Top 5 Innovative Business Ideas to Grow Your Business NOW!

Small business marketing ideas to grow your business online

So, you have made it yet into another year in your online business, right? Great! You indeed must congratulate yourself for many have fallen by the way in the past year.

However, ever as much as you have accomplished this feat, there’s still much to be done. Whether you are a blogger doing all you can to to make money online or you’re a small business entrepreneur marketing your stuff online, one thing for sure is that you will love to see your business grow beyond what it is right now, by the end of this year.

So, how do you do this? Don’t you think there’s still some room for doing more? How about some new business ideas?

There are hundreds of good business ideas that you can apply as a blogger or web entrepreneur to enhance your online business. No matter the successes you’ve achieved so far, now is the time to start making plans for the higher level.

In this article I want to give 10 innovative small business ideas that you can implement right now to grow your business profits starting now. Of course, they not rocket science. They are simple strategies anyone can implement.

So if you’re ready, let’s begin:

1: Re-Brand Your Business

Rebranding and product re-launch is a powerful marketing strategy businesses employ to increase their market share off-line. It could take different forms like changing the business logo, redesigning the product packaging, introducing new components in the product content etc.

Rebranding has a lot of benefits including, but not limited to, creating a fresh impression of the product/business in the minds of customers and prospects. A successful product re-launch can really bring great benefits to the business.

As a business blogger you can creatively use this strategy to give your blog and online business a fresh lease of life. I recently employed this strategy on this blog. I gave the WebIncomeJournal.com a facelift that touched every area of the blog – the blog design, logo, and content package were given a new life.

To implement this strategy in your online business, simply take a deeper look at your business and come up with areas you will need to work on. Think of how you can package this into something that will interest your customers and then design it to be a product re-launch!

To make sure that this work out great you can involve different promotional tools to give the re-launch some buzz. You could employ PR services, social media announcements, article marketing, guest blogging etc to create the necessary buzz. This will not give you some new incentive to do more in the business but will also give you the opportunity of getting new customers.

2: Prioritize Your Time & Operations

This is another great tip that will greatly enhance your online business and increase your profits. By now you definitely know that there are lots of things that jostle for your attention everyday on the net. There are of course dozens of ways you might be employing right now to market your blog/business.

But, how about if you’ll prioritize your operations and choose to focus more on some operations?

For example, instead of spending hours hopping from one blog to the other posting comments or spending hours in a forum reading and replying to discussions, you could decide on writing articles for submission to the article directories or better still write guest posts for blogs that accept guest blogging. This will not only increase traffic to your blog but also your profits.

3: Add a New Marketing Technique to Your Schedule

This is indeed another powerful way of enhancing your online business success. Chances are you’ve been using some specific marketing methods over the past months or even years. How about adding something new?

Ever tried to promote your blog or business online through free classified ads?

How about video marketing?

Have you considered podcasting?

Indeed, these are some of the internet business marketing ideas and techniques for marketing your business online. Analyze your present marketing strategies and then consider the ones from this list that you can add to them.

By simply adding another marketing method to your usual strategies you can actually increase your profits greatly.

4: Leverage the Efforts of Others

There is no doubt that you have a limit to what you can achieve in a day – except you’re some super human! However, you could increase your productivity greatly if you’ll use the power of leverage. For example, outsourcing.

Outsourcing is something every successful person and/or corporation is involved in. The internet has made it a lot easier for you to outsource your work to competent people – sometimes at ridiculously very low cost!

The good news however is that doing this can really be of great benefit to you as you’ll produce more results. So if you’re thinking of some innovative ideas to maximize your success then you need to outsource your operations.

To achieve this you need a well laid out system for your business. Ensure therefore that you’re building a system for your business so that you can leverage the efforts of others without any fear of messing things up.

 5: Get Involved With Video Marketing!

As I’ve mentioned in #3 above, video marketing is something you should really consider adding to your online marketing arsenal! This is SERIOUS enough that I want to put it on a separate list

One reason you should consider video marketing is the fact that video gets indexed very fast by Google and this could be a great plus for your blog or website SEO. Besides, the traffic a single video can generate could sometimes be outstanding.

If you’re worried about video marketing because you lack the skills to get involved, you could easily outsource it. The good news is that there are various online video services that will easily convert your blog articles to video with little or no effort on your part. Here’s one online program that will turn your articles to highly valuable videos without much effort from you.

If you however, want something more professional then basically you need a simple digital camera that has video capabilities. You can get any of these from Amazon at a good price.

In creating your videos all you have to do is talk for a few minutes about whatever niche market you are in. You can give away tips, advice, or give a product review for a product that you are promoting. It can be either a product or service that you created, or one that you are promoting as an affiliate.

Here’s an example of a video I created sometime ago:

I have also created a Youtube channel for the WebIncomeJournal. Feel free to subscribe today!

Ok, that’s all we can take for now because of space. We definitely will continue with this in our subsequent posts. What you should know however is taking a proactive step in building your business demands you being innovative and forward thinking. I do hope that these business ideas and the ones we will discuss later will indeed help you boost your business income in the months to come.

Let’s make it a date!

Your comments are always welcomed. Feel free also to share your views on the video.

Revealed: The Top Reason Why Over 95% Of Bloggers Fail!

Top Reason Why Many Bloggers Fail!

There is a pathetic phenomenon happening around the blogosphere of late. More and more bloggers are abandoning their blogs. In the past few months I have personally counted about a dozen of such bloggers MIA (Missing In Action!)

The amazing thing is that most of these bloggers are actually some of those whom you may have looked up to as “successful bloggers!”

Now, no matter what reasons these bloggers may have given for their action, we really should be concerned because, personally, I believe no one changes or abandons a winning team!

In another post I wrote on this same topic when I asked the question:

Why Are You Not Making Money With Your Blog?

While that post identify basically what I called the “bloggers’ mindset” as the main culprit why many bloggers fail to make money online with blogging, I have realized, after about 5 years of running different blogs and interacting with different bloggers, that this problem is actually playing out in different ways.

In this post therefore, I want to reveal to you what I have uncovered after writing that earlier post.

So, Why Do 95% Of Bloggers Fail?

