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1 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Table of Contents for "Cash Machine on a ShoeString"

» Cash Machine Title Page » Cash Machine Table of Contents » Welcome Message » Why Should You Listen to Me? » Sure-Fire Ways to Guarantee Home Business Failure »» Promote Single Sale Products »» Carry Lots of Inventory »» Do NOT Offer a Unique Product »» Do NOT Leverage The Efforts of Others »»» Business Model #1: Good Ole Corporate America »»» Business Model #2: Develop an Affiliate "Army" »»» Business Model #3: Enlist in an Affiliate Army »»» Business Model #4: Become a Member of a Successful MLM Team »» Ensure There Will Be Minimal Product Demand »» Offer a Low Quality Product »» Assure Yourself Large Up-Front Costs »» Keep a Short Product List »» Have a Single Market Focus »» Pay NO Attention to Lead Generation »» Minimize Automation in Your Business » Keys to Running Your Business Effectively » Your Time is Worth Something: Act Like It » Advertising Tips, Tricks and Resources » Some Notes on Home Business Training Courses » MLM Specific Things to Look For »» Recurring Sales Are What It's All About »» MLM's are Notorious for Requiring "Inventory" »» Many MLMs are "Me Too" Companies »» Product Quality is Scarce but Important »» More Markets Means More Money »» You and What Army? »» You Won't Build MLM Wealth Without Automation »» MLM Growth Comes Through Duplication


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3 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

How to Create a CASH MACHINE on a ShoeString Budget A Message From the Author: Hello. I am the author of Cash Machine on a ShoeString. My name is Mike Kaufman, but that is really unimportant, since I'm not looking for any recognition for the writing of this book. This book exists for one primary purpose which doesn't have a whole lot to do with me, personally. I want this book to be a practical resource for you - to help you build a successful home business. In the process I may make a few bucks, but, it certainly isn't likely to make me a millionaire. After all, I'm only charging 30 bucks for the book, and that's only to those folks who want the whole ebook up-front, as opposed to going the free route, and receiving the chapters in email installments. Any of the self-proclaimed "internet gurus" out there would be charging 100 bucks for a 200 page book containing this much practical advice. The point is, I really don't want the focus to be on me, but rather on the content of the book. You should ALWAYS carefully examine the content of ANY marketing or business building book that you read to see if the ideas/principles set forth seem reasonable and "do-able". Only you can decide the relative value of this book, or any other book or resource, in terms of how effectively it will help you acheive your goals and aspirations.

So ... now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'm guessing that if you're reading this book you are either hoping to transform your current home business into the "Cash Machine" that you originally hoped it would be, or you're hoping to create a brand new "Cash Machine" from the comfort of your own home. Either way, expect this book to challenge you a bit and expose some common misconceptions about starting and running a home business. For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. -- Proverbs 8:11

To do anything well, you have to know something about what you're doing. And, if you've never run a home business before, then it's a bit tough to really know much about it. So, it is then a good idea to seek counsel from those who've gone before you ("Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." -- Proverbs 11:14 KJV). Those that have gone through what you are about to go through can help you avoid the pitfalls and assist you in finding the shortcuts that will bring you to your end goal more quickly and with less headache.


THAT is the primary purpose of "Cash Machine on a ShoeString. This book was written to assist YOU in finding, developing, managing and marketing a successful home based business - one of YOUR choosing - not the one that I tell you is best for you. In essence, to help you create your very own personal "Cash Machine" that will work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Of course, if you are already running a home based business that maybe isn't as profitable as you had hoped or is taking up more time and energy than you had hoped, this book is also a good resource to help YOU "revamp" it to expose the "Cash Machine" that is hidden inside. It is my hope that by the time you finish reading this book you will have an excellent understanding of just what it takes to begin your own home business, what different home business options are available to you, the important issues to consider when deciding on a new home based business and the issues to address in setting up your new home business so that it will be as profitable as possible with the least amount of effort possible. Moreover, I am going to provide you with reviews of some of the most effective and least expensive products, services and software that are available to help you make the most from your home business in the shortest amount of time. But, please don't stop reading now because you think this book is just going to be a pitch for products and services that make me money. The truth is, the majority of the resources I'll be recommending to you are completely free and don't earn me a dime. In fact, over 60% of the 50+ reviews that you'll read in the last half of this book are for entirely free products, services or computer programs that I depend on regularly within my own business. And, of those that are left, many can be purchased for $10-$20, which is incredibly cheap. Moreover, the majority of the advice I'm going to provide you with in this book does NOT require you to take advantage of ANY of my recommended resources if you don't want to (although those resources may very well make your life quite a bit easier). Of course, you may also be concerned that this book is simply a ploy to promote my own home business in an attempt to get you to join my team. This is just not the case. While I would be happy to have you on my team, I am NOT going to spend my time (and waste YOUR time) trying to convince you of exactly what home business will be right for you. You will see clearly as you read this book that it is not, in any way, focused on convincing you that my opportunity is THE ONE that is going to make you rich. Everyone is different. God has given every person who reads this book different talents, abilities, resources, personalities and preferences to accomplish what He created them to do. Thus, no business is going to be right for everyone, including mine. So, this book is not designed to convince you to start a particular type of business or join a specific business opportunity. It is designed to help YOU decide what type of business is going to be best for your needs and then help you put together a plan and a resource kit, so to speak, to get your new business (whatever it may be) off to a flying start. I'm going to be as honest with you as I can about the primary aspects of starting and running a home based business (at least the ones I think are important). Please pay careful attention to what you read in this book because it, literally, could mean the difference between success and failure.


