Ray EdwardsInternet Business – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com Prosperity With Purpose Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://rayedwards.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-REI-Color-Logo-Only-32x32.png Internet Business – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com 32 32 Are you an entrepreneur who wants to change the world, but struggles with how to do well and also do good? I know how that feels. And I can assure you, if you want to start your own business from scratch, or just grow the business you already have; if you are a believer, and a follower of Jesus; or even if you just consider yourself “spiritual, but not religious”… and especially if you long to reconcile your pursuit of prosperity with your desire to have a positive impact on the world…<br /> …then you’ve arrived at the perfect place, and this podcast is for you. My name is Ray Edwards, and I help “believing achievers” start, run, and grow their Internet based businesses. If that’s you, this means you can have more joy, experience more passion, and achieve prosperity with purpose. Ray Edwards clean Ray Edwards rayedwards@gmail.com rayedwards@gmail.com (Ray Edwards) Start, Run, and Grow Your Internet Based Business... & Change The World! Internet Business – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/The-Ray-Edwards-Show.jpg http://rayedwards.com/category/internet-business/ To Be an Entrepreneur http://rayedwards.com/to-be-an-entrepreneur/ http://rayedwards.com/to-be-an-entrepreneur/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:58:46 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11891 What does is mean to be an Entrepreneur?  I believe it means you are driven to the edges of what’s possible. That you see the biggest problems, and think, “I can fix that.” And then you do. I believe that you, Intrepid Entrepreneur, are the solution to the world’s problems. You create, not destroy. You believe, not doubt. You are a force for good. Thanks for being an Entrepreneur.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/to-be-an-entrepreneur/feed/ 1
5 Ways to Avoid Distractions [VIDEO] http://rayedwards.com/5-ways-to-avoid-distractions-video/ http://rayedwards.com/5-ways-to-avoid-distractions-video/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 10:10:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11736 We live in a world of distraction – and that keeps us from our Higher Purpose.

Today’s video provides 5 ways you can avoid distractions.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Has distraction been a problem for you? How do you deal with it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/5-ways-to-avoid-distractions-video/feed/ 12
3 Ways to Become Instantly Attractive http://rayedwards.com/3-ways-to-become-instantly-attractive/ http://rayedwards.com/3-ways-to-become-instantly-attractive/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:11:39 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11732 Would you like to be more attractive to your prospects and customers?

There are 3 simple steps you can take to become more attractive today.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Did you try the ‘3 Cs?’ What happened? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-ways-to-become-instantly-attractive/feed/ 15
3 Books Every Marketer Should Read http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-marketer-should-read/ http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-marketer-should-read/#comments Sat, 20 Aug 2016 10:10:28 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11728 This is the last (at least for a while) of my “recommended books” videos. Today: 3 books every marketer should own and read.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Your turn. What are your favorite MARKETING books? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-marketer-should-read/feed/ 14
3 Books Every Copywriter Should Read http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-copywriter-should-read/ http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-copywriter-should-read/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:10:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11724 If you are a copywriter, or want to be one, then these 3 books are “must-reads.”


If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

Question: What copywriting books do YOU recommend? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-copywriter-should-read/feed/ 16
3 Books Every Writer Should Read [VIDEO] http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-writer-should-read-video/ http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-writer-should-read-video/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 10:10:55 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11721 If you’re a writer, here are 3 books I consider “required reading.”

They will make you a better writer.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: What are you favorite books about writing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-books-every-writer-should-read-video/feed/ 25
For Those Who Hate Journaling http://rayedwards.com/for-those-who-hate-journaling/ http://rayedwards.com/for-those-who-hate-journaling/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:10:50 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11717 We’ve heard it a thousand times – “you should journal.”

But what if you hate to journal? This video has the answer for those of us who are not “natural journal people”…

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: What’s your feeling about journaling? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/for-those-who-hate-journaling/feed/ 33
More Focus, Less Stress – Now! http://rayedwards.com/more-focus-less-stress-now/ http://rayedwards.com/more-focus-less-stress-now/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 15:07:05 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11694 It is possible to operate every day in a state of focused, stress-free productivity.

Today’s video shows you how.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Do you need to develop more focus? Do you need to feel less stress? How will you get there? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/more-focus-less-stress-now/feed/ 13
7 Ways to Increase Your Energy http://rayedwards.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-energy/ http://rayedwards.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-energy/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:00:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11683 Do you sometimes feel lethargic, or out of energy? Would it be valuable to have the ability to raise your energy level?

In this video, I cover 7 methods anyone can use to recharge your human person!

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Have you tried any of these 7 methods? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-energy/feed/ 21
5 Steps to Hearing God at Work http://rayedwards.com/5-steps-to-hearing-god-at-work/ http://rayedwards.com/5-steps-to-hearing-god-at-work/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2016 10:00:22 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11654 If you could actually receive guidance from God for your business, would it make a difference?

And I don’t mean only reading the Bible or a devotional, and getting some good principles for being moral and upright business people. What I mean is hearing God’s voice guide you with specific advice, about your specific situation, problems, and opportunities.

In this video, I offer a 5-step approach to doing just that.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Have you ever heard from God at work? Share your story! You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/5-steps-to-hearing-god-at-work/feed/ 49
The 3 Villains That Will Try to Stop You http://rayedwards.com/the-3-villains-that-will-try-to-stop-you/ http://rayedwards.com/the-3-villains-that-will-try-to-stop-you/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:00:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11642 Have you ever felt like “someone” or “something” was working against you? Well, you’re right!

In this episode, I’ll show you the 3 very real villains that WILL try to stop you from achieving all the good you were put on this planet to do. And I’ll even share tactics for defeating these villains…

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Have your ever faced one of these villains? What happened? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-3-villains-that-will-try-to-stop-you/feed/ 31
5 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Things Done http://rayedwards.com/5-reasons-you-arent-getting-things-done/ http://rayedwards.com/5-reasons-you-arent-getting-things-done/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:00:24 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11635 Are there items on your “to-do” list that you just can’t seem to get to? Despite having a good system, are you NOT “getting things done”?

There are 5 reasons you may be having trouble reaching “to do list zero” – and none of these reasons have anything to do with your time management system.

This week’s video explains these 5 obstacles to getting things done, and how to overcome each of them.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Do any of these 5 obstacles ring true for you? If so, how did you (or how are you going to) overcome the problem? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/5-reasons-you-arent-getting-things-done/feed/ 37
Prosper With Purpose http://rayedwards.com/prosper-with-purpose/ http://rayedwards.com/prosper-with-purpose/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:00:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11608 Why are you even in business to start with? Is it just about the money – or is there something more?

In this week’s video, I explore the meaning of business – and how to “prosper with purpose”.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: What about you: why do you do what you do? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/prosper-with-purpose/feed/ 13
3 Steps to Start Your Online Business http://rayedwards.com/3-steps-to-start-your-online-business/ http://rayedwards.com/3-steps-to-start-your-online-business/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2016 08:00:38 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11590 Building your own business online is really not complex. In fact, there are only 3 steps to getting your own business going – or if you’re already in business, to get it GROWING.

In the new video I just made for you, I’ll help you cut through all the clutter and confusion. I’ll show you the 3 steps, and why it really is just that simple.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Which of the 3 steps do you need to focus on right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-steps-to-start-your-online-business/feed/ 31
A Low-Risk Way To Grow Your Business http://rayedwards.com/a-low-risk-way/ http://rayedwards.com/a-low-risk-way/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:43:12 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11575 and 3 Reasons Why It Works

When I left my corporate job in 2006, there was one key tactic that, more than any other, helped make my transition possible. There was one key activity I engaged in that accelerated my skills, grew my audience, and multiplied my income.

This one key activity is something that anyone can do, but which few people will. Even those that do this activity often fail to do it consistently. What is the activity, how should you go about it, and what are the 3 reasons why it works? That’s what this week’s free video is about.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: Have you experienced the ‘3 C’s’ of live events? Which event(s) had a positive impact on your business or your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/a-low-risk-way/feed/ 30
5 Business Barriers That No Longer Stop You http://rayedwards.com/5-business-barriers-that-no-longer-stop-you/ http://rayedwards.com/5-business-barriers-that-no-longer-stop-you/#comments Sun, 29 May 2016 12:16:55 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11568 Now Is The Time To Start Your Business

Today I have a new video for you about why this is the most exciting time in history… especially for those who want to start, run, or grow their own online business. It doesn’t matter what the economy is doing, or even who the President of the USA happens to be.

In fact, there are 5 big business barriers that we (all of us) have just obliterated. Up until now, these 5 factors were impassable for most of us. But these 5 barriers no longer stop anyone from starting a REAL business. These barriers don’t even EXIST anymore. That’s the subject of today’s video. Time to get excited…

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
Question: What does the breaking of these 5 barriers make possible for YOU? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/5-business-barriers-that-no-longer-stop-you/feed/ 46
Why I Ditched Pop-ups On My Blog http://rayedwards.com/why-i-ditched-popups-on-my-blog/ http://rayedwards.com/why-i-ditched-popups-on-my-blog/#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 10:00:55 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11505 The End of Interruption

I just eliminated popups from my website, even though they are very effective tools for building email lists. In fact, there are few email list building tools that are as effective as popups.

Pop-ups

Why then did I make a sudden, site-wide change and eliminate popups? Do I believe they no longer “work”? It’s more complicated than that. Here’s the story…

In my public talks lately, I’ve stumbled upon a statement that seems to guide my work: “Marketing should be something we do for people, not something we do to them.”

This phrase resonates with a huge portion of every audience with whom I’ve shared it. It strikes a chord.

Marketing should be something we do for people, not something we do to them.Click To Tweet

Recently, I was leading my an in-person meeting of my Regency Mastermind Group (a small group of my most elite clients) , and we were examining a member’s website. Within seconds of landing on the site, a popup appeared. There was a spontaneous and collective groan. A couple of people said out loud, “I hate those things!”

My son, Sean, sighed and said, “I may be about to contradict my Dad, because I know these things get results, but… I hate them, too.”

One of the other group members looked at me as he said, “Yeah, but they work, right Ray?”

Every eye in the room was on me. Waiting to see my reaction.

“Well,” I said, “Yes, they do work. But Sean makes a good point. We all hate them.” I paused. “Why do we hate them?”

“Because they’re pushy,” someone said.

Another voice chimed in, “They’re manipulative.”

I said, “Say more about that.”

“Well,” Sean said, “Just like we wouldn’t use manipulation and witchcraft to do mind-control tricks on the audience at a live event, it just feels wrong to use popups.”

That’s when the bell rang for me. Mind control. There are three ways of controlling people against their will.

  1. Intimidation
  2. Manipulation
  3. Domination

How do these methods work?

  1. Manipulation says, “I’ll trick you into doing things my way.”
  2. Intimidation says, “I’ll scare you into doing things my way.”
  3. Domination says, “I’ll force you to do things my way.”

Manipulation uses the needs of others as leverage for your own agenda.

Manipulation uses the needs of others as leverage for your own agenda.Click To Tweet

I’ve heard it said that manipulation is like a dog that’s licking your face while urinating on your shoes.

Manipulation is like a dog that's licking your face while urinating on your shoes.Click To Tweet

When I saw that could be applied to almost (but admittedly not all) popups, I realized something needed to change. I couldn’t justify continuing to use popups.

I think we should all question whether “it works” is justification enough for all actions. When phrased this way, we can all see the answer is “no.”

  1. As a means of getting cash, robbing bank works.
  2. As a means of getting a car, stealing it works.
  3. As a means of getting the job, lying on your resume works.

But each of these acts is clearly wrong, and are violations of our moral code.

3 Ways Popups Violate The Moral Code

  1. Popups manipulate by saying to website visitors: “I’ll trick you into doing things my way.” An example of one way this is done: making the popup look like a quiz, when it’s really a trick to get prospect moving in the direction of what you want them to do.
  2. Popups intimidate by saying: “I’ll scare you into doing things my way.” This might take the form of fanning the flames of fear through exaggeration of the actual level of potential danger.
  3. Popups dominate by saying: “I’ll force you to do things my way.” Many popups are difficult or even impossible to get past without filling them in. We are, in effect, saying, “If you wany my free stuff, you must fill in this form.”

There’s a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. For me, at this point in time, it seems that popups cross that line. At least on my site.

I’m not making anyone else out to be wrong if they are using popups.

I’m just saying that for us, it seems like the right thing to do is to eliminate them. We think that by eliminating the popups, we’re making more of an investment in our readers, and that this will result in better long-term relationships.

Question: What about you – do you love popups or hate them? And do you use them on your site? Do you think I’m wrong? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/why-i-ditched-popups-on-my-blog/feed/ 7
The Road Less Traveled http://rayedwards.com/the-road-less-traveled/ http://rayedwards.com/the-road-less-traveled/#comments Fri, 06 May 2016 10:00:54 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11388 The Road Less Traveled Isn't Easy Street

In 1976, the band Rush released their hit song, Something for Nothing. The refrain of the song goes:

Road Less Traveled

“Whoa, you don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free
You won’t get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be”

Neal Peart, who wrote those lyrics, got it right. But the marketplace is full of gimmicks that promise amazing results with little or no effort. You’ve seen and heard the claims:
  • “Drink this shake and lose 10 pounds per week!”
  • “This is the last kitchen tool you’ll ever buy!”
  • “Use this exercise machine for 3 minutes per day and you’ll look like Mr. Universe!”

It seems like human nature to want the easy way out. We’re inclined to take the path of least resistance. It’s seductive … and it’s usually untrue. The path of least resistance is usually the path of less reward.

The path of least resistance is usually the path of less reward.Click To Tweet

 

Copywriters are often accused of being too “hypey” or “salesy” in their work. Why do we feel that way about some copy? In my experience, we sense the writer is using an appeal to the “something for nothing” wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Most people know “something for nothing” is nothing but fantasy. Even so, people often believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what’s true. They buy a system expecting it to do all the work.

I once created and sold a product called The Seminar Profit System (no longer available for sale, sorry). It was a simple audio product that taught people how to profit by attending seminars. The product focused on specific actions one needs to take before, during, and after a seminar. These actions would increase one’s chances of profiting from a seminar. In other words… the product taught you how to work.

Yet, some buyers of the product were angry that they didn’t make money by attending a seminar. They reacted this way, even though they did little or none of the work described in the product. In medical terms, “they bought the prescription, but never took the medicine.” So, of course, they got no results.

It surprises me that people buy a product like this and neglect to take any of the recommended actions. Then they demand a refund, because “the product didn’t work.” We ask them if they followed through on the actions laid out in the product. And they respond, “No, but…”

And out come the excuses. The attempt to disown their behavior. The desire to believe someone else is in control of their self-discipline, their diligence, and their work ethic.

One of my earliest business mentors, Earl Nightingale, said, “Successful people consistently do the things that failures don’t like to do.”

All roads may lead to Rome, but they don’t all lead to success. If you want success, you’ll have to take the road that leads you there. That road is the one less traveled. That road is the difficult one that demands hard work and persistence. But the destination is worth it!

“Successful people consistently do the things that failures don’t like to do.” Earl NightingaleClick To Tweet
Question: Which road are you on right now? How can you be sure you’re on the right road? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-road-less-traveled/feed/ 2
The Dawn of Justice in Business http://rayedwards.com/the-dawn-of-justice-in-business/ http://rayedwards.com/the-dawn-of-justice-in-business/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11376 How to Be the Superhero Your Clients Are Looking for!

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Captain America … these superheroes evoke something deep inside of us to be great! We fantasize about their special powers and we cheer their stand for justice and all that is good.

Dawn of Justice

The superhero movies bring out the child in us. No wonder they’ve done so well. Remember back to when you were a kid. All we had to do was put on the mask and don the cape. Then we were the superhero! 

And that’s the point of this article.

Would you like to give your marketing message super powers? What if you really could become the superhero of your clients? Does this sound far fetched?
What if you really could become the superhero of your clients?Click To Tweet

Here’s how you can do it …

  • Identify the villains hounding your customers. Villains can have many faces. Find out what’s plaguing your clients. Name their villain and go after it with a vengeance!
  • Step up as superhero and reveal your powers. You, or your company, need a “superhero name.” You need a title that sums up who you are and what you can do for your clients. This title should be short, catchy, dynamic and easy to understand. What is it you do better than anyone else?
  • State your mission. Superman’s mission is: “Fight the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!” This serves as a great model for you. Build your own mission statement that embodies what you do. Make it short, sweet and powerful.

Here’s an example:VILLAIN: Anemic Advertising. This creepy character sucks the life out of small business advertising budgets. This villain wastes all your money on ads that get little response. Ad dollars go out, but revenue doesn’t come in. Anemic Advertising leaves victims penniless and discouraged, even destroying many businesses.

HERO: Captain Copywriter. Magically transforms limp, lazy, lackluster ads into profit-pulling powerhouses. Multiplies revenue while at the SAME TIME slashes your ad spending. Produces sales, profits, and peace of mind.

MISSION STATEMENT: “Captain Copywriter fights a never-ending battle for better ads, producing more profits, more often.”

Use Your Identity

So how do you engage your “superhero identity”?

You start “living it.”

Perhaps until now, you’ve seen yourself as a mild-mannered copywriter. But what if you’ve become Captain Copywriter?

How would the Captain behave?

How would he talk?

What would his costume (website) look like?

What insignia would he display?

What are his sayings and catch-phrases? (Superman had “Up, up and away!” – what would YOURS be?)

Once you get into character as your “superhero,” you’ll start thinking like he would!

Let me prove it.

If mild-mannered-you came across a bank robbery in progress, you might not know what to do. (Other than maybe call the police.)

But what if you were Clark Kent and you came across that same robbery in progress. NOW what would you do?

You’d intervene, of course.

You’d duck into a doorway or alley, put on your super-suit and move into action! Goodbye robbers!

See how simply IMAGINING a super hero identity gives you access to superhero strategies?

Let’s say it’s the real thing now. Your client is in trouble, calling for help. With your “super powers” you can see right through their problem. You step up, puff out your chest and with a calm voice say, “Don’t worry Mam, I’ve got this!”

Simply IMAGINING a super hero identity gives you access to superhero strategies!Click To Tweet

What are you waiting for? Tear off those glasses, don your cape, and fly to the rescue!

Question: What will you do differently now that you own a “superhero” identity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-dawn-of-justice-in-business/feed/ 0
The Secret Weapon of Market Leaders http://rayedwards.com/the-secret-weapon-of-market-leaders/ http://rayedwards.com/the-secret-weapon-of-market-leaders/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:42:52 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11360 It’s Powerful, It’s Easy To Use, and It’s Free

When I ran radio stations, we used a secret marketing weapon to tap into public trends. This secret weapon enabled us to “read the minds” of clients and listeners. As a result, we sold millions of dollars worth of advertising to our clients. And they sold hundreds of millions of dollars of goods and services to their customers.

Secret Marketing Weapon
This secret weapon is free and available to anyone. Yet few businesses use it.

Copywriters talk a lot about “joining the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind.” (This is a phrase loosely borrowed from Robert Collier.) And that’s what this secret weapon allows you to do.

What is this “secret weapon?” The calendar. Tie your marketing efforts to major calendar dates. This will take you a long way toward “joining” that conversation.

People live by the calendar. The year is full of signposts, celebrations, and deadlines. These dates on the calendar drive our decisions and mark our progress through the year. We live from signpost to signpost.
Tie your marketing efforts to major calendar dates. It's like market mind-reading.Click To Tweet

In the US, some of the major calendar signposts include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • President’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Back to School
  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

There are many other signposts of course. And your list will vary depending on your cultural and religious background. The point is, the major signposts are easy to identify. And it’s easy to construct your marketing calendar around them. You want to do that to give people a “reason why.”

John E. Kennedy identified the power of “reason why” copy. They’re more likely to respond to your promotion if you give them a “reason why.” Prospects are more prone to buy if you give them a “reason why.”

 

Retailers have followed this pattern for so long that we’ve grown accustomed to it. (And they do it with so little imagination!)  They promote: “The January White Sale,” “The Sweetheart Sale” for Valentine’s Day, “Saving the Green Sale” for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Walk into your local grocer and their displays will tell you what the next holiday is.

The good news for your online business is that all these “old school” ideas work quite well online. And they’ll work even better if you can get more creative with them. (For instance, run a “Click Your Treat” promotion around Halloween!) The point is, give your prospects and customers a good reason to visit your website at least once per month.

When you adopt this model, planning your promotional calendar becomes easy. The list above is not a bad start. But if you’re more ambitious, you can select from hundreds of “reasons why” at 2016 Holidays & Observances Calendar.  If you want to, you can find a reason to do a promotion 52 times per year!

You can also borrow ideas for promotions from brick & mortar businesses. These retailers have made an art form of this method. Look at auto dealers, big box stores, and grocery stores in particular. They can supply you with a rich “swipe file” of ideas.

Just visit the website of some of your favorite stores. I guarantee you’ll find sales linked to the nearest holiday or calendar signpost. You can also peruse your local newspapers online. Or go to your public library and glean past issues of newspapers. This will provide “swipe files” from which you can build your storehouse of promotions.

Anyone with an online business can use this “secret weapon” to boost promotions and sales!

Question: Which calendar signposts will you use to put this “secret weapon” to use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-secret-weapon-of-market-leaders/feed/ 0
The $200 Million Copywriting Blueprint http://rayedwards.com/the-200-million-copywriting-blueprint/ http://rayedwards.com/the-200-million-copywriting-blueprint/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 19:27:13 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11182 Download the Free Mind-Map for a Limited Time

Would you like access to the blueprint I’ve used to generate $200 million in sales for me & my clients? Well, here’s your chance. I’m releasing a series of free Copywriting Training videos, and I just posted the third in this four-part series this morning.  

bluprint

It’s called “The $200 Million Dollar Copy Blueprint”.

If you’ve actually been watching the videos I’ve released over the past week or so, you know how much I’ve already given away.

But today, I am literally showing you the real secret of my business success… and more importantly (and much more impressive), the staggering success of my clients. 

The secret is in the “meta-framework” – the organized, integrated system of “sub-frameworks” – that causes businesses to succeed.

The best name I have for this meta-framework (or “master frame”) is this: Strategic Influence.

This is what grows lists, impact, influence, and net worth. 

And this is at the heart of my all-new video…

“The $200 Million Copywriting Blueprint” 

Yes, it’s true … I’ve used Copywriting as an excuse to help you take your first step into a larger world.

For those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, this will be mind-blowing.

I will only make this freely available for a few more days.

Make use of your free access now.

And if you haven’t watched – and studied – the two videos I’ve released before this one… it’s time to catch up.

Once you’ve logged into the free members area, you can start at Video #1 and work your way through all 3.

After I take these videos offline, this material will only be available to my Copywriting Academy students.

But right now, you can have it all, including the MindMap, absolutely free & clear.

No credit card requested, nor required. 

Download the “Copywriting Blueprint” right now.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-200-million-copywriting-blueprint/feed/ 0
The One Word That Doubles Your Sales http://rayedwards.com/the-one-word-that-doubles-your-sales/ http://rayedwards.com/the-one-word-that-doubles-your-sales/#respond Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:56:32 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11135 Get This Free Ebook Today

One of the most powerful business truths I know is something I learned from my friend and mentor, Jeff Walker. When confronted with virtually any business problem, Jeff’s response is often, “That’s a copy problem.”

Ebook Double Sales

Meaning: the problem is less about the problem and more about how we approach the problem. How we communicate the problem to ourselves – and to others. Communication. Copy. Whatever the problem, chances are it’s a copy problem. There is an easy fix to this copy problem, and that’s why I have written my new ebook, The One Word That Doubles Your Sales. If you sell anything at all, I think you’ll find this ebook helpful.