Please note that what I referred to as the “bloggers’ mindset” in the post referenced above has not really changed (you are advised to read it here), today I’m seeing this played out in what I’ll simply call the…

“Herd Mentality”

In my 5 years as a blogger I have seen this to top the list in the manifestation of the bloggers’ mindset.

It’s simply an attempt by many bloggers to “belong” which unfortunately leads them to end up doing just what everyone out there is doing!

Take a trip today round the blogs you have always frequented and you will agree that this is true. Not only will you find the same bloggers posting comments, you will also discover that there is nothing really different in their content – the same tips and strategies; the same dos and don’ts and a common hatred for the probloggers whose tactics and strategies are drastically different from theirs!

None of these bloggers ever question why all the bloggers who read their so-called “expert tips” and strategies every day never go on to become 5-figure bloggers! They never care to question why the same set of bloggers run around the same set of blogs posting comments, meeting on social media and doing other same things over and over again!

They may not know it but the truth is, this is simply the herd mentality in action!

Now, I do not doubt the fact that it is a good thing to build a community around your blog. But if you look critically you will discover that these bloggers are actually seeking for acceptance among others of their kind!

So, How Can You Escape This?

Mark Twain once said:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect!”

I think this is the right advice to heed right away. Simply doing what everyone else is doing will only help you achieve the average results being posted by many of these bloggers.

You need to separate yourself from the herd!

Evaluate the crowd you are presently following and if you discover none of these are really posting the type of results you aim to achieve then it is time to step out!

Can you picture the wild for a moment?

Now, which of the animals usually run in herds? They are the prey, right? And why do they do so? Of course, they believe that makes them safer.

How about predators?

These either stay in small groups or run alone!

This is NOT different online.

There are the “producers” and there are the “consumers.” A simple look around will convince you that the “producers” online actually run in small groups. They are always coming up with one product launch after another while the “consumers” (those who have the herd mentality) fall over themselves to either promote or buy these products. In doing this they create a stiff competition among themselves – a competition that is heightening by the day and is now seeing more and more of those in this group being “pushed” off the cliff!

Blogging Is Hard Work; Except With The Right Systems!

You need a blogging planIt is amazing that while bloggers who have the herd mentality are throwing in the trowel a few other bloggers are evolving into business conglomerates with their own systems. For example, CopyBlogger.com started as a one-man blog a few years ago but today it is a business with well over 115,000 unique customers with a team of employees!

Even with its many employees, copyblogger.com understands the rigors of moderating and replying to blog comments. And, what did they do to solve the problem?

Removed blog comments!

That one decision, instead of helping those who have always preached that you MUST reply to every comment if you want to succeed as a blogger see reason, it rather spiked a lot of debate amongst them.

The irony of it all is that they ended up linking back to copyblogger.com thereby giving the site some more free promotion and SEO juice!

Herds Are NEVER Followed but Led Or Fed Upon!

Making money online is like the predator and the prey in the wild

Like I have mentioned earlier, animals that move in herds are always seeking for protection. They are either led by someone else or they fed upon by the “predators.” They are never leaders. So if you desire to lead, if you ever desire to set the pace for others to follow, then it is time to step out of the herd.

You simply need to stop running with the crowd. And you can do this by setting your own rules, questioning the status quo and of course reevaluating your blogging activities. You need to take responsibility for your actions instead of relying some one else.

Of course, if you are just starting out, all of these may seem overwhelming.  But you need not despair because the truth is you are in luck. You can get this 7-Part  Special Guide that reveals the CORE areas you must focus on in order to build your online success. After you have understood the fundamentals you will be able to move on to form your own rules and judgments.

However, if you have gotten stuck with the “herd mentality” and its damnable ideas, you’ll need to do yourself some good and un-learn those things! The truth is I may not be able to help you except you make that decision yourself.

So, the decision is yours to make. Feel free to go run with the herd or pull away today!

I’ll love to read your comments. Whether you like this or not, let me know what you think.

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2014: The Year to Be Bold and Assertive – Be ready to be shaken!

Setting up your small business plan

Alright, for some time now I have been inferring that some major changes would take place here at the WebIncomeJournal.com! I wrote about it before going away for the Christmas holidays. I also mentioned it in the first post I published this year. And now, it is time to unveil the changes!

5 Years Is Enough Time To Take This Decision!

I started this blog September 2009. Within this period I passionately worked hard to build a community around it.

Starting from zero knowledge about blogging, I spent time devouring all the blogging tips and advice that you can find online. With this knowledge I developed a personal system that helped me to fulfill my plans of building a community around the WebIncomeJournal.com.

At a time this blog was averaging 30 – 40 comments per a post! In fact, a few of the posts pulled in around 90 comments. I was excited; to say the least! Of course, I was exhilarated, enjoying the journey!

But…

Is It About Blogging Or Is It About Building A Business?

Despite the good results from this blog, I knew there was something missing. And that missing piece is the fact that I set out on this journey not just to create a blog but to build a business. And what is the use of a business if it cannot pay your bills?

A couple of times I tried to reposition things to reflect the business that I intended it to be. But then, after a few months the flow would tend to move again towards what is generally seen around the blogosphere – talk about blogging and blogging tips, do what every other blogger does every day running around the blogosphere posting comments, responding to comments and returning the favor where necessary!

It was a vicious circle that takes a lot of time and energy to accomplish but rarely resulting in a profitable outcome!

It was only towards the closing of 2012 that I decided to really make the break and build a business and not just a blog. And this formed the major thrust of the blog in 2013. In one of the bare-all, call-to-arms post I did titled: Hey Blogger, Please Quit! I emptied my heart about this subject. (If you have not read it before now, don’t miss it – even if you have read it before go and read it again – because it will cause a turn-around for your blogging career!)

Here are some of the main points of that post and some of the suggestions:

1. Stop comparing yourself with other average bloggers because when you measure your success with those you are doing better than, you would only harm yourself. Aim higher and start listening to entrepreneur bloggers!

2. Start building a business and not just a blog with special reference to the post: Frankly, Are You Building a Business or a Blog?