So, How DOES This Book Benefit Me, The Author? Well, first off, if you happen to be one of the individials who purchased the book so as to avoid waiting for each installment by email, then I made a little money on that sale. Obviously, the more people who purchase the book, the more money I make from those sales. In addition, I know that a certain percentage of the people who read this book WILL have an interest in at least some of the products and services that I review and recommend. Some of those products and services (the ones that AREN'T free) are provided by other companies that I am an affiliate for. So, if those products or services turn out to be useful to you and you purchase them, I would make a small commission on those sales. Obviously, that will earn me a certain amount of profit as well, and, the more people that read the book, the more benefit to me through those commissions. As such, it is in my best interests to make certain that "Cash Machine on a ShoeString" is a top-notch resource that people will be willing to recommend to friends, family members and business associates, so that the book is read by as many people as possible. Hopefully, that is what I have done. In addition, as you read this book, I think you'll discover that the business building principles presented are ones that "strike a chord" with you. That is because they are universal principles that will generate success in business as well as in life outside of business. It is my hope that as you "connect" with the principles in this book, you will begin to see that I am someone who can help you reach your goals and aspirations in a way that will also leave your integrity intact. So, if you find the information and resources in this book useful, then the rest will fall into place.

So, How Does This Book Benefit You - The Reader?

1. You'll learn timeless principles to help you build a successful business. 2. You'll discover HOW those principles apply to the MODERN home based business. 3. You'll be presented with numerous free and inexpensive resources to help you build your business quickly and easily. 4. You'll NEVER be asked or persuaded to do or say anything that would bring your integrity into question.

Get Ready to "Go Back to School" As you begin reading this home business primer, you need to be aware that there is a significant learning curve involved in beginning your own home business. It's not nearly as easy as some people like to make you think. You will be required to STUDY and LEARN if you really want to build a successful home business. Study the products and/or services that you are considering offering. Study the company or companies you might have to deal with in order to run your business. Study the market for


your products. Study the competition. Study different marketing methods that you might want to take advantage of. If you think you're just going to slap up a webpage and sell gold plated widgets online for $1000 apiece while you camp out on some beach in the Mediterranean, you are mistaken. It takes work to start a home business, and if you don't do it right, you can expect to fail. Set up your business correctly, though, and spend the time, money and effort required to get off to a good start, and you could have a very profitable business in a short period of time that requires very little ongoing time and effort on your part. THAT is what this book is about. Getting you off to the right start in the right business (the business that fits YOU best) with the right mindset and the right tools and resources. You won't find alot of pretty pictures and graphs in this ebook. They are unnecessary. What you WILL find is a wealth of practical information you can actually make use of TODAY to start a home based business. You'll also find that, throughout this book, there will be links to additional software, services and/or resources that may help you get your business off to a great start. As I mentioned earlier, for SOME of the resources I recommend in this book, I DO make a slight referral fee (what is called an "affiliate" commission - I'll explain all about these later in the book). That is not true of every link in this book, since the vast majority of the resources I recommend to you will be free and earn me no commission whatsoever, but there are those that will put money in my pocket. I understand that you may get a negative "vibe" about me getting a commission on those links. It is, generally speaking, a fairly natural response. As soon as someone hears the word "commission" they think salesman ... and virtually nobody likes a salesman. So, automatically, negative feelings are generated and some people will actually go to great lengths to avoid having someone make a commission, especially if they think that will get them a better price on what they are purchasing. However, allow me to clarify a few things that I think are important for you to recognize, both while you read this book and AFTER you finish the book and are beginning your new home based business (or revamping the one you're already in). First, going "direct to the company" for any of the products/services I recommend in this book will not get you a better price. The price has not been marked up in order for me to make a commission. The product or service will cost you the same either way. Also, I'm not just throwing links in here to generate money. I would have recommended these products/services whether there was a commission attached or not - that's why you'll find SO many resources within this book that are free. I have made every effort to ensure that the recommendations made within this book are as impartial as possible. I gain nothing by recommending services that are of poor quality, because that reflects poorly on me and on my book. So, if I'm notified of any companies that begin to "miss the mark" regularly, the recommendations will be removed. Any recommendations I make in this book are a direct reflection on me, so if I questioned their integrity or the value of their product, they wouldn't show up in my book. Nevertheless, I'm going to place a little bit of power back in your hands. Next to every link in


this book that will earn me a referral fee, I am going to place a second link to the very same company. This second link will NOT earn me a referral fee. It is a DIRECT link to the company website that does not record me as the referral, and it will be marked as a "To Avoid Paying Me a Commission" link. So, you have the power to decide whether or not you think I deserve to earn a referral commission. I put that power in your hands. Just don't let it go to your head .... :-)

