For two and a half years, every two weeks I sifted through over 140 blog posts and podcasts that talk about how to build successful online businesses. I found the best content, summarized it, added a bit of my commentary, and delivered it to the inboxes of entrepreneurs around the world…for free. I’m no longer writing Signals in the Noise issues (because my business partners and I are focusing on other parts of Clarity Lab), but please enjoy these archived issues. There’s a ton of useful information in them!
1. Why you gotta be like that?
Question for you: do you know why you’re doing your business? I don’t mean the basic why’s, like “I need to make money.” Those are important and necessary, yes, but I’m referring to the deep, big why that’s driving you. When you do business from your big why, holy moly, can things take off. Not sure what your big why is? Watch this video, 100% all the way to the end. It’s only a few minutes. You’ll get the concept of living from your why. Do your business like this guy in the audience sings. Can I get an amen?
+ Here’s where the Why concept comes from: Simon Sinek’s first TED talk on the topic.
+ What? You want MORE? Okay. Then read Simon’s book, which is an excellent read, by the way: Start With Why. How great leaders inspire everyone to take action.
This one’s a bit more on the advanced side of running creative Facebook ad campaigns, but it is SO GOOD. In this post, the always excellent Jon Loomer lays out a clear how-to plan for creating an evergreen funnel of content, over the course of 28 days, that attracts, nurtures, and then gently sells prospects on one of your products.
It’s a brilliant use of Facebook ads that combats the common decline in ad conversion rates seen on Facebook after a few weeks of running a particular ad. It’s basically an evergreen launch funnel with a piece of free pre-launch content published to prospects on Facebook every 4 days for a whole month. If you’re new to creating launch funnels, sorry for the marketing geek lingo there. I get a little excited when I discover a way to implement an older marketing tactic (product launch funnels) in a new environment (right inside Facebook feeds.) It’s kind of like hotel sex with your spouse.
3. Rolling in the green at 17.
“He’s now 17 years old and the courses on Kindle publishing that he sells from his website are earning him…$30,000 a month. That’s more than many Americans make in a year. I asked Temper how he’s doing it and what he’s learned as he built a six-figure income before starting college.” AOL, on how a 17 year-old kid is making a boat load of money selling information each month. I was making $200 per month mowing lawns at age 17. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself though, because there was no internet back then. Crap. Now I feel old and way less savvy than this 17 year-old.
4. You can pick your nose, and you can pick your clients. But you can’t pick your client’s nose.
“The art of picking clients is also difficult because it’s assumed if you’re in business and if a potential client is offering you money, then you’re going to say yes. But, if you’ve got integrity and the ability to make a choice, you’re going to leave money on the table sometimes. Sooner or later a client will come along that represents the opposite of everything you stand for or hold dear.” That’s Paul Jarvis, on the art of qualifying your potential clients.
When you’re starting out as a freelancer of any kind, it can be hard to say no to a client, because, you know…bills and food and rent. However, saying yes to the wrong kind of clients can sink your fledgling freelance business (and suck the life out of your soul.) Back when I was freelancing, I once had to say no to a guy who wanted a website so he could sell Bronie t-shirts (“Bronies” are adult men who are huge fans of the My Little Pony children’s show. Yes, that’s a thing, and no, I’m not kidding.) I said no because I’m a huge Little Einstein’s fan, which is like the opposite of My Little Pony.
+ Paul just launched a killer set of downloadable, editable PDF documents that will not only help you pick the right clients, but also give you a shortcut for writing proposals, onboarding prospects into paying clients, educating new clients on your workflow, and a ton of other things that freelancers often need to hack and experiment to get right. Check out his Project Prescription and see what you think.