3. Ditch the blogger’s mindset. Of course if you must build a business you need an entrepreneur’s mindset and not just the mindset that is prevalent amongst bloggers. Here’s a post that will blow your mind on this issue: Could This Really Be the Reason Why 80% Of Blogpreneurs Fail?

4. Decide on a product. Indeed every business has a product. If you must build a business as a blogger you need a product! For insights on this read: Hey Blogger, What Really Is Your Product?

5. And to cap it, I recommended using your blogging skills and knowledge to start an online business like I outlined in the post: “How to Turn Your Skills and Knowledge into a Business.”

Now, I must say that I did not just gave these various tips and advice on the blog but made them the focal point of the policy thrust of the Web Income Journal throughout the greater part of 2013.

The result?

I can confidently say that 2013 became the greatest year for the blog. Like I mentioned earlier, this blog has been live since 2009, though the present domain name (www.webincomejournal.com) only came into being in 2011, but all these years what I earned from the blog in 2013 was far more than the rest years put together!

And this not minding the fact that when I changed my blogging focus the comments on the blog fell so low that it appeared the blog has lost its savor! But like I mentioned in some of the posts linked above, you don’t measure the success of a blog by the comments.

Frankly, it’s the results from the blog in 2013 that has given me the confidence to really chart a new course for the bog.  I now realize with every confidence that it’s really not about blogging but about building an enduring business!

Repositioning the WebIncomeJournal.com

Towards the ending of 2013, after evaluating the results of the blog compared to previous years, I made a decision to not only redesign the blog but also to redefine and reposition it to achieve its mission and objective which have always been: “To educate, inspire and empower bloggers and web entrepreneurs to start and run successful businesses online!”

Your 2014 business plansTo ensure that this became a reality, I spent a better part of my Christmas holidays researching and taking a deeper look at some of the popular entrepreneur blogs around. And one major thing I discovered is that, though nearly everyone of them appeared to be different in some way, there were however some areas where the similarities were glaring! What I decided to do therefore was to redesign the blog taking those similarities into consideration.

To this end, I have been busy behind the scene working on these changes in these past few days. Allow me to let you into a few of these things:

1. A New Theme and Home Page Redesign – If you are familiar with this blog, you may have noticed that the home page has changed though the post pages appear to be the same. Truth is I’ve changed the theme but decided to customize the post pages to be as close to what they were.

2. Put together some very useful pages around the main thrust of the blog. These include:

(a.) Can You Really Make Money Blogging? – This is a guide for bloggers who truly desire to make money blogging. From my 5+ years of blogging experience, I’ve carefully looked at the various ways you can make money blogging and I’ve put up this guide under 3 tested methods that can help you make money from your blog. Check it out here!

(b.) A Quick Action Guide to Building a Successful Online Business – This guide which presents the core basics of building a successful online business is actually the major trust of the blog right now. For each of the 3 core steps presented there are extensive references to relevant blog posts. Check it out for some insights!

(c.) A Guide on Leveraging Web Media for Online Business – There is no doubt that the web presents us with very useful tools and resources for growing your online business. These resources include social media, email marketing, video marketing, infographics, etc. These web media come handy at various stages of building your business. Check out the guide here for how to use them.

3. The third major work that has been going on behind the scene is a 7 Part Email Course that details the steps needed to build a flourishing online business. This is an in-depth and practical guide that takes into consideration all that is needed compared to the quick guide mentioned above. Let me quickly say here that If you’ve been struggling with your online business, not knowing where to start or the next steps to move you forward, I advice that you signup for this email course. Click here to get the training.

Looking at 2014 and Beyond!

Having given you an insight into what I have done so far let me say that from this time forward, you are going to see more of practical income generating strategies and techniques on this blog.  Of course, if this blog must be a platform for inspiring and empowering you, then nothing short of that should be the focus.

One way I intend to do this is showcase personal case studies of what I’m doing at every point. For this, I have re-invested part of the earnings from the blog in 2013 on some niche marketing tools and software which I intend to use in setting up niche sites this year.

In 2013 I tried building some niche sites (I actually have some knowledge of this online business model!) but did not do much about them. For now these ones have not really gained any traction. My plan therefore is to push these ones a little more and also setup a few others.

In the course of the year, I’ll document every step of building and growing these niche sites on this blog. I hope by doing this, you will definitely find that inspiration and confidence to also build your own online business.

Rounding It Off!

Dear friend 2014 is indeed the year to be bold and assertive. Enough of playing children games. It’s time to decide on what you want from the internet and step out with boldness to get it. As I round off this post let say that I’ve actually considered the various activities of Google in 2013  and reasoned that even Google understood that 2014 is a watershed in the online business equation. Or, how can you explain their rush to push all those updates into the market in 2013 if not to reposition their search business for 2014?

So having read this post may I ask, what is your policy thrust for 2014? What do you aim to achieve this year? Do you want to continue to run around in circles as in previous years? Let me invite you to be part of the new things that are about to happen on this blog. Click here to get started right now!

So long for now. Let me know your thoughts in your comments below.

 

How Autoresponders Can Literally Make Your Life Better as An Online Entrepreneur!

Ever wondered how some “guru” online marketers can boast of making money online even when they are sleeping?

How about those who claim their online businesses are always sucking in money like vacuum cleaners while they are traveling the world, lazing around with their sweethearts?

I’m sure that claims like these may have, at times, come to you as incredible and spurious, right?

But then it means you are yet to discover the power of autoresponders in marketing online.

To every online entrepreneur, the autoresponder is actually the most valuable tool. I personally don’t know how the online business person would have been able to cope with running a business online if there were no autoresponders.

There is so much that autoresponders can do for you as a web entrepreneur. In this post therefore, I want to briefly talk about this very useful tool. I hope you pick one or two things to help you with your online business.

Autoresponders and Online Marketing

Autoresponders And Your Online Business

There is no doubt that one of the most useful tools that every online business entrepreneur must consider is the autoresponder. If you truly desire to have a slice of the internet cake then getting a functional autoresponder is a must. Used the right way they can help you put your business on autopilot enabling you to spend more time doing other things like generating traffic to your websites, networking and even creating more businesses.

