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How to Start Your Own Online Marketing Business

How to Start Your Own Online Marketing Company

Meat & CheeseEarlier today my family and I met up with some friends from Cozumel now also living in Valencia, Spain.

We went to the Mercado to pick up some fresh meats and cheese. This was my lunch today – so good!

As we were walking through the market, my buddy and I were discussing being rich in time. Of all the currencies one could be rich in (money, mobility, fame/reputation, etc), time is one of, if not the most valuable.

How you use your time is up to you. For me, spending quality time with my family is a big deal. I consider myself a very rich man when it comes to having time to do what’s most important to me.

But How Do You Get Rich in Time?

Well, here it is in 5 steps: Read more

Punch Your Cubicle Job in the Throat and Create Your Own Income

Early this morning, I woke myself up with a scary dream.

In the dream I was talking to a boss and then settling in at my desk at a new job.

I was wearing “work casual” – khaki Dockers and a blue button down shirt. I even had an ID badge on my belt next to my smart phone in its ridiculously huge leather case.

After trying to make a light joke with my new boss, I looked down at my desk and felt an overwhelming sense of failure. A job. Bleckh!

With the way I felt, the desk could have easily been prison bars. The feeling would have been the same.

Right at that moment, I woke up.

I quickly looked around and saw the early morning light of the Caribbean sun already spilling into our bedroom.

The silhouetted palm trees assured me that I was exactly where I wanted to be.

I took a deep breath, exhaled, and then thought about what I would do for the day.

But Sean, a Job isn’t the End of the World!

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking right now.

“Stop freaking out! There are a lot of people who would love to have a job!”

And you’re right.

Read more

Lifestyle Business

3 Vital Components to Creating a Lifestyle Business

Want to build a lifestyle business and live the dream?

Want to work on your laptop while sitting under a palm tree with your toes in the sand?

Maybe you just want an extra 50 grand a year coming in.

Well you can.

But there are a few things you need to understand first.

Actually, it’s more than understand. It’s like all out you totally, deep down really have to get this or you’ll never make a dime.

In the spirit of anti-fluff writing, I’ll get to the point fast. There are three vital components you need to know right out of the gate to make your lifestyle business a success.

If you don’t get these right, your business will choke and you’ll never succeed. I speak from experience having been on both sides.

Ready? Let’s go. Read more

Why a Job

What Could You Possibly Want with a Job?

“Oh, H.I., you’re young and you got your health. What you want with a job?

Warning: If you love your job, this message isn’t for you.

BUT, if you’ve ever looked out your office window longing to be playing outside, this message is for you.

If you’ve ever imagined yourself at the tropical location of your computer screensaver, this message is for you.

If you’ve ever sat in traffic wishing you were home already, this message is for you.

If you’ve ever realized that you spend your best waking hours (and a lot of them) away from the people you care about the most, this message is most definitely for you!

We All Need Money

No doubt about that. Money buys freedom. But how we obtain that money is totally different for everyone.

The default way for most people is to get a job. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction in fact. People think, “I need money, guess I better get a job”.

Yeah, sure. This is the easy way. But an easy path almost always leads downhill.

When you get a job, you’re guaranteed a paycheck (if you show up and kind of work). So that’s great.

But what’s the cost? Read more

Kid Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Kid in Mexico

Is it possible to learn valuable entrepreneurial lessons from a 6 year old kid selling homemade goodies in Mexico?

Heck yeah!

Like many parents, we send our daughter, Abby, off to school every day. It’s a private school here in Cozumel and they have a very hands-on teaching style.

Last week the school organized a bazaar to be held at one of the main parks here on the island.

The main goal: to create and sell homemade goods while tracking costs and profits.

In other words, Abby was getting a very hands-on math lesson. The best kind of math learning in my opinion!

To be brief, these are the steps Abby took:

  1. Thought of something she could make (the product had to be homemade) – she thought of rice krispie treats
  2. With her mom’s help, she listed the ingredients
  3. She went to the store and purchased the ingredients and paid for them herself
  4. She kept the receipt to track costs
  5. She hit the kitchen for some product creation
  6. A few hours later, she had a platter full of wrapped treats ready to sell
  7. She set the price at 5 pesos each – a steal for quality rice krispies!
  8. She set up shop at the park (on a table provided by the school)
  9. She got her first sale! (ok, it was her sister but the first sale is always the hardest right?)
  10. She spent the next 3 hours selling
  11. Half way into it, we tried walking around giving away free samples to increase sales
  12. When we decided to close up shop, Abby had sold about half of her inventory
  13. Abby totaled up her sales and doing some real life math realized she was about 30 pesos short of profitability
  14. For her school project, she turned in her final profit/loss report

Some Key Lessons Learned

Keep in mind, this was a kids bazaar – not a professional operation – so the standard is a bit lower. However, to apply Abby’s experience to “grown-up” business, here are some key takeaways.