Download the Ebook Now

That’s the reason why subtle adjustments in language can make a big difference in your business, and in your life. This is rarely clearer than in writing sales copy, because we can so easily measure the results: sales either go up, or not.

What if there was one word – a single word – that could double your sales? What if this word had been tested time and time again, and its efficacy is proven beyond all doubt?

There is such a word. But it’s easy to dismiss or undervalue. I could just tell you the word here and now, but you would likely only nod and say to yourself, “Yes, I see the wisdom in that” — and then do aboslutely nothing with the knowledge. Such a reaction would be a disservice to you, your business, your family, and all those who depend upon your success.

'Information without implementation will not bring transformation.' @PaulBEvans Click To Tweet

Because of this, instead of just revealing “the one word” here, I have created a new ebook about this unusual word, and its transformative persuasion power. It’s short but powerful.

There are three reasons why you should download, read, and use the information in this book.

  1. Because you’re likely to use it. In the ebook, I teach you the “lineage” of this word and its use. Knowing the history behind how the power of this word was discovered will increase how you value the knowledge. The knowledge we value more is more likely to be used.
  2. Because you will be able to share this ebook and its power. Ever hear a compelling, persuasive message, and then try to convey that message to someone else later? Doesn’t work so well, does it? I have conveniently packaged the messsage of “the one-word secret” into a form that delivers the full impact to anyone in a few minutes. This ebook is how you get your copywriter or marketing team to start using it.
  3. Because I also include a classic marketing book that has been long-forgotten. This book shaped much of what today is called “Internet Marketing” yet you rarely hear it mentioned. That is sad because it is just as powerful today as it was in the early 1900’s. (And no, it’s not “Scientific Advertising” nor is it “The Robert Collier Letter Book” – though you should read those, too.)

Download the Ebook Now

This ebook will only be available for a limited time, though. That’s one more reason you should download it now.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-one-word-that-doubles-your-sales/feed/ 0
12 Amazing Wealth-Building Vehicles http://rayedwards.com/12-amazing-wealth-building-vehicles/ http://rayedwards.com/12-amazing-wealth-building-vehicles/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:38:48 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11121 How to Turn Your Ideas into Income

What’s your area of expertise? What is it for which people come to you for advice or help? I’m sure you have a ready answer for those questions. And if you do, then you’ve got something valuable to teach. And if you’ve got something to teach, you can make an income online.

Wealth Vehicle

Just use one or more of the vehicles in this post.

Since launching my own business, I’ve leveraged all 12 of these income-generating vehicles. Here are just some of the ways that I’ve turned my expertise and knowledge into wealth:

  • I make money by consulting, writing copy, and publishing and selling books.
  • I create training products, coach, speak, and offer seminars and workshops.
  • Not to mention writing blogs, recording podcasts, and providing a host of other services.

The overarching theme of my business is helping others “prosper with purpose.” 

That’s why I’m excited to share these income-producing vehicles with you. Because I’m convinced that if you’ve got something to teach, you too can make an income online.

12 Ways to Turn Your Wisdom into Wealth

  1. Product Sales. These are one-time teaching products. This can be an idea as crazy as “How to draw pug portraits.” And as a pug enthusiast, I may be interested if you can teach me! But don’t stop with one product. Create many.
  2. Personal Services. Offer freelance writing, editing, design, etc. Establish a clientele and create a perpetual income with repeat business.
  3. Coaching. Coach others to do what you do. You can do this one-on-one or in groups. When coaching groups, you’re charging less per person, but making more per hour. And keep in mind that coaching by distance can be quite effective. This means you can coach people around the world while you work from almost anywhere.
  4. Live Events. Perhaps your area of expertise lends itself to a workshop or seminar.  Imagine charging a handsome fee per person. Now multiply that number by 100 or more participants. Offer that workshop quarterly and already you’re making a significant income.
  5. Affiliate Sales. Build your platform and establish trust with your tribe. Then recommend products that dovetail with your business and earn a commission. Your joint venture partners have already done all the hard work. Now you get to capitalize on it by sharing their products with your list.
  6. Public Speaking. Speaking fees can be quite lucrative. The speaking event also offers a great way to get new clients and sell your products and services.
  7. Membership sites. Imagine offering recurring annual subscriptions for ongoing training, information, or services. You have to keep producing fresh, relevant offerings to attract and retain clients. But this becomes a source of residual income with annual renewals.
  8. Consulting. As a consultant, you become a partner in someone else’s business for a limited period of time. You get to help them succeed in areas where you have expertise and experience. Much consulting work can fetch a considerable fee. And often a job well done means referral business.
  9. Publishing. You can write books, self-publish them and sell them on your website. With even less effort, you can create e-books or newsletters with specialized information. These e-books often sell for $35 or more. Your customers simply pay the fee and download it to their device.
  10. Licensing. Create a product or materials that others want to train from or sell. Then sell a license to them for using your materials. It’s also possible to receive a royalty for every customer they sell to. In this way, you’re multiplying yourself. You’re reaching clients you never would have been able to reach otherwise.
  11. Audio Programs. Prepare training, teaching, motivational talks, or even sermons in Mp3 format. Promote and sell these items on your website.
  12. Online Courses. Creating online courses may be one of the most complex vehicles. But they also provide the highest profit potential. And overhead costs are minimal. With current technology, these can be real-time and interactive if you so desire. Online courses provide a platform to sell other products and services as well.

After reading through that list, I hope your “wheels” are turning! You realize that those vehicles actually represent many more opportunities for generating income. You can exploit each vehicle to create many different streams of income. Doing a few of them well, or doing moderately well in most of them can easily bring you $10K per month income.

Question: Which of these vehicles will you pursue first? What other ideas has this post spawned for turning your wisdom into wealth?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/12-amazing-wealth-building-vehicles/feed/ 0
One Login to Rule Them All http://rayedwards.com/one-login-to-rule-them-all/ http://rayedwards.com/one-login-to-rule-them-all/#comments Fri, 25 Mar 2016 10:00:36 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11070 Why Your Customers Are About to Love You

Perhaps you sell online training programs, memberships, or other digital products. If so, you may be making a huge mistake. This mistake could be costing you money and customers. Chances are you are making this mistake! This can spring a sizable money-leak in your entrepreneurial ship.

One Login

I create and sell digital training products and courses. I sell these courses online, and my customers receive their access instantly. They receive a username and password, can log-in and get access to what they paid for without delay. That’s a win for both them and me.

But I recently became aware of a problem with the way I do this. And I’m not the only one doing this. If you run a business like mine, we set up our products on separate websites, as if each product was its own “brand.” This means separate domain names, different logos, etc. This may feel good to us who produce the products. But it creates a big headache for our users (our paying customers).

How so? We force our customers to have separate login URLs, usernames, and passwords for each of our sites/products.

In what way does this serve the customer’s best interest? Most people do not suffer from a shortage of usernames and passwords!

For the customer, this means more hassle, more effort, and more information to keep track of. Ultimately, it could lead to frustration and even refund requests.

Why do we make customers jump thought these hoops? If we have 15 products, why do we force the customer to have 15 different usernames and passwords?

I think the answer is that most of us were just taught this method and we never questioned it.

Clearly, this practice is not good for the customer. But neither is it good for you, the product producer. Multiple sites mean:

  • More customer complaints
  • More “lost username/password” emails
  • More sites to build, maintain, update, host, and secure
  • More design work
  • More complexity

I believe this leads to more refunds too, which means this practice is costing you money.

I decided to check in with the biggest companies on the Internet and see how they handle this issue. How do Apple, Google, and Amazon solve this dilemma?

Well, look at your Google Account login page, and that tells the whole story. “All Of Google, In One Account.” Same is true of Amazon (your login credentials even work for Audible.com), and Lynda.com. One login, all your stuff, one website.

These companies rake in revenues that start with the letter “b,” as in “billions.” So, maybe they know a thing or two.

“Yes, Ray,” you whisper, “But I am not Apple or Google. There’s no way I can afford that kind of custom development.”

Bull-feathers!

Let me expound on that…

How You Can Be Just Like Amazon and Google

If you want to be like Apple, Google, and Amazon you must have a single login for everything your customers buy. To do this you have several options.

  1. Custom code. You have total control, but it costs a lot. And you can end up with a convoluted system that nobody else can understand. Your developer can hold you hostage. Because to everyone else your system is a mysterious “black box.” This is too costly and risky.

  2. Udemy. Easy to use and nice looking with huge built-in traffic. But you have to share the “marketplace” with thousands of other course builders. This makes you one among many. And Udemy apparently discounts course prices without warning or approval from you. This eats into your profits and devalues your brand.

  3. WordPress + Plugins and Mods. The premiere tool is Wishlist Member. This option allows you to build pretty much exactly what you want… as long as you build it in WordPress. This is the option I have used most often in the past. But it can be complex and frustrating. WARNING: WordPress has some quirks that can cause “hiccups” on your site. If you use Wishlist to build a member’s area, install Wordpress separately from your main blog. You don’t want your membership site taking down your entire website if there is a problem.

  4. Teachable. This one is easy to use both as a site owner and as a customer. It lives on the Teachable server, so they handle all the security, updates, and coding. You never have to do any of that stuff. Teachable lets you take payments. It also pays affiliates a commission when someone refers business to you. Sort of like Udemy without the marketplace.

  5. New Kajabi. This is the option we currently use. Like Teachable, New Kajabi allows you to keep all your products in a central “library.” This way your customers have access to anything they have bought from you in a single user account. One user name, one password for everything. Simple and elegant. New Kajabi offers built-in forms, landing pages, a shopping cart and stripe integration. (So you can take payments.) It also has its own affiliate program so you can pay people for sending you business. It’s not perfect, but thus far the folks at Kajabi have been quick to respond to feature and bug requests. And the system is quite powerful.

You may choose any of the above options. But New Kajabi or Teachable are probably your best options. They end the hassles of coding, custom programming, and protecting the site from security risks.

Here is our simple plan:

  • Users have one set of login credentials
  • There is one user account from which they get all their materials
  • We offer “Free Opt-ins” for those who signed up for a lead magnet
  • All our paid products live in the same “library”

The advantages to taking this approach are clear:

  • It’s convenient for the user
  • Simple for you
  • Less costly for you
  • No more reinventing the wheel, or building site after site
  • You can still brand each product or course on its own pages
  • Less coding, more coaching

And not only does it benefit you, did I mention it’s what customers actually want?

Give your customers a pleasant buying and consumption experience.  This will give you an advantage over competitors. Their materials or products might be equal to or even superior to yours. But if they provide people with an inferior user experience, you win.

Question: How many logins do you currently require for all your products and what steps will you take to simplify this? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/one-login-to-rule-them-all/feed/ 8
10 Steps to Build Your Wisdom Enterprise http://rayedwards.com/10-steps-to-build-your-widsom-based-business/ http://rayedwards.com/10-steps-to-build-your-widsom-based-business/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 10:00:43 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11042 Launching Your Own Wisdom-Based Business Is Easier Than You Think

You have that entrepreneurial spark. You yearn to own your business … but doing what? Sure, you’ve got some special expertise that few others have. But how do you turn that into a business? How do your knowledge, experience, and wisdom translate into income?

Knowledge Business (1)

When I launched my business, I knew what I wanted to do. My knowledge and experience centered around providing others with communication strategies and copywriting. At the time, I hadn’t codified the 10 steps I give you below. I had to rely on trial and error and wise counsel from others. As a result, I’ve developed a tried-and-true business building process. Since then I have helped countless other entrepreneurs build their Wisdom Enterprise.

Due to my success and theirs, I have the confidence to assure you that you too can build such a business. In fact, anyone can build a Wisdom Business™. Anyone can sell their ideas by following these 10 steps.

10 Steps for Building a Wisdom Enterprise

1. Identify your unique Wisdom Premise. This is the one-of-a-kind expertise and knowledge that you have to share with others. This defines what you will market and sell. As I mentioned, my unique wisdom premise when I started this business was communication strategy and copywriting. Focus not only on what you’re good at, but what you enjoy. Now, clearly spell that out.

2. Know your “perfect customer” well. Entrepreneurs often struggle with this one. They want to market to everyone. But it’s the specialist that makes big money. People are always looking for a specialist. So define your ideal customer and market to them as their specialist.

3. Craft your value proposition. What is it that you can offer your clients that they can’t live without? What are their problems that you have the solution for? Let your potential clients “taste,” “smell,” and “feel” the value of what you have to offer them. Make them “hungry” for what you have.

4. Create an “indoctrination” process. Make it easy for your clients to work with you. Tell them what to expect. Design processes that ease them along. Give them clear, simple steps.

5. Remove “friction.” Expect potential problems and speed bumps along the way. Often these can arise in the form of interpersonal conflicts. Ensure that you or your processes are not the cause of any friction. Run ahead of your client preparing the way for them. Help them remove those things that would derail or slow their progress.

6. Form strategic partnerships. I can’t emphasize how important this is. I didn’t just land clients like Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins out of thin air. I’ve served these clients and others as the result of forming strategic alliances with people. You will never accomplish anything of value without the help of others.

7. Be the client you want to have. There are two sides to this. First, model the behavior you want your clients to exhibit (don’t try selling a $50,000 coaching program if you haven’t invested at that level yourself). Second, treat your client the way you would want them to treat you if you were their client. Make every client feel like they are your only client. You are there to serve them.

8. Develop your Unique Wisdom Talk™. This is your product or service. This is the package that you will deliver to others. Design this in a way that others will clamor for it! Make it dynamic, fun, unique and vital to their business. Present it in a variety of forms.

9. Leverage digital media to build an email list. Your goal here is not to amass hoards of faceless people. Build a following. Develop a platform that draws people to you. Provide incentives. Offer people something of value so they come to you and give you permission to email them and sell to them.

10. Make an offer. Again, this is often a tough one for new entrepreneurs. But you can’t make a sale unless you can make a clear offer. What is it you are asking potential clients to do? Spell it out clearly. Make it easy for them to say, “Yes.”

Sure, the details of each step are a bit more complex than what I presented here. But building a business based on your knowledge and experience is surprisingly simple. I hope this blog post leaves you excited to put these steps into practice! Why not start today?

Question: Where are you currently in the above process? What particular step do you find most challenging?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/10-steps-to-build-your-widsom-based-business/feed/ 3
What You Might Have Missed This Week http://rayedwards.com/what-you-might-have-missed-this-week/ http://rayedwards.com/what-you-might-have-missed-this-week/#respond Sat, 13 Feb 2016 10:03:21 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=10769 Well, the Super Bowl is behind us and Peyton Manning had the perfect grace moment in a storybook career. But before the big game took place, I had my own storybook moment. Here’s what I’m talking about…

you might have missed

Last weekend I flew 1,624 miles and paid $1,706.70 to have breakfast with Mike Kim and Brian Dixon, along with a few other people. It was a last-minute decision. It wasn’t really convenient, but I was investing in other people. It was well worth the inconvenience and the expense. Continue reading »

Here’s the rest of what you may have missed this week…

Brain Hacking Your Way to Good Habits. How robotic is your behavior? How much of your day is on automatic pilot? For most people, the answer is, “more than you think.” Invisible triggers activate much of our behavior. Without realizing it, we become slaves to those triggers. This is dangerous. These automatic behaviors can have huge negative impact on our lives. Continue reading »

How to Always Hit Your Goals. Many of us have one or more goals we just can’t seem to crack. Maybe it’s those stubborn “last 10 pounds” (or last 50 pounds) you just can’t seem to lose. Perhaps it’s the debt you never seem to pay off. Whatever the goal may be, if you’d like a system guaranteed to get those goals crossed off your list, this episode is for you. Continue reading »

Have a wonderful weekend, and just in case you forgot, tomorrow (Sunday) is Valentine’s Day. Don’t say I never helped you out.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/what-you-might-have-missed-this-week/feed/ 0
Are You Missing Out On 80% Of Your Revenue Potential? http://rayedwards.com/are-you-missing-out-on-80-of-your-revenue-potential-2/ http://rayedwards.com/are-you-missing-out-on-80-of-your-revenue-potential-2/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:00:29 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=10290 Yes, You Probably Are

Here’s a surprising business stat I heard from the brilliant Dean Jackson: 80% of customers make their first purchase from you 90 days after their first contact with your company. That’s too bad, because over 90% of marketers have stopped marketing to those customers by that time.

80-per-cent-revenue

Read that again, carefully. You’re probably wasting 80% of your client value. Put another way: you’re only getting 20% of the money most people would give you if you bothered to ask for it.

You're only getting 20% of the money most people would pay you, if you bothered to ask.Click To Tweet

Almost every business owner I encounter has little or no follow-up system. They make the initial contact with a customer, in most cases fail to close a deal, and then those customers vanish… never to return.

Even if a person buys from you, chances are your follow-up is minimal, if you even have a follow-up system at all.

Think about this for a moment. What if you got an 80% increase in the average dollars spent by every customer? That would, for most, change the course of their business. Heck, for most, it would amend the course of their life.

So how do you fix this problem? No worries. You can start to turn this around quickly and inexpensively, in just 3 simple steps.

3 Ways To Plug The “Customer Value Leak”

  1. Start a non-buyers autoresponder list. Use a service like InfusionSoft, Aweber, or ConvertKit to set up an automated email campaign that follows up with non-buyers. You want to follow up with them for at least 90 days (you can always add emails to the end of the sequence later on). Send an email once a week or so, offering helpful advice, information, and tutorials that create real value for the reader. In every email, link back to the product or service you’re selling.
  2. Start a buyers autoresponder list. You need a second follow-up sequence  – this time for those who buy your product. These emails will serve two purposes: first, they help motivate customers to download and use the product they purchased. Proactive follow-up reduces potential refunds. Perhaps even more importantly, though, proactive follow-up allows you to cycle through all of your offers for each buyer. Systematically, and without fail.
  3. Call your customers. Right after they buy, call them on the phone. All you do is say “thanks” and “do you have any questions”. Then, right around 25 days after their purchase, call again. These phone calls demonstrate your compassion and caring in a way almost all your “competitors” will never duplicate. Plus, you’ll generate sales you would have missed otherwise.
Proactive follow-up reduces potential refunds. Click To Tweet

You can (and should) become more intentional about serving your customers to the maximum extent of your abilities (and that means you must be delivering value to them at your maximum capacity as well.)

Question: What do/can/will you do the plug the ‘customer value leaks’ in your business? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/are-you-missing-out-on-80-of-your-revenue-potential-2/feed/ 3
5 Failings That Kill Your Business http://rayedwards.com/5-failings-that-kill-your-business/ http://rayedwards.com/5-failings-that-kill-your-business/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:04:08 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9989 Most failed businesses don’t die – they commit suicide.

5-failings-business

I am watching an aquaintace of mine (let’s call him Stewart) commit business suicide right now. And it’s slow, agonizing business suicide, inflicting the maximum amount of pain and agony in the process.

Of course, Stewart doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s a tough economy,” he says to me.

At another time, he may say, “The government makes it impossible for the little guy to succeed.”

Stewart has a collection of exuses for his business struggles. When I try to ecourage him to make some changes in how he does business, or when I suggest tactics he might employ to turn his business around, he is extraordinarily resistant. Most people are, I find.

Most failed businesses don't die - they commit suicide.Click To Tweet

I think the reason is: most people are afraid.

They are afraid that if they try something different, it might not work.

They are afraid if they invest in a training or a mastermind group they might be wasting their money.

In fact this kind of fear is at the root of what I believe to be the 5 most common failings that will eventually kill your business.

If you are struggling in business right now, it is vital that you make sure these poisonous failings are not part of your daily diet. You can stop the poison from seeping into the bloodstream of your life and your business.

Let’s examine the 5 failings, the fear at their root, and the truth that will set you free.

    1. Failing to measure and track your marketing. An airplane pilot would never dream of making a flight without his tracking instruments that tell him exactly where he is oriented, where he is headed, his altitude, speed, etc. Failing to know this information will prove deadly to a pilot (and his passengers). Business people, especially small entrepreneurs, are often unwilling to invest money in tracking tools, advertising testing systems, etc. Just like an airplane without the proper instruments, the lack of an accurate “dashboard” can cause your business to crash and burn.
    2. Failing to grow. This mistake is common for “lifestyle business” owners. I have nothing against lifestyle businesses; I operate one. But often this term is used as a mask for something different. For many people, “lifestyle business” is code for, “I’m lazy, and even though I know I have an assignment and value to deliver to the world, I’m not going to do it. It seems like too much work.” The problem is, in business as in life, there is no such thing as homeostasis. You are either growing, or you are dying. If your business is not growing, it is on its way out.
    3. Failing to protect your confidence. I learned this lesson from my friend Jeff Walker. An entrepreneur’s greatest asset, the one asset with which he cannot survive in the world of business, is his or her confidence. If you as an entrepreneur allow other people to undermine your confidence, you will fail.If you listen to the voices that tell you, “that program will never work”, “that’s too risky”, “you shouldn’t work so hard”, “why would you take a risk like this, when there’s a much safer route”… If you let these voices undermine your confidence, you’re doomed. Only those of us who are truly entrepreneurial in spirit have the power of belief in our ideas. The more powerful our ideas, the more likely they will succeed, the more revolutionary they can be, the more promise of profit they bring, the more you will find the Muggles around you attempting to stop you from doing whatever you have set your mind to. They work very hard, these Muggles (ordinary people), to get you to sit down and shut up.Why? Because they are intimidated by these magical beings, these Wizards called Entrepreneurs. They are intimidated by you.

      And when Muggles are around Wizards, they are forced to examine their own beliefs and achievements (or lack thereof). There are two ways to build your self-esteem and confidence: one is to dream, believe, and achieve – to create magic. The other is to be a Muggle, and tear down Wizards so so they don’t make you look bad by comparison.

      Don’t be a Muggle, and don’t be weighed down by them. Be a Wizard, and just remember that the Muggles in your life depend on you for their livelihood, their jobs, and their financial security.

    4. Failing to be the leader. As an entrepreneur, leadership is not optional. It is not something you can outsource to someone else. While you should listen to the advice of others, and carefully consider it, the ultimate decision is yours.

      If you ever watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, think about the leadership style of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Whenever there was a crisis, Captain Picard would call his executive team into the conference room. He would present the problem or the idea, he would carefully listen to the counsel of his leadership team, and then with alacrity and confidence he would make his decision. That decision may or may not have been in accordance with the advice he was received from his team. In fact, his decisions were often unpopular with those who advised him. But he was the Captain of the ship, and once he had decided, his team understood that it was now their job to carry out his decision was enthusiasm. They could dissent behind closed doors, voice their opinion as strongly as they wished, and he would hear it. But ultimately, the responsibility for the safety of the crew and ship, the responsibility for the success of the mission, rested with one man: the Captain.Surround yourself with a good leadership team, but never forget you are the Captain. And don’t let them forget it, either. A business is not a democracy. It is much more like a ship; you may employ a participative management style, but ultimately you are in command.

    5. Failing to invest and re-invest. My company just completed a very successful product launch. This brought us a windfall profit. What will we do with that profit? Most of it will be re-invested in the business, to fuel further growth. This is the nature of healthy business. Remember, you’re either growing or you’re dying. So don’t be hesitant to invest in the things that you know will grow your business: new equipment, new staff, advertising, marketing initiatives, etc. If every time you make a profit you stash the money away because you fear the future, you will be like the wicked servant in the Parable of the Talents:

      “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.To one he gave five talents (NOTE: a ‘talent’ was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer), to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

      One point of this story: invest what you have been given to steward, and you will be rewarded as the “good and faithful servant.”