Many people correctly refer to it as the 24/7 salesman/secretary. This is because once set up the autoresponder is ready to work round the clock without any problems. Like the automated secretary they are, the autoresponder will readily respond to email inquiries without any delay. It will, also without fail, followup any prospect once the contact details are in the database.

Without Autoresponders Marketing Online Is A Pain In The Neck

Many online entrepreneurs have not realized that trying to build a successful online business can be a little tricky without an autoresponder. Their ability for automatic email response is something that every online marketer will cherish any day.

This is specially so because online, people want instant gratification. They expect responses their inquiries without any delay. And so, automating a majority of your business tasks with autoresponders can help you gain not only respect from your customers’ and prospects but also their business!

One of the good features of autoresponders is the ability to configure your messages to your specifications. You can send personalized messages thereby creating the impression that your email was specifically made for your clients. This is of great help since it definitely increases your email conversion rates. Besides, once you have set up your autoresponders you will be able to followup your prospects, presenting your offers to them until they are ready to buy!

Business Marketing Using Autoresponders

How autoresponders help online entrepreneursOne of the smart ways of using autoresponders to market your business online is by creating free courses, articles, reports, information regarding your products and services, price lists, welcome and thank you letters, advertising rates etc. and preseting this information in your autoresponder.

Once set up you can then direct potential buyers or current customers to get more info by sending a message to your autoresponder address. When they do, the information they are seeking will automatically be delivered to them. The autoresponder will also notify you each and every time someone has requested your information. This will help you know when you have potential customers.

By simply doing this you’d be marketing your business hands-free!

There will be no need for you to spend countless hours answering emails. You will have more time to do other things that will help move your business forward.

A Few Tips On Using Autoresponders For Your Business

Here are some tips that will help you maximize the potential of your autoresponder.

  1. Choose Wisely

Your choice of autoresponder for your online business matters. For one, I’ll say never choose based only the price only. This is because the cheapest price might not really be great after all!

Again, never settle for free autoresponders. If you’re running a business then it’s wise that you put in some investment, because that is what an autoresponder is to your business. Free autoresponders might bring more pain later on when you want to move to a paid one.

I personally recommend GetResponse.com because of the proven service and the features. Even if you’re just getting started, you’ll find the platform easy to work with.

You can get a FREE 30 day trial option here.

2.Load Up a Reasonable Number of Messages

Depending on what type of information you want your autoresponder to deliver to your prospects, setting it up to run for a long time (say for a whole year) is the idea thing. If you load up, say 52 messages, you’ll have something to send for each week of the year.

Of course, you may have trouble loading up this many messages or articles at once but there are places online where you can get your material for free. However, if you simply don’t have the time or content, you can always start with a few messages then go back and add more later.

3.Always Include Your Email Signature In The Autoresponder Messages

Once you have your autoresponder preloaded with messages or the required articles, it is important that you set up your signature. Your signature will be displayed at the bottom of every message the autoresponder sends out. This could be your name and link to your business website. You can also add a short description of your business as well, which will let clients or interested customers know a bit about your business. Your name and link to your business website will go a long way, letting your customers know that you are professional.

4. Every Messages Should Relate To Your Business

Never make the mistake of just stuffing things up because you want to load up a year’s content. This way, when you send out emails or messages, you’ll be sending out material that relates to your business or products. if your content is different from what your prospects are looking you run the risk of many of them unsubscribing from your list.

5. Update Your Autoresponder Messages As The Need Arises

From time to time as you get new products or information to send to your clients, you can update your log. When running a business, it’s very important that you keep your customers up to date. This way, your customers will know that you have new products available and ready for purchase. If you have a good relationship with them, they will be anticipating your new offers.

Final Thoughts: If you run a business via the Internet, an autoresponder is definite to make your life a whole lot easier. You can build a flourishing online business working only with an autoresponder and no website. But if you attempt to market with a website and no autoresponder you will run into problems. An autoresponder will allow you build a subscribers’ list – your most valuable business asset! The truth is, once you’ve tried using an autoresponder, you’ll never imagine your business without it.

Frankly, Are You Building A Business Or A Blog?

Sometime ago I wrote a post titled: Are You a Blogger or an Entrepreneur Who Blogs? In that post I did gave reasons why you should not consider yourself simply as a blogger but an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it does appear that not many people are really listening to these things.

Since writing that post I have seen a whole lot of new bloggers join the blogging bandwagon while many others have abandoned ship! I still believe that many who have shipwrecked their blogging dreams did so not because they do not have the passion for blogging but because they have approached their blogging career from a wrong angle.

build a business and not a blog!

Don’t Just Build A Blog; Build A Business!

I have mentioned this severally but I will never stop talking about it until I see more bloggers put it into use. Truth is, when you ask the average blogger if they are really building a business the ready answer is yes!

But think about this:

  • Can you really say you are in business when you don’t have a product?
  • Are you in business when you don’t have a target market?

Indeed, these are just the basics of building a business. But how many bloggers can readily point to their blogs and say, this is my product or target audience?  Now, if you cannot do that how can you really say you are in business?

Recommended: Hey Blogger, What Really Is Your Product?

You must understand that blogs, as we know them today were initially setup by internet marketers as traffic generating tools for their online business sites. Blogs were not set up initially to make money by themselves but as marketing tools. So, looking at your blog as your business today is really a wrong approach to blogging because a business without a valuable product, a target audience who wants that product and a platform to present that product to the target audience is not really a business.

So, How Do You Really Build A Business And Not Just A Blog?

I love using the analogy of building a house whenever I talk about building a business. This is because building a business is similar in many ways to building a house.

There are different steps involved. From the foundation stage to the roofing stage, a lot of planning and effort is required. Besides, the type and size of the house will determine the depth of the foundation. The higher the structure you desire the deeper the foundation you will need to prepare.

The following are a few tips on how to build a business using your blog.

1. Decide From the On-Set What Direction to Take

It’s unfortunate that there are many people online who want to jump into the blogging bandwagon without any preparation. To this people the wise saying, “look before you leap” has no meaning. If your blog is going to be your online business then it is important that you get a clear idea what direction you want to go. Set your goal from the beginning and then run with it!