Successes

Drawing up the sign

Drawing up the sign

Product Creation – Abby was a superstar in her product creation. She did most of the work herself.

It was something she knew how to do and was able to do quickly.

Product Pricing – Abby was very competitive in her pricing. Her next door neighbor was selling cookies at 8 pesos a piece.

Abby’s deal offered far more value. It also gave her a decent profit margin if she was able to reach her breakeven point.

Selling – Even though Abby’s Spanish is very limited, she learned how to tell people “how much”, say the amount of change given (if needed), and also to say “Gracias” while looking her customer in the eye.

Challenges

Open for business

Open for business

Merchandising – Abby had a small sign compared to what most of her “competition” had. She could have had a bigger sign with more pizzazz.

Also, she could have used balloons or something else to attract more attention to her store front.

Product Research – It turns out that most people in Cozumel don’t really know what rice krispie treats are. This was a big deal.

Abby made them because she knew how but it didn’t match what the market demanded.

We were able to go do some market research and see what sold well. Items like Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) and tamales sold very well.

First Sale!

First sale – ok, it was her sister but it still counts!

Selling – Abby had a challenge with being vocal about her product in the marketplace. She’s a bit shy by nature so it was challenging for her to solicit people as they walked passed.

She decided that walking around to offer free samples to drive more business might be a good idea. However, most people did not understand that they were free samples.

This is partly because by then other kids got mobile and were walking around selling. So she was forced to explain they were free and also to explain what rice krispies were.

Increase Profitability – Abby’s ingredients were very cheap. She was working with a potential huge profit margin. She could have dropped her prices or offered two-for-one promotions or even something else.

Again, the big challenge was having the right product. Had she been selling tamales or something familiar, there’s no doubt she would have quickly sold out.

It’s so important to do product research before going to market!

Over all, Abby rocked!

She did really well for being shy, selling in another language (and culture), and selling something not in the normal Cozumeleno diet.

What about the left over inventory?

Well, we all pitched in to help Abby “liquidate” it!  🙂

So how about you? Did you ever sell something as a kid? What was your experience? How has that helped you as an adult?

::

Lifestyle Design Cheat Sheet

Lifestyle Design Cheat Sheet

If you’ve heard the term “Lifestyle Design”, chances are you’ve also heard of Tim Ferriss and the 4 Hour Work Week. In the book, Tim paints a wonderful picture of outsourcing all of your work, automating common everyday time-consuming tasks, and hitting the road for adventure which, of course, includes world travel.

I read the book when it first came out over 4 years ago. I admit, it got my blood boiling. I immediately started thinking of ways I could make more money online and outsource my life to travel the world with my wife and first daughter.

What happened?

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! I was too chicken to take any action.

The book and concept of lifestyle design became something I talked about on my lunch break with fellow employees. Living my life exactly as I wanted to was something I dreamed about as I stared out the office window.

Someday I suppose, right?

Cutting the Cord

One day I showed up to my job, and not too long after heard the words, “We’re going to have to let you go”.

Yep, my happy little office job became obsolete as I was “let go”.

It turns out it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Because of my experience and the experience of many of my friends and family all around me, I wrote Why Getting Laid-off Can Be the Best Thing to Ever Happen to You.

It’s true…IF you have the right attitude. Fortunately, I have an awesome family (a super rad wife and two little girls that love exploring and experiencing new things) that totally support our new lifestyle.

We are living according to plan – a plan that we ourselves created. Not a degree. Not a job. Not a boss. Us.

We decide exactly what to do with the time we have. It took us a while but now we’re there.

But you don’t have to go through what we did to start living your dream life. You can start to design your perfect life right now.

So in an effort to save you the time and trouble of figuring it all out, I’ve created a cheat sheet for you.

Cheat Sheet to Expedite Your Dream Life

 1. Recognize You’re In Charge of Your Life

It’s nice to read about people sailing around the world with their families or roadtripping from Alaska to Argentina but sometimes it all seems too unrealistic. It’s easy to think, “Oh that’s good for them. But I could never do it.” That’s exactly where you have to stop and recognize that you are in charge of your life. No one else is. Only you. You can do it, if you want to. This leads to the next step.

2. Reverse Engineer Your Dream Life

What do you really want to do in this life? What’s on your bucket list? Who is already living your ideal lifestyle? How can you emulate them? Think of all of the things you need to have, be, and do in order to get where you want to go. Then get started now!

