The Inbox Deception

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.

 

No Customer Left Behind

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?

Set Up A Membership Site In Less Than 1 Hour

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]

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The Cheapskate Entrepreneur

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”.

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?

Why Do Newbies Think So Small?

Very soon, I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC to speak at a conference (JV Alert).

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.

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

Story time.

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.

Kicking The Hornet’s Nest

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!

Now I’m Getting In Your Face

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.

The Much-Exaggerated Death of Internet Marketing

Mike Filsaime and Ray Edwards

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.

Who Is Really Your Friend?

Who is really your friend?

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.