2. Be Creative But Don’t Seek To Re-Invent the Wheel!

Every one of us has a creative flare in him/her and your blog is definitely a place you will want to show your creativity. It is your platform and you’re free to run it any way you want. You’ve the freedom to post whatever you want. Indeed, this is good. However, instead of being too concerned with your creativity, it will be of great help to you if you’ll rather seek out what is already working and then building on it. Study what successful business strategies the experts are using and never hesitate to be a copycat if need be. Your focus should be on taking what you have learned and modifying it to suit the needs of your business.

3. Get Help through Mentor(s)

Do you really need a mentor to build and run a blog? The answer to that question might be a “yes” or a “no” depending on what you really want. Is your blog going to be a platform for your every day ramblings or you really want to build something worthwhile? What experience do you have about running a business? Do you have any formal training and skills on business management? Your answer to any of these questions will determine if you will want to go for a mentor or not. But the wise route is to seek for help when you deem it necessary.

4. Be Financially Committed

Setting up a WordPress blog could be done without any real financial commitment. But the fact is, if you desire to really build a business with your blog, committing some financial investments into the business is a must. Never be contented with just running your business on freebies. Invest in the right tools. Pay for the knowledge when necessary. One thing you must know is that when you are financially committed your motivation for success will go up and this will help you to put in more effort into building the business of your dream.

5. Remember To Stay Green

The internet business world is an ever changing one. It is a dynamic market. To keep abreast with the latest ideas and trends you need to invest in yourself through trainings. Whenever possible, attend seminars. A single new idea picked up from such trainings could transform your business. Of course, simply acquiring new information and learning new ideas is not enough. To really see these ideas and knowledge come to fruition you will need to put them into action and by taking action you will always be open to more new ideas thereby keeping yourself on the green lane!

So, are you building a business or you are simply building a blog? Share your thoughts on this subject with us in your comments below.

How You Can Make Your Business Truly Awesome

Hey friends. So you also survived the end of the world? Then accept my congratulations!Welcome to the new world! I truly hope that the old world and its rottenness and sorrow are gone forever (who really want to hear of shootings of innocent children who have committed no crime!) Let’s hope we’re truly in a new world where happiness and fulfillment are the order of the day and where everything is truly awesome! 🙂

And talking about awesomeness, today in our 12 Days of Christmas Inspiration series I want to talk to you about how to make your business  truly awesome in 2013.

Don’t know about you but as the year is ebbing to a close I’ve decided to take a critical look at my business. How was the business a couple of years ago? How is it now? Where do I want it to be another two years from now? These are some of the issues I have been looking at.

You know, for the past few years of running this blog I have tried different strategies, implemented different tactics and of course put in every ounce of hard work necessary.  Right now, my desire is to take it to the next level of success.

You have such a dream also?

Alright, then you will want to listen to what I have to say in this post because I’m about showing you what you must do to take that business to the next level  – wherever that is to you!

What Is The Value Of Your Time?

Now, before we continue I want to ask this, how much value do you place on your time? I mean if you were to charge for your services by the hour, how much would that be?

Ever thought of that? Ok, now think of this, if you know the value of your every hour will you be spending more time doing the things you are doing right now in the name of building your business?

But, hold it! Are you really in business or you are just a blogger? You know I have read many blogs lately where bloggers gave reasons why they blog. And you know what, many are just blogging for the fun!

Now, if you are in that group, you can close this page right now. You are not the type I’m addressing here. However, if you consider yourself an entrepreneur who blogs (you are blogging because you consider it a tool for growing your business) then read on.

No, It Is Not About Your Skills

So, you are still reading right?

Ok, listen to this: Skill and creativity are good assets in running a business however you could be skillful and talented with creativity but still end up broke if you don’t have the right strategy.

It is worth repeating: If You Don’t Have a Strategy You Will End Up In Tragedy!

And that is why for me this is the time to reevaluate your strategies and tactics. You will need to put in place something that will not just produce some “noise” without any motion but a strategy that will make 2013 an awesome year for you!

You will need to reevaluate if all the hustling, social networking and blog commenting for traffic, etc. is really improving your business and bringing in results commensurate with the value of your time. Here are some areas you will need to look at again:

1. What Is Your Business?

Now, I am not unawares that before you started that business you took some time considering what you truly wanted to build. This is the time to review that. Are you sure you are in the right direction two, three or four years down the road? Are you still on target or you have allowed yourself to be derailed by what you are reading on other blogs?

The blogosphere is filled with many teachers you know. And of course, many of the blogs out there have good teachers you should listen to, but there is a problem here. As with every other teacher/student relationship, being influenced by the opinion of the teacher is not an uncommon thing. Problem is, you may have veered off your chosen path and are now pursuing the path set by another.

Like I said previously, it is time to ask yourself again, why are you here? What is your mission? How do you aim to achieve that? What is your business model and strategies to achieve your target?

You must settle this and let it guide your actions. Remember your business is your responsibility!

2. How Much Do You Understand Your Market?

Your business has a target market, right? How much do you know of this market? Do you know their pain area? Do you know what they really want? Do you know what they are struggling with?

And then this, are you sure your target market is truly the one you are driving to your site/blog? (Truly big one here!)

Now, what are you offering to heal their pains? Will they readily reach out for what you have to offer and be glad that you did? Are you communicating in the right language with them?

Your ROI is dependent on these questions if you must take your business to the next level. Good thing is, there are online research tools that can help with this. Use them to understand your target market better and also the right language to use in your marketing communications.

3. What Competences And Capabilities Do You Bring?

There is no doubt that for you to compete very well in this over flooded marketplace you need money, time, skills and the right tools. But matter of fact is you don’t need to have all at once. As you reevaluate your actions and activities online, you simply need to know what are your areas of competence and how that will help you move your business forward.

Once you lay your hand on this, make it your USP and found ways of enhancing your operations with this competency. If there is the need to acquire some other skills, don’t hesitate to do so. Of course, in a market that is always changing as we have online, constant learning is necessary.

