Fearing Failure in Business

April 9, 2012 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Entrepreneur Mindset, Featured

During a recent mastermind, some of us were discussing why people don’t want to succeed and I suggested that it was probably due to the fact that they might be fearing failure and did not know how to overcome their self-imposed barriers.  This got me thinking…

Fearing Failure is a Choice!

Have the courage to fail big and stick around.
Make them wonder why you’re still laughing!

~ From the film Elizabethtown

There is a lot of wisdom in that statement.  It isn’t so much that you want to prove to others that you’re strong in the face of adversity but rather, to me, it portrays an individual who understands that fearing failure is only a result of caring about the opinions of onlookers. In the vast configuration of things that really matter, what those people might think have nothing to do with your actual experience.

Children are inherently good at moving past failures because, in their youthful pursuit of life experiences, they have no idea what failure means. Like everything, children are taught that fearing failure is “normal” by some well-intentioned adult who explains the mechanics of failure and success.

Strictly speaking and in my opinion, you can only fail if you are comparing yourself to external standards that may or may not apply.  Yes, this sounds a bit like double speak but please bear with me while I explain.

When we measure our success against another person’s accomplishments and find ourselves falling short of that mark, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  What worked for them in their environment may have no bearing on what will work for you.  Have you ever noticed the small print in advertisements and sales copy that informs us that results are not typical?

fearing failure

Don’t let Fear of Failure Stop You!

I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t surround yourself with people whom you admire and pursue the level of success apparent in their lifestyle.  That is the premise of working with a mentor, after all.  They have traveled the road that you wish to undertake and, if they are charging fees for mentoring, they have *hopefully* learned something about the route that they can teach you.  But, if you cannot immediately mirror that level of success, please don’t let it slow you down or stop you!

In my mind’s eye, any effort to do something that one has never done before cannot ever be considered a failure.  Fearing failure has potential to stifle your creativity as you imagine ways to proceed with your plans. If things do not turn out as expected, that is not a failure either.  Remember, goals are only intended to measure progress.  If you have to regroup or reset your goals, that is NOT a failure.

Who says you have to have it all together by a certain age? In my early 50s, I threw away the success model my parents prescribed and started all over again because I discovered that what was true for them was not bearing out to be true for me.  You can read how to avoid fearing failure here.

Fail Forward, Fast
~Tom Peters

I can’t help finding analogies in the behavior of children when I think of this topic.  Children pick themselves up from a fall and keep moving after their goal.  If something hurts, they eventually learn to avoid it.  The same is true for our businesses.  Inexperience might cause a painful lesson or two along the way to your own definition of success but fearing failure can stop you from trying something new. It’s all about your attitude.

This is a link to a story about an 11-year old who understood the iterative process of succeeding. It is a pretty awesome video example.

Overcome Fear of Failure Powered by Intuition

In the video below, Brian Tracy gives some great advice for overcoming the fears that may be holding you back in your progress.

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Switchback Entrepreneurial Planning

In case you don’t know what a switchback is, it’s a road that swings sharply in one direction, and then sharply back in the opposite direction. You may be thinking this is going to be yet another lecture about finding one thing and sticking with it and not jumping around switching business models every other week… or day…err… never mind that. Rest assured, this is not another one of those lip service pep-talks. A different analogy is that of the college student, sitting at a large table, diligently switching back and forth between a stack of books, furiously scribbling notes, that would eventually form a paper that was vitally important to their final grade. I didn’t have a curiosity provoking metaphor for that though.

Creating a business plan isn’t a ‘linear process’

Creating a business plan isn’t a ‘linear process.’  

It’s a lot of switching back, cross referencing and editing

Statistically speaking the vast majority of online entrepreneurs not only don’t have a business plan, they don’t believe that it’s needed. The vast majority also fail at sustaining a business and often sacrifice huge amounts of time and money, testing to find some thing that finally makes ‘some money.’ While there are the rare exceptions who manage to make money without a plan, even more rare are those who manage to generate revenue and profits consistently without one. When you turn the tables however, and look at the small percentage of successful ventures that survived, sustained and continued to grow, you find that the majority do have a plan.

