Get blog updates and free marketing tools and advice!

Are You Managing Your Time or Is It Managing You?

managing your timeIt’s amazing how much some people manage to get done, while others seem to be stuck in a rut without enough time in the day to accomplish much of anything. But, here’s the secret. Everyone has the same amount of time in every single day. It’s one way in which we are all created equal. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

Track Your Activities for a Week

To get a real picture of how you spend your time, try tracking everything you do for at least one week. Use a small recorder to record when you start and stop any task, and include the time. Alternatively, just use an old-fashioned pad and paper. Don’t change anything for now; just live your life as you do.


Now look at how you spent your time. Organize each thing that you did into urgent, important, family, fun, and time suckers. Some things that are fun might fall into the category of time sucking and that’s okay, because you can place limits on some things to still allow yourself to have fun without going overboard into time wasting.

Assign All Important Tasks to a “To-Do” List

Everything that is urgent and important should be scheduled. Some urgent and important things will also be family things. Put it all into the schedule. Give it the amount of time you think it will take, adding a few minutes for padding to avoid run over and missed deadlines.

Schedule Fun Time

Don’t forget to put time for fun into your schedule. Fun often goes with family and friends and it is a very important part of your life. The trick is to schedule the right amount of time and the right amount of fun, without intruding on the important and urgent tasks and activities that you also must do.

Spend Time Each Night and Morning in Planning Mode

Take the time each evening to evaluate how your day went, decide what could have been done better, or what needs longer or shorter times to accomplish. If you do this you will get better at creating a plan. Each morning take the time to look over your schedule to remind yourself what is coming up so you don’t forget anything. Never rely on just memory or you will get off track.

Create a Plan of Action for Each Activity

It doesn’t matter if the plan is for family time, for business, or something else – if you create a plan of attack for each item on your to-do list, you’ll accomplish it faster with fewer problems. One of the biggest time wasters is jumping from item to item. Stick to one thing at a time until it’s done and you’ll feel as if you have a lot more time in your day.

Train Others to Respect Your Time

If you have a business, especially if you work from home, you will often find that other people seem to lack respect for your time. The real issue is that you’ve not taught people to respect your time. As Oprah (or maybe it was Dr. Phil) once said, “You teach people how to treat you.” Are you teaching people to respect your time? If not, it’s time to start doing so.


Never underestimate the power of delegation for getting more time in your day. A good assistant can almost double your time. So while you can’t actually get more time, remember that everyone has the same 24 hours. You can create a situation where you duplicate yourself by hiring an assistant or outsourcing some mundane tasks such as writing, social media, or even housework or lawn care. There is no such thing as a successful CEO who doesn’t delegate.


Finally, it’s important to always be realistic about what can really be accomplished in any given amount of time. No matter how much you want to be, you’re not superwoman (or man) – you’re just a human who is doing their best to manage the resources they have. If something doesn’t get done today, move it to tomorrow. As you get better at scheduling, you’ll get it down to a science on how long it really takes you to do any particular task and you’ll have fewer days where you don’t succeed.

Benefits of Hiring a Freelance Writer

business writer, hiring a writerThere are a few ways to get your written content. You can write it all yourself, hire an employee or hire a freelance writer. Each option has its own benefits. However, it’s hiring a freelancer that really has its benefits, and I’m not just talking about the benefits regarding your content. Here are five that benefits of hiring a freelance writer to take care of your written content.

#1 Experience. Any good freelancer will have experience. And with so many writers out there, it’s pretty easy to find one that specializes in your industry. A freelance writer can bring the unique combination of industry experience and writing experience to really boost your online content.

#2 Connections. Oh yes, freelancers come with connections. Most that have been at it for years have been around the block. They may very well be able to recommend a web designer, an AdWords specialist, a social media specialist, etc. Even if you don’t need all that, freelancers typically know their way around social media, and if they agree to share your blog on their own profiles, that’s more publicity and promotion for your business.

#3 Affordability. While a freelance writer is going to cost more than writing your content yourself, it’s going to be more cost effective than hiring someone in-house. Hiring an employee usually means supplying a work space, as well as a computer and other office supplies. It may even mean medical benefits and insurance.

#4 Flexibility. Freelancers work from home because it offers them flexibility. But it can work in your favor too. Especially with time zone differences, you could have someone adding posts, editing your website or sending out emails even after your business is technically done for the day.

#5 Outside POV. Sometimes it’s hard to see what others see. And being in a position on the inside can sometimes skew your view of your business. A freelancer can come in and offer a fresh new view, and a new approach, to your content and your marketing.


Written content still has its place for businesses. And one of the best ways for businesses to get that written content is by hiring a freelance writer. A freelance writer offers the experience, connections, affordability, flexibility and fresh point of view that an insider just can’t.


Have you hired a writer for your business? Leave a comment and share your experience.