Review this list of The 5 Failings carefully, and honestly assess which of these mistakes you might be making right now. If you recognize you are making one (or several) of them, don’t get into guilt or self-condemnation, which only leads to victim thinking. Just take immediate action to correct the mistake.

If you as an entrepreneur allow other people to undermine your confidence, you will fail.Click To Tweet

One last point to consider… this is not something you should do gradually, in “baby steps”. These mistakes are poison for your business, and for your soul as an Entrepreneur. Trying to slowly wean yourself from the mistakes is like saying, “I know that drinking this arsenic every day will kill me, but what I’m going to do is drink a little bit less of it and try to control my intake of the poison.”

The result is the poison builds up over time, accumulates in the body (or the business), and then one day, it is too late to reverse the process. Death is inevitable and imminent.

Stop taking the poison. Right now. Cold turkey.

Get healthy.

Get your business healthy.

And get off the suicide poison drip.

Question: which of the 5  failings are you engaged in currently, and what will you do about it, starting right now?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/5-failings-that-kill-your-business/feed/ 5
Why You Must Attain Rising Star Status (And How To Do It) http://rayedwards.com/why-you-must-attain-rising-star-status-and-how-to-do-it/ http://rayedwards.com/why-you-must-attain-rising-star-status-and-how-to-do-it/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:00:17 +0000 Mike Kim http://rayedwards.com/?p=9700 Mike Kim is a specialist in personal branding, a marketing expert, and an extraordinarily talented copywriter. He’s also a member of my private Regency Mastermind – a remarkable, small group of people doing Big Things. ~ Ray Edwards

You’ve bought the online courses. You’ve attended conferences. You’ve read the right books, tuned into the top podcasts, and even modeled your blog after your favorite online expert.

Rising-Star

But no matter how religiously you follow the “right” advice, you just can’t seem to get more traction.

What gives?

Chances are, you’re missing what I consider the “Rosetta Stone” of personal brand building. 

The real Rosetta Stone (not the language learning course) is a stone tablet discovered in 1799 in the Nile Delta. Widely regarded as one of the great archaeological finds in history, the Rosetta Stone helped linguists “break the code” to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

The Rosetta Stone contained a decree written by King Ptolemy V in three different scripts: Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Once discovered, linguists used their knowledge of known terms to unlock the meaning of the unknown hieroglyphs. 

In the same way, there is a “Rosetta Stone” in the personal brand space that very few people know about or even understand.

It’s no wonder.

There’s no course that teaches it. There are no books that talk about it. There are no conferences dedicated to it. And those successful bloggers and brands you follow? They don’t talk about it because most of them don’t even realize they’ve done it!

But I guarantee you — every successful personal brand has possessed this “Rosetta Stone” in one varying degree or another.

So what is this “Rosetta Stone” I’m talking about?

It is called …

Rising Star Status.

Consider: every big-name expert you follow today started out a beginner. No one “inherited” a blog with 100,000 readers from their late rich uncle. You can’t purchase a personal brand following on eBay, complete with thousands of social media followers, huge email lists, and jealousy-inducing amounts of web traffic.

No, every expert you follow was, at some point, a beginner when it comes to a personal brand. 

Slowly but surely, each of these folks started to get their name out there, find their niche, and gain traction. They stepped into and embodied the role of a “rising star.”

Eventually you saw their names on other blogs, or on your favorite podcasts. They became associated with other bigger-than-life personal brands, and eventually became one.

Please don’t think this happened by dumb luck. While each person’s path to success is different, the tenets are the same: building a successful personal brand requires you be smart, strategic, and savvy.

Here are a few strategies you can implement to break the code and position yourself as a “rising star,” all without being sketchy or spammy.

1. Become the best testimonial you can possibly be.

You may wonder, “How do I get noticed by or connect with an influencer?” The best way: enroll in a program and become their best case study. If you’ve already purchased someone’s course, all that remains is for you to use it to it’s fullest potential, get results, and make a big deal about it. 

If you have a blog or podcast, talk about it!

Becoming someone’s best testimonial will get their attention like nothing else can. That person is paying careful attention to what people are saying about his or her product. You’ve already set yourself apart from the multitudes by being one of their customers. Now take it a step further by being one of their best case testimonials. They may mention you or even Re-Tweet you. 

Looking for an example? I did this with the very owner of this platform, Ray Edwards. Check out: Why I Spent $4,102 To Spend A Few Days with Copywriter Ray Edwards.

2. Devote a blog post or podcast episode to another “rising star” (not a guru).

While you can use your platform to rave about a big name, you can also use it to build rapport with other people that are going places.

These fellow rising stars will appreciate the exposure more than the A-list personality; it will be easier for them to notice you. You don’t have to interview them — in fact, it’s probably better if you don’t. Just rave about them. They may share your content with their audience, and even reach out to you personally. 

If you connect with or even befriend them on their ascent, their success will contribute to yours in more ways than one.

I did this with a “rising star” several years ago, Jared Easley. Jared has since gone on to co-found Podcast Movement, and has become a household name in the podcast space. I wrote a simple blog post about him, and we became friends: Why I Love Jared Easley’s Starve The Doubts Podcast. 

3. Make yourself recommendable.

All these actions will be for naught if you don’t have a platform or presence that reflects the standards of the person you are writing about.

Friend, there is a difference between being appreciated and being recommended.

Writing a great review for a guru or fellow rising star may earn their appreciation — but it doesn’t mean he or she will repost or share your content. No, you must be recommendable.

Consider what the word “recommend” means. The root word is “commend,” which means to praise. When someone re-commends you, it essentially means he or she is “re-praising” you to others.

So, is your platform worthy of someone’s praise? Is your blog or podcast of such quality that the person you raved about would heartily re-commend you to their audience? Do you present yourself as a “rising star” whose success they would love to be associated with?

These are touchy questions, but deserve serious consideration.

Remember, you don’t need eye-popping design, or years of blog content, or a huge podcast. You simply need to be recommendable. Have your site in order. Focus your content. Use good pictures. Make a great first impression. 

Chances are that you are already this person — you just have to make sure your platform reflects that.

Implement these strategies and you will unlock the key to elevating people’s perception of you. This is the “Rosetta Stone” of personal brand building. Do it, and you’ll gain access to people, places, and platforms quicker than you imagined.

The only question is … will you do it?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/why-you-must-attain-rising-star-status-and-how-to-do-it/feed/ 32
All Copywriters Are Prophets http://rayedwards.com/all-copywriters-are-prophets/ http://rayedwards.com/all-copywriters-are-prophets/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:05:22 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9482 All marketers are prophets. Most don’t seem to know it. If they did, they would wield their power more carefully, more precisely, and more (forgive me the pun) profitably.

All Marketers

Let’s start with this: there are two kinds of prophecy…

  • Fore-telling is prophecy predicting the future.
  • Forth-telling is prophecy creating the future.

I believe forth-telling is the more powerful of the two. Here’s why: it is literally a process of using your mind, your will, and your emotions to peer into the future and see the possible outcomes. It is to use your mind, will, and emotions to peer into another person and see the potential that lies inside of them.

The act of prophecy, then, is to pick the best of those futures, and the best that is within that person, and combine them into a tangible vision… and speak that vision to them. To cast the vision, if you will, so that the other person can see it.

Prophecy is the act of excavating the gold that lies buried within each person, and showing them how they can take possession of it.

“Gold” in this context does not represent only material wealth (though that is a part of it). It represents prosperity in every sense of the word: wealth, health, relationships, contribution, service, purpose, mission, vision.

 

You: Marketplace Prophet?

It is my proposal that marketers, and in particular copywriters, are the modern day prophets of the marketplace. This holds true whether we are speaking of the marketplace of commerce, or the marketplace of ideas. Those who are most successful as marketers and copywriters are those who can cast a vision in words and images that compels people to work for a vital, positive, and better future.

Some may believe I’m engaging in hyperbole when I call copywriters “prophets”. I do not believe there is one ounce of hyperbole in this assertion.

Here are three reasons why I believe that being a copywriter (and by extension a marketer, salesperson, and entrepreneur) is a noble and high calling, and affords us the opportunity to change the world for the better:

  1. Our words hold the power of life and death. This is not only the contention of the Judeo-Christian scriptures, but also of modern neurological science. The words we speak (and at their root, the thoughts we think) have a direct effect on our brain chemistry. Our brain chemistry has a direct effect on our behavior. Our behavior certainly is the most obvious controller of our destiny. If we speak words of life, the result is positive action, wholesome thinking, ethical business, and high levels of contribution. If we speak words of death, the result is negative retreat, isolation, addiction and compulsion, unethical business and political practices, and deep levels of greed and dishonesty. Let us choose to speak words of life. Let us write truthful, positive copy and ads!
  2. The quality of our business and our products will never exceed the quality of our communication. If we are representing or selling a product or service that we truly know will change the lives of those who need it for the better, our communication should be handled elegantly and skillfully. It should be pursued at a level of mastery so that no person who is in need of what we have to offer will ever go without it because of our lack of ability to communicate well. Marketing and copywriting are acts of change: they are designed to change beliefs, and thus to change behaviors. This is why it’s so important to only represent and sell products and services we absolutely have a strong belief in, and that we are proud to be associated with.
  3. At its core essence, copywriting is prophecy. As copywriters, what are we doing if not peering into the future, and into the heart of the person to whom we are writing, and showing them that there is a better way to solve the problems they face? What are we doing if not seeking to demonstrate to them that we are offering something of value that will render them more in return for their money than they are expending? And what is great copy, other than the ability to tell a story about the future, that casts a vision of how life can be better for all parties involved?

When you think about our work as marketers in this light, there is the possibility that it can seem like a burden. That perhaps these ideals are so lofty that they weigh us down with more responsibility than we want. I believe that is only a surface reaction, one that is not derived from our deeply thinking through these matters.

Your Business Is A Noble Calling

If we do consider them deeply, and in sustained ways, we will realize that as children we dreamed big dreams for what we would do when we “grew up”. Though we may feel that growing up means we leave behind our childhood dreams of becoming superheroes, astronauts, firefighters, and grand adventurers… this is not the case.

In fact, we have our opportunity to be heroic, to protect and serve, to explore and discover, right before us in our own entrepreneurial businesses and practices. You may not think of yourself as something so mystical or grand as a “prophet”.

You may prefer to think of yourself as a soldier, or a king, or a merchant. The greatest kings in our history were in fact all of these things, but their reign, those who reigned righteously for the benefit of their people, was always powered by the prophetic vision of how the future could be improved.

Steve Jobs is a modern-day example of the Prophet-King in the marketplace. Yes, he had his flaws, as do all human beings. But far outweighing his flaws were the prophetic vision he had of the difference his company and products could make; the vision he had of what his people were capable of; the vision he had of the intelligence and appreciation that the general public would hold for devices that were beautiful as well as functional. Arguably, he made life better for many people on the face of this planet. He created wealth for many employees of his company, and for those who buit entire industries based around his products and services. And he was, above all things, a master marketer. A grand storyteller. A copywriter.

My challenge to you is to see your business, your professional practice, your craft, as it really is: an opportunity to bring blessing to the world around you, to benefit all those you touch, and have them give you tokens of their appreciation (also known as money) in exchange for what you have done for them.

To paraphrase from the book of Deuteronomy, this is not too hard for you to do. It is within your grasp, and it is not far off. Now go, and bring life and prosperity to every place you visit and every person you touch.

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/all-copywriters-are-prophets/feed/ 2
The Truth About Getting More Traffic http://rayedwards.com/the-truth-about-getting-more-traffic/ http://rayedwards.com/the-truth-about-getting-more-traffic/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9408 What is the #1 thing you believe would benefit your blog or online business the most? The one thing that, if you could get it, would change your business (and your life)? Most people answer, “More traffic.”

The Truth About Getting

That’s the wrong answer. Worse than wrong: that’s a dangerous answer. One that can gut your business. Why? That’s what the rest of this article is about.

The correct answer is: “More of the right traffic.” The right traffic is made up of visitors who are:

  1. Interested in your topic or message.
  2. Actively seeking what you have for sale.
  3. Willing to spend money on the kind of thing you have for sale.

Imagine that tomorrow you get a giant wave of traffic to your website.

100,000 people visit your site in the next 24 hours.

Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Maybe, maybe not.

Why The Wrong Traffic Is Worse Than No Traffic

“What harm could it do if it’s not the ideal traffic?” you may ask. “Traffic is traffic. Some traffic, even the wrong traffic, is better than no traffic at all.”

Not so.

Huge waves of traffic that doesn’t meet the three criteria above (interested, seeking what you have, willing to spend money)  can cost you bandwidth, time and revenue. For instance, if your staff is flooded with contentious cranks who simply want to complain or who don’t understand what you offer or what you do, that’s not  just no response. It’s negative response. It’s response that costs you money.

And there are deeper, more dangerous potential hazards of getting the wrong traffic:

  • Low sales conversions may prompt you to make marketing or copy changes that do not appeal to your buyers – because you are busy trying to please the tire-kickers.
  • You might waste lots of time and money working on new offers, new layouts, new prices… when what you really need is a new audience.
  • Worst of all, you might be lured by the siren call of just buying more of the same traffic, thinking it’s a “numbers game”. And then you’re just throwing good money after bad, all the while fishing in completely the wrong pond.

The Right Traffic Makes All the Difference

On the other hand, a small bump of 1,000 of the right visitors could bring you significant revenue.

If those visitors are keenly interested in your topic, seeking the kind of solution you offer, and are willing to  spend money to solve their problems… you could find your list growing significantly, and a flood of sales coming through your merchant account.

This is a fairly simplistic example, but I think you see the difference. You don’t need more traffic. You need more of the right traffic.

The big question is: how do you get more of the right traffic?

My current best answer is: Facebook Advertising.

Here’s Why Facebook Ads Are Your Best Bet

There are 3 reasons why Facebook Advertising is the best way to generate more of the right traffic:

  1. It’s reliable traffic. Once you set up your Facebook Ads account and get your ad approved, you  control how much traffic you receive and when. You don’t  have to rely on a JV Partner or affiliate to keep their promise to mail for you. You don’t have to just “hope” your SEO works and people start showing up. With Facebook, you post your ad, click the “activate” button, and voilà – traffic!
  2. It’s affordable traffic. You decide how much you want to spend. You get to make up your own definition of what is “affordable.” You can start out with a budget of just $5 or $10 per day, and play it safe until you’re certain your ads are working. Then, when your conversions are solid, you can scale up your budget (and your traffic) as much as you want.
  3. It’s the “right” traffic. It’s easy to target your audience with laser-like precision. This is the magic. By setting up your Facebook ads properly, you can get exactly the right people to visit your site. You can specify gender, age range, education, things they like…. basically you can get as “dialed in” as narrowly as you want. This is an amazing opportunity for the small business owner or solo entrepreneur.

Imagine being able to invest $10 Facebook Ads, and get $100 back in sales.

Imagine being able to “scale” that up, and spend $1,000 on ads ad get back $10,000 in sales. That’s entirely possible.

But wait – before you rush out and fire up a Facebook Ad campaign, be warned: this can backfire if you do it wrong.

You can’t just run ads. You need a system for handling the traffic – even the “right” traffic. You need a Social Media Marketing System.

Where do you get such a system? I recommend getting it the same place we got ours – from Amy Porterfield. That’s why I’ve asked Amy to teach a free Masterclass for my readers, tomorrow (Tuesday, May 19th, at 5pm Eastern.)

Register For The Free Masterclass

Here’s What We Will Cover On This Masterclass

Amy has promised me she will be teaching the following on tomorrow night’s Masterclass…

  • How to create a personalized 7-step Marketing System that will attract your ideal audience, grow your email list and sell more of your products, programs and services.
  • Discover the Facebook secrets to narrow down your search on Facebook and discover your “Perfect Customer” profile – those Facebook users who are highly likely to become your  next happy, PAYING customers.
  • You will also learn how to create a quick and easy list building funnel to grow your email list (Amy will show you how to turn $50 into $200+ DAILY.)
  • Learn the quickest way to turn a new Facebook lead into a paying customer – while putting the entire strategy on AUTOPILOT. (You can make money on Facebook and Amy will show you how.)
  • This special training is for YOU if you want to finally create a plan that will produce REAL RESULTS for your business.

Click Here To Register For Tuesday Afternoon’s Webinar.

Let me be clear: I think the smartest way to get the right traffic is to buy it, on Facebook. And the smartest person I know when it comes to setting up a marketing system using Facebook… is Amy Porterfield.

Join us for this free Masterclass, and start getting as much of the right traffic as you can handle.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-truth-about-getting-more-traffic/feed/ 2
How to Make Amazing Title Images For Your Blog http://rayedwards.com/how-to-make-amazing-title-images-for-your-blog/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-make-amazing-title-images-for-your-blog/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:21:01 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9330 Let’s start with this: the headline (or in the case of a blog post, the title) is the single most important copy you will write. It often means the difference between a winning ad or a losing one, between a blog post that explodes in popularity or one that decays in the silent darkness of obscurity.As if that isn’t enough pressure on you as a writer, the image associated with your blog post is becoming increasingly important. Blog posts with images are more likely to be read. Recently, I noticed a slight downturn in the number of reads my blog posts received. After comparing the popularity (click-throughs) of posts with “image covers” vs. those without, it became clear to me that every blog post needs a great visual headline. (I just made that term up. I hereby ™ it!)

how to make amazing blog images

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make these images yourself, without the expense of a graphic designer.

You see, I’m not a graphic designer, nor do I wish to hire one to make a cover for every post on my blog. That could become prohibitively expensive very quickly. I also don’t want to take the time to master design myself, and I especially don’t want to spend hours slaving over Photoshop. After doing some research and experimenting, I came up with an effective and inexpensive (potentially even free) way to make my own Visual Headlines™.

Here’s how I do it, and if you follow the instructions below, you can too. I’ve included both a written tutorial as well as a video screencast, demonstrating how to make your own Visual Headlines™.

I want to acknowledge and thank my friend Frank Viola, who prompted me to make this tutorial.

Tutorial: How to Create Your Own Amazing Blog Images

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
  1. Sign up for an account at Unsplash.com and DepositPhotos.com. Both of these are a great source of royalty-free images. Unsplash is free, but you have to pay for DepositPhotos. Also, for more sources of royalty-free images, try this resource page at the Canva Design School Blog. (TIP: sign up for Appsumo and check for a deal on Deposit photos bundles. I have bought several bundles of hundreds of images for very little money, well below their normal rate.)
  2. Sign up for an account at Canva.com, which is an online visual design tool for non-designers. It’s free to sign up and use many of their designs, but for their premium elements you have to pay. Even if you pay, the prices are quite reasonable.
  3. Think about your blog post, and what kind of image would work well to capture the big idea. Don’t be cliché. If you’re writing about negotiating, don’t use a stock photo of two men in suits shaking hands. Be a little creative in your image selection, and your Visual Headline™ will bring a bigger payoff than one with the cliché and obvious photos most people use. Remember your photo needs some “negative space” (an area where you can easily overlay text) where the background is not so busy.
  4. Download your photo and notice where you save it on your hard drive.
  5. Go to the Canva website and log into your account. Browse the designs for the one you like (it doesn’t have to be the one labeled “Blog Cover”). Think about whether the type f ace and layout in Canva’s template design fits the “look and feel” that would work for your blog post.
  6. Choose the template you want to use.
  7. Now you have a choice to make: either use Canva’s default picture (not recommended, because everybody does this!), search for a new one in their library (better, but still the good ones are used a lot by other Canva users and they cost $1 each), or use the photo you selected from your stock photo account (best, in my opinion, as long as you don’t pick lousy images.)
  8. If you use a Canva stock image, you replace the template image by simply clicking on the new one. If you use your own image from one of your stock photo accounts (or one you made yourself!) you have to upload your image to Canva first. Then replace the Canva template image with your own.
  9. Alter the text to match your blog post title (headline), make sure the typefaces and colors work, and make sure the title is easy to read.
  10. Save your final Visual Headline™ to your computer, and then upload it to WordPress and place in your post. Voilà! You have an amazing image for your blog post that makes you look more professional, grabs your readers by the eyeballs, and gets you more clicks, shares, and comments.
Question: Please share your own tools, photo sources, and images you have created by linking to them in the comments below! You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/how-to-make-amazing-title-images-for-your-blog/feed/ 20
Course-Correction On My List-Building Goals http://rayedwards.com/course-correction-on-my-list-building-goals/ http://rayedwards.com/course-correction-on-my-list-building-goals/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9311 I just completed reviewing the progress I’ve made on my 2015 goals. With most of my goals, I’m doing quite well. I’m even ahead of schedule on a few of them.

But when it comes to my most important business goal, my “push goal” for the year, I need a course-correction. I’m off-target with the goal I set for building my email list. What am I going to do? I’ll get to that in a moment. First, though…

Why is this email list goal so important?

As I’m sure you know, the lifeblood of an online business like mine (and possibly like yours) is having a large, responsive email list.  That email list is made up of people who know, like, and trust you.

You send your email list lots of valuable content, and occasionally send them offers for products and services,  which some subscribers choose to purchase. And you make money. And they get value. And that’s what makes the wheels of commerce turn on the Internet.

My email list is growing, just not nearly fast enough to get to my target number by the end of the year. So what am I going to do about it?

What To Do When You’re About To Miss A Goal

I followed Michael Hyatt‘s advice on what to do when you find yourself about to miss an important goal:

  • I’ve revisited my “why”. My reason for setting the goal in the first place. I still believe this goal is important enough to fight for.
  • I’ve re-assessed whether the goal is actually realistic, and I’ve determined that it is.  I did set an aggressive, high target – but I still believe it’s possible to hit that mark.
  • I’ve actually done quite a lot of work on this goal, but I’m still not hitting the required milestones. If I  keep moving at our current pace, we will not hit the goal.

In his goal setting program, Five Days to Your Best Year Ever, Michael suggests that at this point it’s time to bring in outside resources.

His advice: hire the best coaches you can afford. Somewhere in the world, someone has already done what you want to do, and they have done it with excellence.

It only makes sense that by tapping into their expertise and experience, you can get back on track.

Getting the best outside help can be done in three ways, according to Michael:

  1. Read the best information available on the subject.
  2. Enroll in specialized training on the subject.
  3. Hire a world-class expert to do it for you.

You Can Do This Without Spending A Fortune

One key distinction is that Michael phrases his advice in a very particular way: “hire the best coaches instructors you can afford.”

This doesn’t let any of us off the hook. Even if you don’t have extra budget and cannot afford to hire an expensive coach, you can certainly do something. For instance, you could check out a book from the library. That is free. And yes, if you truly have zero dollars to invest, then a library book qualifies as getting the best “instructors you can afford.”

When it comes to my list building goal, I’ve already got access to what I believe to be the best information available. I’ve already enrolled in specialized training. So now I am bringing in the “big guns”: I’m going to get some help from world-class experts.

Nobody has more expertise in building email lists than the people who run LeadPages. LeadPages is a tool for building landing pages on the Internet that… well… grow your email list! They’ve conducted tens of thousands of experiments, tracked the data, and they know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

So this Wednesday, April 15th, at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific) I’m getting on GoToMeeting with Tim from LeadPages, and I’m going to get his direct coaching on how to hit my list-building goals. He’s going to show me how to get back on track & meet the aggressive goal I set for myself.

You Are Invited To Listen In

If one of your goals for this year is to build a bigger email list, maybe you’d like to listen in.