Some Housekeeping Items There is a good chance that you have not yet saved this file to your computer and are simply reading it within your web browser (or separately within Adobe Acrobat Reader). If so, you will likely want to save this file to your computer so you may reference it later. If you look to the top-left of this document, you'll see a number of buttons. One of these buttons has an image on it resembling a computer disk. If you click on this "disk" icon, you'll be asked where you'd like to save this file. I suggest your Desktop unless you have another location that you routinely save files to and will remember. Once saved, you will be able to double click the file whenever you like and it will open up in Adobe for reading. Of course, you can also print this document, if you like. Distributing This Document Please do NOT distribute this document to others who have not paid for the book. Do not charge a fee to distribute this document to others. If an individual is interested in the book or you know of people who would have interest in the book, then I would suggest setting up as an affiliate and using my EASY Tell-a-Friend system to send a quick note and your affiliate link to as many people as possible. Anyone who purchases the book as a result of your recommendation would earn you a 25% commission. To become an affiliate for "Cash Machine ...", simply setup a FREE affiliate account with PayDotCom. Once you have your PayDotCom ID (within a few minutes of signing up), you're ready to begin directing people to the "Cash Machine ..." site and start earning commissions. See the Affiliate Info Page for further information. Limits of Liability / Disclaimer of Warranty This is an informational product only. The author/publisher of this book and any accompanying materials has used his best efforts in preparing this material. The author/publisher makes no representation of warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this program. He disclaims any warranties (expressed or implied), merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. The author/publisher shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages or any physical harm or damage arising from the use of this book. This manual contains material protected under international and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited.


Sorry for the "legaleze", but, these days you've got to cover yourself. Basically, the information is provided as is. What you do with it and how you make it work or not work for you, is entirely up to you.

I Would Appreciate Your Comments When you finish reading this book, I'd greatly appreciate it if you would email me your comments. If your comments are positive, they will provide me with an excellent testimonial for the book. If your comments are negative, it will give me information that should help to improve the book in ways I may not have thought of. Either way, I value your opinion please offer it. I can be emailed at:

So, Now What? Well, now that we've gotten some of the "housekeeping" stuff out of the way, we have one other item to cover before we get to the "meat" of the book. I need to first tell you a little about me, so you can decide whether you feel you're even interested in what I have to say. After all, no sense reading any further if you don't think I know what I'm talking about. But, once we've established that I'm qualified to tell you a thing or two about starting/running a home business, I'll spend the largest portion of the book giving you what I feel are the most important "rules" for setting up and running a home based business if you want to succeed. Then, once I've established for you how to best set up and run your new business, I'm going to give you the tools to help you do it. In the "Resources" chapter I'm going to point you in the direction of some excellent products, services and tutorials to help you accomplish your objectives in business (most of them free or extremely low cost). My primary objective in the "Resources" chapter is to make sure you're not expending unnecessary time, effort and money trying to run your business smoothly. So, hopefully, I've sparked enough interest to get you to continue a little further and see just what I have to say to help you build a very successful home based business in the shortest period of time. Please keep reading and may God richly bless you, your family and your business endeavors - whatever they may be.

9 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

So, Why Should YOU Pay Any Attention to ME? Who am I to tell you what sort of home business to look for or how to run it? Well, let me first tell you who I'm not. Then I'll tell you who I am, and you can decide for yourself whether you believe I've got anything useful to say.

Who I Am Not Well, I'm not not some guy (or gal, although this category tends to be saturated with mainly men) charging outrageous prices for rehashed business building "strategies" because I can't sell anything else. For one thing, my book only runs about $25, whereas there are literally hundreds of home business and marketing books out there, which offer far less information for 2 or 3 times the price or more. Let's face it, to a certain extent, it is easy to sell home business building tips and resources because so many people are looking to make it rich on the Internet, especially with economic times being what they are now. They're buying up these "Internet Business Courses" left and right because they are looking for anything that has even a remote chance of helping them build a successful home business to free them from the 9 to 5 "rat race" they run every day. In fact, there are guys making millions per year selling this information to home business "seekers". Problem is, most of the people selling these "business courses" couldn't sell a glass of ice water to a multi-millionaire dying of thirst on some desert island. They've never sold a "REAL" product or service (ie. NOT home business related) in their life. That's NOT me. The sale of business building information is NOT my primary business. I sell REAL products that anyone can use, that most people need, that offer good quality and that do what I say they will do, and I have been doing that, primarily online, for over 10 years. I am also not a "newbie" writing about business building strategies that I received second hand from some other "internet sales guru" who probably fell into category 1 above. I am not a self-proclaimed "Internet Guru" (most of them ARE self-proclaimed, you know). Must "gurus" really aren't anyway, but if they say they are, a certain number of people are bound to believe them. This is especially true if 10 other self-proclaimed internet gurus all write a testimonial saying how big of a guru guy (or gal) #1 is. You won't find any testimonials from other self-proclaimed gurus on my ebook sales page or in this book.


I am NOT a "lifetime MLMer" who made millions in my first year with "Company Z" (because I spent 30 years developing a 2,000 member organization that followed me through Company W, X, Y and now on to "Company Z" because companies W - Y went belly up). Many of these guys are still telling people to call their warm market (friends and family), hand out catalogs and hold meetings once per week to build a successful network marketing (MLM) business. Problem is, that only works if you want to spend the next 30 years holding weekly meetings like they did. There ARE better methods that take far less time, entail far less rejection and are far less labor intensive that will create a very profitable MLM business in a fairly short period of time. Does that mean that I think you need to join an MLM to be successful? Absolutely not. There are MANY non-MLM based businesses that may suit you very well. At the same time, there is nothing inherently wrong with MLM either. We'll talk a little more about that later in the book.

