your competitors, find ways in which you can provide an exceptionally different assistance. Make them aware of the ease they will experience along with further unique advantages.

5. Diversify and Scale

Branson started his first business at the age of 16 by running a student focused magazine called, Student. After interviewing a number of prominent personalities including Mick Jagger, the magazine gained some prominence.

He then started a mail-to-order record company, now known as Virgin, which sells records at a much lower price compared to high street outlets. Earning enough money from his record store, Branson managed to launch the Virgin Records label in 1972 and went on to sign international successes such as the Sex Pistols.

In the overwhelming success of his record label, Branson’s desire to scale and diversify his portfolio was evident. He used the profits to move into:

  • Airlines (Virgin Atlantic launched in 1984)
  • Radio (1993)
  • Trains (1997)
  • Mobile phones (1999)

In 2000, Branson opened up various franchises, covering everything from banking, cars, wedding dresses and wine.

When your business sets off at different heights, the opportunity to diversify and scale your business will become easier. This increases revenue, opens more opportunities, stabilizes your brand and attracts customers to trust you more—people are aware that expansions are a good sign of a market stronghold.

Your portfolio may not be as diverse as Branson’s, who along the way has seen comparative business failures, including the Virgin Cola and Virgin Clothing lines, but your desire to explore new business avenues should not be compromised.

6. You Can’t Do It All

Earlier this year, Virgin Startup, a not-for-profit company founded by Branson that provides support for entrepreneurs in England, offered a $20,000 loan to 24-year-old Charlotte Cramer–one of the three entrepreneurs selected to join the inaugural flight from London to Detroit with Branson on-board.

In an interview with Business Insider UK, Cramer explained how Branson advocates the importance of being aware of your strengths:

“He told us to become aware of what we’re good at—likely coming up with new ideas—and stressed the value of handing over the general management of the business to have the headspace to innovate. Having had the opportunity to meet those who manage a number of the Virgin businesses, it was clear that Sir Richard is good at concentrating on his strengths and employing the best talent to fulfill the other roles.”

Similar to Richard Branson, you need to hire exceptional people to get the outcome you want rather than trying to master everything yourself. You need breathing room to grow your company. After all, it’s called “company” where people are “with you.”

7. Think Big

Dream big and you’ll achieve big. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you have to adopt a positive mindset with clear goals.

If you’re only interested in turning a minor profit for your first few years of business, then chances are you’ll succeed at doing just that. Some of the most successful people were ‘big thinkers’ with once seemingly unattainable goals. Think Edison, Jobs and of course, Branson.

Branson’s success comes from bold business moves. With no industry experience, he bought an airline which had gone bankrupt and managed to turn it into British Airways’ main competitor. But he didn’t stop there.

Enter Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company, founded in 2004, that aims to develop commercial spacecraft that will provide suborbital spaceflights for “space tourists”. Branson’s ground-breaking vision of space flights is another example of his innate desire to “think big” and explore uncharted business opportunities.

8. Enjoy the Ride!

Enjoying your entrepreneurial journey is an important factor that may just determine the success or failure of your business. Fun shouldn’t be overlooked. The moment you stop enjoying the ride, may just be the moment you realize this is not for you.

In his autobiography, Branson says, “Fun is one of the most important–and underrated–ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.”

No matter how hard being a business owner is, always try to look at the positive. Cherish small success and treat each failure a lesson.

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Grow Your Business with Pinterest

grow-your-business-with-pinterest-52815953-1024x682Grow Your Business with Pinterest

Twitter and Facebook may seem like the “Big Two” social channels for small business owners, but many have no clue that Pinterest actually drives more traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit combined. With a staggering 87% of Pinterest users acknowledging that they’ve purchased a product because of the social site, you could be risking a huge jump in sales by sitting on the Pinterest sidelines.

Pinterest is huge; it has 72.8 million users and has seen 97% growth this year. All this potential … and it’s largely going to waste. Few businesses use Pinterest as well as they could, if at all. Most admit the social site just isn’t on their radar. But for anyone eager for a piece of the $1.5 trillion eCommerce market, Pinterest is a must.