The top two reasons that most businesses fail, are a lack of planning and a lack of funding.

Planning and funding form a symbiotic relationship. A proper business plan has within it, a proper financial plan that details the funding requirement of the business from start up, to operational costs, to reinvestment plans with projections for revenue, income and growth. One thing many unprepared entrepreneurs forget to include in the operational costs is a salary for themselves.

A proper business plan calls for research into determining what the business will need for start up costs, as well as it’s ongoing monthly expenses, and most importantly, research that provides a marketing and advertising cost and plan that are most likely to generate enough business to cover the businesses costs.

This where the ‘switchback’ begins.

While doing research on marketing and advertising opportunities and costs, you may find that the costs of your marketing and advertising campaigns will be greater than the amount of sales revenue that they generate. This is often the root of the fear that drives the the entrepreneur to seek the free route. At the most expensive cost there is...time.

The fear of spending money on an paid advertising campaign that might not make sales is what drives the eager, though novice entrepreneur to hold on to the belief in the ‘free methods’, even at the expnese of waiting an unknown amount of time just to make the first sale. However, with a properly researched marketing campaign, budget, and fully developed sales funnel, the fear can be laid to rest. It is simply a matter of analyzing the numbers on projected responses and adjusting the sales funnel and the prices of the products in it, to offset the cost of the advertising for lead acquisition campaign and reach profit.

Guest Blogger

Dani Schaeffer is a multiple business owner with a diverse range of businesses including a real estate investment company, a publishing company and a marketing company. Dani is the author of the DaniSchaeffer.com blog, a publication dedicated to providing fundamental business and marketing principles advice for online business owners.

Are You Confident or Arrogant?

January 23, 2012 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Entrepreneur Mindset, Featured

There is a huge difference between being confident or arrogant.  This is a fine line that we often walk as we manage in our personal and business relationships. For the purposes of this post, I will focus on professional relationships but the information does apply personally too.

It is completely true that we must have confidence in our abilities in order to gain and keep the trust and respect of our prospects and customers.  If we become too forceful about the value that we feel we are delivering, that can be perceived as arrogance which will be off-putting to people.

your ability to be transparent shows if you are confident or arrogant

In this era of full-disclosure and social networking, whether that is through Instant Messaging or other well-known social networks, it is critical that we are above-board with regard to our accomplishments and skills.  One of the easiest ways to demonstrate your expertise is to reveal the value of the knowledge you’ve gained by sharing it openly with colleagues, where this is practical and do-able.

confident or arrogantIt isn’t enough to say to others that you are the best at what you do.  The ONLY way that your colleagues, prospects and customers will come to believe that you are an expert in your field, as you claim, is through their perception of who you are and by the  information you share openly to back up your claims.   If someone asks you why you are saying what you are saying, this does not mean that they don’t believe you or are challenging what you are sharing.   The way you handle yourself will show people if you are confident or arrogant.

I’m not suggesting that you should give away all that you know without compensation.  What will gain more respect and higher quality referrals will be to display a spirit of collaboration when you are in group settings or in pre-sales discussions.

whether confident or arrogant, remember that you are not always right

Even though you have spent years doing what you’re doing, you will be viewed as either confident or arrogant based on your willingness to accept the possibility that you still have something to learn and letting people see that this is the case.  Face it, people are inherently innovative and it is possible that someone has discovered something that can enhance your previously earned wisdom. 

The ability to hear a message without the background noise of your own filters is not easy for some folks.  When you KNOW you are the best at something and a new person inquires about the wisdom you are sharing, check your ego before responding.   The way that you respond will inform those directly involved in the conversation, as well as those looking on, as to whether you are confident or arrogant.

You can easily avoid confrontations by keeping an open mind.  If you feel that the person asking the question has less knowledge than you, do not react to their inexperience with a phrase like:

I’ve been doing this for years so I know what I’m talking about.