So, there you have my tips for making your business awesome in 2013! Do you have some more to add? Or, do you have issues with any of these? Please let’s have your opinion in your comments below.

image credit: The Idea Desk

8 Proven Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelancer!

The Internet offers a number of ways for people to use their skills to make money. Many talented individuals choose to earn a regular income from freelance work. This type of work can involve anything from web design to writing. This article suggests eight useful tips to help online freelancers make the most of their time.

1.     Create a Website

Owning your own website gives potential customers an easy way to contact you. You can use your website to host and showcase your work for prospective clients to see. Additionally, your website helps establish you as a part of the online freelance community. Ideally, your website should look professional and use an address that is easy for people to remember.

2. Time Management Skills

make money with freelancingLearning how to properly manage your time will help you become a successful freelancer. As a freelancer, you do not have an employer who is constantly reminding you of important deadlines. You will need to work out a method to help you keep track of your schedule on your own. You can use computer software to keep track of your schedule and deadlines.

3. Seek Balance

 As a freelancer, you have no regular work hours. However, you can’t expect to work all day and all night without feeling stressed and anxious. Once you find yourself in a comfortable groove, you can start setting firm work hours. If you can learn to set limits, you’ll still have plenty of time to unwind from work and enjoy your hobbies.

4. Learn To Communicate

Each time you get a new assignment, you must use your best communication skills to keep your client happy. If you’re designing a website, involve your client in the process. Show your progress to the client as you work through the design. You can also ask your client for helpful feedback. By keeping a professional and respectful tone at all times, you will increase the chance of a client hiring you again.

5. Organize Your Office

If you plan to do most of your work from home, you need to create a comfortable office environment. Remove any distractions from your office, including your television. If working from home isn’t an option, you can rent a small office space near your home. Working at a rented office can help you steer clear of the distractions in your home.

6. Create Limits

Many freelancers find it difficult to decline an offer of work from a new client. If your workload is already more than you can handle, you should consider turning down any more offers until you’ve finished some of your projects. If you take on too much work at once, the quality of your work may suffer. You can avoid stress by keeping only a manageable workload.

7. Use Social Media

If you need new clients, you can turn to social media networks to seek out new customers. These networks offer you a number of easy ways to advertise your work across the globe. You can also form relationships with other freelancers to learn more from their experiences.

8. Take a Break

Sometimes, a new project may present unexpected challenges. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious, take a short break from your work. Try going on a walk to a new cafe for lunch. Forcing yourself to work when you have no motivation can result in a disaster.

Conclusion

Deciding to become a freelancer is not an easy choice to make. You will face challenges as you try to find new clients and keep them happy. However, this work will give you the freedom to get paid for doing something you love. Put these tips into use and you will see good results from your freelancing activities.

Do You Really Need A Business Plan To Succeed In Business?

It’s yet another Monday and as usual it is time for our Community Timeout here on the Web Income Journal!

(Every Mondays we discuss issues that touch our lives as bloggers and web entrepreneurs. If you have any question or issue you want us to discuss, feel free to send your suggestions using this form.)

Today I want us to discuss a very important issue that many of us have come to accept as essential when it comes to succeeding in business – a business plan.

A few years ago, a successful business mogul from my area came up with a Reality TV show, “The Apprentice” aimed at selecting a few budding entrepreneurs to be mentored by this entrepreneur who had succeeded in different business ventures.

The first qualification for anyone to be selected for the program was a well written business plan and of course, the ability to defend this plan and being able to convince the Judges that your business was worth it!

Watching that reality show and observing the young men and women defending their business plans immediately convinced me beyond any doubt that it is NOT really the best business plan that makes any one succeed as an entrepreneur.

Now, my conviction then was not because I had any problems with writing business plans but because I saw many of these people speak with passion about their intended businesses but it was clear that many of them do not have the knowledge of writing great business plans!

Of course, as expected many of these ones lost out while those with good business plans, strategically laid out and detailing every aspect of their intended businesses, were selected and given the opportunity to participate in the program.

Now, this brings us to the topic of the day…

business plan and succeeding in business
As a Recipe to a delicious meal so a Business Plan to business success, right?

 

Business Plans – How Much Do They Really Contribute To Succeeding In A Business?

Do you really need a business plan before you can succeed in your business?

I decided to bring up this topic after reading a blog post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network titled, “Great Businesses Don’t Start with a Plan!”

In the post, Anthony K. Tjan, the author of the post, categorically stated that from a survey carried out on hundreds of successful entrepreneurs around the globe, aimed at better understanding what it takes to be an entrepreneur and build a really great business, it was discovered that about 70% of those who succeeded in their business and had a successful exit (that is, an IPO or sale to another firm), none of them started with a business plan!

I’m sure you will want to disagree with that since every business book and advice always go something like this,

“To succeed in any type of business, you must have a business plan. Without a business plan you are heading towards failure because if you fail to plan; you are planning to fail!”

On the contrary however, Anthony wrote:

“[These entrepreneur’s] journeys originated in a different place, a place we call the Heart. They were conceived not with a document but with a feeling and doing for an authentic vision. Clarity of purpose and passion ruled the day with less time spent writing about an idea and more time spent just doing it.”

So don’t worry too much about a business plan. But to guide your thinking, improve a pitch to prospective investors, or better align your teams, consider these design points:

1. Identify and clearly articulate your Heart and purpose. Whether you want to call it vision, Heart, purpose or calling, be very clear on the why of a business — the bigger goal at hand.

2. The team is more important than any idea or plan. The top three priorities should be people, followed by people, and then people.

3. Think big, start small, then scale or fail fast. Per Lederhausen’s advice, set the right first “start small” milestone; it will usually involve seeing people’s willingness to buy or at least try your product.

4. Focus on a well-defined market sub-segment or niche. At least to start, think of where you can potentially be the best. This strategy is almost always more successful than being just another player in a massive market.

5. Understand your business model. How you will make money is more important than pages of Excel showing financials that are simply too hard to predict at this early stage anyway. Understand instead the basic way you will make money – is it through transactions, advertising, subscriptions, etc?

Hmm, you may want to call that breaking the rules to succeed in business!

Your turn: The question is, do you think Anthony K. Tjan and his team got it wrong somewhere? Can you say that from your experience a detailed business plan is necessary before you can start a successful business? Or, do you agree with their findings?