I am not an Internet Marketing "Guru". I'm not a wannabe guru. I'm not a newbie guru or an MLM "heavy hitter" who got "heavy" eating too many late night breakfasts at Denny's while presenting my latest opportunity to 20 or so of my latest "victims". I'm just a guy who's been doing internet marketing (of REAL products) long enough to have some ideas about what works and what doesn't, and I'm willing to share that experience with you in this book. However, so you don't get the wrong idea about me (based on my statement above), I should clarify something. I'm a big fan of MLM (multi-level or network marketing). I think it can be a terrific method for promoting products that don't "fit the mold" well enough to sell off a retail shelf. I also think it's a wonderful method for generating a good income and helping alot of other people do the same. For the record, just like in any other industry, there are some real MLM scams out there, as well as some terrific MLM opportunities. Nevertheless, although MLM can be a great business (if you have the right tools and support) this ebook is not a tutorial on MLM and the majority of the book really doesn't focus on MLM at all (although the principles discussed will apply to MLM just as well as any other home business). "Cash Machine" is a tutorial on home/small business which, for you, MIGHT be MLM but could very well be something entirely different. That all depends upon you: your strengths, weaknesses, personality, etc. The recommendations in this book are not specific to any one business or industry. The vast majority of the information in this book can be universally applied to any home/small business, MLM or not. But, I think I'm getting off on a bit of a tangent here. We were talking about why you should pay attention to me in the first place. To know that, you need to know a little about me. So, now that you know who I'm not, you might like to know who I am.

So, Who AM I? Well, first and foremost, I am a man who trusts God to help me with my everyday life and to


help keep my pride in check (most of the time). I am continually reminded that without Him I would have NONE of what I have, including the business success that has come my way. So, as you read the rest of this, I would like you to remember that all that I have and all that I am is a direct result of the blessings I have received from my Father in Heaven and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the talents and abilities that HE has placed in me (just as HE has placed unique talents, gifts and abilities inside of you). I have a primarily internet based business through which I sell a 25,000 Mile TRUE Synthetic Oil, a terrific Liquid Organic Fertilizer, a very complete line of Nutritional Supplements as well as Telecommunications Services. I know that they don't seem to have much in common, but you'll see as we go just how my business fits together. Through my home business, promoting the above product lines, I am blessed to be a stay at home dad to four awesome kids aged 6-9, and I am husband to a wonderfully talented and incredibly beautiful wife who helps keep me grounded in reality and helps me stay organized (the organization takes considerable effort on my part, I might add). As a successful internet businessman I make a good living putting in 10-20 hours per week and could retire today and still make at least 70% of my current income with virtually NO time investment whatsoever. My wife is already "retired", although, obviously, she spends plenty of time working at home. So, I guess, she's really only changed occupation titles from medical technologist to full-time Wife, Mom, Teacher, Counselor, House Cleaner and all around handy lady. I have been running my internet business for about 12 years (although I've only been really serious for about 7 or 8 years) and had a successful lawncare business before that for a number of years. Both businesses have actually MADE money. That's right. They were profitable. You may or may not be aware that profitability in a small/home business is not as common as people tend to think. Quite frankly, many small businesses/home businesses DON'T make money for numerous reasons: poor money management, poor initial concept, poor quality product or service, lack of self-motivation, etc. Generally speaking, I know what works and what doesn't to make money in a home business, primarily because I've spent the last 9 years testing just about every advertising and marketing method known to the free world. I know the pitfalls I ran into and can help you avoid them. I know how to set you up for success rather than failure. Can I guarantee you success? NO. That is up to you. But, I can make sure you start off on the right foot, with the right mindset, the right business (not necessarily MY business) and the proper resources and tools to make your life easier and the money come in faster. In the next section I'll discuss the primary things you DON'T want to do (as well as the things you DO want to do) in your new home business if you want to see any kind of real success.

12 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Sure-Fire Ways to Guarantee Home Business Failure: Everyone these days seems to be looking for a work at home business that is going to catapult them to financial success. Well, maybe not everyone. But, at the very least, it would appear that YOU are. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this book. The problem is, starting the wrong business or setting up a new business improperly could end up putting you in a hole that will be tough to get out of. You should not only carefully evaluate what type of business you want to get into, but also evaluate how you want to set it up so that it will be as productive, efficient and flexible as possible. So, here's the scoop. I'm going to tell you the top things NOT to look for in a home based business, if you want it to be a success. And, as an extra bonus (for a limited time only), I'm going to tell you the corresponding things you SHOULD be looking for to make sure your new home based business isn't a complete flop. Just kidding about the "limited time only" deal, of course. I just couldn't resist. But seriously, if you're thinking about starting your own business, you need to know that starting the "wrong" business (or starting the "right" business in the "wrong" manner) could end up being the worst thing you ever did.

The "Wrong" Path: Too Frequently Taken Consider the possible outcomes of starting down the wrong home business path. First, if the business doesn't succeed in bringing a profit in the first few years (at least), you could very easily end up in debt up to your eyebrows. You'd probably be surprised at the number of "entrepreneurs" that have ended up broke and in debt because their ill-fated business venture sapped them dry. Many end up filing for bankruptcy which has an effect on every business transaction they attempt for YEARS down the road. A "bad" business experience could easily land you in divorce court. Long hours away from family (or WITH family that doesn't want to be there every waking minute) trying to keep the business afloat. Arguments with your spouse over where and how the money is being spent. Many marriages have been torn apart by this sort of thing. And what about the health effects of going down this path. How much stress can a person realistically deal with day after day? Financial stress over whether the business is going to "make it" and whether next month's rent will get paid. Emotional stress from not getting enough time with family.