I’m officially inviting you to join the call, and look over Tim’s shoulder as he covers this important material. Here’s what Tim has promised me we’re going to talk about:

  • The four pages on your website that should receive the bulk of your attention, energy, and focus. (Tim says if you focus on these four webpages, you can ignore almost all the others and still increase profits). This is about focus. Pay attention to these four pages, Tim says, and you’ll do great. Ignore them – and you’re hosed.
  • The 7 most important tweaks you should be making to your website in 2015.
  • How to easily create a one-page dashboard to help you monitor the most important webpages in your business (and monitor the life of your list).

Click Here To Register

Just to put my cards on the table: when I decided I was going to get serious and “double-down” on this goal, I knew that LeadPages was the place to go for help.

I also knew that they have an affiliate program. So I came to the brilliant conclusion that I could get myself some coaching, invite you to be on the line, and promote LeadPages at the same time. If you happen to open an account with LeadPages during this webinar, then I will receive a modest compensation.

But let me be clear: this is not a “bait and switch” webinar. It is not a “veiled sales pitch”.

The bulk of the call will be pure content. Action steps you can take today, whether or not you’re customer of LeadPages.  I myself plan to be taking notes like crazy, and implementing all of Tim’s best advice.

At the end of the meeting, Tim will share a special deal you can get on a LeadPages account. You don’t have to buy anything to get value from attending this GoToMeeting session. But you might want to take a look at the LeadPages deal just the same.

Click Here To Register

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/course-correction-on-my-list-building-goals/feed/ 6
3 Paradigm Shifts to Help You Build a Business http://rayedwards.com/3-paradigm-shifts-to-help-you-build-a-business/ http://rayedwards.com/3-paradigm-shifts-to-help-you-build-a-business/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:47:09 +0000 Jeff Goins http://rayedwards.com/?p=8994 This guest post by my friend Jeff Goins should be useful for anyone who is thinking of starting (or has already started) a business. Jeff is the author or four books, including his latest The Art of Work. Jeff is an award-winning blogger and online entrepreneur. Also, he has great hair.  ~ Ray Edwards

Ten years ago, I made the difficult decision to turn away from a lifelong passion for music and pursue a career in vocational ministry. It was a tough choice at the time, but as soon it was made, I knew I’d be doing ministry for the rest of my life. 

3 Paradigm Shifts toHelp You Build a

Or so I thought.

After seven years of working at a Christian missions organization, a place that was doing a lot of good in the world, I quit. This was a job that I was good at and enjoyed and likely never would have lost unless I did something really stupid. It was a perfectly secure place to work. But I left it. 

Why? Because I was called. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, this career shift wasn’t just going to change what I did for a living. It was going to change my life.

I thought I was chasing a dream that was mostly about me. But it was so much bigger than that. Here are three paradigm shifts I learned from building my own business and what I learned about my faith in the process.

Paradigm Shift #1: It’s All Ministry

Leaving my job to become a full-time writer and entrepreneur felt foolish. I even felt some inital guilt over it. “I’m just worried that I won’t get to do ministry again,” I confided in a successful Christian CEO over coffee one day. He just smiled. 

“Jeff,” my friend Mike said with a gentle grin, “it’s *all* ministry.”

I nodded, as if to say “of course,” but I didn’t really know what he was talking about. Nonetheless, I wanted to be open to it, the possibility of it being true. 

And with that, I ventured out in pursuit of a dream I didn’t fully understand.

Paradigm Shift #2: Money Is a Means, Not a Master

Having gone into business for myself as a blogger and online educator, I quickly began making more money than I ever thought possible. And it depressed me.

In no time, I was more confused than ever. Money had always been the point of work for me. What was I supposed to do now.

One day while Skyping with my friend Stu, I told him I didn’t know what to do with my free time. I had just made enough money in a week to live on for the year, and that paralyzed me. 

“I’ve never done this before, Stu,” I said. “Work has always been about providing for myself and my family. What do you do when that’s no longer an issue? I seriously have no motivation to go to work.”

“Jeff,” he said, “I stopped working for myself years ago. I live in a small town and have everything I need. My standard of living hasn’t really changed in the past several years.” 

Stu is the cofounder of a successful software business. He explained to me that when he starting making more money than he needed, he went on a trip to Africa that opened his eyes. 

In Kenya, Stu saw how much of a difference opportunity and education can make in a person’s life. Instead of feeling guilty about his wealth, he started to see it as a means to help other people. 

“After that,” he told me, “I realized I was good at making money and didn’t need to feel bad about that. When I returned home, I started working not for myself but for all those people I met in Kenya.” 

Not long after that, I had a similar experience. Through the business, we generated enough sales to give a percentage of the revenue to a ministry overseas. 

In a single week, we raised enough money to build an income-generating workshop for women living in a leper colony. This was a project that would provide these woman a means to make a living for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. 

Turns out money isn’t bad. But it isn’t everything, either. In my experience, it makes a better means than a master. Don’t work for it, but use it to do what matters.

Paradigm Shift #3: Your Dream Doesn’t Belong to You

Every day, I go into an office where I work by myself. I author a blog and teach an online course and write books about my life experiences. Everything I do has my name on it, and in a way feels like it’s about me.  But it’s not.

Not a day goes by when I don’t receive an email from someone whose life my work has touched in some way. It’s humbling. Now, I realize that the best dreams aren’t really about the dreamers. A good dream is really about the people it serves.

In the film *Mr. Holland’s Opus*, Glenn Holland is a frustrated music teacher trying to compose a masterpiece in the margins of life. He never succeeds—at least not in the way he hopes. 

In the last scene of the movie, Mr. Holland, who is about to retire, is escorted to the school gymnasium where he finds a room full of people whose lives he has touched. And just before taking the stage to direct his symphony which will be performed by an orchestra of current and past students, one of the alumni who is now governor says, “Mr. Holland, *we* are your symphony.”

May the same be true for you and your life and the symphony you create.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-paradigm-shifts-to-help-you-build-a-business/feed/ 4
Are You An Entrepreneur Or An Investor? http://rayedwards.com/are-you-an-entrepreneur-or-an-investor/ http://rayedwards.com/are-you-an-entrepreneur-or-an-investor/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:43:02 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=8866 Recently, I’ve had a peek “behind-the-scenes” of a number of very large businesses, and very successful entrepreneurs… and investors.

entrepreneur

The difference between entrepreneur and investor is an important one…

Entrepreneur: someone who works their tail off, risks everything, and either makes a bloody fortune or goes bankrupt.

Investor: someone who takes a calculated risk, with capital they can afford to lose, in exchange for an enormous potential payoff… and who does virtually none of the work.

By their very nature, Entrepreneurs tend to see things in terms of possibility (why things will work out). If Entrepreneurs didn’t see the world fundamentally this way, they’d never be willing to “dare greatly”. There would be no America, no airplanes, no railroads, no iPad.

And by their very nature, Investors tend to see things in terms of obstacles (why things will not work out, why an investment will not pay off). If Investors didn’t see the world fundamentally this way, there would be no system of checks and balances to keep Entrepreneurs from risking all their chips on a crazy roll of the dice that could mean losing everything. There would be no cash reserves, no emergency fund, no fortunes built on the principle of compound interest.

Neither of these approaches is the “right” approach; we all need both kinds of thinking in our businesses and our lives. Nobody is exclusively one type or the other.

And yes, there are those who have are very balanced between the two.

Yet for most of us, we tend more toward one end of this scale or the other.

It is important to know which is your dominant style, or natural tendency, and to be intentionally informed by the opposite approach.

This way, if you are an Entrepreneur, you might be prevented from taking a risk that’s just… well, too risky.

And if you’re an Investor, having an Entrepreneur on your “personal board of advisors” will help you avoid playing it so safe that you miss out on potential breakthrough windfalls.

Question: Are you more of an Entrepreneur or an Investor, and how does that show up in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
]]>
http://rayedwards.com/are-you-an-entrepreneur-or-an-investor/feed/ 8
Change: The Only Constant http://rayedwards.com/change-the-only-constant/ http://rayedwards.com/change-the-only-constant/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:00:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2095

“Pig Pen, this here is Rubber Duck. We ain’t gonna pay no toll…”
CW McCall, “Convoy”

Who would have dreamed, in the 1970s, that anything would ever replace the CB radio? Some readers will, like me, be old enough to remember the CB craze. We will all remember, for instance, that the “main channel” on our CB radio was channel 19.

“Breaker 19, this here is the CopyGuy, with a newsflash: before that Hollywood actor named Reagan becomes president, CB radio will be a fad from the past…”

Fast-forward to just around the time CB radio had completely faded from the American consciousness, and you’ll discover a curious new technology called the compact disc just making its debut on the market. There were scoffers. There were purists who said nothing sounded as good as vinyl (there still are, but that’s another post). And there were plenty of people to point out that nobody in their right mind would replace an entire record collection just to go buy the same music on CD. Those people were wrong.

Fast forward again. Apple introduces a service called iTunes. There are scoffers. There are purists who say there’s nothing like having the liner notes you get inside the case of a CD. And they’re plenty of people pointing out that nobody in their right mind will replace an entire CD collection is to go buy the same music for the iPod. Those people were also wrong.

Just to be clear: those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Change is constant. Industries appear and vanish in the space of a decade. Those who win are those who anticipate the trends, and get in front of them. Distinction worthy of note: it is much easier to predict trends and get in front of them that it is to be the creator of said trends. Much, much, much easier.

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/change-the-only-constant/feed/ 1
Are You Interested Or Committed? http://rayedwards.com/are-you-interested-or-committed/ http://rayedwards.com/are-you-interested-or-committed/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7989 Are you interested or are you committed? This question is where the rubber meets the road. This is where I might lose you.

english breakfast

Some people will say, “Oh yeah, I’m interested in having my own business!” They’ll read what I have to say, or listen to a podcast, they’ll nod their heads and say, “That sounds like a good idea.”

But they won’t actually go out and do it.

They won’t do what it takes.

They won’t buy the educational materials, the books that are recommended, or attend the training events. They won’t read Think and Grow Rich.

They won’t invest in themselves and get the continuing education they need, or find a mentor.

There’s a lesson to be learned about commitment from breakfast. “When it comes to breakfast, the chicken is interested, but the pig is committed.”

It’s one thing to lay an egg and contribute that to breakfast; it’s another thing entirely to give yourself up to be the bacon.

How about you? Are you interested or are you committed?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/are-you-interested-or-committed/feed/ 5
Are There Diamonds Buried In Your Backyard? http://rayedwards.com/are-there-diamonds-buried-in-your-backyard/ http://rayedwards.com/are-there-diamonds-buried-in-your-backyard/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7990 While we’re busy searching, striving, and battling to build a fortune, we often overlook the Fortune that is right in our own backyard. Don’t feel too bad, I’ve been there right along with you.

Luxury diamond with clipping path

Luxury diamond with clipping path

Perhaps the story of my own folly will help reassure you, and motivate you to take another look at the opportunities that lie at your feet…

Recently, my son Sean Edwards came on board at my company. He’s been learning the business, and getting familiar with our processes, projects, and products. When I gave him access to all the digital products we have created over the years (which we keep in a central member’s area), he was shocked.

“Do we still sell any of these?”

“No”, I told him, “I’m usually focused on selling latest product we have developed.” He laughed.

“But this is a treasure chest! What if we just started selling all these products that are sitting on a shelf?”

This was a very good question.

I admit, it’s a little embarrassing to tell this story. But there is a powerful lesson here, and it reminds me of Russell Conwell. Conwell is one of the pioneers of our industry (the information marketing/teaching/coaching industry.) According to Wikipedia, Conwell was born in 1843 and became an American Baptist minister, orator, philanthropist, lawyer, and writer. He’s best remembered as the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia… and for an inspirational lecture, “Acres of Diamonds”.

“Acres of Diamonds” was a speech Conwell delivered over 6,000 times around the world. It was first published in print in 1890.

It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially if you are a student of the industry (and you should be.) You can read it for free here. The basic premise of the speech is that there’s no need to go looking somewhere else for opportunity or riches. Everything we need to achieve our dreams is already present, right where we are.

Conwell credits the original tale to an Arab guide, who told Conwell about a man who so desperately wanted to discover diamonds that he sold his property and set off on a search for his fortune. Meanwhile, the new owner of the home found a rich diamond mine right there on the property. The home’s original owner had literally overlooked acres of diamonds in his own backyard.

We are presently building out a simple plan to start selling the products that I had been keeping in my “digital treasure box”. Just one example of the “acres of diamonds” on my own property.

What opportunities, assets, products, wisdom, experience, connections… what “acres of diamonds” are just lying in your backyard, waiting for you to pick them up?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/are-there-diamonds-buried-in-your-backyard/feed/ 2
Work The System by Sam Carpenter http://rayedwards.com/work-the-system-by-sam-carpenter/ http://rayedwards.com/work-the-system-by-sam-carpenter/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:00:39 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7962 Last week I recorded a podcast in which I talked about thinking of life as a system. I have been profoundly affected by the work of Sam Carpenter, author of the book Work the System. Today’s post is a review and recommendation of that book.wts-book

Sam operated his own stagnant and dying business for 15 years. He worked hundred-hour weeks, literally lived at his place of business with his kids, and spent most of his time “putting out fires”.  Playing the role of entrepreneurial superhero. More than once, the payroll checks bounced, and Sam found himself standing on the doorsteps of his employees’ homes, handing them cash, and begging them to give him one more chance.

In his most desperate hour, Sam had a bit of a revelation. He realized that everything (including his then-failing business) is a system (a primary system, or a sub-system of a primary system); and 99.9% of the time the systems work perfectly (that’s the nature of systems). When they don’t work perfectly, all we need to do is isolate the system, identify the malfunction, repair it, document the process (in case we ever need that “fix” again), and develop a SYSTEM of maintenance.

With this insight, Sam began to take uncomplicated, mechanical steps to turn his business and life around… without turning it inside out.

I am now on my third reading of the book Sam wrote explaining his epiphany, and the transformation that took place in his business and his life as a result. Sam’s workweek went from 100 hours at its peak down to two hours these days. His company grew by multiples, and so did his revenue and income. His stress level plummeted to zero. He pays his employees the best salaries in the industry, and they are happy to work for him.

The dangerous thing about Sam’s book is, you may read the summary inside the jacket, and perhaps even read the first 2 – 3 chapters, and think you understand. After all, the idea seems simple: every business is a system, and every system is a collection of processes that produce a result. The more you focus on improving your processes, the more your systems improve, and the better results you get from your business. Most people will nod and say that make sense. And then most people will do exactly nothing to improve the systems in their own life.

You, however, Eternal Entrepreneur, are different. You will read the book, heed its wisdom, and change your life as a result. When you follow Sam’s instructions, however and create better processes for your business, the results are:

  • You make more money, and do less work.
  • You get more focus and less stress.
  • You make fewer mistakes, and produce better work.
  • You fix the mistakes that do occur, and you never make them again.
  • You feel more calm, in control, and stress free than you ever thought possible.

In the book, Sam tells the sometimes not-so-pretty story of what happened in the early days of his company, how he came to see his business as a system, and how he began to work on the simple mechanics of making the business better… by perfecting its processes. Sam has reached a point where his business is simply a machine that produces money for him and his family, and his proposal is that you and I can do the same.

I have been working intensely on perfecting the systems in my own business, and I think everyone reading this could benefit by doing the same for themselves. The best place to start is with Sam’s book, Work the System, and I recommend you get it today.

More importantly, I recommend that you read it, and put Sam’s wisdom into action.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/work-the-system-by-sam-carpenter/feed/ 5
Seven Steps to Building a Business Utopia http://rayedwards.com/seven-steps-to-building-a-business-utopia/ http://rayedwards.com/seven-steps-to-building-a-business-utopia/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:11:53 +0000 Andy Traub http://rayedwards.com/?p=7815 Today’s post is a Guest Post by Andy Traub.

When you own your own business you have a fantastic opportunity. Do you realize what you can and should build?

utopia

utopia

“When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.”

Derek Sivers’ book Anything You Want is less than 100 pages but it’s packed full of wisdom on how to build a business. I’ve run my own business for five years and I’m starting to see my utopia become real. Here are seven things you can do to build a business utopia.

  1. Don’t start with a business plan – Start with the question, “How can I help people and are they willing to pay me for it?” Make a business out of the answer to that question.
  2. Stop being comfortable – If you aren’t doing something that scares you in your business then you’re not going to grow your business. Seek projects and execute on ideas that scare you. Comfort won’t make you smarter, more wealthy or more reliant on God. Pursue ideas bigger than yourself and you’ll improve. You won’t always succeed but if you pay attention you’ll always improve.
  3. Trust your gut when saying “No” – If it doesn’t feel right then it usually isn’t.
  4. Don’t trust yourself when saying “Yes” – Before you say yes to an opportunity, client or project make sure you have a filter in place. Before I do an interview I make the interviewer complete a questionnaire. Before I submit a proposal I ask my sales coach for advice. Before I spend more than $100 I ask my wife if it’s a wise purchase. Before I start a new project I consider the time commitment to build, launch, grow and possibly end the project.
  5. Get awesome at something – People are drawn to awesome and you’ll never be awesome unless you do the hard work of building a skill. Strengthfinders is a great book for identifying the talents God wired you with. Talented people who add focus to their abilities become skilled. You want to be awesome? Get focused and get to work.
  6. Become the best in the world – When you grow in many different areas you are building your sweet spot. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame teaches that we can take three areas of passion and combine them into a unique service that no one else in the world can do as well as we can. When our passions overlap they have the potential to create a unique product or service only we can offer.
  7. Once you have enough customers stop trying to get more – It’s easy to think you need to go get new people to keep your customer pipeline full. You don’t need to do that if you take care of your current customers. “It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.” Sivers is right. The same people who paid you money for your product or service will become your sales team when you treat them right.

Question – What does your business utopia look like?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/seven-steps-to-building-a-business-utopia/feed/ 11
How Does Jesus Want Us To Handle Money? http://rayedwards.com/how-did-jesus-want-us-to-handle-money/ http://rayedwards.com/how-did-jesus-want-us-to-handle-money/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:36:53 +0000 Bud Brown http://rayedwards.com/?p=7710 Today’s post is a guest post by Bud Brown. Bud is the president of TurnaroundPastor.com. He has served churches in a variety of settings

Jesus extolled the virtues of a slippery, self-serving money manager to teach on the wise and godly use of wealth.

Stock Broker Working At Office

The troubling teaching is recorded in Luke 16. It’s the story of a wealthy patron who decided to change money managers…


When his financial secretary got wind of this, he devised a clever plan to use his client’s wealth turn debtors into friends.

He skillfully used a law against loaning money at interest to his advantage. Jewish Law forbade loaning at interest. The rich dodged this by padding the amount “borrowed” when they loaned money. If you borrowed five bushels of grain to feed your family, the loan was recorded as ten bushels.

The crafty money manager instructed each of his patron’s debtors to halve the amount owed.

Summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty’… The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.

Brilliant strategy! The lender couldn’t complain without admitting he’d broken the usury laws. He was trapped. But the slippery money manager “bought” friends who had his back. The rich man admired these adroit business skills.

Jesus told this story to illustrate the wise use of wealth and lay bare the timeless truth that should guide our use of all God has given us.

Verse 9 proclaims the wise use of wealth.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

How do we use money to build a heavenly friends list? By funding the proclamation of the gospel! Give lavishly to ministries missions and evangelism. You become God’s partner in drawing others into eternal life.

Wise use of wealth populates heaven with friends to share your eternal joy.

But there’s more.

Verses 10-11 declare a timeless truth about real wealth.

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

God will reward your faithful stewardship of “unrighteous wealth” (earthly treasure) with true kingdom wealth!

My father often said, “No pockets in a coffin!”

You can’t take it with you but you can send it ahead.

Is it time to reevaluate your investment plan to redirect a larger share to God’s mission?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/how-did-jesus-want-us-to-handle-money/feed/ 10
This Is What Customer Service Looks Like http://rayedwards.com/this-is-what-customer-service-looks-like/ http://rayedwards.com/this-is-what-customer-service-looks-like/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 10:57:48 +0000 Jon Stolpe http://rayedwards.com/?p=7621 Jon Stolpe was one of the first people to submit a guest post for my blog, and I have been very impressed with what I’ve read on his own site. I’m pleased to introduce you to his work, and hope you enjoy it.
– Ray Edwards

wpid-52c203aede0e52.45171032

wpid-52c203aede0e52.45171032

This is what customer service looks like! Customer service looks like a jar of spiced apple rings? Yes! Let me explain…

I’m Swedish. As a child, I have fond memories of gathering around my grandparents table at Christmas time to feast on the Swedish Christmas culinary traditions. We ate my Grandpa’s Korv – a Swedish potato sausage. We ate my Grandma’s Swedish meatballs. We ate Swedish cheese, pickled herring, and Swedish breads. As part of the meal, I will always remember my Grandma setting out a dish of spiced apple rings.

Honestly, I’m not sure if spiced apple rings are Swedish. For me, the apple rings are part of the tradition.

My Grandpa passed away several years ago. My Grandma is now 93 years old, and she isn’t up to preparing the Swedish feast. Now it’s my turn. I make Korv for my family. My wife makes great Swedish meatballs. And we try to keep as many of the other traditions as possible. This still includes spiced apple rings.

The weekend before Christmas, my wife sent me to the grocery store to pick up a few final items for the feast. I found the pickled herring, the Swedish cheese, and even some lingonberry jam. But I couldn’t find the spiced apple rings. I searched everywhere without success.

Before giving up, I decided to ask an employee of the grocery store. The employee listened to my story about our family’s Swedish traditions. She proceeded to get a couple of her co-workers into the discussion as they tried to determine if the store had spiced apple rings. After searching a few places, checking a couple of lists, and calling some other employees, they informed me they didn’t have any in the store. I thanked them and headed to the checkout line.

This is where the story took a dramatic turn.

After I paid for my items in the self-checkout line, I started towards the exit. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone running towards me from the back of the store. Actually, three employees were sprinting towards me. They shouted, “Sir! Sir! We found it!” One of the employees held the jar of spiced apple rings above their head like the Stanley Cup. They persisted until they found the treasured apple rings.

I will always remember this experience as a huge example of customer service.

What does customer service look like? Here’s what I learned from my experience.

5 Ways To Deliver Customer Service

  1. Customer service starts by being available to your customers. In my experience, the grocery store employees where clearly accessible to handle customers and their questions. Customer service means getting in front of your customers face-to-face or on the phone.
  2. Customer service involves listening to your customers. The grocery store employees listened to me. They knew what I was needed, because they listened to my request and my story. We must listen to our customers, so we understand their needs. Knowing our customers’ needs sets us up to deliver.
  3. Customer service is marked by persistence. The grocery store employees didn’t give up. They kept looking for the spiced apple rings even after they send me on my way. We provide solutions to our customers. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t give up! Customers will be blown away when they see you kept working hard to meet their needs.
  4. Customer service is marked by an all out pursuit of your customers. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the three grocery store employees sprinting towards me, yet this is how customers deserved to be treated. How are you pursuing your customers?
  5. Customer service means celebrating with your customers. It was clear to me these employees were excited for me and for helping to complete my Swedish Christmas dinner. They high-fived me and each other as they delivered the jar of spiced apple rings to me. We should feel the same way when we deliver our services and products to our customers knowing what we provided were just what they wanted and needed.

The empty jar now sits on my desk at work as a reminder to lead and interact with my internal and external customers with persistence and all out effort. This is the kind of service experience I want to deliver to my customers!