5. More than words.
“Because let’s face it–there’s always going to be someone out there doing exactly what you’re doing. Fact. Therefore, your ONLY weapon in a fierce market full of competition is not being cheaper, or being faster, or producing ‘higher quality.’ Everyone’s already doing that–and those things are expectations, not grand selling points. Rather, your only weapon now? Is your personality.” That’s my favorite copywriter and general business bad ass, Ash Ambirge, with three top secret ultra James Bond ways to add more personality to your writing. Press that smooth plastic button on your mouse and click that link with your mighty click finger. These three copywriting tips alone will make you approximately 67.5467% more revenue this year.
+ Here’s a great example of personality in writing, and some of the funniest hyperbole I’ve seen in a long, long time: Dear guy who just made my burrito.
6. Stop over yessing.
“When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!” We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.” That’s philosopher, programmer, and entrepreneur Derek Sivers, on an approach to life he’s taken since 2009. If it’s not a full on “HELL YES, I’m excited about doing that,” it becomes a “no” for Derek. I highly recommend installing this small but powerful module into your decision making engine. I have a “hell yes” about eating this chunk of dark chocolate on my desk, so, here I go.
7. Search and rescue.
From the department of “Crap! Why didn’t I build this idea of mine sooner?,” I just came across this new startup and service last week called Wonder. The premise is simple: instead of wasting hours and hours of your time googling around for some information you need for something like making a decision in your business, you pay Wonder to have a team of humans do the Googling for you. The managers of the searchers then review the search results that their team creates, and if it’s up to snuff, they send the results to you. This exact business idea is sitting in my “cool business ideas” notebook in my Evernote account. I wrote it down over a year ago. Dagnarbit!! It’ll be interesting to see how well the idea takes off. I might be kicking myself more in the future if they do really well.
8. Logo go-go.
Here’s an interesting new tool: With Oomph, an instant, inexpensive, automatic logo designer. The logos it generates are not bad for $30. Not spectacular, but pretty good for instant logos made without humans. Maybe Uber should try using this tool. #newuberlogofailed
Ever get that funny feeling when you put yourself out there on the big web through your business where you feel like a total fraud? Turns out that a lot of people have that feeling, and research is showing that feeling like an imposter is a sure sign that you’re nothing of the sort. Quartz’s Olivia Goldhill explains that “There is evidence to suggest that imposter syndrome correlates with success—and that those who don’t suffer imposter symptoms are more likely to be the real frauds. People with imposter syndrome tend to be perfectionists, which means they’re likely to spend hours working overtime to make sure they excel in every single field. So if you do suffer from imposter syndrome, chances are you’re doing a pretty good job.” I guess I can start looking at my feelings of being an untalented, phony online business guy as a kind of gold star at the top of my graded homework. Good job, kid.
10. Go the distance.
Finding solid, reliable, skilled virtual assistants is hard, but if you want to grow your online business beyond the $100,000 a year mark, you’re definitely going to need more than just you doing everything by yourself (trust me, growing a business completely by yourself above the 6-figure mark is not fun.) So, you’ll need to hire some team members. Seriously. And the best place to start? Is a really good virtual assistant.
You can hire someone locally in your area (so that you can work together in person sometimes, which I highly recommend), but going that route means your selection pool will be small. The other route is to hire someone at a remote location. And it could be really far from you, like the Philippines. We’ve had assistants locally, remote but in the States, and also in the Philippines.
Each option has pros and cons, but hiring good VA’s in another country can be really, really challenging (language barrier, cultural differences, time zone differences.) The crew at Less Doists remove a great deal of the challenge when hiring virtual assistants from other countries. Have a look and see what you think. They’re on my list to check out for some new positions we’re looking to fill this year.
+ Here’s another similar Virtual Assistant service that’s been around for years: Longer Days.
+ And another one, which helps you find great Filipino Virtual Assistants: Virtual Staff Finder.
Happy Monday to you, my friend (or Tuesday if you’re on the other side of the planet from where I sit.) Sure hope things are going well in your business, or in the runway leading up to you launching your business.
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Until next time, keep on rockin’ it.
Signals in the Noise
p.s. You can find the archive of past issues right here.