Of course, there is also the physical stress from too many long days and short nights. Additional physical stress caused by poor eating habits (which are very common among people who have so little time on their hands). Many people seeking to begin a new business don't think about all of those issues. All they can think about is the new freedom they're going to have and the increased income. The dollar signs in their eyes keep them from seeing all the potential traps a home business brings with it. Count the potential cost of your new business BEFORE you begin and make sure you're willing to pay that price. Moreover, remember that money is NOT the only potential cost and could be the least of the costs associated with your new home business. I think that Jesus said it best in Luke 14: 28-30:

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'" - NIV Don't be one of those who starts down the "rags to riches" road only to find yourself looking back and wondering what happened to your life. If you think this is an exaggeration, just talk to someone who's been down that road. They will tell you just how miserable it can be. Fortunately for you, the good news is, there is a positive side to beginning a new business, as long as you know the potential pitfalls going in so you can sidestep them before you get caught in them.

The "Right" Business Path: The Path Less Taken In direct opposition to the outcomes of the "wrong" business path discussed above, the "right" path offers you an excellent income, but much more than that. The "Right" home business path offers you an opportunity to build that income without spending over your means. Thus, there is little chance that you are going to end up in significant debt IF your business doesn't make it. And, just for the record, it still might not, even with all these tips - don't forget that. Alot of the deciding factors for success or failure are up to you, but some are not. At least if the business does fail, you won't be filing for bankruptcy. You also aren't going to end up in divorce court (at least not likely as a result of your new business). In fact, you just might end up with a "new and improved" marriage. Not only will you have more money to help cover the bills that have always been nagging you and causing stress, but you'll have extra to go away for little vacations with your spouse (with and without the kids once in awhile) to rejuvenate that relationship. You'll also have the time to actually schedule a vacation because you'll be taking advantage of all the resources out there to streamline your business, AND you'll be leveraging the efforts of others to increase your income AND theirs (I'm not necessarily talking about MLM here).


The "Right" business path also offers much better physical health. It doesn't require you to put in long days and short nights. It doesn't necessitate eating "fast food" every meal of the day. It doesn't cause the emotional stress that results from long hours away from family. The "Right" business path offers time to grow in your spiritual life. It allows you to spend daily time getting closer to the creator of the universe and getting to know yourself better. Time to help others and be blessed yourself in the process. Don't underestimate the power this can have in your life. Basically, the "Right" business path offers you the opportunity to start a new business with minimal risk, high potential reward and limited stress. That's the kind of business I want to help you start. That's what this book is all about, and I hope you'll keep reading to find out just how to begin down the "right" path to your own business. Just remember that the following portion of the book is written from a somewhat sarcastic viewpoint. I'm going to give you some of the best ways to "FAIL" in a new home based business, so that I can then explain to you just how to avoid those pitfalls and head in the "Right" direction. So, let's get to it. The first sure-fire way to guarantee home business failure is ...


One Time Sales with No Residual Income Potential This is the very best way to assure that you will fail in your business (or work yourself into the ground trying to succeed). Find a business that offers you no residual income potential. In other words, find a business where you're promoting a single product that a customer will need exactly once. That way, you can then expend just as much effort next month trying to pick up new customers as you did this month, and, at the end of the month, you'll have exactly the same amount of money to show for it.

Residual Income is Where the Money's At Clearly, it is ridiculous to suggest that you should settle for one time sales when you could have customers coming back for product on a regular basis. And yet, people still do it all the time. I don't care how phenomenal the product is, if it's the only product you'll be offering and customers don't need to come back for another one, it's a sure-fire loser. Every month, your profit will be the same as the last, and every month you'll have to work just as hard to go there. Don't do it. Residual income is the best means of creating a stable, long-term, money-making home business. Make sure that you are selling a product that your customers will like and that they will need more of as time goes on. Preferably, offer multiple products that customers will need more than once - related products, if possible, so that the quality of the first product might lead to the purchase of another, and so on. In fact, as long as you have a multiple product portfolio, and many of the products offer residual income potential, your "lead-in" product could be a ONE TIME sale, as long as it is a phenomenal product that your customers will be incredibly happy with. That way, you can then follow-up with "back-end" products that DO offer residual income. Your customers will already trust you, since the first product was such a great deal and offered such an incredible value. So, they will be very likely to try some of your back-end, residual income type products. As an example of this type of residual income type product portfolio, as I mentioned earlier, one of the companies that I work with offers 3 distinct and environmentally friendly product lines (a 25,000 Mile Synthetic Oil, a Liquid Organic Fertilizer and a Nutritional Supplements Line). Another company that I am affiliated with offers Telecommunications Services Of course, the nutritional supplements and the telecommunication services generate the most frequent repeat sales (basically monthly), but the fertilizer also is ordered multiple times each year and each order results in a commission (residual income). Also, although the oil is LESS consumable than the other three product lines, customers still have to come back for more oil and filters. In addition, since we offer numerous other


synthetic lubricants and high efficiency filters through that line, customers are often coming back for other products in the line for their other vehicles and equipment (more residual income). Each of these products offers the potential for repeat sales, and since the products are very high quality and offer significant value to the customer, the likelihood is that most customers will purchase again (which has been exactly my experience and is precisely why I could "retire" today and continue to make a significant portion of my current income - happy repeat customers that order directly from the company). It is MUCH easier to continue servicing a customer that you've already acquired (and the referrals that they will bring in if you service them well) than to try and gain a new customer that knows nothing about you. It's also much easier to sell a current customer a new product if they've already seen the high quality of the product you are currently supplying them. Otherwise, with each new customer you have to prove the worth of the product, your trust-worthiness, your product knowledge and level of customer service, etc. That all takes an incredible amount of time, energy and money. Keeping a current customer happy is generally MUCH easier, so make sure that you have a way to continue earning money from current customers.