Creating Your USP

unique selling propositionIt’s been proven that having a unique selling proposition is an effective means for advertising a business. Look at any television commercial and you’ll see where USP’s are distinguishing one company from its competitors. An example of an effective USP worked into a slogan is M&Ms where they tout they “melt in your mouth, not in your hands”.

A USP or unique selling proposition, is simply an attempt to show how your business is unique. What makes it stand out from your competition? You might make a promise that the others don’t. Your product may have the benefit of using all natural ingredients that similar products from other companies don’t. Whatever it is, your USP should clearly tell your customers why they should buy your product over your competitor’s products.

Your USP should be a straightforward phrase or sentence. Don’t try to make it a cute or funny. The last thing you want is for a prospective customer to read your USP and be left wondering what you have to offer them. So get straight to the point and make it meaningful and memorable.

When creating your USP, consider the following:

Who are your customers or who do you want as customers? Consider their age, location, interests and so forth. Are they thrifty spenders, do they prefer to do business with local companies, are they of an age where health is more of a concern?

How do you want your customers to see you? What do you want them to think first, when they think of you?

What does your product or business do? Focus on just one or two key things that are highest in demand.

Is there something special, unusual, or significant about the way you do business that your competitors don’t?

All of these things will help you determine how you differ from your competitors.


Creating a USP is one of the most crucial elements of marketing your business so don’t try to create it in one sitting. Instead, make note of your ideas and take time to think about them. Search hard for the real reasons why you are different.



Advantages of Webcasting

webcast, image by imagerymajestic on freedigitalphotos.netWith social networking being at a high point and increasing steadily, the drive for interactive websites is on the increase.

A lot of people want a website that’s not simply static and they’re looking for interaction when they log onto the net – from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube – we want to connect.

As an online business owner this means that adding a webcast to your online business is a great move.

First, what is a webcast?

In simple terms it’s a video recording placed on the web. Just like a TV offers traditional viewing, a webcast does something similar – but the video is streamed on the internet rather than the TV network.

A webcast can be anything from a video of you explaining how to do something to your viewers, to a two (or more) people interview, to an interactive online class.

The point is that you’re adding an interactive feature to your website and making it easier for visitors to give their feedback and get involved.

There’s a lot of different equipment you can use and a little research will help you find the best. Once you’re set up with your video recording mode you can take things a step further and use a video editing service to add features to your recording which will really make the video stand out. There are many services online and a simple Google search will help you find the right one for you.


Webcasting is a great addition to your website. You’re making it easy for your visitors to interact with you while offering valuable information. This will keep them coming back to your site over and over again.

Twitter as a Traffic-Generating Tool

twitter traffic, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netTwitter is still one of the most popular and quick tools available to help focus on strategy and promotion online. With a maximum number of 140 characters, you don’t need to spend a lot of time writing updates about your business or a lengthy blog post.

And you can easily use Twitter to draw people to your blog or website. By planning your tweets ahead of time, as a series of short and well-phrased mini-blog posts, they can assist you in keeping your followers loyal to you.

Here are some other ideas you might try:

* Keep your tweets coming on a consistent basis. Your audience will be happy to know they aren’t missing anything, and will gladly click through to your blog to keep up with your news.

* Tweet only a major point from your blog, such as the title. This will set up a level of intrigue, and those interested in finding out more will head to your website. This is precisely where you want them to go.

* Consider all areas of your business when thinking about your tweet. Such comments as how things work, why you do them and when you offer certain things are just the type of information your followers are looking to hear about.

* Instead of posting statements, you could try asking your followers for their input on what they would like to see on your blog or website. By getting their input it will be easier for you keep your audience happy when you are able to cover the topics they have been waiting for.

* Tweet at least once daily. At least. It’s even better to use a tweet scheduling tool such as TweetDeck, Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule your tweets throughout the day.


Once you get Twitter working for you and your business,make sure that your monitor your traffic using an analytic tool. You can see the comings and goings of your readers from Twitter, and you will be able to see what tactic is working the best for you.

What Makes a Website Link-Worthy?

link to website, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netThe days of reciprocal links with irrelevant sites are long gone. Today search engines (ahem … Google we’re talking about you) require that the links to your site and from your site be authorities to be worth anything.

Your Website Needs Useful, Informative, Accurate … Pretty Much Awesome

Don’t put filler content on your website. Every bit of content should be useful, informative and accurate. In addition, it’s important that your audience knows that the content is reliable in terms of well-written and well-researched pieces. It’s also important that you promote every last bit of content that you put on your site. If you’re not proud enough of your content to promote it, why would anyone else be linking to you?

Your Website Should Be Up-to-Date with Technology

Mobile friendly was the buzz word a year or two ago; now the phrase is “responsive design”. A website designed responsively will work well on any device. Nothing is worse than trying to link to a shared article and find out that you cannot comfortably read it on your smartphone or iPad.