3. Rearrange Priorities

Most of the things you think are so important really aren’t. Do you really, truly, deeply care about your 60” LED TV? Probably not. At least you shouldn’t. Think about your dream life and what it entails and shift your thinking and actions. This may include decreasing your expenses. This may mean starting your own business. Maybe it means moving. Whatever it is, figure it out and then have the guts to do it.

4. Set Goals

Now this is going to sound really self-helpy but you must set goals. You must be able to track your progress. What are you tracking? Countries visited? New hobbies/skills mastered? Financial goals? Whatever! Just break down your overall dream life into small, bite-sized, trackable goals to keep you moving forward.

5. Do the Work

If you need to quit your job to live your dream life, do it! If you need to sell your house, do it! Do whatever it is to make it happen. The key is to be absolutely hungry. Work as if your life is counting on it…because it is.

6. Recognize that Lifestyle Design Does Not Happen Overnight

If you poke around online, you’ll hear cool stories about people living in exotic places, traveling with their families, and raking in the dough with semi-automated income. While it’s true that people are doing it, it’s important to note that it usually doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of ground work before you can reap the rewards. Just believe it’s your turn and keep plugging away.

Be Brave

So there are the steps listed out. Now you just have to be brave enough to actually do it. Don’t wait like I did. Don’t just think about it and or talk about it on your 15 minute break.

Take action. Do it today! It’s your life. Decide how you’re going to live it.

What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had in designing your dream life?

::

12 Step Program for Corporate Detox

12 Step Program for Corporate Detox

I’ve been to a number of events lately where I’m surrounded by people who are taking their income into their own hands. They’ve left the corporate world in exchange for making it on their own doing what they’ve always wanted to do.

I’m inspired to meet these like-minded people who also believe that job security is an oxymoron and that it’s up to them to decide how to make money.

It doesn’t matter how you started your new life, if you chose to leave your job, or if you were laid off, downsized, or outright fired.

What’s important is that while living the entrepreneurial life is exhilarating, it’s easy to slip back into the old ways of the gray cubicle existence.

With this in mind, I’ve listed a 12 step program to follow for complete corporate detoxification.

1. Dust Off Your Values

Now that you’re free from a job, what are your highest values? What are your priorities? What are the things you’ve been putting off because your time was already spoken for? When you were at your job, what was it you always thought about doing?

As you go forward in your new life, you’ll want to base it on what you hold most dear. For me, fun, freedom, and mobility rank among my highest values. So I’ve planned my life to make sure I maintain those values.

2. Create a Vision and a Plan

Now that you have your values lined up, create a vision of your dream life. How are you going to make money? Where are you going to live? Who’s with you? This vision becomes your motivation.

Now take your vision and create an action plan. How can you get to where you want to go? Who can help you? Having your dream and backing it up with massive action is the best way to kick start your new life.

3. Daily Schedule

This is one of the most important steps. When you had a job, most likely your schedule was more or less determined for you. You showed up to do the work handed down to you. Now it’s your turn to fill your day with meaningful activities.

This is a tuff step. You need to get rid of random web surfing & unfocused social media. Get rid of checking emails by the minute. Get rid of any work that isn’t 100% productive.

For me, I’ve recently discovered it’s easiest to work in what I call “power sessions”. I work really hard and really focused for 90 minutes at a time. Then I get up, move around, and maybe do a few push-ups. Map out your day (preferably the night before) into chunks of productive tasks that will get you closer to your goals.

4. Be Grateful

You started off your program by rediscovering your values. Now that you’re in the daily grind, you should start every day by taking time for gratitude. Be grateful you’re in business for yourself. Be grateful you get to see more of your family. Be grateful for the ability to generate income on your own. There’s a million things to be grateful for.

Being grateful puts you in a perfect mindset to push hard and achieve the things you want. Plus it helps keep things in perspective.

5. Sell, Sell, Sell

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. If you’re making money on your own, you’re a salesperson. Your biggest job as an entrepreneur is to get paid. After being in the corporate world for years, there’s no better feeling you’ll have than getting paid for your efforts and it all goes to you!

Selling and bringing in money is the most important of the steps so far. Once you’re making money, then you can always readjust your priorities. An awesome vision with no money doesn’t really make the family too happy. Food on the table and a nice roof overhead is the best security and you do that by selling.

6. Hire Your Weaknesses

Procrastination is bad and nothing causes procrastination more than having to do something you don’t love or aren’t good at. The solution? Get someone else to do it!

Personally, I really don’t like bookkeeping and managing numbers. But guess what? My wife Heidi does! So we make a perfect team. Outsource everything you aren’t in love with doing.

If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.

John Irving

7. Rediscover Meaningful Communication

Guess what? When you’re on your own, you don’t have to worry about office politics anymore! You get to choose exactly who you work with. You can choose to work with only your ideal clients or customers.