Be Sure You're Required to Carry Large Amounts of Inventory This one is great for putting a heavy burden on your new business. You can assure that you will have to carry significant levels of inventory in a number of ways. If you are going to be in business for yourself, producing your own product, then make sure that you're selling a product that is time consuming to create. That way, unless you want your customers to have to wait for their order to be shipped, you will have to have considerable inventory available at any given time in order to meet the potential surge in product demand created by a good ad or nice write up in the paper. Or, maybe you can simply find a good source for some discontinued or overstocked product that you think you can still sell for a good price. In order to get the product, you'll have to buy out their entire inventory: 1,000 pieces ... at $5 each. But, since you're sure you'll be able to sell them, you can put the order on your credit card or take out a business loan to pay for it. Or, maybe you could set up a distributorship with a network marketing company that requires a hefty initial payment to set up a distributorship. This initial outlay includes an awesome "start-up pack" of "essential" products for you to test and sell. Thus, you are forced to carry inventory before you've even built up a clientele to sell it to. That is perfect. Alternatively, you could try a company that requires a minimum level of sales each month in order to maintain your distributorship, in which case, if you don't sell all your product each month, you basically have to buy it yourself and stock it in your basement in hopes that you sell it next month. A neat little twist on this would be to hook up with a company that requires you to set up what is called an Auto-Ship, meaning you authorize them to charge your credit card for, and ship to you, a certain amount of product each and every month (normally significantly more product than you and your family could actually use in a month). The great thing about this "inventory requirement" is that, most times, at least in the beginning, you're going to have a hard time selling the extra product that your family doesn't use. Thus, you are assured of having inventory that you're going to have to get rid of, in order to get your money back.

Heavy Inventory Weighs You Down Any of the previously listed scenarios (or anything that even resembles them) are definite "flounder-factors". Under any program like this, your business is sure to sink under the weight of all the inventory. It will become incredibly stressful and will cause you to be burdened beyond what is necessary. Do not let your new business be a burden. Make sure you find a business that will allow you to move at your own pace. If possible, make sure your business does not require you to carry inventory at all, as this just adds headache to your business.


There are plenty of home business options that do not require inventory. Selling a service requires no inventory. Selling electronic (downloadable) software and/or electronic books/information does not require carrying inventory. Most legitimate MLM companies will not require their dealers to carry inventory. The company handles all orders and shipments (although you certainly CAN carry a little inventory if you like). The bottom line is, if you must carry inventory, make sure it is because of CUSTOMER demand and not SUPPLIER demand. That way, no matter how much inventory you're carrying, you've got a good shot at selling it off in a timely fashion, because you know you've got sufficient customer demand to warrant purchasing the inventory to begin with. In the past decade+ running my home based business, I've never carried more than a case of oil and a case of fertilizer at any given point in time. I simply haven't had the desire nor the need to. But, that is because I've specifically structured my business to avoid that necessity.


Make Sure Your Product is NOT Unique You can't help but fail if you implement this one properly. Make absolutely certain that there are at least 5 other companies offering a product or service that is nearly identical to yours. This one is so simple even a home business dummy should be able to pull it off. As long as there are multiple other companies offering a product or service very similar to what you are offering, it will be very difficult to differentiate yourself from the rest. You will expend significant time, money and resources trying to show your potential customers the minute differences between your company and the other "copycats".

Stand Out From the Crowd Clearly it is a bad idea to have a product which is offered by numerous other companies. There are only two instances when I would consider this a good option. First, I would consider this an acceptable option if there are other "similar" products on the market but your product is of considerably higher quality than the rest or offers considerably better value (and you can easily PROVE it). Another case in which I might consider such a move would be if the product you're trying to market is so "cutting edge" that it seems too good to be true (why isn't anyone else doing this). In this case, not having ANY other companies on the market offering anything like what you're offering COULD be a downfall. A few copycat products are not a bad thing, AS LONG AS you can prove that you were the first and are still the BEST one of the bunch. Again, I said "prove". Not just say it, but prove it with cold, hard facts. Objective evidence AND testimonials. Especially testimonials of customers who switched from one of the copycats to you and were pleased with the switch. Be careful with this one. It can be a fine line, but normally, stay away from offering products or services that have lot's of competition, especially if showing the differences between your product and the rest of the pack will be difficult. No other major oil manufacturer offers a 25,000 mile oil and none of them offers such a complete line of full synthetic lubricants and filters. This insulates me against having to show how I'm unique. It's really quite easy. Any product that you market should be like that. Either there better be few, if any, other companies offering a product like yours, or you had better be able to easily show that your product is better and/or offers a significantly better value than your competitors.