Convert all online real-estate to responsive designed sites and you’ll become that much more link-worthy to relevant sites. In addition to responsive design, pay attention to all the technical elements of your site so that your website always stays up to date in terms of what your audience expects technology-wise.

Your Website Should Look the Part

This goes to being up-to-date with technology but also in terms of the design of your site. If you had a successful site in the 90s and you’ve not changed it, it’s way past time to change it. There exists many different formats today for a website. Gone are the typical banner at the time and two side bars. Sites are now much more dynamic in appearance. Thankfully, with software like self-hosted WordPress, you too can have a seriously competitive up-to-date and great-looking website that won’t blind visitors or appear old-fashioned.

Your Website Should Speak Directly to Your Audience

Outside of the look and feel of your website and your content, you need to be sure that everything speaks directly to your own audience. Don’t try to appeal to others just because you want links. Appeal to your audience instead. You should be able to create very detailed personas of your audience. These personas are who you will be creating and curating content for. You want your website to be the one-stop place for anyone who needs information on your niche.


By becoming the most authoritative site that you can for your niche as well as looking the part with an up-to-date website, you’ll certainly become more link-worthy. But, it’s most important to remember that you should always speak directly to your audience in terms of the look and feel of your site, and the content that you put on it. By doing so your website will become very link-worthy in no time.

Strategies to Become a Better Decision Maker

making good decisions, image by 1shots on freedigitalphotos.netBeing a good decision maker can help you in business and life. It’s been said that highly confident people make decisions clearly and stick to them rather than changing their minds or being indecisive. This is true of successful people as well.

Luckily, even if decision making doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s a skill that can be learned. Here are a few tips to help you become a better decision maker.

#1 – Start small. Even making small everyday decisions will help you accomplish the bigger goal. Small decisions such as where to eat today are a good place to start. The next time you are faced with a lunchtime dilemma, choose a place. Don’t second guess yourself or change your mind repeatedly. Make a decision and then stick to it.

Small steps like this can be empowering and help you to tackle the bigger decisions to come in the future.

#2 – Approach decisions logically. Many of us tend to make emotion-based decisions rather than logical ones. In business this can spell disaster. A good way to help you approach decisions in a logical manner may be to write down a list of pros and cons.

Simply grab a sheet of paper and label one side pros and one side cons. Then list all the good and bad points of your choice. Logically think through your comments and then make your decision. This way you can leave emotions out of the equation and concentrate purely on the facts.

#3 – Cut yourself some slack. Making decisions is a skill which can be learned but even great decision makers always make the right choices. Realize that making decisions effectively takes confidence and is a great first step, but your decisions may not always be the right ones. If you happen to make the wrong decision, give yourself a break and take comfort in the fact that you thought out your decision clearly and logically and made the best choice possible at the time.


Being a good decision maker takes time and practice. However, it’s a worthwhile skill to develop; for both business and life. Making decisions regularly may help build your confidence level and also help people know where they stand with you – two great entrepreneurial qualities.

Common Mistakes Niche Marketers Make

mistakes niche marketers make, image by digitalart on freedigitalphotos.netNiche marketing is becoming more popular … and more profitable. Unfortunately, not everyone excels at it. If you find you’ve been failing at niche marketing, it’s not because it doesn’t work. It’s because you haven’t done the proper research, haven’t put into action the things you’ve learned, and likely you’re jumping from one project to the next without making the first one a success. Hint: If you own more than five domain names, but do not have even one profitable website, you’re probably making one of these three common mistakes.

Jumping In Too Fast

It’s imperative to first do research before jumping into any niche. You need to know who your audience is, down to their age, sex, child status, and anything else important to know, so that you can create or find good products and/or services in which to promote to them. If you jumped in without doing the research, it will seem to take longer to earn a profit. You need to know who the audience is, whether the niche can be monetized, and who the competition is before you even buy a domain name.

Research the audience; study the competition; create or find products. In that order. Don’t skip these steps or you’ll be jumping in too fast and may waste a lot of money, time, and effort on an idea that can’t work.

Being Addicted to Learning

How many courses have you purchased, or how many books have you bought about how to make money in niche marketing? Probably quite a few. Learning is a good thing, but it’s important that you actually implement what you learn before learning something new. If you’re spending all your time reading and learning and not doing, you will never see success. You might be very smart, true, but you still won’t have success without doing.

Learn, implement, practice, evaluate. Remember these steps each time you see a course you want to take. Are you really going to take the time to do all four on the list? If not, don’t bother wasting your money.

Starting Too Many Unprofitable Websites

This brings us back to the issue of owning many domain names, getting the shell of a potential profitable website up, and then moving on to the next shiny object. Pick an audience, and a niche, do your research and stick to it before trying a new one. If you don’t have a darn good reason to buy another domain name, and it’s not related in any way to the niche or audience you currently market to, stop right now. Don’t do it.