You can open up and really connect with people once again. You can deepen your relationships with your clients or customers by being who you really are.

8. Accountability Partner

It’s liberating to not have a boss anymore. High five! But now you need to keep yourself accountable. This is another vital habit to implement, especially if you’ve been answering to a boss for a long time.

You might think you don’t have to answer to anyone now and that’s true but you still need someone to help you stay on course for the things you’ve decided to do. I recommend a business coach or strategic partner. This person, or group, will only help you move forward and stay focused.

9. Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

Similar to having an accountability partner is to make sure you’re spending time with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s invigorating to connect with people who also share your values and are anxious to share their expertise with you.

There are lots of places to network both online and offline. Places like Meetup.com and Biznik.com even offer a combination of the two. Consider joining various in person networking events. Nothing beats the face to face time with other people.

10. Continual Education

You’re in business for yourself so it’s up to you to become the expert. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there’s always room for continual learning. By becoming the expert in your field, you’re ensuring your own security and it opens doors to new ventures.

You can also take that expertise and put it online and hold live workshops. This will increase visibility for your business via education marketing. You can also start to charge more for your services or products as you achieve some notoriety.

11. Relax

Now that you’re in business for yourself, remember to take breaks and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I’ve been guilty of getting so involved in what I was doing that I let the whole day slip away without even leaving the computer. While this is great that your ideal work can be so consuming, remember to take breaks and enjoy being free to do so.

Working in 90 minute power sessions can help you do this. After each session, go outside and get a breath of fresh air. Go to the park with the kids. Do something physical or some quiet mediation and refocusing. This is a perfect time to remember to be grateful for your perfect life.

12. Keep the Faith

When things get a little challenging, it’s easy to start to lose faith. Maybe you haven’t made a sale or you just lost a key client. It’s in exactly these times that you need to increase your faith and know that something better is on the way.

Go back to the other steps. Strategize with your accountability partner. Outsource a heavy project. Be grateful. Get out and close more business. Keep your values close and act on them. Nothing is more important that continuing on the course you’ve determined.

Never retreat.

Never look back.

Push forward.

Embrace your freedom and remember it frequently.

So there are the 12 steps to discover your new life and leave the corporate life behind. The steps are in chronological order but they’re also meant to be revisited at anytime. In fact, they are all synergistic.

I wish you the best of luck in your new journey. As a liberated entrepreneur myself, I can tell you, there’s no better way to living life!

What else do you think is vital for an entrepreneur to remember?

::

Crush It Gary V

“Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk: Book Review

Bold, almost visionary statements. Specific information. Great inspirational storytelling.

All things that make Gary Vaynerchuk and his book “Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion” 100% awesome!

This review is to state that I agree with pretty agree much everything Gary says in his book. Gary has succeeded in achieving a lot of what I call “quality fame” or being famous in some meaningful circles by what’s he’s done.

To be brief:

Gary tells his own story and always having an entrepreneurial spirit. He started young following his passions and learning how to monetize them along the way. He got older, helped grow the family biz, and then discovered the internet. Once he started his own vlog (http://tv.winelibrary.com/) and learned how to effectively leverage social media, he really took off and arrived at where he is now.

Why I love “Crush It”:

  • Puts in plain terminology why everyone who’s passionate about something should be online and eventually be able to make money from it
  • Values hard & smart work
  • Stresses the importance of doing what you love in a very achievable way
  • Beats to death how to build your personal brand – vital for anyone who’s going to achieve anything worthwhile in this life
  • It’s motivational – hearing Gary’s story is inspiring
  • Action steps – gives you a checklist of everything you need to know and do, not just theory

Chances are if you’re reading this blog then this book would be interesting to you. You can read it in an hour or two. But it’s also one of those books that you’ll want to keep handy – not only for the step-by-step information, but also inspiration.

I get at least 10 new great ideas every time I open the book and read.

I recommend getting the audio version of the book. Gary throws in a lot of extra information when he goes “off the script”. It’s just an extra little bonus and you really get a feel for where he’s coming from and why what he’s sharing is so important.

Gary V is the Ultimate Motivator

It was because of this book that I started my vlog, Your Kick in the Pants – Motivating Moms to Move That Body! Gary got me all fired up and I just knew I had to do something. I already knew my passion (helping moms want to work out more) and all I needed was a place online to do just that.

With the help of my husband, we bought the domain, set up the website, and made my first video all in one evening. Since then it’s been fun connecting with women and inspiring them (and myself) to up our level of fitness.

Gary, on the slim chance, you’ve found this post, thank you very much! The book is awesome! The message is awesome! More people need to know these things in order to live their lives to the max!

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