Profit ONLY from Your Own Personal Efforts I have every confidence that you can run your business (or your body) into the ground within a few short years with this one. Make sure that there is absolutely no way for you to leverage the efforts of others to create more profit for you. In fact, if at all possible, make sure even your spouse can't help you. That way, not only can you run your business into the ground, you can ruin your marriage as well. Let's face it. If you're only profiting from your own efforts, then, in order to produce an increase in income, you generally have to increase your efforts, which probably means more time and possibly more money invested in your business. Of course, streamlining your operation and automating certain tasks will help prolong the inevitable, but you can be sure that with time you'll exhaust most ways to make your business much more efficient. Once you get to that point, the only raises in income you'll be seeing will be the result of putting in longer workdays or weekends. When your business has made it to that stage it is only a matter of time before either your health, your marriage or your business fails. Don't despair, though, it sounds like a much more lengthy process than it really is. A real "go getter" could probably accomplish total business failure, divorce or separation and/or stress related heart failure in 3-5 years, if he or she really worked at it.

There is Strength (and Money) in Numbers Part of the benefit of running your own business is having the flexibility (and, hopefully, the money) to spend more time with your family, to go do things most people can't do (either for lack of money or lack of time). What benefit is a new business if you spend all your time trying to build the business and what little free time you DO have is spent being stressed out about the business. You NEED to utilize a business model which puts a good portion of the work in the hands of other people, lots of them. This would generally be done in one of four ways, although a creative mind could probably come up with other ways of applying this business principle.

Business Model #1: Good Ole Corporate America The first, most common, example of building your business via the efforts of others is good, old fashioned corporate America. Look at just about any big business and you'll see a company making money off of other people's efforts: Hire employees. Pay them an adequate (sometimes) hourly rate or salaried rate and allow them to do the work of running the business. Meanwhile the owner oftentimes has little to do with the daily operations of


running the business. Of course, this generally applies to traditional "brick and mortar" businesses, so if you're planning on starting a business from home, this probably would not apply to you. However, it is certainly possible for you to still hire out the work of the company based upon hourly or flat fee rates, in which case you now have employees, whether you call them that or not. You will still end up being ultimately responsible for the work that they do or don't do. And, your business will be directly affected by their work. In my book, that makes them basically equivalent to employees with the exception of a few of the additional headaches outlined below. With "true" employees also comes the headaches involved with managing those employees. You have to decide how much to pay them, when to give them a raise, how often they can have vacation, whether they will get paid for it. You have to evaluate, on a regular basis, what the quality of their work is and whether it is worth the price you're paying for it (I suppose that also applies to companies you might sub-contract with). You have to decide how you're going to handle health insurance issues, state and federal taxes, etc. And, you have to deal with potential employee dissatisfaction with the return they are receiving for their effort (whether the wage you are paying is fair or not). These days, many people feel they are "due" more than what they are actually receiving. In some cases, they may be right. In other cases, it's likely that they are getting paid exactly what their work is worth, and sometimes more than it's worth. Either way, there will be employees that will complain you're not paying them enough. In my mind, this is not the ideal business scenario for someone wanting to begin a new business. There is simply too much unnecessary effort and complication required when employees are involved. In addition, each "level" of employment within the company often feels envious of those "above" them, feeling that their income level is basically "capped" by their "superiors".

Business Model #2: Develop an Affiliate "Army" An option that is becoming much more common is what is called an "affiliate program". In this scenario, you do not actually hire employees. What you are really doing is subcontracting out your advertising to hundreds or thousands of people. The other aspects of the business, such as bookkeeping, customer service, order taking, product packaging/shipping and so on are still taken care of by you. Of course, you could hire employees to take care of those items not addressed by the affiliate program, or simply subcontract out that work as well, but our main focus here will be on the affiliates, since this is going to be the driving force of your company. Your affiliates will be your sales force. In this case, you generally would have a website through which your product or service is sold. Each of your affiliates would sign up for an account and would receive a "special link"


to your website. Each affiliate would then find creative ways to promote that special link. They might simply post the link on their website (if they have one) and do a positive write up on your company suggesting that their website visitors should consider taking advantage of what you have to offer. Or, if they have a list of email subscribers, they might send an email out to all of their subscribers containing a positive review of your product or service and their "special link". Of course, the possibilities of how they might promote their special link are endless and many of your affiliates will expect you to provide resources to help them promote their link (ie. advertising banners they can use, articles & testimonials about the product/service you provide that they can post on their website or in their emails, etc.). The great thing about affiliate programs is that you are leveraging the time, money and efforts of a large group of people to market your products. This exposes your product or service to MANY more people than you could ever possibly advertise to on your own. Since none of the other stuff (bookkeeping, product shipment, etc.) makes a hill of beans difference if you are not advertising your product, your affiliate program becomes the lifeblood of your business. It IS your business. Affiliate programs are a great way to promote a product or service. And, conveniently, there are numerous companies on the net that will help you run your affiliate program. By listing your company in their database, you will quickly begin to pick up affiliates (if your product/service seems worth promoting and the commission you pay is good). Large numbers of people log into these affiliate program directories each day looking for programs they can promote on their websites or to their email subscribers. If your program is a good fit to their website topic, they'll likely sign up as one of your affiliates. The affiliate program service provider will take care of setting up your affiliates' accounts, providing them with their special link, providing them with any advertising resources you offer (such as banners and related items), determining how much your affiliates are owed and they will cut them a check once or twice per month. Some of them will even handle your order processing (although not order fulfillment). See the Resources Chapter for a listing of companies that will help you run your affiliate program, should you choose to go that route. Just remember that an affiliate program is not a "magic bullet". You still end up handling basically all other aspects of the business and it can take considerable time and effort to build a strong affiliate base and the resources to help them properly promote your product or service.