What does customer service look like to you? What is one thing you can do differently or better this week to deliver a better service experience to your customers?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/this-is-what-customer-service-looks-like/feed/ 25
My Review of NMX 2014 In Las Vegas http://rayedwards.com/my-review-of-nmx-2014-in-las-vegas/ http://rayedwards.com/my-review-of-nmx-2014-in-las-vegas/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2014 11:00:38 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7581 Last week I attended NMX for the first time. This is the conference formerly known as Blogworld.

 

raysbook

I wasn’t able to attend every single session (that would be impossible, because so many things are happening at the same time), but my experience was amazing nonetheless.

The highlight session for me was Michael Hyatt‘s talk about building a personal brand. While I have heard him speak on the subject before, he had some new thoughts and insights that were spot on. As always, Michael provided lots of concrete takeaways. I walked out of that one with a long to do list!

Everyone was raving about Scott Stratton‘s keynote, and it seems his most popular comment was that you should stop obsessing over your logo. Scott always manages to cloak brilliant insights with whip-smart humor.

I was particularly intrigued by the keynote session featuring Noah Shanok of Stitcher, Norm Pattiz of Podcast One, and the inimitable Leo Laporte. Their discussion of the future of podcasting, as well as the future of radio, was fascinating, funny, and uplifting all at the same time.

Also a big hit at the show: Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, and John Lee Dumas.

I really enjoyed spending time with my friends Joel Comm, Erik Fisher, Daniel J Lewis, Kirk Bowman, Peter Billingham, Jeff Stephens, Jared Easley, and Randy Wilburn.

I was delighted that my friend Cliff Ravenscraft picked up a podcast award.

My favorite session? The one I was part of, course. Seriously, I had a wonderful time sharing the stage with my friends Cliff, Dan Miller, and Michael Hyatt. I was privileged to be included in a group of such high-caliber individuals.

NMX was a seamlessly coordinated, top-notch production, and I definitely plan to return next year. Hopefully Rick Calvert will let me in. 😉

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/my-review-of-nmx-2014-in-las-vegas/feed/ 0
Join Me At Platform And Save $100 http://rayedwards.com/join-me-at-platform-and-save-100/ http://rayedwards.com/join-me-at-platform-and-save-100/#respond Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:02:57 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7062 You want to grow your audience, expand your reach, and get your message out to the world. In other words, you want to build a platform.

youtube-OrA-pehX5cs

Earlier this year, I attended one of the very best conferences I’ve ever experienced. This fall, I have the privilege of speaking at that very same conference-The Platform Conference. It’s presented by Michael Hyatt and Ken Davis, and if you want to grow your own audience and “get noticed in a noisy world”, this conference is for you.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

Because you happen to read my blog, I’m able to offer you a special deal that will save you $100 off your ticket price. Unfortunately, there is a catch: it’s only good through tomorrow. When you register for the conference, make sure you email me and let me know. I will make a special effort to connect with you while we are together in Dallas in November. To save $100 just enter the coupon code “RAY” when you check out. Click this link to register now.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/join-me-at-platform-and-save-100/feed/ 0
Four Keys to a “Big” Business http://rayedwards.com/four-keys-to-a-big-business/ http://rayedwards.com/four-keys-to-a-big-business/#respond Tue, 02 Jul 2013 18:33:45 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=6390 Building a big business does not have to be complicated. Especially if you are an “idea entrepreneur”, one of those fortunate people who gets paid to think. (If you are a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant, author, or information marketer… This means you.)

Cheerful business team toasting with Champagne

There are four overarching components you need to build a really big business as an idea entrepreneur. They are:

  • Big Mission. Some will argue that you don’t need this, but I disagree. You need a “big why” to help you stick with it when things get tough. And inevitably, the day will come when things do get tough. The rewards are there for those who endure through the trials. Having a Big Mission will give you the power to endure.
  • Big Idea. You can’t play in the big leagues if you’re swinging a Little League bat. You need an idea that’s not just about “how-to” information (in my opinion, “how-to” is next-door neighbors with “me-too”). You need wisdom-level, legacy-building content, and a powerfully articulated big idea. Think 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Platform, Fully Alive, and The 4 Hour Workweek.
  • Big Invitation. My friend Michael Port taught me a long time ago, “Always have something to invite people to.” It might be a weekly teleconference call, or a free online members area. But invite new acquaintances to become part of your world. Don’t be stingy. Offer them something of real value.
  • Big Offer. This is where you offer something for sale. A product or service. Calling it a “big offer” is intentionally provocative. I’m not suggesting that you necessarily have to offer something at a ridiculously high price-but I am flat-out telling you that you must offer something with ridiculously high value. That’s where the “big” comes in.

If you are in the business of ideas, make sure these four components are laid into the foundation of your business. If you get these four pieces right, you can mess up a lot of other things and still be profitable.

Question: how are you demonstrating these four components in your business right now? If one of them is missing, what will you do to change that?

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/four-keys-to-a-big-business/feed/ 0
What Is It Going To Take? http://rayedwards.com/what-is-it-going-to-take/ http://rayedwards.com/what-is-it-going-to-take/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 10:44:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2247 What is it going to take for you to finally do it?

To finally achieve your dreams?

What will it take to get you off your… um… couch… and into action?

Look. June 1 is rolling directly at you like a locomotive. The second half of 2013 is unstoppable.

Many of us set ambitious goals for the New Year. Inspiring plans. Rockin’ resolutions. And almost 100% of them were broken and abandoned by January 15th.

It happens every year. So ask yourself…

“WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO CHANGE THAT?”

What will it take to make this the year you actually ACHIEVE the goals you set back in January? What will it take for 2013 to be the year you:

  • Get your online business going and making money.
  • Grow your list (or start one!).
  • Get clear on your spiritual values.
  • Get out of debt.
  • Overcome the technical challenges that hold you back.
  • Get your body in shape.
  • Get your website built and working right.
  • Break free from overwhelm and confusion to JUST GET STARTED.
  • Find the time to work on your Internet business.
  • Figure out WHO to listen to or follow, so you can QUIT chasing after the “latest and loudest”.
  • Or whatever was on your list.

You set those goals. They were important to you.

Question: what are you going to do about it? What is it going to take?

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/what-is-it-going-to-take/feed/ 8
The Inbox Deception http://rayedwards.com/the-inbox-deception/ http://rayedwards.com/the-inbox-deception/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 11:30:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5822 It is seductive. You get up in the morning, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down in front of your computer, and suddenly you are busy.

Modern communication technology

But what are you busy doing?

Working on your agenda, supporting your goals and objectives, or supporting those of other people?

It’s so easy to confuse activity with accomplishment.

Your inbox is a fantastic productivity tool-for other people. It’s a way for them to hand off their “to do list”… to you.

This is the reason you can work hard all day, and yet reach the closing bell and wonder, “Why do I feel as though I got nothing done?”.

This is The Inbox Deception.

How do you escape it? Simple. Follow my Three Rules of Email:

  1. Check email last each day.
  2. Do not check email first each day.
  3. Refer back to rule number one.

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-inbox-deception/feed/ 14
No Customer Left Behind http://rayedwards.com/no-customer-left-behind/ http://rayedwards.com/no-customer-left-behind/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2012 14:33:53 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=4247 Quietly, over the last few months, we rolled out something in my company that has been a startling success.

It’s something you can easily duplicate at zero cost.

It’s an idea that came to me in a moment of inspiration, and which I implemented without hesitation.

What was it? Some new marketing method? A sneaky ninja plug-in that increases sales? Some sort of “covert persuasion” tactic?

None of the above.

It’s what we are calling our “No Customer Left Behind” program.

You see, I was reviewing our customer records one day, and realized we had over 1,000 paying customers in our database. And those are just people who have bought products and services online; that does not include all of the customers who bought products from me at a seminar or workshop.

As I was looking through the names, it occurred to me that I had not heard from many of these folks in quite some time. And then, it occurred to me that they had not heard from me, either. Whoops.

Right then and there, the idea struck me for our new program. It’s really simple: each week, we now host a “customer Q&A” phone call. I get on the phone, and any of our existing customers are free to call into the conference line, and ask any question they have.

I thought this would be something good to do for our customers and clients. I knew that many of them would appreciate it. What I did not realize was how much it would mean to so many.

Has it resulted in new business for my company? Absolutely. But that was an unexpected benefit. A surprise. In retrospect, I understand how it happened, but it wasn’t part of the original plan.

The lesson: if you take care of your customers above and beyond what they expect, they will take care of you in like manner.

Question for you: how do you stay in contact with, and take care of, your existing and previous customers?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/no-customer-left-behind/feed/ 12
Set Up A Membership Site In Less Than 1 Hour http://rayedwards.com/member-site-tutorial/ http://rayedwards.com/member-site-tutorial/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2012 15:38:35 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=4237 The best and easiest way to create a stream of recurring income on the Internet is to start your own paid membership site.

What is a membership site? It is any site that contains material that can only be accessed by paying members.

I have created a video tutorial, which shows you everything you need to know to set up your own membership site. It’s a complete, click-by-click set of instructions.

This tutorial will show you how to set up your own membership site, complete with an automated system that takes payments, issues passwords, checks to see if members are paid up, and manages all of your content. Your new site will do all of this automatically, without any help from you. You can even be asleep, and your membership site will be working for you in the background.

By watching this tutorial, you will be able to set your first site up in less than an hour, and you don’t need any technical knowledge to do it. Let’s get started.

What You Will Need

You will need the following things to be able to complete this project:

  • Your computer and an Internet connection
  • A credit card
  • At least one hour of uninterrupted time (it may take a little longer than an hour if this is your very first time doing something like this)

10-Step Membership Site Set-up Checklist

  1. Register your domain name and set up a hosting account at BlueHost. Don’t use a domain name you already registered; register a new one through BlueHost (it’s easier, quicker, and you get the domain name for free!)
  2. Install WordPress on your domain name. Log into your BlueHost Control Panel (“CPanel”), and use the button for WordPress under “Site Builders” section..
  3. Once you have WordPress setup, log into your WordPress account.
  4. Make your first post.
  5. If you don’t have a PayPal account, sign up for one now. This is the quickest and easiest way to start taking payments (including credit cards) over the web.
  6. Purchase a license for WishList Member. This is the software that will run your membership site.
  7. Install the WishList plug-in on your WordPress site. Follow the WishList tutorials to set up the plug-in.
  8. Set up your first membership level using WishList.
  9. Join the WishList Insider membership community. This is the number one place on the Internet to get support as a membership site owner. It is also incredibly cheap.
  10. Customize your site, by choosing a premium WordPress theme like the ones from iThemes… and plug-ins that will give your site more functionality.

[note color=”#fbf8cb”]”This is a fantastic screencast on how to setup a membership site in 1 hour – http://rayedwards.com/membership-site-tutorial/” Click To Tweet[/note]

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/member-site-tutorial/feed/ 7
The Cheapskate Entrepreneur http://rayedwards.com/the-cheapskate-entrepreneur/ http://rayedwards.com/the-cheapskate-entrepreneur/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2012 10:04:13 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3941 I worked for a man for almost a decade, who was one of the cheapest operators I ever met.  There was no corner he was not willing to cut, as long as it did not directly impact the customer experience.  The business he ran was insanely profitable.  I learned a lot from this person, whom I still think of fondly as “the cheapskate entrepreneur”.

discount-postit

He did see the big picture, and he did value quality, safety, and reinvestment.

But he was absolutely opposed to unnecessary expenditures.

The question we have to ask ourselves as entrepreneurs is: which expenditures are necessary?  My advice, based on learning from this particular mentor, is to operate your business as cheaply as you can.  Manage the economics of your business tightly, maximize your profitability, and minimize your expenses.

Many think of these as basic business ideas.

Perhaps you think this post does not apply to you.  Perhaps you are right.

Then again, how much did you pay for the chair you’re sitting on right now?  And how much did you pay for the triple-latte sitting on your desk right now?

There is honor – and wisdom – in being a cheapskate entrepreneur.

Something to think about.

Question for you: What ways do you save money in your business?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-cheapskate-entrepreneur/feed/ 26
Why Do Newbies Think So Small? http://rayedwards.com/why-do-newbies-think-so-small/ http://rayedwards.com/why-do-newbies-think-so-small/#comments Wed, 30 May 2012 10:47:33 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3703 Very soon, I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC to speak at a conference (JV Alert).

Why Do Newbies Think So Small?

While I’m there, I’ll get to do one of my favorite things: spend time with new online entrepreneurs. Newbies. Many of them will have never operated an Internet business before, and they’ll be full of questions.

Why Do Newbies Think So Small?

I truly enjoy visiting with these folks, because they’re full of optimism and fresh hope for their own future. I believe they are the future of our country.

One thing, though, I find disheartening: they so often think too small.

At one of the most recent conferences where I was speaking, someone asked me, “Is it possible for me to make an extra $500 a month on the Internet?”

This makes me sad.

Why limit yourself in this way?

I think it’s harder, in fact, for the person who asks this kind of question to make their goal of $500, than it would be for them to shoot for something bigger. Like, say, $5,000. Or even $50,000.

It all comes down to this: our beliefs and expectations are in absolute control of our actions. More often than not, we get exactly what we expect because what we expect is ultimately the only thing we will act on.

The person who asks if they can “make $500 a month” is really, in my opinion, expressing their unbelief that they will in fact make any money at all.

And if that is what you believe, chances are that is what you will receive.

Stop thinking so small! Small expectations and small goals do not have the power to give you energy. You will only take the required action for great success, when you’re spurred by a great goal.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/why-do-newbies-think-so-small/feed/ 15
Getting Paid What You’re Worth http://rayedwards.com/getting-paid-what-youre-worth/ http://rayedwards.com/getting-paid-what-youre-worth/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 10:52:45 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3674 Story time.

Get Paid What You're Worth

It was a few years ago.

I was running a successful copywriting and consulting business.

I was also working about 80 hours a week.

It was November, the holidays were approaching, and I had decided I was not going to work until after the first of January.

Frankly, I was burnt out.

Get Paid What You're Worth

The phone rang.

On the other end, a high-profile prospect, referred to me by one of my other clients. This guy, let’s call him Adam (not his real name), wanted me to write a sales letter for him.

I really did not want to do the work, but I also did not want to say no. So I decided to price myself out of his reach, thus forcing HIM to say no.

Now, at this time in my career I was charging about $7,500 to write a sales letter.

So when Adam asked me how much it would be to write his sales letter, I took a deep breath and told him, “That will be $15,000, all payable up front.”

I waited for him to inevitably tell me that was out of his budget range. Instead, he said, “Would a check be okay?”

I just about fell off my chair.

I took the assignment, and decided I was okay with working a little bit more after all. Since that time, my fees have continued to escalate.

For example, here are some of my most recent fees for work I did for clients:

  • I get a $2,500 monthly retainer to write a few e-mails each month for one client.
  • For another client, I am paid a $7,500 monthly retainer, mainly for consulting, with a little bit of copywriting work thrown in.
  • Earlier this year, one of my many repeat clients paid me $20,000 simply to do a quick rewrite of a sales letter. (He has been over-the-moon happy with the sales that resulted, BTW!)
  • The most recent product launch I worked on, I was paid $50,000 plus a percentage on the sales.

That’s just a sampling. Now, I realize…

I’ve already lost some readers, simply because I quoted these numbers.

But please understand, I am not sharing these numbers to impress you. I’m also not sharing these numbers as a promise that you will ever be able to make the same kind of money. You and I both know it would be foolish for me to promise something like that…

…because I don’t really know what you’re capable of, what your commitment level is, nor can I predict the future.

What I *am* trying to tell you is this:

I learned a valuable lesson that cold and snowy November when I thought doubling my fees would mean not getting the assignment.

It’s a lesson that I continue to learn even today.

It’s the reason why I get the outrageously high fees that I am paid, time after time.

It’s the reason why my clients are happy to pay me these amounts, and why it’s a good deal for them.

NOTE: the “secret” is not (a) being the best copywriter or (b) being a good salesman. It’s something deeper than that.

And here’s where YOU come in…

If you can “get” the lesson contained in my experience, YOU can get paid more as well.

How much more?

I have no idea.

But imagine what your life would be like, if you did the same work that you know and love now, but you were paid DOUBLE for it.

Or how would your life change if you were paid TRIPLE the amount you currently make?

Think with me for a moment…

What would your life be like if you suddenly found you could work less hours, and get paid TEN TIMES your previous income?

I cannot promise that this will happen. But what I can do is share with you the experience of exactly how (and why) it happened for me.

And not just for me, but for my friends and colleagues as well. So that is exactly what I’m going to do…

...share that information with you.

I’m going to share it in a free training webinar event.

This will be a live webinar (not recorded), so you must attend if you want to get the benefit of the free training.

You can register for the webinar (which is scheduled for Wednesday, 30th May at 9 PM Eastern), by clicking the link below:

http://rayedwards.com/webinars/10xwebinar/

One more thing.

One VERY important thing.

I promise you, there will be nothing for sale on this webinar.

Now let me be clear: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing a training webinar and then offering a valuable product at the end. I do many such webinars myself.

But this one is different.

I plan to give you the very best distillation I possibly can of how you can multiply your income by a factor of 10.

I should stress one last time, I cannot and do not guarantee that you will in fact be able to do that.

All I can do is tell you how I have done it, and how others I know have done it, and how I believe it’s POSSIBLE that you can do the same.

My goal is that you will leave the webinar with tools you can put to work immediately (that evening, or the next day) and begin to see results.

This really is a new kind of thing for me, but I feel that the time has come to share this openly.

If this is right for you, go ahead and register for your seat on the webinar right now:

http://rayedwards.com/webinars/10xwebinar/

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/getting-paid-what-youre-worth/feed/ 7
Kicking The Hornet’s Nest http://rayedwards.com/kicking-the-hornets-nest/ http://rayedwards.com/kicking-the-hornets-nest/#comments Sat, 19 May 2012 12:01:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3650 Well, yesterday’s email/blog post definitely stirred some folks up.

That’s okay.

I knew some people would hit the un-sub link when they knew I was gonna turn up the heat a bit.

You yourself may be wondering, “What’s Ray up to here?”

Simple.

I’m committed to helping you succeed in your own online business.

I’m promising to show up each day and doing my very best to help you overcome the roadblocks that hold you back.

And I’m going to do it in a no-holds-barred, no-bull, no-hype way.

Some reasons you may want to go ahead and unsubscribe now:

  1. I’m a follower of Jesus. While I will NEVER use Him to make money, He is central to my life and my business. I refuse to hide Him or be ashamed of Him. While you don’t have to believe what I believe in order for this stuff to work for you… if the mention of His Name bothers you… you’ve been warned.
  2. I’m optimistic about your future. If you’re looking for doom-n-gloom, depressed, conspiracy-theory garbage… this is not the email list for you!
  3. I won’t let you off the hook. If the thing that is standing in the way of your success is YOU… I’m gonna give it to you straight and tell you so! (I’ll also tell you how to FIX the stuff that is holding you back. I won’t leave you hangin’.)

So what comes next?

Tomorrow (Sunday in the USA) I will be featuring a new weekly column — my “Spiritual Foundations” edition.

Monday, be on the lookout for my list of personally recommended list of people, products, and services. Things like hosting, autoresponders, plugins, software, books, home study programs, and a lot more. All the stuff I use to run a successful online business.

Until then…

Prosper With Purpose!

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/kicking-the-hornets-nest/feed/ 7
Now I’m Getting In Your Face http://rayedwards.com/now-im-getting-in-your-face/ http://rayedwards.com/now-im-getting-in-your-face/#comments Fri, 18 May 2012 11:53:11 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3647 I haven’t been doing my best to serve you.

What do I mean?

Well, I’ve realized that I can show up for you (and help you) in a much bigger way.

That I can do more for you.

And because I can, I must.

But some people are not gonna like it.

Why?

Several reasons.

  1. I plan to start writing to you a lot more – pretty much every day, in fact.
  2. I’m not going to be pulling my punches any more. No more mister nice guy. While I’m not going to be intentionally offensive, I am going to be telling the truth you need to hear — not necessarily what you WANT to hear.
  3. I will make you aware of stuff that will make you uncomfortable. But if you listen, and act, on what I say… it will also make you more successful.

If my new commitment to your success is too much for you, and if you’re reading this in an email (and nor just on the blog) please go ahead right now, scroll to the bottom of this email and click the link that will automatically unsubscribe you.

In which case, then I WON’T be in your face.

Which is sad, really.

But God made you with a free will, right?

See you back here tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to your feedback – leave it below here in the comments on the blog.

’nuff said.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/now-im-getting-in-your-face/feed/ 12
The Much-Exaggerated Death of Internet Marketing http://rayedwards.com/the-death-of-internet-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/the-death-of-internet-marketing/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 14:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3363

Mike Filsaime and Ray Edwards

mikef-raye

One of my private clients (Mike Filsaime) is perhaps single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of “Death of…” reports that have appeared in recent years (The Death of Google, The Death of Adsense, The Death of Salesletters, etc.).

Not that he produced them all, but I think more than anyone he popularized the concept (still a good one, by the way) and was copied by a lot of others.

So I’ll lay the credit on Magic Mike. He even released a report called, of all things, The Death of Internet Marketing, Now don’t get all lathered up.

Mike doesn’t think Internet Marketing is really dead. He was just pointing out in his report that the “old way” of doing things wasn’t going to cut it any more.

Of course, it seems an eon ago when he released that report.. But even now, a mere few years later, others are saying that “Internet Marketing” was a fad, it’s dead, the FTC has killed it, etc. Pick your “Chicken Little” poison.

Yet once again, the reverse is true. The opportunities abound. It’s just that the “tricks” that worked last year don’t work any more.

We all have to step up our game and play at a new level. Even as I write this, Mike is raising the bar for himself and others – for instance, with his Automated Webinar software which allows you to hold webinars every day, all day, on auto-pilot. I’m using it myself – here’s a link to my webinar on how to make customers come to you.

The people who are “sweating bullets” right now are those who refuse to adapt, improvise and overcome.

If you’re willing (and since you’re a Friend of Ray, you’re probably not only willing but probably downright eager) to seize new opportunities and step out boldly, you’re going to prosper.

That’s what I love about you. Thanks for being who you are.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-death-of-internet-marketing/feed/ 3
Who Is Really Your Friend? http://rayedwards.com/who-is-really-your-friend/ http://rayedwards.com/who-is-really-your-friend/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 12:30:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3354 Who is really your friend?

IMG_1013

Your dog.

Let’s start with your best friend.

Dogs are not fickle, they don’t lie, and they stick by you.

Mark Twain said, “If heaven went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would get in.”

Lest you take me as a hopeless misanthrope, know that it ain’t so. I love people.

And yet I find dogs often more reliable (you can see  my “Pugs of Persuasion”, Rollo Tamasi and Parker, in the photo above).

A good friend of mine and longtime private client – whose name you would recognize but I shall withhold (for reasons soon obvious), phoned me recently. He wanted some help with headlines to test on a new promotion.

We talked about a campaign that went sour on him a couple years ago.

At that time a number of “friends”, who had supported said campaign, attacked him in a public forum. Mostly, it seemed, as a way to make themselves look better.

“I sure learned who my real friends were,” he told me. “And I won’t forget it.”

My hope for you is it won’t take a “problem” like this for you to figure out this vital information.

Find out now who you friends are. Or they may turn on you in a crucial moment someday… hoping to throw you on the altar in order to save their own skins or to feather their own nest.

Worth knowing: who is who.

 

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/who-is-really-your-friend/feed/ 15
Car Wash In A Can http://rayedwards.com/car-wash-in-a-can/ http://rayedwards.com/car-wash-in-a-can/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 12:22:53 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3350 Flagstaff, Arizona.