Please let’s have your contribution in your comments below. As usual, make your comments useful and valuable.  That way you will be of help to other readers. So the discussion begin!

Image credit: Flickr user – ocean.flynn

Are You A Blogger or an Entrepreneur Who Blogs?

As a follower the Web Income Journal (ok, that is just an assumption but if you are not, consider subscribe by clicking here!), you will understand that our content is basically focused on helping you build a business as a blogger. Unlike most other bloggers who write mostly on blogging and blogging tips, most of what you read on this blog, is geared towards helping you build an online business.

The temptation to concentrate mostly on blogging tips is definitely strong considering the number of people who are jumping into the blogging bandwagon. Indeed, all of these want to know how to become successful bloggers. But, beyond succeeding as a blogger, I think you should really succeed as an entrepreneur blogger – an entrepreneur who uses the medium of blogging to build a successful business online!

But, Why an Entrepreneur and Not Just A Blogger?

how to succeed with a business blog

Over these past few years, from my personal studies, I’ve come to understand that many of the bloggers who have thrown in the trowel (yes, I’ve seen many come and go!) are really those who did not treat their blogs as entrepreneurs. They approached their blogs simply as bloggers, eager to share their knowledge or passion! Indeed, they loved what they were doing and in a sense, they succeeded.

But then, a few years later those blogs are gone; filling up the dotcom trash can!

Ever wondered why these ‘passionate’ bloggers could not continue?

Of course, various reasons could be adduced for this but most often than not, these bloggers have not considered themselves as building a business and therefore have not seen themselves as entrepreneur bloggers.

In this article I want to share with you some distinct marks of an entrepreneur that you need to imbibe as a blogger if you truly want to succeed as an entrepreneur blogger. I hope this will help you succeed building a business and not just a blog.

The truth is it’s not just about starting a blog.  Anyone can do that. The real issue is succeeding as an entrepreneur blogger.

You may also want to read this post on the 5 fundamentals to building a business and not just a blog.

Entrepreneurial Traits Every Blogger Should Imbibe

1.    Self-Confidence

Entrepreneurs are self-starters. Yes, they understand the importance of people in achieving their dreams, but they will never depend on others for their success. They understand that the business world is highly competitive and that it is not a place for the faint in heart. They are quite aware that beyond having the best idea you need self confidence to succeed as an entrepreneur.

As blogger you mustn’t ignore this fact. You must trust in yourself. You must believe in your capabilities to make your business work. Instead of looking for some outside push and drive, you must be self-confident. And of course, you must refuse to live by someone else perception of success.

2.    Risk-Takers

Businesses are prune to losses and failures but an entrepreneur does not allow this to be a hindrance. An entrepreneur understands that a great business idea could come as a hunch but it takes acting on that hunch to make any impact. With such knowledge the entrepreneur is always ready to take calculated risks.

Unfortunately, most bloggers just want to play safe.  Stepping out of their comfort zone is a no-go area. Investing any amount of money in their blogs is a big risk for these type of bloggers. Little things like buying a domain name and paying for a webhost is never in their ‘to do list’ – just in case it doesn’t turn out as desired.

If you must succeed as an entrepreneur blogger you must be ready to take risks because you simply cannot run away from it!

3.    Creativity

I don’t know if it is really in-born or they simply develop it along the way but one thing that is really common with entrepreneurs is the ability to innovate or find new ways of doing things, better. They are naturally curious, inquisitive, bright and highly flexible when thinking. They keenly observe their environment and have an eye for spotting new trends that could potentially become a business opportunity.

Unfortunately, this is not the same for the majority of bloggers. You can clearly see this when you visit blogs run by these bloggers. Their content is almost always the same – how to set up a blog, how to build a better blog, what you need to succeed as a blogger! They rarely look for new ways of doing things and in most cases they are controlled by what I call the ‘follow-the-leader’ mentality – doing just what some guru says is working. They look to someone else to set the pace, rarely putting on their thinking cap to innovate or build on what they learn.

You cannot really succeed as an entrepreneur blogger with this type of mindset. You must be creative and innovative. You must set your own direction and be prepared to hit your own mark!

4.    Visionary And Goal Oriented

Entrepreneurs are always propelled by a vision and guided by a goal to achieve that vision. Each of their blogging activity is geared towards their business success. They systematize and strategize all with the mind of achieving their set goals.

But this is not the case for the average blogger. If you are simply a blogger chances are you are carrying out your blogging activities without any proper planning and like a rudder-less ship, you are being tossed to and fro by every wind of opinion let loose on the blogosphere.  You must understand you are the captain of your own ship therefore you must take control and drive that ship in the right direction.

5.    Good Work Ethics And Honor

Competition and the drive to make money most times make the business world ruthless, but the true entrepreneur will always strive to make every business deal honorable. The successful entrepreneur has good personal work ethics that ultimately leads to good business practices, excellent reputation and good association with industry peers and business partners. They will never resort to short-cuts and blackhat tactics that will ultimately work against their success.

Most of the unwholesome practices we see around the blogosphere today are perpetuated by bloggers who lack the entrepreneurial spirit. They rarely understand that these things are inimical to their business success. As a blogger who desire true success you must be committed to good work ethics and do everything with the mind of adding value to your target market.

6.    Value For Money And Finances

Every entrepreneur I have ever known or read about has a value for money. Most, through their innovation and creativity, learned how to earn money at a very young age. They are never ashamed to put a price tag to their work. And they are also very good at watching their finances, always making sure that every little spending is an investment that is capable of bringing in a gain.

A blogger without the entrepreneurial spirit would cringe at the prospect of making money from his or her blog. We recently discussed the issue of monetizing a blog with ads. If you are giving value on your blog do not be ashamed to make money from it. Time they say is money. Your time and energy that is being expended on your blog should be recompensed with some monetary reward. So, never shy away from making money from your blog instead be observant and always on the lookout for new ideas and new ways you can make money with your blog.

7.    Perseverance And Hard Work

Entrepreneurs know the value of perseverance and hard work. They understand that in the world of business the courage to face failure and to start again no matter what happens is the sure path to success. They don’t simply give up because things are not going their way. They have a doggedness that is necessary to continue the journey even if failure momentarily obstructs their path.