Kick your ego to the curb by admitting, to yourself, that nothing is static in our world.  Try to actively listen so you can learn more about their position.  You can experiment with statements such as:

I hadn’t thought of that.  Can you tell me more about it, please?

The first part of this phrasing validates the speaker by giving them credit for their idea.  The second part lets them know you are interested in what they have to say and leaves the door open for them to discuss it with you.

People will notice whether you are confident or arrogant, especially  if you have a genuine interest in learning more about them and what they have to say.  A good rule of thumb which I’ve discovered is that it is much better to be interested than it is to be interesting.  Besides, you actually might learn something new!

mean what you say!

Overly confident people rarely have the ability to truly appreciate someone else’s expertise, especially if it approaches their own.  If you are in this position and find yourself congratulating someone, make sure that your praise is sincerely offered because insincerity has potential to undermine the less experienced person with whom you are in conversation.

Always focus on building or improving your relationships by being honest.  Sarcasm or self-deprecating humor is a tactic that is sometimes used by arrogant people to draw attention away from others and to themselves, so be careful about how and when this is used.  If you can’t offer praise authentically, wait until you actually feel that emotion before dishing out your Kudos so the recipient knows whether you are being confident or arrogant when it is offered.

make yourself easy to approach

Your relationships will be enhanced and define you as being either confident or arrogant based on your ability to set aside your judgments that someone younger or having less experience automatically knows less about your subject than you do.  This will also make you seem more approachable. 

When you position yourself as an authority in your field, people will gladly follow you and have more respect for you because they want what you have.  They may not have decided yet whether you are confident or arrogant, and their decision is based on their perceptions of you.

As I used to quip:

She puts on her pantyhose one leg at a time too…  🙂

When given the opportunity, provide your fans and followers with some personal information about how you arrived at your position of authority in your area of expertise.  I do not recommend being overly dramatic, as this will turn some people off.  What I’m suggesting is that it is totally OK let people know about things that bug you or mistakes you’ve made along your way. 

In the spirit of authenticity, always ensure that you are differentiating between what is your opinion and what is a fact, based on your knowledge. 

It is too much work to be perfect and it is probably an unobtainable goal anyway.  Your admirers need to know you are human in order to truly value the expertise that you have to share.

confident or arrogant?

confident or arrogantLeaders and mentors understand the responsibility of the characteristics that have attracted people to them.  Marketers sometimes appear to have problems weighing the balance between being confident or arrogant and, sadly, some do not even recognize that this is an opportunity for them to change and gain higher respect. 

It is my opinion that confidence and ego have the power to make or break your patterns of success.  As useful as it is to have an ego to propel you, that same ego will cause people to stop listening to you if you stomp on them in public or stifle their ideas by telling them they are wrong.

People will quickly spot whether you are being confident or arrogant. Truly confident people don’t have to prove that they are good at what they do for it is obvious without declarations.  Such people have a very firm BELIEF in their own capabilities, as well as a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING about their own strengths and weaknesses. 

An individual with a properly balanced ego will embrace what others feel is risky because that person believes in themself and knows that they have the ability to manage the risks and make it work.  Thus, these sorts of people will often take leaps of faith that would totally freak out a less confident professional.  But this can be inspiring to onlookers.

Having talent and being good at something is a gift.  Don’t abuse your power by diminishing those around you, no matter how much you know. 

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Heroes and Villains

September 11, 2011 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Marj Wyatt's Musings

As our nation pauses to reflect on the events that occurred a decade ago, we are reminded of the qualities that define us as humans and leaders.   Standing up in bravery during a time of utter chaos is not an uncommon.  The heart of humanity does tend to pull together time and again, so history has proven.

The tragedy of that event will never be forgotten by anyone who was alive that day.  For some, the tragedy was much more personal due to the loss of loved ones and family.  For others across the globe, the act of terrorism was celebrated, to our horror.