I’m pumping 100 gallons of gasoline into my motorhome. Some guy with the name “STEVE” on his shirt walked confidently around the front of my motorhome, an aerosol spray can in his hand.

Steve launches into a very vigorous sales pitch for his “car-wash-in-a-can” product.

Having been in sales most of my life, there’s no way I was going to shut Steve down. He was selling with confidence & personality. He demonstrated the product for me.

I ended up buying four cans of the stuff from Steve.

He had a little table set up in front of the gas station, and was working with a guy named Larry. They tried to upsell me. Twice.

I asked Steve a lot of questions about his business. Was it tough making a living this way?

“Not really,” Steve said. “I like talking to people, and business has been good.”

As we talked, it was obvious that these guys enjoyed what they did, and were very good at it.

Steve handed me a business card. “If you send me business, I’ll send you checks,” Steve said. Bingo! The gas station salesman has an affiliate program.

What does this have to do with Internet business?

Everything. Here we are, in a time when a lot of people are being washed out of all kinds of businesses, online and offline.

The excuse given is usually: “the economy”.

I’ve addressed the use of those two words as excuse elsewhere.

You see, the very qualities exemplified by Steve and Larry are the same qualities that could save a lot of businesses from going under.

Usually, when I’m talking with an Internet marketer or even a brick-and-mortar business owner, and they start telling me how bad business is, there are certain questions I ask.

“What kind of referral system do you have? Have you called up past customers to try and get more business? Are you doing any kind of direct mail?” etc.

I usually only get about one question deep before they realize their usual “BS” is not going to work on me.

Look, if two guys can carve out a living selling “car-wash-in-a-can” at a gas station, does that leave any excuse for the rest of us?

And does it leave any room at all for excuses from those of us who make our living sitting on our behinds in front of a computer screen?

Answer: no.

Product Launch Application

It’s fair to ask what this has to do with product launches.

Plenty, as it turns out.

My opinion: the #1 cause of product launch failure is… laziness.

Most “product launchers” don’t want to invest money and effort in things like outbound telemarketing, direct mail promotion, telephone sales rooms, and all the things that go into making a product launch really work. So this is my message, observed while embedded in the trenches (just like you): what works right now is… work.

As Warren Buffett said, “When the tide goes out it’s easy to see who’s been skinny-dipping”.

Certainly that’s true in the Internet marketing world.

We’re not experiencing a “bad economy”. For the ?rst time in perhaps ?ve years, we’re experiencing an “accurate economy”. Treasure it. Value it. Learn from it.

And get out there and sell something, willya?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/car-wash-in-a-can/feed/ 6
Why Aren’t People Buying From You? http://rayedwards.com/why-arent-people-buying-from-you/ http://rayedwards.com/why-arent-people-buying-from-you/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 17:00:00 +0000 Heather Seitz http://rayedwards.com/?p=3282

Today’s post is a guest post by my trusted colleague Heather Seitz, of Email Delivered.
-Ray Edwards

question

More often than not, we assume that the main reason people aren’t buying our products and services is related to price.

The truth? It’s not price at all. It all comes down to value!

If the value is not there, then people are not going to spend the money on whatever it is you are selling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $17 eBook or a $17,000 coaching program, or something in the middle, if the value isn’t there, you’re not going to spend your money.

And let’s face it… in the current economy, just about everyone is a bit more discerning about where they spend their dollars.

So how do you determine “value”?

That’s the million-dollar question… Let me illustrate with an example of something that happened recently where I really “got” the concept of value and how it relates not only to the decision of whether or not to buy, but also to the overall perception of your customers – and, as a result, the long term impact on your bottom line.

(As you read this case study, think about how this applies to your business and how your prospects react to your “offers”)

We were getting ready to do a complete system redesign (from the ground up) of one of our web applications.

We met with the developer and spent a good bit of time sketching out screens, processes, and flow of the design. We detailed all of the system requirements and went through a number of user interfaces, highlighting what we liked and didn’t like.

The meeting went well and we were ready to get started.

He’d estimated about 80-100 hours to complete everything. We were happy with this and excited to move forward.

Two days later, an email arrived with the mockups (based on our discussion). There were 5 attachments in total (4 mockups and proposal).

I started with the mockups first.

First impression: “not bad”. I wasn’t WOWED or blown away, but they were “okay”. It looked like he got about 80% of the concept we were going for, but missed about 20%.

It’s as if they tried to model existing interfaces, but “missed”. There was just something off – that wasn’t quite right. He certainly hadn’t nailed it! I wasn’t “excited”. (Check out the book “Blink”. It talks about this concept and the fact that we all make snap judgments based on first impressions. And even if we can’t articulate what’s wrong, we know when something’s not quite right!)

This isn’t the major problem, however! I realize I demand a lot out of design and was fully prepared to participate in this portion of the project, even editing Photoshop files for the UI designer if need be.

The BIG problem came when I opened the last, and final, document: the actual proposal.

What was supposed to be 80-100 hours came in at 200 hours! Yep, more than double the higher range of his verbal estimate.

What’s more is that it was basically little more than a new user interface. We had spent HOURS going over the fact that we wanted to build EVERYTHING brand new and on an entirely different infrastructure. That wasn’t included… and would cost another $5,000 – $7,000! So what started off as a $8000 – $10,000 project was going to cost us closer to $25,000.

Talk about sticker shock!

We were mad… frustrated… felt deceived… etc.

What happened next was where the big lesson became clear!

My partner asked me this question: “If we were starting this application from scratch, and it was everything we wanted, would we be willing to pay that?”

The answer was, “Sure… no problem!”

That’s when it became crystal clear!

What we had wasn’t a “price” problem. It was a value/trust problem…

It wasn’t the money we were asked to pay, but what we felt we were getting in return for that money.

I took a step back to really think about the experience and what I took from it was a huge lesson in value and customer perception. Here are some lessons we can all use in our business:

  1. Initial Impact. Does your “look and feel” match your message? Appearance matters. And the “good enough” bar has shifted. People place value on how something looks and what that first impression is. And remember that “Blink” concept I mentioned before. If it doesn’t FEEL right, then you’re already at a disadvantage before they get to the actual message (and offer). This can impact whether or not the initial sale is ever made.
  2. Value. Are you demonstrating value in such a way that your customers are HAPPY about the exchange? (Their money for your product or service). Your customers should feel that they got an incredible deal. This is the key to repeat business. If your customer decides to evaluate the competition before making a decision, you’ve failed – or at least stumbled a bit.
  3. Trust. This is a little harder to quantify or define. And it didn’t actually hit me right away in the story above. It took a few minutes on this one! Considering we were expecting an estimate to come in around $8000 – $10,000 including some wiggle room, when we got the “proposal” with a estimates for each segment which were admittedly “padded”, we felt that we were going to get ripped off… that we’d get a little ways into it and that the scope of each section would multiply just as the initial estimate did.

The problem with “trust” is that one it’s gone… it’s gone! And it’s very difficult to gain it back.

You can always change the image of your website or add more “value” to your product or service (or simply change your message to convey the value that’s there). But you can’t simply wave a wand and regain trust.

So the question is… do your customers trust you? If not, what can you do to establish that trust and CONTINUE TO EARN IT?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/why-arent-people-buying-from-you/feed/ 3
The Internet Is Not American http://rayedwards.com/the-internet-is-not-american/ http://rayedwards.com/the-internet-is-not-american/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2012 02:09:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3292 I just stumbled upon these numbers at the Desiring God website.

world-cup

“The population of the world just crossed the seven-billion mark. There are currently an estimated 2.26 billion Internet users worldwide — one billion of which are from Asia, and only 273 million of which are from North America.

Here’s the current breakdown for Internet use globally:

Asia: 1 billion Web users (26% penetration)
Europe: 500 million Web users (61.3% penetration)
North America: 273 million Web users (78.6% penetration)
Latin America: 235 million Web users (39.5% penetration)
Africa: 139 million Web users (13.5% penetration)
Middle East: 77 million Web users (35% penetration)
Australia: 23 million Web users (67% penetration)

Sources: Nielsen Online, UN International Telecommunications Union, GfK, local Regulators and other reliable sources.”

I’m willing to bet most American websites are oblivious to the other (majority) “World Wide Web”.

What does this tell us?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-internet-is-not-american/feed/ 3
Ben Settle, Email Marketing Contrarian [Interview] http://rayedwards.com/ben-settle-email-marketing-contrarian-interview/ http://rayedwards.com/ben-settle-email-marketing-contrarian-interview/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2012 11:13:09 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2476 I just completed a really fun and informative interview with one of the top email marketers working today.

Ben really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to selling by email. What’s remarkable about him is he is one of the very few “Internet Marketing teachers” who actually practices what he teaches. Ben’s blog is here, and his “Email Players Newsletter” is available here.

In this interview you will hear:

  • Why Ben does the exact opposite of what most “Internet Marketing” gurus teach.
  • Why mailing your list every day is a good thing.
  • Why it’s not always bad to have a high unsubscribe rate.
  • The secret “autoresponder feature” that saves you money.
  • The simple little trick Ben does once a month that saves him money and makes more sales.
  • Why Ben laughs at what almost every other “email marketing course” teaches… and what you can learn from this.
  • How to generate an endless stream of ideas for email copy, effortlessly and quickly.
  • Why Ben doesn’t own a membership site, doesn’t do social media, and doesn’t do marketing like most of the “Internet Marketing Gurus”.
  • How Ben makes his money easily every month by working about 3 hours! Not for everyone – but really fascinating!

Two Notes:

To hear the full “inner circle” version of this interview, get yourself over to this page and register for either the GOLD or PLATINUM levels of our Inner Circle.

If you’re a copywriter who wants more customers, more often, for more money… you probably want to get on the VIP early-bird list about my upcoming print newsletter.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/ben-settle-email-marketing-contrarian-interview/feed/ 0 I just completed a really fun and informative interview with one of the top email marketers working today. Ben really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to selling by email. What’s remarkable about him is he is one of the very few “Internet Ma... I just completed a really fun and informative interview with one of the top email marketers working today. Ben really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to selling by email. What’s remarkable about him is he is one of the very few “Internet Marketing teachers” who actually practices what he teaches. Ben’s blog is here, […] Ray Edwards clean 34:54
3 Simple Ways to Stand Out http://rayedwards.com/3-simple-ways-to-stand-out/ http://rayedwards.com/3-simple-ways-to-stand-out/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2012 21:03:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2060 When you are being compared to your competition, do your customers see any compelling difference? In today’s environment, they must! If they don’t, your business is already in trouble.

Here are three simple but compelling qualities that will make your business stand out from the competition:

1. A great first impression. It’s true, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Too many people (and businesses) miss this opportunity, or worse, they botch it. Pay attention to details, especially on your website. Prospective customers will examine it closely for inconsistencies, errors, misspellings, outdated information, and false claims. Take great pains to make a good first impression.

2. Quick response. As simple as it may sound, answering the phone after no more than three rings… returning phone calls the same day… following up with e-mail correspondence quickly… all these “little things” can build trust in a remarkably short period of time. The reason: people are so accustomed to being disappointed in this area, that even if you simply meet your obligations, you will impress them. Exceed your agreements, and they will be astounded.

3. Go the extra mile. Perform unexpected service for your clients-such as early delivery, coming in under budget, delivering more than was promised, even losing money to make a complaint right. These kinds of “extra mile” gestures can win you a customer for life-certainly worth sacrificing short-term profits for the long-term gain.

It’s not always easy to stand out – but it is usually simple.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-simple-ways-to-stand-out/feed/ 1
Say Yes, Get Paid More http://rayedwards.com/say-yes-get-paid-more/ http://rayedwards.com/say-yes-get-paid-more/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:02:31 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2025 I am a strong advocate for creating good boundaries in your business, and it holds especially true for freelance copywriters..

Training your customers on how to do business with you, so that you can maximize your productivity and profits, is vital.

But I don’t like to be the guy who always says “no”.

I like to find ways to say yes.

Example…

I don’t haggle over my rates as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant.

Does that mean that when I am in conversation with a new client, I’m quick to quote an astronomical rate, and turn them away if they suggest a lower payment? Not at all.

I simply look for ways to change the nature of the offer, so that I’m able to accommodate their rate request.

It’s as simple as asking a few targeted questions:

  1. “If we were able to lower the price to what you ask, would you be ready to do business today?” If the answer to this question is no, the discussion is really over isn’t it?
  2. “What part of the project seems most important to you, if we were able to deliver it for the price you suggest?” This helps identify pieces of the project you may be able to eliminate, thus also eliminating the expense created by that particular activity, giving you more flexibility in your rate.
  3. “What makes you think our service is only worth the amount you mentioned?” You have to be careful of your tone of voice when asking this question; you don’t want to sound confrontational. But the issue may simply be one of the perception of value. If the client doesn’t feel that having me consult on a product launch is worth $50,000 upfront, no amount of sales technique will get them to write me that check. I need to determine where they feel the value is.

While these suggestions may not turn every price negotiation into a business deal, they will help you find ways to say yes to proposals you might’ve said no to in the past.

And that can dramatically increase your bottom line.

If you’d like more tips on how to market your copywriting services, you’ll want to get on the notification list for my upcoming newsletter. It’s called “Marketing Your Copywriting Services” and it’s just for copywriters. Copywriters who want more clients… juicier assignments… and bigger fees… fast.

Sign up for the FREE Early-Bird Notification List here.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/say-yes-get-paid-more/feed/ 2
My Prophetic Business Predictions for 2012 http://rayedwards.com/my-prophetic-business-predictions-for-2012/ http://rayedwards.com/my-prophetic-business-predictions-for-2012/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 11:38:58 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2260 You might think I’m late with these predictions.

After all, most everyone who had any interest in making such prognostications has already posted theirs.

But I’m not late.

To paraphrase Gandalf, the wise wizard from the Lord of the Rings stories, “A prophet is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

Here are 7 predictions for 2012 from your ol’ Uncle Ray.

  1. Faith will play a more pronounced role in the Presidential election. Sure, it’s always an issue. But in the past it has, more or less, been tangential. This time, with the mix including President Obama, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney, I see this becoming a forefront discussion. Is America ready for a Mormon president? And if you think a President’s faith doesn’t inform his politics, you’re a wee bit daft.

  2. The economy will not collapse nor resurrect – it will change, though. Chicken Little, settle down. Pollyanna, you might be disappointed. It is a new world order, just not the one many were expecting. It’s a new game, with new rules, and some new players at the international table (hint: can you speak Chinese?)

  3. More people will see their answer to money woes lies in starting a business. We need entrepreneurs – not merely technicians with independent shops. Technicians merely siphon off pre-existant streams of wealth. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, actually create wealth. Many of these entrepreneurs will come from the ranks of the church – as more believers realize it is time for the church to stop simply having a message, and to start being a message. Spirit-filled entrepreneurs will demonstrate what it looks like to have God’s favor on our lives — including our businesses.

  4. The Google game will be harder to play on all fronts. I wrote this before Google changed their search fundamentally with the “Your World” update. Would that I had published it a day or two earlier!

  5. China. See prediction #2.

  6. Being debt-free will become the new American status symbol. Turns out the Book of Proverbs is right: the borrower is the slave of the lender.

  7. “Internet Marketing” (ie, marketers who sell marketing advice to marketers who sell marketing advice) will be harder… but “information marketing” (selling your knowledge and expertise) will still be insanely profitable.

So – what to do with these predictions? They are of little value if not joined with action. Within each is a kernel of encouragement. A seed of hope, possibility, and potential opportunity.

The diligent will find and seize upon these possibilities – and the many others not mentioned here.

I do acknowledge reality, by the way.

Is it tough these days? Yes, in some ways.

Is fear running rampant on the Earth? Yep.

Many wish these times had not come upon us. Perhaps you, too, wish our present times were different.

To quote Gandalf …

“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world… besides the will of evil. And that is an encouraging thought.”

Indeed.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/my-prophetic-business-predictions-for-2012/feed/ 17
A Day In The Life of A Six-Figure Freelance Writer http://rayedwards.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-six-figure-freelance-writer/ http://rayedwards.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-six-figure-freelance-writer/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 19:14:30 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2116 This is an update to one of my more popular posts.

I receive many questions about how I work, how I manage my time, and what my “systems” are for working as a writer and consultant.

First, this caveat: There are some significant changes now that we are operating in the “new economy”.

What’s different about the “new economy”? A few key points for freelancers and entrepreneurs – these must be understood and internalized:

The bubble has burst. Easy credit is gone. Houses of cards in the banking industry have come tumbling down. People have lost their jobs, their houses, their credit cards. The spending habits and market behaviors of almost all people have irrevocably changed, altered forever by the economic shift that took place recently. And if you’re waiting for things to get “back to normal”, this is your wake-up call… it’s never going back. This is the new normal. Get used to it. Adapt.

Competition is at an all time high. And thanks to Google it is easier than ever before to find all your competitors in a few seconds.

Nobody needs anything. In the Western World, even though we have experienced an economic shake up, we still have everything we need already. Yes, I know some people are in need and I am not ignoring them nor minimizing their needs – but I am also acknowledging that for most people, their needs are over-supplied. Do you have a roof over your head, clean water, and at least one meal per day? Then you are better off than most of the people in the world. To see how good you have it, check out how wealthy you rank in the world by clicking here.

What does all this mean? It’s time to review and evaluate how you do everything you do within your business or practice. Does it measure up? Is it effective? Does it produce profit? Is it the best possible use of your time?

That’s what I’m doing here – reviewing my current systems an findings. Hopefully it’s helpful.

I offer the following with this caveat: I’m still workin’ on it, and I don’t always follow the system perfectly. But each time I fall “off the wagon”, I get up, dust off my britches, and climb back on. So far it’s worked pretty well.

A “day in the life of Ray” is a busy one. Here are current projects I’m working on:

1. Private Client Copy Project.
This was a big project, comprising 3 full video salesletters, email campaigns, affiliate email copy, and text versions of the sales videos. This project was a beast in terms of time invested, but it was fun. And it paid well.

2. Private Consulting Client
. This relationship translates to regular phone meetings, a small in-house launch every quarter or so, and reams of copy generated for upsells, ridealongs, retention, phone scripts, etc. This is a retainer + revenue deal, just like all my deals these days.

3. Private Retainer Client. This client retains me strictly for two sales letters per month, for different products each month; again, I have a piece of revenue.

4. Private Client in the business opportunity market; this is only the third time I have been ripped off by a client. I collected the fee and wrote the initial copy. My client has, so far, stiffed me for 6 months worth of royalties. I did have some misgivings about this project in the beginning but suppressed them and took the job anyway. Lesson learned: trust my inner promptings. Just a note to my client, V. If you’re reading this, just know that if you want to make it right, send me the check for what you owe me and all will be forgiven. And if you simply can’t pay for some reason… at least answer my messages and let me know what’s going on. Maybe I can help.

5. Writing Riches Member Site. This is a “coaching club” I run for those who cannot necessarily afford to hire me but who want to learn from my work, get me input, and receive training from me each month.

6. Book Promotion. My new book on copywriting, Writing Riches, is a #1 Best-Seller on Amazon.com. It’s the best deal I offer on training and is available as a softcover or on the Kindle.

7. Three books in progress. One is a business book (first draft completed), one is a book for Christ-followers on the importance and power of forgiveness (first draft about 75% complete) (this book is being folded into the next one), and one is a book about achieving true, lasting success, called Taking Back Tomorrow.

8. Two monthly newsletters. I write one for my clients, and one for paying subscribers.

9. Workshops. I am planning a small, exclusive workshop in my offices this Fall. It will be me and four guests… and you’ll get my hands-on help with your project. Plus, my team will even build your site for you! This won’t be cheap – the price is $5,000. If you’re interested, please call my assistant Kathy at 509-624-2220 and let her know. Acceptance is not guaranteed, as this is not for everyone.

10. Copywriting Protege Program.
My students write for clients who either (a) can’t get on my schedule soon enough or (b) can’t afford my fees. My team writes your copy, I critique the drafts for re-writes, and then I approve the final work that is delivered to you. This means we can deliver affordable copy that still receives my “touch”. (To inquire about a project, please submit your request here: http://RayEdwards.com/contact )

The Big Question

How is it I’m able to juggle so many priorities and projects? Through careful conscious choice, and good systems.

And quite frankly: it’s a work in progress.

In order to deliver the very best work to my clients and partners, and to still leave room in my schedule for rejuvenation (sleep, family time, time with God, and time to just plain relax)… I have to guard my time vigorously. And I have to be on guard against what Dan Kennedy calls “Time Vampires”. Some tactics that work for me in my current system:

MSR
My Morning Success Ritual is vital to my most productive days. While I don’t manage to get this in every day, I’m getting better at it. My goal between now and the New Year is to achieve 95%+ compliance with this ritual every day.

The MSR is summed up by the acronym WWW B PREP, which stands for:

  • Wake
  • Water (16 oz. filtered)
  • Walk (at least 20 minutes)
  • Bible
  • Prayer
  • Eat
  • Plan (the day)

The days when I follow this MSR, starting the minute my feet hit the floor out of bed, are invariably my best days (most productive, most joyous, most satisfying). Probably because the most important things were done first – and when I’m still in the “NDZ”: No Distraction Zone (meaning no email, no voicemail, no phone calls, etc.)

Writing
The first thing I *must* do each day, after my MSR is complete (and after I have showered, driven to the office, etc.) is WRITING. I am primarily a writer. So this is my #1 Revenue Producing Activity (RPA). At this point my phone is off, I have still not checked email, not checked voicemail, etc. Still in the NDZ. I write for a large block of time at the beginning of the day — often 4 hours. NOTHING gets to interrupt the writing — including (and even especially) the clients for whom I may be writing.

Email
My auto-check feature in Apple Mail is turned OFF. I only get email when I press the “Check Mail” button. I check it twice once per day, Monday thru Thursday Tuesday thru Friday. Usually around 11am Pacific and 4pm Pacific. This is one of my policies that tends to be unpopular with those who are “urgency addicts”, and who want me to have a constant email discussion about minutia with them. I refuse to sacrifice my highest valued commodity (time) for the sake of what usually amounts to trivia. I suggest you adopt the same policy.

Meetings
Any meeting that lasts longer than 15 minutes is probably too long. Not always, but most of the time. Any project that requires multiple meetings each week is probably in trouble. Long meetings = inefficiency at best, and postponement of the inevitable at worst. (As a sidebar: frequent short meetings are just a disguised way of having long meetings. HEAR ME: if you have “meeting-itis”, either you just want an excuse to talk about work instead of doing it, or something is wrong with the project … something another meeting won’t solve).

Phone Meetings / Conversations
Same as meetings, only worse. Conversations and phone meetings should be 15 minutes or less. Anything longer and you’re probably wasting time for at least some people in the group.

Instant Messenger
Just say no. The only time I use it is when I have SCHEDULED events on Skype (usually interviews). Also, I occasionally chat with family or friends — but again, this is SCHEDULED. I am NEVER “just available” to be interrupted. (If I was, that would mean that I was either doing something unimportant, or that I was doing NOTHING. If I’m doing something unimportant… WHY? And if I’m doing NOTHING, it’s a PLANNED nothing and it’s important that this not be interrupted!).

Office Hours
Yes, I have an office outside my home. I lease currently. I’m considering buying an office building. I keep regular business hours most of the time: Mon – Thurs, Tuesday – Friday, 8am – 5pm Pacific.