Pinterest

So What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pin-board. That’s it. Users pin images of anything they find interesting. Other users can easily see their pins and repins, and create groups of similar images. Pinterest gives entrepreneurs and business owners the potential to reach a huge audience, easily and without significant cost investment. It’s a beautiful thing.

But very few businesses know how to use it effectively.

Here are some simple, actionable tips to help you feel the Pinterest love, so you can start growing sales today:

plan

Plan

The key to successful Pinterest marketing is to plan ahead. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals, so you know what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to get there. Social can be a huge time-suck. If you don’t plan in advance, your social strategy could end in frustration, having invested time and energy only to achieve limited, tangible results.

Observeobserve1

One of the best ways to plan your Pinterest strategy is to watch what other people are doing. Come up with a list of your key competitors and observe how they use Pinterest. Which of their pins are getting the most engagement? Who is their audience? How often do they post? What are they talking about? Over time, you’ll come up with a nuanced Pinterest strategy of your own. When you’re first starting out, however, you can’t go wrong by using a successful competitor as a blueprint.

Snapshot(3)Profile

Fill out your profile and photo–and make sure you’re using keywords throughout. It sounds obvious, but in order to buy from you, consumers have to be able to find you. So, optimize your Pinterest profile for SEO. Use the same cover image across all your social networks. This will give you a consistent brand identity and help build credibility with your audience.

For access to Pinterest analytics, use a business account, so you can easily track what’s working and what’s not.

Lastly, be sure to verify your account because verified accounts are perceived as being more trustworthy.

Pins  pins

So, you’re ready to start pinning. Remember, everything you pin contributes to your overall brand voice–and you want people to like you. Think of it like walking into a bar: no one likes that strange, awkward guy in the suit who can’t talk about anything other than himself, right?

Social etiquette doesn’t differ whether it’s on- or off-screen. Social media is a conversation, not a “me, me, me-fest.” In other words, don’t just be self-promotional. Pin and repin interesting content that your target audience will find useful, not just your own products. That way, you’ll build up a following that sees you as insightful, relevant and credible. A following that is much more likely to trust you when it comes to your own products.

organizeOrganize

It’s 2015. Social consumers have high standards and a low threshold for frustration. Organize your Pinterest presence so users can easily find and navigate it, or you’ll struggle to build a following.

You should categorize your boards and pins so users can effectively find them. Use hashtags (2 -3 max) and keep them keyword-relevant (#summerrecipes NOT #reallyawesomesummerfoodnomnom). Also, use representative and keyword optimized titles.

respond and engageRespond and Engage

Far too often, we meet entrepreneurs and business owners who are engaging, professional and charismatic in person, but somehow morph into these repetitive, boring and egotistical personas as soon as they get online.

Building an online community is just like building a real-life community. It takes engagement, interaction and mutual conversation. With that in mind, carve out as much time as possible for engaging with followers: repinning, having conversations and using shared boards to pin your own content. Use PinAlerts too–invaluable for following leads from your website.

And lastly:

stay activeStay Active

It’s understandable that, when you finish reading this article, you’ll want to rush straight to Pinterest, raring to go. You’ll start pinning and repinning with abandon, only to find that this initial flurry of activity soon dies down and you just … can’t be bothered anymore. Just remember, social is a long-term game and if you expect to see immediate results, you’ll quickly get frustrated.

The key to building a successful Pinterest account is to stick with it and stay active. Keep pinning, even when it feels like you’re banging your head against a brick wall. You’ll get there eventually.

All forms of social media can sometimes be an uphill struggle, but the results can be massively worth it. You know what they say: anything worth having is worth working for. Pinterest is no exception.

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The Strategy That Will Keep You Motivated in Your Business

strategy-that-will-keep-you-motivated-in-your-business-83075104-1024x682The Strategy That Will Keep You Motivated in Your Business

If you’re searching the web for any articles that contain The Golden New Business Motivational Strategy, let me save you some time—stop surfing. It doesn’t exist. If you’re attending seminars or webinars or reading books or taking an e-course with hopes that you’ll finally encounter the Great External Source of Entrepreneur Accountability, then you’re wasting your time and money.