On Facebook, my nephew wrote this comment:

“The sadness and outrage inside me is just as much then as now. The question in my mind goes unanswered, why? I’ll never know the answer. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this it might be…don’t take life for granted, don’t just live the day like it’s any other day.”

There are no answers for acts of violence and terrorism.  In and of itself, terrorism is a cowardly act because the perpetrators hide in the shadows and congratulate themselves on a job well done while the innocent suffer the consequences and grief.  When they later take “responsibility” for their actions, it is nothing other than crowing inane justifications for their insanity.  This has been my opinion since long before the historic events of 9-11 and my feelings were galvanized on that day.

Disregarding politics, Mayor Rudy Guilani rose to the top of the list of leaders whom I observed  that day.  His intentions were pure as he motivated his constituents to help each other recover during the crisis.  Apparently, he was among those who impressed talk show host, David Letterman, during that time.

The civilians on United Flight 93, who took fate into their own hands and diverted the plane away from its intended target, acted without regard for their own lives as they protected our nation from further devastation.  We can only imagine how it felt to be forced to make that life or death decision and, God willing, none of us will ever have to confront such a choice.

On this day, and everyday, remember the lessons of 9-11, a nation unites to keep the memories of those who served and protected us by taking a stand for the greater good during a devastating tragedy.

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I’m Not Really a Waitress …

April 29, 2011 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Featured, Marj Wyatt's Musings

When I launched my wordpress website design business a few years ago, my enthusiasm for helping people make money online caused me to develop a business model for myself that involved a lot of personal time with my clients.  They seemed to appreciate the level of service that I offered for reasonable rates and it was fun for me to learn about the various businesses people were trying to bring online.  I’ve never had to advertise.  My business has grown solely by word-of-mouth and referrals, which is no accident.

Lately, it seems like new clients have expectations that exceed their budgets.  It remains true that my all inclusive wordpress website design and consulting services are rare and I totally understand what it feels like to not know how to do what needs to be done where skills are lacking.  Wherever possible, I extend myself to help out.  I”m recently reminded that the speed with which I isolate and resolve problems seems to be projecting the idea that , because I make it look easy, it is.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard a new client tell me that they don’t want to know how something works and that is why they’ve hired me.  I also can’t count the number of times that clients have protested my resistance to continuing without additional compensation.  A handful have been presumptuous enough to question why it would take so long to do.   Excuse me?

With all due respect, if you don’t know what it takes to get something done and you don’t want to take the time to learn how to do it yourself, don’t challenge the person who does know how to do it when they tell you how long it will take to do what you need to have done!

I like living with the belief that all people are reasonable and that they are also willing to parlay a little give and take in our business agreement.  Recently, a handful of  new clients and prospects have come my way who are much happier with the “take” part of the equation, however.  These same people have had no qualms expressing their opinions about wordpress website design services that I should deliver for free or at an unreasonably low price when the simple truth is that they don’t want to pay fairly for the services they are requesting and they are upset about the fact that they are unable to convince me that I should perform those services within their limited budget because they are low on cash.

For those of you who are reading this and are feeling a twinge of guilt about making similar demands of your website services professionals, please ask yourself these questions:

  1. If you wanted to buy a luxury car and couldn’t afford it, would ranting at the salesperson change the facts?
  2. If that sales person felt sorry for you and went the extra mile to find a financial program that lowered your monthly expense, would you blame them for the fact that the payment was still out of your reach?

wordpress website designWhen I chose an entrepreneurial career, I was happy to leave my IT Executive role behind in Corporate America because I was weary of leading teams whose contributions to the company’s success were repeatedly diminished by some top-level executive who viewed IT as a necessary evil.  It would seem that I’m growing weary of explaining to new clients and prospects that the skills and knowledge that I’ve gathered throughout my professional life are worth much more than a waitress’ wage.