By the way, my office phone is answered by a LIVE HUMAN (not some stupid voicemail torture device) Monday – Saturday, 8am – 6pm Pacific time. Why do I have the phone covered even when I am out of the office? Because other members of my team keep different hours… and because emergencies DO happen, and I like to be available if a TRUE emergency arises. My phone team knows how to reach me in those cases.

Why The Emphasis On Not Being Interrupted?

Interruptions cost you dearly.

As a writer, I know that allowing myself to be interrupted by a client or vendor (“Hey Ray – got a minute to talk about the new logo?”) can seem harmless… but it isn’t. That interruption costs me (a) the state of “flow” I was in while working, maybe impossible to recover, (b) the time of the interruption itself, and (c) the time it takes me to get back into the “zone” with what I was working on… minimum 20 minutes, maybe longer.

I can’t afford to let that happen. Especially not in the “New Economy”.

My clients and customers can’t afford for me to let that happen.

I once had a client who loved to call me at 11pm at night and talk for two hours. I tried to tell him I worked set hours and was available at those times, but he didn’t seem to understand. When our first project was finished, I fired him. His dysfunction did not automatically become my problem. Be warned – people will WASTE your time if you let them. Will you let them? be polite, be loving… but don’t be a victim.

In the end, if you guard your time, you are being most respectful of other people. Think about it: if you allow yourself to be interrupted, or your time wasted when you should have been doing something else… who suffers? Your clients. Your customers. Your family (“Sorry honey, I have to stay late because I wasted 2 hours today listening to the web team make excuses…”).

You’re not serving anyone by being a poor steward of your time.

New Experiments In Time Management

I’m currently going through a re-vamping, refining, and re-evaluating phase and I thought it might be useful to you if I shared some ideas I’m trying out. While I’m sold on the stuff I mentioned previously, I’m telling you right now these next items are EXPERIMENTAL. If they prove successful, I’ll have more to say here in the future about them.

1.Three-Sentence Emails.
If you receive a lot of email, you know what it’s like to feel overloaded by it. This is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be three sentences or less. Read more at http://three.sentenc.es/
This practice, I have abandoned. I also am not using the ubquitous “I’m so busy I can’t answer your email for at least 2 days” autoresponders. I have come to view these as slightly (at best) obnoxious. I still only check email once per day, and even though I have abandoned the “email policy” signature and autoresponder, I don’t get any complaints.

2. Fifteen Minute Meetings. Just like the above, only not quite so regimented. *Most* meetings will be 15 minutes or less. That’s my default meeting length. If it needs to be longer, we can negotiate in 15 minute blocks. If it needs to be longer than 45 minutes, we better be working on something like the Middle East Peace Talks.

3. Free Days. I used to cheat on this. I’m sorry to admit it. But no more. I “fell of the wagon” on this one again. Embarrassing. But, as it says in the Book of Proverbs, “though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again”. So here’s the practice I’m aiming for… a “free day” is one in which there is NO business activity of any kind: no emails, no blogs, no IMs, no phone calls, no reading articles, no business books… NOTHING. Right now, I have at least one scheduled FREE DAY per week (Sundays). The purpose is to allow for real refreshing, rejuvenation, and creativity to arise. My goal is to eventually reach 3 FREE DAYS per week. This does not mean that I’ll be spending 3 days a week doing NOTHING… these days will be filled with family time, spiritual and charitable pursuits, and yes, even recreation. For more on this, see Dan Sullivan’s “The Time Breakthrough”.

This was a long post – I hope it was useful to you. If you have questions or want to add some ideas of your own, please do it below!

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-six-figure-freelance-writer/feed/ 8
Pareto Profits http://rayedwards.com/pareto-profits/ http://rayedwards.com/pareto-profits/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:29:42 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2102 You probably know about the Pareto principle.

It’s the principle discovered by the Italian mathematician (whose last name was, surprisingly enough, Pareto) that states something like the following: 80% of the results in any system arise from 20% of the inputs in that system.

In the world of business, the Pareto principle is commonly invoked when noting such mathematical oddities as the fact that 80% of the sales are generated by less than 20% of the sales people; 80% of the revenue is generated by less than 20% of the customers; 80% of the leads are generated by less than 20% of the phone calls… and so forth.

As an entrepreneur, it is profitable to think about the Pareto principle in the following way: 80% of your results will flow from only 20% of your activities. They should become a liberating truth for you. It constitutes mathematical permission for you to focus only on the 20% of things you like to do anyway. The truth is most entrepreneurs are people who enjoy “visioning”-or, as my private client Frank Kern likes to put it, “scheming”. This doesn’t imply anything evil; it simply recognizes the fact that entrepreneurial types tends to enjoy coming up with the big ideas, seeing the big picture, laying down the strategy, and leaving the cleanup and details to others on their team. In the world of the Internet, there is an ethos that if you can do it yourself you should do it yourself. This has had the result of locking up entrepreneurs in a prison of detail work.

No entrepreneur should be installing WordPress blogs, debugging scripts, or figuring out how to make the latest plug-in work… unless this is out of financial necessity. And assuming that you’re any kind of entrepreneur at all, the period of financial necessity may exist from time to time, but should be short-lived.

The prosperous practice of the Pareto principle simply means: only do the stuff you’re best at, the stuff that gets results, that puts sales on the books, new clients on the roster, and “moves the needle”. Anything else is a waste of time.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/pareto-profits/feed/ 2
Time For Pig-Headedness http://rayedwards.com/time-for-pig-headedness/ http://rayedwards.com/time-for-pig-headedness/#comments Sat, 25 Jun 2011 11:27:17 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2100 Add this book to your list of must-reads: The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes.

If you haven’t read it, move it to the top of your list.

If you have read it and haven’t yet implemented every single strategy inside its covers, read it now. Again.

Probably my favorite passage from Chet’s masterful business work is one that most people read without understanding its import. In the early pages of the book, Chet points out that most people will read his book, agree with its precepts, and still not do them. He says this is the “reverse psychology” section of the book, in which he attempts to prod the reader into doing what needs to be done. In Chet’s words, “I’m goading you into applying a powerful force for creating success from what you’re going to learn… and that force, my friends, is pigheaded discipline and determination.

Pigheaded discipline is the subject of this post for very good, and simple, reason. That reason being the fact that this is the most-lacked skill in over 90% of entrepreneurs. In my experience, what stands in our way, what holds us back from our potential, is usually not some external force (such as competition or marketplace conditions)-it is, rather, our own inability to say no to the things that distract us from our most profitable activities, and our continued inability to say yes only to those activities that produce the results we seek.

It is as if the world conspires against us to lead us down this path to destruction. Most of our peers, and certainly most of our employees, are happy to tell us what we should be spending our time on-and almost without fail their advice is dead wrong. It usually doesn’t come packaged as advice, by the way – it usually comes packaged as a meeting… a phone call… a personal plea… or some kind of interpersonal conflict. None of which are, perhaps, designed to take us off target- but all of which inevitably do.

Guard your heart carefully, eternal entrepreneur, and focus only on the things that expand the kingdom. Employ pigheaded discipline.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/time-for-pig-headedness/feed/ 1
Bad News Or Good News http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-or-good-news/ http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-or-good-news/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2011 11:21:50 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2097

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

I will leave the discussion aside as to whether William Shakespeare is indulging in moral relativism.

I think he is not, if one reads the above quotation in context, but I do think the quotation illustrates a basic principle we, as entrepreneurs, would be profited to recognize and employ with more frequency.

It is popular, in our culture, to be well versed in bad news.

It is popular to be able to quote the bad news, and to elaborate upon its badness, and one is presumed to be more erudite and wise for doing so.

But as entrepreneurs-those who create something from virtually nothing-I believe it is the kiss of death. It is a way of limiting ourselves, of violating the principle of the best use of resources.

The best and highest resource we possess is ourselves, and that never brought so into focus as in what we think about most of the time.

I don’t believe it’s possible to talk about the bad news all the time, without also thinking about it all the time. And it should stand to reason that thinking about something all the time tends to put one’s focus on that something, and that focusing on something inevitably draws us closer to the something.

I’m not talking about mysticism here.

I’m simply talking about the fact that the more we tend to think about a thing, the more likely it is that our behavior, actions, attitudes, and lifestyle will come into alignment with that thing we’re thinking about.

So the “bad news” is this: thinking and talking about bad news all the time might make you seem smart, but it inevitably makes you dumb, and what’s more it likely will make you broke. In the rare cases that it does not make you broke, because you have in some perverted way discovered how to profit from bad news, it will make you soul-sick.

Yes, I’m sticking my neck out on this one. But my poster child for the premise of being rich but soul-sick is Howard Hughes. And I don’t think any of us wants to end up like him, hoarding our fingernail clippings, living on orange juice, and slowly going insane.

The good news is, there is obvious profit in thinking and talking about good news. In looking for the good news in every situation. It is after all, as entrepreneurs, what we are paid to do.

Let’s go do it.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-or-good-news/feed/ 2
Boundaries Are Not Barriers http://rayedwards.com/boundaries-are-not-barriers/ http://rayedwards.com/boundaries-are-not-barriers/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2011 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2078 It happens more and more often these days, for some reason, that I get private e-mail and telephone requests from people wanting me to give them money.

While I do my best to be generous, is becoming increasingly obvious to me that I simply don’t have enough money to give some of it to everyone who asks. I have to make choices.

On a similar note, I seem to get more and more requests these days for free consultations or pro bono work. Again, I do a certain amount of pro bono work, but I cannot do it for everyone who asks. It’s simply impossible.

Which has me thinking about boundaries. Being intentional about who I can give money to, or who I can contribute free work to, means that I must establish boundaries that govern how I will respond to such requests.

You have a similar dilemma in your own life, whether you realize it or not. When a friend asks a favor of you after work, for instance, you have to decide whether you’re willing to grant the favor (and potentially sacrifice time with family, etc.) or whether you will say “no”. In either event you have to make a decision about whether you will allow a certain boundary to be crossed.

In my mind, “boundaries” establish the conditions under which you will say “yes”. Boundaries are gateways.

Boundaries are different than “barriers”.

Barriers, it seems to me, are more like walls. Their purpose is to say “no”.

Knowing, and acknowledging, the difference between boundaries and barriers will give a great degree of clarity to your decisions.

Good boundaries are a plan about how you want to deal with certain situations in your life — a plan formed BEFORE you need one.

I think this is worth giving some thought to. What are the boundaries in your life? Under what circumstances will you say “yes” to certain requests?

And what are the barriers in your life? I do believe that certain barriers should exist; there are behaviors, people, and situations to which your answer should always be “no”.

If you don’t decide in advance what your barriers are… and what your boundaries are… and how you will enforce each… how do you expect to be able to make good decisions at the critical moment?

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/boundaries-are-not-barriers/feed/ 1
Stupid Customer! http://rayedwards.com/stupid-customer/ http://rayedwards.com/stupid-customer/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2011 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2077 I recently visited a local coffee shop, and happened to overhear the customer in front of me mispronounce the name of one of the beverages on the menu.

“Can I please have a tall LOTTY?” she asked.

The barista did not quite sneer, but managed to convey that emotion when she said, “Oh, you mean a LAH-TAY?”

The customer meekly answered in the affirmative, and moved to the end of the counter. She paid her tab. But I wonder if she will ever go back to that coffee shop again?

I also wonder what was the purpose of correcting the customer?

As near as I can see the only reason for doing it was to send the message: “you pronounced it wrong.”

That much is clear, and, I think, accurate.

Anything I say about the motivation that the barista had in correcting the customer would be mere speculation. Was the barista jaded, angry, disdainful, malicious? I don’t really know.

I do know that she cost her store a potential bundle of money from that one customer, who was made to feel stupid.

The most alarming thing about this story is, I’m pretty sure the owner of the coffee shop would have been appalled to learn about this. I’m sure it’s not his intent that his customers be treated with scorn. I’m sure he simply doesn’t know.

Which leads me to ask you this potentially uncomfortable question: do such things happen at your business?

I’m certain you don’t intend for them to happen… But do they happen anyway?

How do you know?

Something to think about.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/stupid-customer/feed/ 14
What We Want Vs. What We Need http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-need/ http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-need/#respond Fri, 17 Jun 2011 11:12:49 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2089 Entrepreneurs are visionary people.

“Big picture” people.

“Idea” people.

And that’s good. BUT… in times like these it can also be problematic.

Because…

What we want is a simple solution to our complex business problems.

What we need, however, is not an “easy button”.

What we need are often complex, multi-faceted tactical plans guided by a carefully conceived strategic course.

The tricky thing is, from the outside this often looks like simplicity.

But it is simplicity on the other side of complexity.

Getting to the other side of complexity requires the hardest of all work: thinking.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-need/feed/ 0
On Thinking Different http://rayedwards.com/on-thinking-different/ http://rayedwards.com/on-thinking-different/#respond Wed, 15 Jun 2011 11:11:38 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2066 Every great innovation arose, not from striving for improvement, but from striving for originality.

Henry Ford famously said that if he had listened to the public, what he would’ve delivered was faster horses. Instead, he sought to do something different, and brought us the mass-produced automobile.

Before Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, very few people were asking for one. In fact, Saturday Night Live joked the week after the iPad’s release that it was the first time in history a company marketed a product by forcing people to buy it in order to learn what it was.

Millions of iPads later, Apple has the last laugh.

Don’t be afraid to think different.

Yes, you will fail more often than the average person. But a function of failing more often than the average person is that you also succeed more often than they do.

Something to think about.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/on-thinking-different/feed/ 0
The Cost of Automation http://rayedwards.com/the-cost-of-automation/ http://rayedwards.com/the-cost-of-automation/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:23:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2063 Perhaps automating every part of your business should not be on your “top 10 goals” list.

Customers are seldom impressed with how well you are able to remove human contact from every transaction.

People are always amazed at a personal touch-even as brief as a two-minute phone call, a handwritten note, or an e-mail that was clearly personal.

Automation may save you money in the short term, but did you ever stop to think how much it costs you in the long run?

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of my new Writing Riches Community at our special Preferred Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $97… but in the near future, we may raise the price to $147. Click here right now to lock in your Preferred Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-cost-of-automation/feed/ 0
My Best Advice About Freelancing http://rayedwards.com/my-best-advice-about-freelancing/ http://rayedwards.com/my-best-advice-about-freelancing/#respond Sat, 11 Jun 2011 11:11:20 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2054 My best advice about freelancing actually has nothing to do with the technical aspects of working for yourself.

Instead, the most valuable tip I can offer you is: make sure your mindset is correct. You need to choose:

Service over sales.

Excellence over expedience.

Ethics over ease.

Long-term gains over short-term profits.

And especially… possibility over problems.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/my-best-advice-about-freelancing/feed/ 0
Both! http://rayedwards.com/both/ http://rayedwards.com/both/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2011 11:01:08 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2051 Many times, especially in business, we are faced with a difficult choice.

Often, these difficult choices leave us trying to decide between one option or the other.

Buy an office building, or lease office space?

Hire a new employee, or outsource to the Philippines?

Develop a new product, or focus on better marketing for the existing product line?

In almost every case, there is more to be gained by refusing the “either/or” decision paradigm… and instead embracing a “both/and” paradigm. For instance…

Instead of either buying an office building, or leasing office space… what if you became the landlord, owning the building, leasing from yourself, and collecting rent from other tenants? That might let you enjoy the best of both the options.

Instead the choice between hiring a new employee in-house or outsourcing to Manilla… what if you did both, and extended the speed, flexibility and working hours of your team… without spending extra money?

Instead of choosing between product development, or marketing existing products in a better way, why not do both? Is there really a reason you’re forced to choose between the two options?

Usually, the answer is… there is no reason for such an artificial choice.

Free yourself from the box!

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/both/feed/ 9
When In Doubt http://rayedwards.com/when-in-doubt/ http://rayedwards.com/when-in-doubt/#respond Thu, 26 May 2011 12:03:50 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2043 My grandfather had a way of simplifying things.

Occasionally, when I was struggling with some decision of dilemma, I would take my problem to him.

He would scratch his chin and say, “Well, what do you think is the right thing to do?”

I would answer quietly, already knowing where this was headed.

And he would grin.

“I would just do that.”

Not the easiest thing. The right thing.

Good advice for many businesses and entrepreneurs.

When in doubt, do the right thing.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/when-in-doubt/feed/ 0
Always Wear Clean Underwear http://rayedwards.com/always-wear-clean-underwear/ http://rayedwards.com/always-wear-clean-underwear/#comments Wed, 04 May 2011 11:54:09 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2022 Your mother always told you, “Wear clean underwear.”

The idea was that if you were in an accident, or had to be rushed to the hospital, you didn’t want to be embarrassed by your undergarments.

Mom’s advice was good, and applies in business as well.

Not that you should live in fear of accidents, but that you should anticipate unexpected things will happen.

Unexpected meetings will pop up.

Unexpected phone conversations will occur.

Unexpected opportunities to make your sales presentation will crop up.

Being prepared-“wearing clean underwear”-means always being dressed and ready to meet important people.

It means always being ready to give your presentation at a moments notice, with or without the PowerPoint slides.

It means never being in a situation, engaged in an activity, or being in a place that would embarrass you in front of that important client or colleague.

So.

Always wear clean underwear.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/always-wear-clean-underwear/feed/ 1
How to Use Aikido on Your Customers http://rayedwards.com/how-to-use-aikido-on-your-customers/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-use-aikido-on-your-customers/#comments Mon, 02 May 2011 12:41:20 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2014 You already know that I believe it is not true that the “customer is always right”. Sometimes the customer is wrong.

Sometimes the customer is wrong only about a particular situation or issue; sometimes the customer simply wrong for your business.

An essential business skill is learning how to determine which of these is true with each customer.

But it is also true that the customer does have the power in the relationship. Let’s be real here for a moment. Without customers spending money with your business, you have no business.

Having the power, however, does not mean that a person has unilateral control over the relationship. Power is merely the potential to do work-or in this case, to spend money.

In the martial art of aikido, the general practice is not to overpower opponents in a physical combat. It is, rather, to pay attention to how your opponent is directing the force of their attack. Then to gently, but effectively, redirect that force so that you are actually in control of the power your opponent is wielding.

This has more of the appearance of a dance than it does the appearance of combat.

The very visual is instructive.

While the customer does indeed have the power, you have the opportunity to observe the customer’s movements, to anticipate where they are going, and to encounter them in a way that redirects their attention, their focus, and ultimately their dollars.

This is the ultimate form of respect, and is the total opposite of manipulative marketing.

It requires paying attention to the customer in a way almost all businesses fail to do. When you are involved in doing business with a company that is anticipating your needs, moving to help you before you even realize you need help yourself, and making every transaction effortless, you feel a sense of affinity for them. You feel respected. You feel heard. You feel valued.

Isn’t that what you want your customers to feel about you and your company?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/how-to-use-aikido-on-your-customers/feed/ 3
The Customer Is NOT Always Right http://rayedwards.com/the-customer-is-not-always-right/ http://rayedwards.com/the-customer-is-not-always-right/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:01:59 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2000 The customer is sometimes dead wrong. Let me explain.

The idea that “the customer is always right” is good and useful, within its proper context. When you’re dealing with a good customer, one who brings profit to your business, who doesn’t cost you time, money, and energy, it’s good to take an accommodating attitude. If you have a profitable customer, and you want to have them remain a customer, it’s often prudent to give them concessions on requests or complaints.

But as you know, not every customer is profitable.

Some customers have unreasonable expectations of you and your company. Some customers will never be happy or satisfied, until they win some sort of “superiority position” in your relationship that allows them to take advantage of you.

Now you may feel that this idea-the idea that some customers are not worth keeping-is not very kind. You may feel that it is a violation of the Golden rule, for instance. But think of it this way…

If you permit a customer to actually cost you money in order to do business with them-in other words, if for every hundred dollars the customer spends with you, you must spend $200 to keep them happy-how long will you be in business?

What if all your customers were like that?

The answer is, you wouldn’t be in business very long. You would quickly be bankrupt, once your capital had run out.

So clearly some customers are not right.

I’m not suggesting you take a hard-nosed, unsympathetic, unkind approach to business. If you are providing valuable goods and services to the marketplace, the kindest thing you can do is to remain in business. The only way you can do that is to continue to generate profits. And to continue generating the most amount of profits possible, so that you may render the most service to the marketplace possible, you must be able to identify customers that do not belong in a business relationship with you.

Perhaps they do belong in a business relationship with someone else, or they need to learn how to do business properly.

It may or may not be your task to teach some of your customers how to do business properly. I leave that to you to decide.

My goal here is to simply raise your awareness that the customer is not always right. However, the right customer is always good for your business.

Something to think about: how can you attract, do business with, and stay in  relationship with more of the “right customers”?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-customer-is-not-always-right/feed/ 6
Always Measure Results http://rayedwards.com/always-measure-results/ http://rayedwards.com/always-measure-results/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 01:59:33 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1992

“What gets measured, gets improved.”

In quantum physics, the phenomenon is well known. In that field, the key observation is that it is impossible to observe and experiment without affecting its outcome.

This has applications in marketing.

The first step is to view every activity in your business, as far as possible, as a marketing activity, having as its goal the generation of revenue.

The next step is to simply measure the effectiveness of each individual activity at producing revenue.

Certainly this is easy to apply to your advertising. You know the medium, you know the message, and you know the market. And you can know with a high degree of certainty, depending on how you structure the offer being made in the advertising, the results produced.

Once you have achieved one result, your goal in the next marketing campaign, or ad, or cold call, is to produce a result greater than the previous one. Simply continue producing results, measuring them, and doing more of the things that produce the better result.

While this sounds like simplistic advice, the truth is most businesses do very little measuring of any kind. If you begin measuring even some of your marketing activities, you will instantly join the ranks of the top 5% of all businesses in America.

The sooner you begin measuring your marketing activities and its results, the sooner you can identify the 20% of your marketing that produces 80% of your revenue. Your task at that point is to begin systematically and consistently improving the yield of that crucial 20%.

This is the way to massive business growth in record time.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/always-measure-results/feed/ 3
Supernatural Business Life http://rayedwards.com/supernatural-business-life/ http://rayedwards.com/supernatural-business-life/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1902 Question to ponder: as a Christian businessperson or entrepreneur, do you believe that the things you say you believe are really real?

It’s an important question that deserves your attention. Dr. Bill Bright said, “The Christian life, according to the claims and promises of God’s Holy, inspired word, is meant to be an exciting adventure, an abundant, fruitful life, characterized by the supernatural.”

Does that make you a little uneasy? Do you see this proven out in your own life and in your own business?

One of the most disturbing things about the life of the modern Christian is the way it seems to differ so little from the lives of people who are not believing Christians. Divorce rates are the same, family problem rates are the same, financial failure are the same for the majority of Christians as it is for unbelievers.

It’s not true in all cases.

For those who really believe God’s Word, and receive the gifts of grace that are available to all of us through Jesus Christ, we can experience changed lives and success in every way.

This includes — perhaps especially — our business lives. A believing Christian who is truly receiving the grace of Jesus Christ, and following Him, will experience good success. The choice deals will come your way, the right contacts will come into your life, you’ll be preferred over other vendors for the prime project.

Are you trusting God’s wisdom for your business decisions? Are you regularly going to Him with questions about strategy and tactics in your business? Are you asking Him for His favor so that you can be a blessing to others when you are blessed?

The world is watching. They want to see Christians with changed lives. They want to see believers who have been transformed by the power of God. The reason they want to see these things is because… they hope to be able to get that kind of life for themselves.

This is how we “make disciples of all nations.”

My admonition to you: start believing, start receiving, and start fulfilling God’s commission on your life.

The world is counting on us!