No One Else’s Path path

As an employee, the path to success is laid out: show up, do a good job and get paid. Perform better then get paid more; well, at least one would hope. Doing this regularly will give you long term engagement. Everything is predictable, which leaves little to chance.

For the entrepreneur, the case is very different, as one would need to carve his or her own trail. Chance is essential on how things play out for you to achieve greater financial success.

The need for constant reassurance is, sometimes inevitable when just starting out. I’ve also experienced such issues when I started my business. It’s only normal.

The path to your own successful venture can involve many unknowns, surprises and even mistakes. No matter now difficult things seem to be, just remember to enjoy the journey.

startThe Big Shift

Eventually, after seeing many others succeed, you may come to the realization that if you are going to be successful, you need to start now.

You’ll feel the big shift the moment you stop waiting for someone else to determine your actions. There’s a pang of motivation which signals your readiness to face whatever it takes to build your business. You understand all the risks and know you are the only one who can initiate that change.

And you just start.

Identify Your Reason reason

I often find many people who want to start their own business, but can’t simply identify why.

It’s going to be pretty hard to get your new venture started if you don’t have a strong reason for doing it. Your reason equals motivation.

Could you be doing it for your family? Do you want to spend more time with your children as they grow? To be able to put them through college?

If your goal is just to have more money because you want to get out of debt, you may understandably find yourself less motivated.

I had a burning desire for more freedom. I did not want to be restricted in an office with a predictable schedule. I wanted to travel the world and I did not want to have to answer to anyone else for my whereabouts, my choices or my time off.

I didn’t come from a wealthy family, but I wanted to live a more comfortable lifestyle. I wanted to have enough money so that I’d never have to check the right-hand column of the menu before I order. I work harder in my own business than I ever would have for someone else. I wanted to have enough money so I can work as I please, without ever worrying I’ll go bankrupt.

I wanted all of this so bad, that I would struggle quite a bit until I achieved it.

So, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this in the first place?” Come up with the strongest answer you can. Then write it down. Post it where you’ll see it—at your computer, on your mirror, on the fridge—so that you constantly remind yourself why.

Actually Doing It  do it

By now, you’ve identified why you’re in this business. It’s a powerful step, however, a lot of people continue to be distracted by other responsibilities, both real and imaginary.

When they could spend an hour learning what a solo ad is and how to place one, or even sending daily email to their leads, they go off doing something different instead—like cleaning the house, for instance. I like clean houses, too, but would they been fined by some authority for failing to clean the house? No. Yet people “get busy” this way, rather than devoting a little time to their business.

It’s evident that people prefer to stay in their comfort zone. They like to work on what’s familiar and easy, such as their dead-end jobs, where they’re stuck with a fixed income and have no savings at all.

Conversely, there’s no certainty in placing a solo ad for the first time or in giving up an hour to learn how to write more effective landing page copy. These things are unfamiliar, uncomfortable and they shy away from it.

So, in addition to reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do, you also need to be aware of the consequences that might happen for not doing it.

Take a hard look and come up with real situations where you might get in trouble if you don’t take the steps to start your business, keep it moving, and changing your life. Write them down and keep them where you will always see them. You will eventually start investing more time to your business.

Lastly, it’s very effective if you work on your business first thing in the morning. Get up a little earlier if you have to, and get the challenging tasks knocked off before anything else. You’ll have made progress before everything else begins vying for your attention.  Matt Lloyd

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Marketing’s ‘Secret Weapon’

secret-weapon-marketing-small-businesses-89379816-1024x682Marketing’s ‘Secret Weapon’ for Small Biz Owners

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, it’s probably worth a lot more in dollars. You see, visual content marketing is like a secret weapon for the little guy; with a lot of creativity and a little effort, your business could finally stand on equal footing with major brands, racking up customers and prospects with the best of them.