Yet, referrals keep coming in from my large base of previously satisfied clients.  Several times a week, new business comes in through my website at http://virtuallymarj.com.  Generally speaking, life is good and I enjoy working with the many nice people on my client roster.  I also enjoy taking on a good challenge now and then so I guess I’ll continue growing my wordpress website design business  and keeping it fun by choosing to work with clients who are willing to take advice, understand the value that I bring to their efforts and are willing to pay fairly.  🙂

Mixing Friendship and Business is a Bad for Business

March 24, 2011 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Entrepreneur Mindset, Featured

For the past two years, I’ve been in a business relationship with a client whom I felt had also become my friend.  After extracting more than twice the amount of labor than was allocated under the terms of our monthly retainer agreement for WordPress Website Development services over several months, these local clients have reminded me that mixing friendship with business is a bad idea.

In an effort to overcome my disappointment about their denial about what is owed for my services … or even discuss a compromise, I decided to write a post to advise and educate small business owners on better ways to structure contracts with clients who expect to receive benefits prior to payment.

Qualifying Business Prospects

As a former Realtor, one of the refrains that they drilled into my head during training was that Buyers were Liars.  We were taught to qualify people for mortgages prior to investing time and energy in setting up showings or writing contracts.  This is easy to do when you can “spin” your request for qualification as a service that will benefit the Buyer but it is not so easy to do in other service businesses.

The difficulty may lie in the fact that most small business owners cannot afford to use expensive credit checking services.  Thus, the qualification process involves interpersonal communication that almost seems intrusive while qualifying a prospect for their ability to pay.

In a perfect world, you would take 100% of the payment up-front but that is a hard sell.  In lieu of that, insist on a retainer of no less than 50% of the total contract price and establish milestones that pay the remaining 50% for each deliverable at the time of acceptance.  You may want to consider using an escrow service to ensure that you will be paid as tasks are completed.  If you are in the middle of their project and they begin to tell you they are having trouble paying their bills, stop working on their project.  Retainers are non-refundable.  You cannot recover the time you’ve spent once it is gone.

Get it in Writing!

If there is no written contract to enforce a business agreement, things can easily go wrong.  At the very least, put the request into an email message after you’ve agreed to deliverables and pricing.  Don’t begin work on the project until you have an email reply that acknowledges the agreement.

Stick to Business

Since time is the commodity that service providers trade, don’t allow yourself to get engaged in personal discussions with your clients during the project.  Clients will act friendly and they will say anything to get what they want.  Inevitably, they will try to gain your sympathy and convince you that they will pay you later when they want more than they can afford.  In my experience, this never happens when the bill comes due and the friendship that you felt was merely the tool they used to get what they wanted.

Negotiate Before You Do the Work

mixing friendship with business is bad for businessIf a services client requests work that you know will take more time than the payment arrangement allows for, take notes about their request and tell them that you’ll have to get back to them with a price.  Regardless of their insistence, don’t lift a finger to get the work done until you have reached an agreement about compensation and received an additional retainer payment.  This is business and you are delivering value.

I repeat:  Don’t budge if they say they will pay you later.  They won’t.

Don’t be Afraid to Walk Away

As the saying goes, when one door closes another is opened.  If you feel that your client is difficult to work with and they are exhibiting signs of ambivalence about your requests for payment, this is a sign that you need to move on to another client who understands that this is your business.  You are not their employee and you owe them nothing.  You are an independent business owner and it isn’t your job to save them at your expense, no matter how nice they seem.

Don’t Get Distracted by the Noise

When a client knows they are wrong, they will endeavor to assign blame to you for their irresponsibility.  If you get caught up in their accusations, you’ll get distracted from the goal of being compensated for the work that you’ve done.  Acknowledge that you have heard what they are saying but do not engage in a debate about why you are demanding to be paid and do not involve yourself with explanations about your actions as you pursue payment.  You did the work.  In a business relationship, you deserve to be paid.

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Skype Outage – December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Marj Wyatt's Musings

Like most online entrepreneurs, Skype is a staple of my business and one of my first logins everyday after having my 2nd cup of coffee.  🙂  Today, I was relieved to learn that the problem is not related to Skype hackers or phishers … a rising trend on Skype.