Many of those who have thrown in the trowel and given up on their blogs did not understand this. To them blogging is just fun – something you do because you love it! They have swallowed hook, line and sinker the idea that when you do what you love the money will come! They never bargain for the hard work involved. They never quite understand that there is always a time lag between when the seed is sown and when the harvest will come!

Dear blogger, you need perseverance while committing yourself to working hard on your blog. Be an entrepreneur and not just a blogger.

So, what’s Your Take Away?

I think it’s time to stop and re-evaluate why you are really blogging. Do you consider yourself as an entrepreneur who is building a business online or you are just a blogger who simply love to share your thoughts with the world? Can you really refer to yourself as an entrepreneur? Do you have a business? What is your product or service?

You cannot allow someone else to decide your terms. Ultimately it’s about you and what you make of your blog. If you simply want to be blogger, fine. But if you must be an entrepreneur then you must run your blog guided by the entrepreneurial spirit.

Over to You: of course these are just my thoughts. I don’t expect you to agree with me. So feel free to let us know what you think about this. I’m waiting to connect with you in the comments section below. 🙂

London 2012 Olympics: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Games!

Today, the London 2012 Olympics Games will begin after all these years of preparation. And so, starting today, 27 July until 12 August 2012, the city of London and of course, the whole world, will witness some of the finest and entertaining sporting events.

There is no doubt; the Olympic Games are definitely our modern world’s foremost sports competition. Held every four years, the games feature summer and winter sports, with thousands of athletes and more than 200 nations participating in the games.

London 2012 Olympic Games LogoImage credit: Belle News

The Olympic Games originally began in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. What we have today, governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), actually began in 1894 when Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the IOC. The 2012 Olympics which starts today makes London the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

Now, as athletes from around the world pour into the city of London, one thought that has been in my mind is the lessons we can learn from the games. I don’t know about you but I have always admired sportsmen and women not minding the sport. I think there is so much we can learn from them about success especially as entrepreneurs.

Of course, this is really not just about the Olympics but as the games kick off today with people around the world turning their attention to these young men and women, I think it is the right time to share my thoughts on what we can learn from the whole thing.

I know that many will abandon their businesses during this period of the games. Many will turn their attention to their television sets and other forms of media just because they don’t want to miss any bit of the action.

But while you want to do this remember they are about their business and you too should be about your business!

London 2012 mascot

Image credit: FourthScource

So, what lessons can you learn from the Olympic Games?

1. Athletes Go To the Olympics to Win

This is very obvious. No one athlete going to the London Olympics is going there without the mind of winning a medal. It doesn’t matter the level of his/her performance in the past. There is always the belief there could be improvement. Whether this comes to pass or not is a different thing.

I think this is a great lesson to us as entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter what form of trial by error tactics and strategies you are implementing in your business, the sure thing is that your business is not a trail by error experiment. You need to go in with all your heart having a firm belief that you will make a success of your business.

Like the Olympic athletes work on your business with the mind to succeed!

2. Athletes Go To the Olympics Well Prepared

preparation is neccesary for business success

Photo credit: DailyBiblePlan

Athletes going to the Olympics are always the best from their various countries. And, for them to be picked to represent their countries, they go through rigorous trainings and preparations. Most times these trainings take years. It is expected that both mentally and physically they should be well prepared.

As an entrepreneur whether online or offline, you cannot afford to go into business without the right mental and physical preparation. I know many online business entrepreneurs, because of the general belief that making money online is simple and you can actually earn in your pajamas, rush in without the right preparation. But this is wrong because without the right preparation, you will only wobble and fumble, floundering in all you do.

It is therefore important that you either get a mentor or design other ways to commit yourself to learning all you can online.

3. Athletes Going To the Olympics Are Temperate In What They Do

usain bolt dumbs girlfriend for olympics

Athletes do not just commit to rigorous training but in doing so, they restrain themselves from a whole lot of things. They keep themselves to a set diet and discipline. They never indulge themselves. Of course, as the games kick off in London these athletes are ready to restrain themselves from the food they normally eat and from the liberties they use on other occasions. It is indeed, a strict lifestyle for them.

May you heard of how Usain Bolt dumped his girlfriend to concentrate on winning gold at the summer Olympics! He did this so that she won’t distract him in the build-up to The Games! This is a good example of what athletes would do to keep their focus on their game.

Now, entrepreneurs too should have the same mind. Strict discipline in every area of life should characterize the life of the entrepreneur. Of course, there are times you will want to indulge yourself with the latest forms of entertainment, but in times like that think of your business.

I did a guest post recently for the Technology Bloggers. The post cautions on our use of technology for business. You will want to read it if you don’t want to be obsessed and become mesmerized with our ever changing technologically toys!

The point here is this, be temperate in your use of things.

4. Athletes Going To the Olympics Endure Pains

Self discipline is neccesary for success

Photo credit: Agfbrakpan

Bodily pain is a common phenomenon in every game. If you are not ready to bear the pains then you are not really a sports person. In the years of preparing for the Olympics, many of these athletes experience all manner of bodily pains and sometimes wounds. But in all of this they never give up. In fact, the bodily pains are just part of what makes the victory at the end of the day more enjoyable!

It is not different in business. There are ups and downs but as an entrepreneur who has his/her eyes on tasting the sweetness of success, those painful hitches in your entrepreneurial journey should fire you up for more success.

Let me say here that I passionately believe that what you may be passing through is only testing your ability to stay the course. I have a whole lot of reasons to abandon this blog but something in me has kept me going. For the past couple of years the blog has crashed 3 times. The painful part is that every one of these crashes happened at a time when I have plans to push the blog beyond the level it was before the crash.

But, though those crashes have resulted in starting again at a level below where the blog was before the crash happened (traffic-wise) I’ve always succeeded in pushing it, not just back to where it was, but beyond that level.

These are indeed pains but they cannot stop the journey!

Today, I’m asking you to look at the athletes in London and know that no matter the pains, your victory is sure!

Over to you: Did this post speak to you in any way? Is there any other lesson you can learn from the athletes and the Olympics games that you want to share with us? Go on and share them in your comments.