Make a profit from whatever it is you’re doing right now and get that business running smoothly. After that it’s fine to start a new niche with the same or even an entirely new audience. Only buy domain names when you’re ready to get started in a particular niche.


It’s not impossible to become a successful niche marketer. In fact, there are many out there. Do your research, learn then implement, and avoid starting more niches before making the first one profitable and automated enough (through outsourcing and other means) to keep it going while you devote time to the next venture. Keep up to date on whatever niche you get involved in, read industry news, stay ahead of the competition. You will succeed!



Attracting New Clients through Community Involvement

community involvement. image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netThere are several ways in which you can attract new clients to your service-based business, but one of the most effective is via community involvement. Don’t get worried. Community involvement can happen both on and offline. There are communities that exist only online and there are communities that exist only offline. You can do both for best impact, but if there is a reason you can only participate online that is fine too.

There are two types of communities you can get involved in. You can involve yourself in a community of your peers, or a community of your audience.

Peer Groups

In terms of peer groups, there are peers with whom you are in direct competition and those who offer complementary services to yours. Both can help you get clients but the complementary group will be more beneficial to you because they are not direct competition. Consider that when you get involved in any particular group.

Business focused groups, mastermind groups, industry focused groups and so forth all exist to help you educate yourself further and provide connections. You can get clients through word of mouth when a peer group member feels you would be right for a position because they have come to know you. Peer groups also offer opportunities for joint venture (JV) partnerships which can widen and expand your audience.

Niche Groups

Audience or niche groups are the best place for you to spend your time because you can find groups full of your ideal clients. You can locate these groups by looking at local meet-ups in the area, searching for groups on, and searching for and joining message boards devoted to a particular niche.

The key making niche groups work is to join the group, freely answer questions for them and let them come to see you as part of the group. Let your signature line speak for itself, and do not try to sell your services at all. They will come to you when they see that you offer what they want via your normal sharing mechanisms.

Understand the Pros and Cons

Be a free and open source of information regarding your niche. This is how people will get to know you and trust you and start seeing you as someone to refer to others or hire. There can be problems with choosing to spend more time in communities of your peers than in communities consisting of your niche audience. Doing so can result in a problem finding your ideal clients and being stuck in a bubble of competitors.

You want to focus on spending more time in communities that are made up of your ideal audience than with your peers but you want to also participate in peer communities so that you can become known as a community expert.

Finally, when you join either type of group you want to realize that when you first join, you are the new person and you are unknown. No one is going to trust you immediately – whether they are meeting you in person or online. Take the time to get to know others before offering your services in any manner, and get to know the culture of the group. Let your business card or your signature line do the selling for you. Make participation your goal and more clients will be the result.


Whether your business is online of off, you can really benefit from community involvement. Consider which type is best for your business, and weight out the pros and cons before jumping into any type of strategy.

Now it’s your turn. How do you get involved in communities?

Easy Ways to Write Great Online Content

image by digitalart on freedigitalphotos.netAs you already know, people read differently online than they do offline. We’ve already talked about how they scan more than they actually read, and how to make your content scannable. You want your content to be easy to read, but you also want it to be great. Well, great in the realm of online content. Here’s how to do that.

Have a clear headline. Yes, you want that catchy, attention grabbing headline. But you also want one that’s easy to understand. It should tell readers exactly what you’re going to be telling/teaching/enlightening/etc. them about. If they can’t tell what your content is about from your headline, chances are they will move on.

K.I.S.S! Yup. Keep it simple stupid. Stop trying to overcomplicate your content. Make it easy to understand. Get to the point and tell your reader what’s in for them. Being descriptive and fun is good, but cut it down so it doesn’t detract from your true message.

Don’t repeat the same info. Readers shouldn’t read the same info over and over again on your site, even if it’s worded differently each time. Say exactly what you mean, and talk about different ideas throughout your content.

Make it look good. Good images make a big difference. Scratch that, great images make a big difference. Adding in quality, content-boosting images will help make your words appealing and make people want to read on. You can also switch it up by publishing blog posts with no words at all. Infographics are a great way to convey useful information in an entertaining way.

Proofread. Then proofread again. Going back over your content is one of the more boring parts of writing online content. At least it is for me. But it’s a must. There are little errors that are so easy to miss, even the first time you reread your content. If you absolutely hate proofreading, hire a freelancer to do it for you. Really, it’s super freeing to outsource the menial tasks that you hate to do.


When writing anything online, you need to make sure your words are effective. Online readers don’t mess around. They want their information quick, concise and easy to understand. Use these tips to easily make your content great.

Over to you. Do you write your own content? How do you make sure that online readers love it?