Major Skype Outage - 12-22-2010After being unable to login through the client interface, I immediately went to the website to assure myself that my account had not been compromised somehow.  I was able to login and verify my account there, although that capability has since gone down.

While I was logged in, a brief visit to the support page revealed that Skype was aware of the problems that people were having with logging in.  I followed recommended steps to remedy the problem, which included shutting down my home network and resetting the routers.  I guess that should be done periodically anyway so, even though it didn’t solve the Skype login problem, it wasn’t a complete waste of time.  🙂

This is probably quite an embarrassment for Skype in the advent of their upcoming IPO.  For the rest of us, we can breathe a sigh of relief that our Skype accounts have not been hijacked by the hackers and phishers who prey on Skype users.

Step Away from the Computers!

August 30, 2010 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Featured, Marj Wyatt's Musings

We are all aware of the value that our digital tools bring us.  Our technology expedites information delivery, allows us to follow our social networks, makes calling from anywhere possible, and provides on-demand entertainment.

Based on this quote from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, we are actually depriving ourselves of much-needed mental downtime that ultimately may be affecting our learning capabilities.

“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”

Perpetually Plugged in People

There are armies of mobile application developers who are hard at work creating new productivity tools and producing games to entertain us in between tasks.  I am not a Luddite.  I use mobile technology for both business and pleasure but it does seem possible that society is becoming enslaved to its mobile devices.

Entrepreneurs benefit greatly from the advanced technologies availed by multimedia mobile devices but these same advantages have potential to introduce stress, which can have a negative impact on our overall business productivity.  While we want to give our customers the impression nothing matters more to us than our business, we are of no use to customers if we are burned out.

Reboot Yourself!

All of our technology needs to be rebooted periodically to clear memory and cache.  The same is true of us humans.  While it is easy to assume that browsing the internet, checking email, or playing a brief game is a break, these activities don’t remove our technology chains nor provide our brains the breaks they require to renew our creative juices.  Regardless of our professions, most of us are tethered computers throughout our work days so taking a break on another computer isn’t really a break, is it?

During a keynote speech, Harvey MacKay suggested that the most productive time that he spent was time spent looking out his window.  He went on to explain that he was both resting his eyes and refreshing his imagination.  This “stuck” with me.  In situations where there was no window, I hung a photograph of a beautiful place upon which to fix my gaze.

Get Income Blog | Step Away from the Computers!

Reboot Yourself!

When I am confounded by a bit of code for a wordpress website development task or unable to come up with fresh ideas for a new branding strategy, leaving my office for a stroll along the ocean shore totally renews my perspective.  While I am away, I am not thinking about the work task.  I am enjoying the salt air and interacting with people around me.  I also leave my mobile device in the car while I am at the beach.  There is nothing so earth shattering that it cannot wait for a few hours.  Relaxing in a chair with a good book (with REAL pages!) or doing a crossword puzzle is another method that I use to get away from bright LCD screens and computers.

So, whether your thing is shopping, cerebral pursuits, or nature, do your favorite things and leave the mobile devices at home so you can clear your mental cache and attract new ideas.  You will return to your tasks and I guarantee you will feel better and be more productive.

Email Marketing and Your Business

Email marketing came of age after direct marketing practitioners realized that their methods of engaging customers with postal mail could be applied to the Internet.  For those who are unclear about what email marketing is, it is using email to promote offers and/or obtain new customers.  Reports have proven that this is the next best marketing technique after search marketing.

You can rent a list, purchase a list based on demographics for your niche, or set up an opt-in page to gather list members from your target market.  Even though it takes longer, building your own email marketin list from scratch is probably the safest and most reliable method to use.

No matter where you begin with your list building, a well-written email marketing message can gain a prospect’s trust by disclosing relevant information that helps them to make informed purchasing decisions.  Email marketing also has potential to enhance relationships with existing customers if you continue to provide valuable communications that facilitate repeat or referral business.