Companies large and small are discovering that — with so many competitors turning to content marketing to differentiate their products and services — the power of a strong visual can often be the deciding factor in a campaign’s success.

Two major brands that have done exceptional jobs using images to their advantage are Target and Starbucks.

Target’s presence on Pinterest, for example, foregoes the mundane product placement photos that render so many lesser brands generic by comparison. Instead, the retailer engages its audience by combining images with text. The company’s Party with Pinners board does an excellent job of sharing images that are warm, inviting and captivating to consumers.

Likewise, Starbucks is using Instagram to elevate its brand image from that of a simple coffee company to more of a lifestyle company. Yes, Starbucks does showcase its products, but they do it in a way doesn’t seem like a typical advertisement. In fact, the company’s Instagram profile mixes in a variety of images that promote the brand’s values and reflect the interests of its followers.

The good news for entrepreneurs and small business owners is that visual content marketing is quick, easy and — when done right — highly effective. Some of the most successful and engaging campaigns take on a variety of graphic forms, including comics, memes, infographics, photos, videos and visual note taking.

Just consider why visual content marketing is defining a new standard through which brands engage their target audiences:

visual1Consumers Devour Visuals

Reading requires work and thought whereas visuals can be passively absorbed. So it’s not surprising that consumers prefer to receive communications that blend words with imagery. And because it’s easier, it’s more entertaining. This preference holds true in the boardroom as well as the coffee shop, as evidenced by a recent Forbes Insight report that cited 60% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text when both are available on the same page.

Visuals Drive Social Media  visual

Yes, consumers love visuals — but beyond what they love, there’s a good reason for you to adopt visual content marketing: it’s a great way to draw a sharing response from your customers. For proof, you don’t have to look any further than Twitter. Tweets paired with images pull 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets, according to Savannah Louie, a writer who covers marketing for SaaS platform NectarOM. If you’re using these channels — and who isn’t at this point — don’t you think you should be including visual elements too?

Equally important, consumers aren’t just viewing and sharing visual content, theyre remembering it. According to an infographic published by AdWeek, people recall 80% of what they see or do, but only 20% of what they read. By embedding visuals in your content marketing, you’re far more likely to create a lasting impression with your customers and prospects. Better still, if you underscore the visual with text or audio, you’ll potentially quadruple the odds of a consumer recalling your messages.

If you’re now sold on the idea of visual content marketing — and you should be — the next step is to make sure you’re packing some visual punch. One of the reasons Target and Starbucks were singled out earlier in this article is because both brands excel at visual content marketing. They get it, and they’re committed to producing strong visual content that hinges on three important variables:

contentChoosing Appropriate Content

For shorter pieces, such as a blog post, you may get away with using a stock photo. But why sell yourself short? Wouldn’t an infographic, or a short video summarizing your main points, carry more weight with your customers? Which do you think they’d value most?

For lengthier pieces, such as an ebook or a case study, using an animated character or theme could stitch it together nicely for the reader while boosting engagement.

Of course, if you’re short on time and money, using a stock image is still better than no image at all. In fact, studies show 40% of people respond better to text paired with images than plain text alone.

Including a Call To Action (CTA)call to action

Sometimes entrepreneurs and small business owners are so eager to engage customers with visual content marketing that they forget to include a call to action (CTA), that little nudge that prompts readers to opt-in to your email list, share a post, or buy now. Your CTA can be subtle or blatant, depending on what you’re asking your audience to do, but it definitely needs to be there. Otherwise, you’ve wasted your time and effort producing content that doesn’t directly benefit your business.

mobile optimizationOptimizing for Mobile

As a small business owner, you want every effort to pay off. When creating visual content, take the extra step of optimizing it for mobile because your customers and prospects expect to access all of your content without a hitch. And nothing turns people off faster than incorrectly linked pages, or content they can’t view on their device of choice.

Visual content marketing doesn’t have to be difficult, just compelling. Done correctly, you may soon find it’s your weapon of choice for leveling the playing field against larger, more established brands. Put it to use today and watch your leads and sales skyrocket.

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