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/supernatural-business-life/feed/ 11
Highly Favored http://rayedwards.com/highly-favored/ http://rayedwards.com/highly-favored/#comments Thu, 24 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1886 Do you want to be highly favored? What is favor, anyway? It is unmerited good fortune, unearned blessing. In fact, some might consider you to be “lucky” when in fact you’re simply favored by God.

What it means to be favored by God is quite simple. Things will go your way. You’ll get the new client. You’ll receive the promotion. If you’re a parent your children will respect you and be well-behaved. If you are a taxi driver you will get the choice fares and the big tips. If you are a physician you will get patients who take your advice and follow your instructions.

Some will accuse me of preaching a “prosperity gospel”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “prosperity gospel’, there is only the gospel as given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. And that gospel tells me that he paid the ultimate price so that we would not have to. And that we became heirs to his kingdom. To me that sounds like being highly favored.

It makes sense, too. Think about it, how can we be a blessing to others (which God promises that we will be) if we are constantly in poverty, constantly sick, and always depressed? We can’t. That’s one reason God has set up a plan for you to be highly favored. Will you receive it?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/highly-favored/feed/ 5
How To Profit More http://rayedwards.com/how-to-profit-more/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-profit-more/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1884 As an entrepreneur, the primary aim of being in business is to create revenue. How do we do that? Offer a product or service to the market that solves a problem or serves a need, and do so in such a way that your company makes a profit. This is common sense.

Where Christian entrepreneurs sometimes get lost is forgetting that the primary aim of their life is not to simply pile up as much money as possible. Your purpose is not to be a participant in some kind of contest to see who can get the biggest stack of gold. No, the primary aim of the Christian entrepreneur’s life is to render service to God – and the way God has called and gifted you to render that service is through entrepreneurship. For those who are truly called to the entrepreneurial life, this means having a successful business.

In order to fulfill God’s purpose for our life as entrepreneurs and small business people, it is necessary that we have a proper relationship between our heart and money. God clearly says in His word that we cannot serve both God and money (or, more accurately, “Mammon”… but that is a topic for another post). What is not so obvious to many people is we can serve God with our money, and that doing so represents a proper heart-relationship to money.

We must be “safe for success” – not giving in to greed and pride. We must succeed in a way that honors Jesus. That means not making an idol out of our money. It is important to remember that God is not against us having money – but he is against money having us.

Make sure you are safe for success and that money does not take a place in your life higher than that occupied by God, who much always be our first priority. If you do this, you will keep money moving, you will pay fair wages, you will make square business deals, and you will enrich the lives of your employees, your customers, your vendors and the world at large. That is truly a formula to profit more.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/how-to-profit-more/feed/ 11
Wealth Will Fail – But Have Some Anyway http://rayedwards.com/wealth-will-fail-but-have-some-anyway/ http://rayedwards.com/wealth-will-fail-but-have-some-anyway/#comments Sun, 20 Mar 2011 16:32:49 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1879 Wealth is a great tool, but a horrible God.

God instructs us to use wealth, but not to rely on it. He also promises that it will indeed fail.

Interesting video from Mars Hill Church in Seattle…

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/wealth-will-fail-but-have-some-anyway/feed/ 3
Can Business Be Spiritual? http://rayedwards.com/can-business-be-spiritual/ http://rayedwards.com/can-business-be-spiritual/#comments Sat, 19 Mar 2011 17:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1875 I’ve been told – sometimes rudely, sometimes with kind intent – that “spiritual” matters and business don’t mix.

La Sagrada Familia

Hogwash.

You ALWAYS bring your spiritual beliefs with you into whatever you do.

Here’s a question worth considering: did Jesus bring his “spirituality” to work with him? I suspect the answer is yes, don’t you?

Jesus only spent 3 years in “full-time ministry”.

Up until about age 30, he worked for a living as a carpenter. He had to deal with clients, customers, competitors, and co-workers. He had to deal with a boss (his adoptive father).

Do you suppose Jesus went to the shop each day thinking, “I’m not going to bring that spiritual stuff to work with me…”?

No, I don’t think so either.

This does not mean you have to hop up on your desk at the office and start preaching. And it doesn’t mean you need to make the radical shift in your own business that I have made in mine – just because that is what I’m called to do doesn’t mean you are.

Unless it does.

In any event, I think it’s impossible to not bring your spirituality into your business – because real spirituality is not something you do. It’s who you are.

What do you think? Please share below.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/can-business-be-spiritual/feed/ 45
Are You Ripping People Off? http://rayedwards.com/are-you-ripping-people-off/ http://rayedwards.com/are-you-ripping-people-off/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2011 12:47:54 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1861 First: what does it mean to rip someone off?

One way to define it is simply failing to give full value; representing that you’re giving your best, when in fact you’re not.

By this measure…

If you’re not building your business as big as you can, you’re ripping people off (your customers, vendors, suppliers, employees and affiliates).

You’re even ripping off your competitors, by failing to set the bar higher (and this driving them to greater levels of success).

Stop ripping people off.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/are-you-ripping-people-off/feed/ 3
What We Want vs. What We Need http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-what-we-need/ http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-what-we-need/#comments Wed, 23 Feb 2011 02:09:25 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1836 Entrepreneurs are visionary people.

“Big picture” people.

“Idea” people.

And that’s good. BUT… in times like these it can also be problematic.

Because…

What we want is a simple solution to our complex business problems.

What we need, however, is not an “easy button”.

What we need are often complex, multi-faceted tactical plans guided by a carefully conceived strategic course.

The tricky thing is, from the outside this often looks like simplicity.

But it is simplicity on the other side of complexity.

Getting to the other side of complexity requires the hardest of all work: thinking.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/what-we-want-vs-what-we-need/feed/ 1
It Is Better to Give http://rayedwards.com/it-is-better-to-give/ http://rayedwards.com/it-is-better-to-give/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 12:10:40 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1816 What if the way to build a more successful business was simply to give more?

More thought to each product you produce.

More care to each customer interaction.

More value for each dollar you receive.

Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.”

He also promises elsewhere that if we give faithfully, and joyfully, we will receive much more in return.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone (including businesses) operated on that principle.

I know… that’s not how things work with everyone.

But the way to get closer to a world that looks like that, is to be the kind of person who does.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/it-is-better-to-give/feed/ 1
The Only Thing Constant Is Change http://rayedwards.com/the-only-thing-constant-is-change/ http://rayedwards.com/the-only-thing-constant-is-change/#comments Fri, 11 Feb 2011 14:03:08 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1788

“Pig Pen, this here is Rubber Duck. We ain’t gonna pay no toll…”
CW McCall, “Convoy”

Who would have dreamed, in the 1970s, that anything would ever replace the CB radio? Some readers will, like me, be old enough to remember the CB craze. We will all remember, for instance, that the “main channel” on our CB radio was channel 19.

“Breaker 19, this here is the CopyGuy, with a newsflash: before that Hollywood actor named Reagan becomes president, CB radio will be a fad from the past…”

Fast-forward to just around the time CB radio had completely faded from the American consciousness, and you’ll discover a curious new technology called the compact disc just making its debut on the market. There were scoffers. There were purists who said nothing sounded as good as vinyl (there still are, but that’s another post). And there were plenty of people to point out that nobody in their right mind would replace an entire record collection just to go buy the same music on CD. Those people were wrong.

Fast forward again. Apple introduces a service called iTunes. There are scoffers. There are purists who say there’s nothing like having the liner notes you get inside the case of a CD. And they’re plenty of people pointing out that nobody in their right mind will replace an entire CD collection is to go buy the same music for the iPod. Those people were also wrong.

Just to be clear: those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Change is constant. Industries appear and vanish in the space of a decade. Those who win are those who anticipate the trends, and get in front of them. Distinction worthy of note: it is much easier to predict trends and get in front of them that it is to be the creator of said trends. Much, much, much easier.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-only-thing-constant-is-change/feed/ 2
Bad News vs. Good News http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-vs-good-news/ http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-vs-good-news/#comments Mon, 07 Feb 2011 12:32:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1782

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

I will leave the discussion aside as to whether William Shakespeare is indulging in moral relativism.

I think he is not, if one reads the above quotation in context, but I do think the quotation illustrates a basic principle we, as entrepreneurs, would be profited to recognize and employ with more frequency.

It is popular, in our culture, to be well versed in bad news.

It is popular to be able to quote the bad news, and to elaborate upon its badness, and one is presumed to be more erudite and wise for doing so.

But as entrepreneurs-those who create something from virtually nothing-I believe it is the kiss of death. It is a way of limiting ourselves, of violating the principle of the best use of resources.

The best and highest resource we possess is ourselves, and that never brought so into focus as in what we think about most of the time.

I don’t believe it’s possible to talk about the bad news all the time, without also thinking about it all the time. And it should stand to reason that thinking about something all the time tends to put one’s focus on that something, and that focusing on something inevitably draws us closer to the something.

I’m not talking about mysticism here.

I’m simply talking about the fact that the more we tend to think about a thing, the more likely it is that our behavior, actions, attitudes, and lifestyle will come into alignment with that thing we’re thinking about.

So the “bad news” is this: thinking and talking about bad news all the time might make you seem smart, but it inevitably makes you dumb, and what’s more it likely will make you broke. In the rare cases that it does not make you broke, because you have in some perverted way discovered how to profit from bad news, it will make you soul-sick.

Yes, I’m sticking my neck out on this one. But my poster child for the premise of being rich but soul-sick is Howard Hughes. And I don’t think any of us wants to end up like him, hoarding our fingernail clippings, living on orange juice, and slowly going insane.

The good news is, there is obvious profit in thinking and talking about good news. In looking for the good news in every situation. It is after all, as entrepreneurs, what we are paid to do.

Let’s go do it.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/bad-news-vs-good-news/feed/ 4
The Value of Precise Knowledge http://rayedwards.com/the-value-of-precise-knowledge/ http://rayedwards.com/the-value-of-precise-knowledge/#comments Mon, 24 Jan 2011 21:12:49 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1747 Precise knowledge about specific processes can produce great wealth.

For proof, click here and watch a startling, but enlightening video. Yes, he’s selling something; but what I want you to glean is his absolutely correct grasp of principles regarding levels of knowledge about money. You don’t need to buy anything to get the value from the video.

If you haven’t already, click here and watch the video. I’ll wait.

Now, why is it that the things he teaches in this video are true?

This post from Sam Carpenter explains it perfectly. You should read the entire post, but let me point out the principle I want to highlight:

We must study the mechanical minutia of our tasks if we are to excel. This means observing: looking down and analyzing the sub-systems of our lives…to see our selves as mechanical devices that can be made to be super-efficient. The next step is to spend the majority of our time perfecting each of our sub-systems, one by one.

Here’s a happy thought: Study and then perfect your systems as a main focus and you’ll find yourself in select company and therefore flying faster and higher than a huge percentage of the competition. Make More. Work Less.

Lots of people work hard to become expert at what they do, but what great heights will be achieved by becoming expert at a flawed process?

All very well worth pondering – it all does apply to you & me, Eternal Entrpreneur. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: figure out how, and how you might use this distinction to your benefit.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of  my new Writing Riches Community – the place where I share the specific SYSTEMS that sell more of your products & services. And you can claim your spot in our club at our special Charter Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in LESS THAN one week, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-value-of-precise-knowledge/feed/ 1
Pig-Headed Discipline http://rayedwards.com/pig-headed-discipline/ http://rayedwards.com/pig-headed-discipline/#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 12:42:14 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1743 Add this book to your list of must-reads: The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes.

If you haven’t read it, move it to the top of your list.

If you have read it and haven’t yet implemented every single strategy inside its covers, read it now. Again.

Probably my favorite passage from Chet’s masterful business work is one that most people read without understanding its import. In the early pages of the book, Chet points out that most people will read his book, agree with its precepts, and still not do them. He says this is the “reverse psychology” section of the book, in which he attempts to prod the reader into doing what needs to be done. In Chet’s words, “I’m goading you into applying a powerful force for creating success from what you’re going to learn… and that force, my friends, is pigheaded discipline and determination.

Pigheaded discipline is the subject of this post for very good, and simple, reason. That reason being the fact that this is the most-lacked skill in over 90% of entrepreneurs. In my experience, what stands in our way, what holds us back from our potential, is usually not some external force (such as competition or marketplace conditions)-it is, rather, our own inability to say no to the things that distract us from our most profitable activities, and our continued inability to say yes only to those activities that produce the results we seek.

It is as if the world conspires against us to lead us down this path to destruction. Most of our peers, and certainly most of our employees, are happy to tell us what we should be spending our time on-and almost without fail their advice is dead wrong. It usually doesn’t come packaged as advice, by the way – it usually comes packaged as a meeting… a phone call… a personal plea… or some kind of interpersonal conflict. None of which are, perhaps, designed to take us off target- but all of which inevitably do.

Guard your heart carefully, eternal entrepreneur, and focus only on the things that expand the kingdom. Employ pigheaded discipline.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of  my new Writing Riches Community at our special Charter Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in LESS THAN two weeks, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/pig-headed-discipline/feed/ 1
The Prosperous Practice of the Pareto Principle http://rayedwards.com/the-prosperous-practice-of-the-pareto-principle/ http://rayedwards.com/the-prosperous-practice-of-the-pareto-principle/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:34:07 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1739 You probably know about the Pareto principle. It’s the principle discovered by the Italian mathematician (whose last name was, surprisingly enough, Pareto) that states something like the following: 80% of the results in any system arise from 20% of the inputs in that system. In the world of business, the Pareto principle is commonly invoked when noting such mathematical oddities as the fact that 80% of the sales are generated by less than 20% of the sales people; 80% of the revenue is generated by less than 20% of the customers; 80% of the leads are generated by less than 20% of the phone calls… and so forth.

As an entrepreneur, it is profitable to think about the Pareto principle in the following way: 80% of your results will flow from only 20% of your activities. They should become a liberating truth for you. It constitutes mathematical permission for you to focus only on the 20% of things you like to do anyway. The truth is most entrepreneurs are people who enjoy “visioning”-or, as my private client Frank Kern likes to put it, “scheming”. This doesn’t imply anything evil; it simply recognizes the fact that entrepreneurial types tends to enjoy coming up with the big ideas, seeing the big picture, laying down the strategy, and leaving the cleanup and details to others on their team. In the world of the Internet, there is an ethos that if you can do it yourself you should do it yourself. This has had the result of locking up entrepreneurs in a prison of detail work. No entrepreneur should be installing WordPress blogs, debugging scripts, or figuring out how to make the latest plug-in work… unless this is out of financial necessity. And assuming that you’re any kind of entrepreneur at all, the period of financial necessity may exist from time to time, but should be short-lived.

The prosperous practice of the Pareto principle simply means: only do the stuff you’re best at, the stuff that gets results, that puts sales on the books, new clients on the roster, and “moves the needle”. Anything else is a waste of time.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of  my new Writing Riches Community at our special Charter Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in LESS THAN two weeks, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/the-prosperous-practice-of-the-pareto-principle/feed/ 0
Don’t Get It Perfect – Get It Started http://rayedwards.com/dont-get-it-perfect-get-it-started/ http://rayedwards.com/dont-get-it-perfect-get-it-started/#respond Wed, 19 Jan 2011 12:26:28 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1735 An appropriate note on beginnings, as we roll through this first month of the year.

The enemy of most entrepreneurs is not perfectionism, as some have suggested. It is the idea of perfectionism. It is the dream of what their beautiful business will finally look like someday. What I mean is this: it is possible to hold such a magnificent dream in one’s mind, that one never gets around to actually doing the work required to bring the dream to fruition-because if one did so, one would be faced with the inevitable reality that the thing itself did not live up to the promise of the dream. This is more important than it may at first appear.

I’m convinced that more businesses are killed because they are never started, than are begun and lost to the ravages of the marketplace. I have a friend who has begun at least a dozen enterprises that completely and utterly failed to make a single dollar-because he started all of them in his mind only. He made elaborate plans. He drew incredibly complex mind maps. He constructed detailed, banker- pleasing spreadsheets. And finally, overcome by the weight of all of the fantasizing he had done, eventually realizing all the potential dangers that lay ahead of him if he proceeded, he quietly laid each enterprise to rest before it had even been born.

There is a much-quoted saying in this business of ours: “Don’t get it perfect, just get it started.” Or something very close to that. I have heard this quote attributed to various different people, but I’m determined to believe that it originated with Zig Ziglar. Regardless of who first said it, it contains a great deal of truth. Please bear in mind that this particular saying is not an endorsement of creating inferior products or services; it is, more accurately, a condemnation of allowing the ideal of perfectionism to prevent the birth of enterprise.

It is the law of the farm writ large: if you don’t plant the seed, no crop will grow.

SPECIAL NOTE: For a limited time, you can become a member of  my new Writing Riches Community at our special Charter Member Rate. Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in LESS THAN two weeks, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/dont-get-it-perfect-get-it-started/feed/ 0
3 Sexy Ways to Build Websites That Sell http://rayedwards.com/3-sexy-ways-to-build-websites-that-sell/ http://rayedwards.com/3-sexy-ways-to-build-websites-that-sell/#comments Fri, 31 Dec 2010 14:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1689 If you’re discouraged about building a website for your new business or idea, there really is little excuse for delaying your project.

The days when you had to be a programmer or a “code monkey” to get your site built are long gone (no disrespect to programmers, whom I love dearly). Here are three sexy little tools that make building a website that sells a total snap (or at least a bit less onerous):

Marketer’s CMS. This neat little system uses WordPress as the foundation for website that sells, and is the first system I know of that makes doing so as easy as one–two–three. Watch the video.

Wishlist Member. This is an add-on system for WordPress (which means you can use it with Marketer’s CMS, above, for a complete solution) that enables your website to have password-protected membership levels. And you can charge foe these different levels. So, for instance, you could have most of your content available for free, but certain high-level content could be “for pay”. Wishlist handles taking your payments, setting people up with accounts including usernames and passwords, and checking to make sure your member’s accounts are paid up before allowing them to see premium content. This brief description doesn’t really do this software justice; again, to fully appreciate its value I suggest watching the video.

Google Sites. This is a drop-dead-simple website building system that allows you to build great websites in a flash. Highly recommended. Plus, a friend of mine built the templates that accompany this free tool-and they are awesome! Click here for Google Sites.

Now go build some websites!

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/3-sexy-ways-to-build-websites-that-sell/feed/ 1
Not An Email Guy http://rayedwards.com/not-an-email-guy/ http://rayedwards.com/not-an-email-guy/#comments Thu, 23 Dec 2010 14:14:45 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1672 I have a friend who runs a very successful business.

Not moderately successful; very successful. His business’s revenue each month is measured in the millions.

Recently, when speaking about how we should communicate with one another, he smiled sheepishly and admitted, “I’m not really an e-mail guy.”

Think about it. $24 million dollar business. Doesn’t do email.

I’m not saying the success of his business is dependent upon him not using e-mail. But I am saying it is interesting to note that he is successful despite not using e-mail.

Something to think about.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/not-an-email-guy/feed/ 1
Mind The Gap http://rayedwards.com/mind-the-gap/ http://rayedwards.com/mind-the-gap/#comments Thu, 16 Dec 2010 02:51:28 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1648 Things don’t always seem the same to your customers as they seem to you.

You might think, for instance, you just did something to serve the customer… And they might have an entirely different perception.

Case in point: I recently enroll the large number of students in an online training webinar series. Thinking I would best serve those students by getting the series underway as soon as possible, I scheduled the webinars immediately after enrollments were complete.

I felt good about this decision, because I would be delivering the material the students had paid for in a very timely fashion.

I was somewhat surprised to receive an e-mail from a student who was upset with me for not waiting longer to schedule the online classes. This student criticized me as being “just like those other Internet marketers” who think only of themselves, and not of their students. What?! I thought I was thinking of my students!

I quickly got over my feelings of having been spat upon, and realized this was an opportunity for me to learn something. That something was this: my perception of what’s happening can be completely opposite of my customer’s perception. One of my primary responsibilities as a business owner is to be as aware of these differences as possible, and always working to close the gap between the two.

As my friends in the UK are well aware, it’s very important to “mind the gap”.

PS – I am hosting a free webinar tomorrow night (Thursday, December 16, 2010) where I will share a number of business insights that might be useful to you. For instance, I’ll be sharing how I cut my work week from 60 hours down to 20… And massively increased my profitability in the process. If that sounds interesting, click here to register for the free webinar.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/mind-the-gap/feed/ 4
Sorry I Haven’t Called http://rayedwards.com/sorry-i-havent-called/ http://rayedwards.com/sorry-i-havent-called/#comments Fri, 10 Dec 2010 14:03:05 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1636 I’m working hard to eliminate from my regular vocabulary the following phrase: “Sorry I haven’t called, I’ve just been so busy…”

I heard someone saying this on their cell phone at Starbucks during the last week. It sounded completely disingenuous, and I was appalled to realize I’ve been guilty of saying it myself. A lot.

What’s the problem with this phrase? The real message you’re conveying, it seems to me,  is: “I just haven’t made calling you a priority, and facing you with it is uncomfortable. So I’m giving you an excuse.”

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to call everyone back instantly who leaves me a voicemail. That’s just unrealistic, not to mention poor stewardship of one’s time. It does mean, however,  I’m going to do my best to stop making excuses.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/sorry-i-havent-called/feed/ 4
Three Ways to Get New Clients… Today http://rayedwards.com/three-ways-to-get-new-clients-today/ http://rayedwards.com/three-ways-to-get-new-clients-today/#comments Tue, 07 Dec 2010 06:02:19 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1612 Like so many things in life, getting new clients is not nearly as complicated as we sometimes like to make it. Here are three ways you can get new clients (whether your freelancer, a consultant, or a salesperson)… and get them today.

1. Call previous clients and ask for business. I know. Seems simple when I say it, doesn’t it?

2. Answer your e-mail. I mean, really answer it. Look for opportunities to help people with questions they didn’t even realize they were asking. Usually, it’s easy to identify what problems people are having if you just pay attention to what they’re actually saying. Look through that inbox again, and look for opportunities to serve; these often lead to opportunities to get paid.

3. Call people in your network. Pick up the phone, call people you know, and simply tell them: “I’m looking for business. Do you know anybody I might be able to help with my services?”

Nothing glamorous here. Just good, old-fashioned, uncompromising hard work. Gets the job done.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/three-ways-to-get-new-clients-today/feed/ 4
All I Really Need to Know About Online Community http://rayedwards.com/all-i-really-need-to-know-about-online-community/ http://rayedwards.com/all-i-really-need-to-know-about-online-community/#comments Sat, 04 Dec 2010 16:11:39 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1605 Chris Garrett gave an excellent talk yesterday at Wishlist Live about online community. I was struck — not for the first time — by the thought that online community is no different than “real world” community. I need this reminder every now and then.

This morning, while thinking about all this, I remembered a delightful piece written by Robert Fulghum called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden”. It seems to me this piece by Fulgum provides some good starting points for how to approach online community:

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

What would you add to the list?

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/all-i-really-need-to-know-about-online-community/feed/ 8
Faster Horses http://rayedwards.com/faster-horses/ http://rayedwards.com/faster-horses/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:06:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1600 Common wisdom says “give the customer what they want”.

The only problem is, if everyone followed that advice, we would not have Indiana Jones, airline travel, the iPhone and a host of other things we didn’t know we wanted because they hadn’t been invented yet.

Henry Ford said that if he had given his customers what they wanted, it would have been faster horses.

Give your customers something that will delight them – not just what they want. Don’t give them faster horses.

]]>
http://rayedwards.com/faster-horses/feed/ 1