The major advantages of email marketing is that there are multiple ways to automate your scheduled or broadcasted communications and it is much more cost-efficient than postal mail.  In addition, your offers have potential to “go viral” because members of your lists can easily forward messages to friends and colleagues who they feel might be interested, which increases your opportunities to make sales and add new customers to your email marketing lists.

Get Income BlogWithin a relatively short period of time, a large audience can be identified and targeted.  Autoresponders, like Aweber, allow you to monitor the responsiveness of your list with email open statistics and click through rates on your embedded links.  They can also help you craft a message that won’t be filtered out by built-in spam catchers.

The sales ratios of your email marketing campaigns or inquiries from members of your list may lead you to new ideas for products and services.  Email enables you to engage your customers in dialogue that helps you to scope your new product development by inviting list members to take surveys or provide feedback on ideas that you are forming.  Talk about convenience!

How Much and How Often?

Loose statistics from direct marketing resources indicates that new customers may need to hear about an offer up to 10 times before making a purchasing decision.  Equally important is that your messages must be timed in such a way that your new list members don’t feel overwhelmed.  For example, I’ve enrolled in campaigns and opted out immediately after receiving multiple messages in quick succession or too many notes in a week.

In my opinion, more than one email marketing message a day is too many.  I’m also of the opinion that more than a couple (3 or more) email marketing messages a week is too much volume, particularly prior to conversion.  Setting up your campaigns to send email every 4th day, or so, keeps your offer on the prospect’s mind without seeming overly aggressive.  That is the whole idea, right?

If all of your all of your email marketing messages are pitching something, people will learn to ignore you.  Keep your email marketing messages relevant and brief.  Most folks are dealing with information overload when they peruse their email inbox so your subjects must stand out if you expect your email to get opened.  Using fantastic email marketing titles that compel people to open may work according to some people but it also can make you seem less trustworthy.    To earn and keep the confidence of your list members, stick to actual facts about your offer and try writing messages that DON’T require disclaimers in tiny print at the bottom of the note.  🙂

Email Marketing Can Have a Dark Side

Some companies collect email addresses of people illegally and send irrelevant mails to them, which can be very annoying.  To get past spam filters, these messages will often have many lines of irrelevant text below the offer with “safe” words in them.

Some hackers intentionally design an email that looks like an advertisement but, when the ads are clicked, malicious software is downloaded that creates headaches for an unsuspecting or naive end user.  I will never understand why smart people, like hackers must be, use their creativity and talent to wreak havoc on people!  Even though your email marketing message is not malicious, you need to understand that everyone with a computer and email has heard one or more horror story and this will affect the success of your campaigns … especially if you have purchased or rented a  list.

In my previous post, I discussed the highlights of the CAN-SPAM act of 2003.  Caution is recommended for any list you choose to join but this does not keep you from receiving unsolicited email marketing, just as postal regulations do not restrict sending demographic based mail to your home.

Since the CAN-SPAM act only applies to US businesses, it is legal to initiate an email marketing campaign from a purchased or rented list as long as a physical address and a functional opt-out is included in the message, and email marketers are allowed up to 10 days following the request to remove people, the CAN-SPAM act seems to protects marketers more than consumers.  Sadly, my single voice isn’t loud enough to get these laws changed anytime soon and corporate entities with much more influence than me are working hard to loosen SPAM regulations, not tighten them.

Most email clients and webmail systems have spam filtering capabilities that can help to keep your inbox clean but those algorithms aren’t perfect.  How many times have you found a legitimate messages in your spam folder?  How many legitimate messages have you accidentally deleted?

Email Marketing is Only ONE Marketing Channel

As the saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  This is especially true for marketing and advertising expenses.  Email marketing is a great tool for building your business out there but you should also be testing other marketing methods and you should always be tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Go forth and prosper, and make sure you use this marketing method wisely.

Most Memorable Mother

May 9, 2010 by +Marj Wyatt  
Filed under Marj Wyatt's Musings

It’s Mother’s Day in the United States.  This is a holiday reserved for the women who gave us our lives and, if you are as fortunate as me, the person who believed in us so much that we knew we could never fail.  Today, I will tell you some of the most memorable stories that I have about a remarkable woman who was my mother, my mentor, and my friend.

most-memorable-motherMy mother was born in 1926, which means she grew up during the depression.  She was the oldest in a family of 12 children and, because times were difficult, her father expected her to quit school so she could help earn money to feed the family.  Mom didn’t honor that request for she knew it would inhibit her future possibilities.  At the age of 15, the same year that World War II began, she left her family and moved into a girl’s home so she could finish high school and make something more of her life.  Her courage and focus were quite admirable.

Perhaps one of the bravest things that my mother decided to do was to have a career other than being a homemaker.  I know this doesn’t sound amazing at all these days but, during the 50’s, this was not popular.  Many of  the suburban housewives whispered among themselves about how she was neglecting her duties as a mother and a wife.  Some of those women even prohibited their children from being friends with my sister and me but, in my eyes, nothing could have been further from the truth!  Mom and Dad explained that she was going to work so we could have greater oppotunities.  Her working created income opportunities for me around the house, which taught me to be enterprising, industrious and responsible.

Mom took a job as a secretary, which was about the only position that women were allowed to have at that time.  Within a couple of years, she was promoted to the position of Wholesale Buyer which caused a bit of conflict within the secretarial pool. My mother loved what she did, and she was quite good at it too.   Twice a year, she would travel to New York City and negotiate large purchases for her company.  I got to tag along with her a couple of times.  Having the chance to see her at work was nothing short of inspirational.  She was well-respected and a tenacious negotiator.

One of the fondest memories that I have of her is a reaction she had to an editorial in the local paper.  Some man had written that women should not work outside the home and, if they did, that they should stick to “jobs for women” and stay out of the more challenging business roles because men were better suited for those sorts of positions.

Mom had a fit!  She went straight to her typewriter and prepared a response that was published by the paper.  This created quite a stir in the family, since she had used her married name on the letter.  I will never forget listening in on a debate between my mother and grandfather, who was unhappy that she had used “his” name on such a controversial subject.  She stunned him to silence when she retorted, “It’s my name too!”   In that moment, she taught me that it was OK to stand up for what you believed in and be who you are, regardless of the circumstances.  Remarkable!

I’m chuckling as I write this … and experiencing a little emotion too.  I miss my mother very much.  🙁

Although Mom didn’t always agree with my ideas as a youth, she never told me I was wrong.  In the truest sense of the word, she mentored me by discussing the pros and cons, just as she would with any adult.  Those conversations always ended with her telling me that she trusted my judgment, which was empowering.  I got to test my strategies and, if something didn’t work out the way I expected, she never said, “I told you so.”  She would offer her advise and recommend solutions but it was always up to me to decide what path to choose.  That was her greatest gift to me.  Over the years, her strength became my will.

Her independent style and tireless encouragements are factors that still motivate me today.  Her belief in me allowed me to rely on my good instincts, which has been the basis for every decision that I’ve made in my career.  She taught me to disregard the nay-sayers and follow my own path.  This is  something you will feel in many of my articles and it is one of the primary reasons that  GetIncomeBlog.com was launched in 2008.

Whether I am writing about following your passions or shutting out the noise around you so you can try something new, my message is always the same; Believe in Yourself first.  It isn’t always comfortable to follow the road less traveled but, if you believe in yourself and your abilities, the pot holes on your path are never so deep that the axle will break on your carriage.  🙂

Mom’s resilience never ceased to amaze me.  Up until the day she went into a coma, a week before her death, my mother’s mind remained sharp, she never doubted my ability to succeed, and she was a good friend to me.  I was blessed to have her in my life.

So, this one is for you, Mom!

Technorati Tags: Entrepreneurship,Business Basics,Mentorship

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