Business Model #3: Enlist IN an Affiliate Army Even if you don't have your own product to sell, you can become a member of someone else's affiliate army (or become an affiliate for multiple products/services) and still leverage the efforts of others to your advantage (without "taking advantage" of them).


Many affiliate programs are "two-tier", which means that you not only make money for the products sold via YOUR referrals, you also make money on products sold via other peoples' referrals IF they signed up for the affiliate program through you. Some people have negative reactions to a program where you make money from someone else's effort. But, if you step back and view these programs objectively, it's really a scenario that is even more fair than typical corporate America. In most companies you are limited as to what you can really make for income by your superiors. In other words, the department manager is the one who decides whether your work is worth a raise or not and how much that raise should be. And, of course, you're never going to get a raise that actually catapults you to an income that is MORE than whatever your boss is making. However, in an affiliate program, even though the person who "sponsored" you into the affiliate program will be making money on YOUR sales (IF it is a two-tier program), there is still no cap on how much money YOU can make. In addition, it is entirely possible for you to make MORE money than the person who sponsored you. Your income level is largely dependent upon you and your own efforts. So, in my opinion, this is a much more logical business arrangement, where everyone has more motivation to work harder and/or smarter, and the sponsoring member has an incentive to assist those that he/she has sponsored because, the more money they make, the more money the sponsor makes. As an example, let's say that I'm an affiliate for "Product X" and I sign you up as an affiliate. I make a 30% commission on all of my direct sales and a 10% commission on YOUR sales. Likewise, you make a 30% commission on all your direct sales and a 10% commission on all those sales produced by anyone you sponsor into the program. So, if I sell 100 items this month at $50 each, my commission would be $1500 (30% of $5,000). If you sold 50 items at $50 each, your commission would be $750 (30% of $2500) and my commission on your sales would be $250 (10% of $2500). So, I make $1750 this month, and you make $750 (because I sold more product). However, if in month 2 I sell 100 items again, but you sell 200 items, YOU will be the one who makes more money. I'd make $1500 + $1000 (from you) = $2500. You, on the other hand, would make $3000. And, if you had people sponsored under you, you'd make even more. I made more money this month than I did last month because YOU (the person I sponsored) sold more product than last month, but YOU make more money than me because you sold considerably more product than I did. So there is nothing holding back anyone from making more than the guy or gal that sponsored them besides their own initiative. Many people these days who are looking for an affiliate program WANT a two-tier program, so if you're considering running your own affiliate program, this might be something to consider. An Example of How You Might Use This Method The best way to use other companies' affiliate programs to your advantage (if you don't want to come up with your own product and set up your own affiliate program) is to come up


with something you enjoy or know a great deal about. Then, create a content oriented website (a website with lots of articles written by you regarding the subject) or ebook and "sprinkle" it with affiliate links to products or services that will help your website visitor with that particular issue/topic/whatever. For instance, if you enjoy horseback riding, you might create an extensive website discussing all major aspects of riding horses. Then, throughout the site, in appropriate areas through your articles and such, you would include affiliate links to sites that offer useful and high quality products, services and such for horseback riders. I think you get the idea. In the example above, you might actually be an affiliate for 10 or 15 different sites that offer differing products and services related to the topic of your website. One thing that is good about that is, if, for some reason, one of the companies that you are affiliated with suddenly goes out of business or discontinues their affiliate program, at least you still have other income sources in place. The primary thing to remember about the above income option is that you MUST create a site that is very content rich. In other words, you had better have alot of really good (and unique) information about the topic you choose. If not, people will go elsewhere and your affiliate links do you no good. In addition, if the information provided on the site is not particularly useful and does not give the reader the sense that you are really knowledgeable about the subject, your product and service recommendations will not carry much weight, and your visitors will be less likely to click on your affiliate links. Lastly, you had better make sure that the products and services that you are linking to are of high quality and offer good value. Your website visitors and ebook readers will really appreciate links to services and products that they can make good use of. But, on the other hand, if you're linking to anyone and everyone just to make a buck, it won't be long before your website or ebook begins getting bad press. At that point, there is a good chance that your business is sunk. As an example, I hope that you will find this ebook a useful guide to starting a home business. I have done my very best to include as much useful information as I could, and I have made certain that I am linking only to products or services that I personally use (or at least have used in the past) with good result. I wouldn't recommend any of these products or services, if I didn't feel they would be of benefit to you. In fact, I would actually ask that, if you take advantage of any of the resources in this guide and find that you don't have a good experience with the product or company, please let me know so that I can investigate the matter to determine whether that product/service/company should be removed from the book. The point, though, is that you are currently experiencing this affiliate marketing method at work, as you read this book. In fact, it's actually sort of a combo of Model 3 AND Model 4 (which you'll read about in a moment). Hopefully, you will come away with some good information and a few products and/or services you can use. At the same time, I'm hoping to make a little money on some of my recommendations. I'm also hoping that you may have an interest in some of the products that I sell personally


through my business, or even in joining my business team in marketing these products yourself. But, that's an entirely separate issue, and you can decide that for yourself as you go through this book.

Biz Model #4: Become a Member of a Successful Network Marketing Team Network Marketing (also called Multi-Level Marketing or MLM) is basically just taking the affiliate program idea to a new level. In truth, affiliate programs are just simplistic MLM programs. MLM has been around for years (decades even), can be a VERY effective business structure and is actually a very FAIR business model if the compensation structure is designed appropriately, but many companies have twisted this business model into something which barely resembles the original intended purpose of multi-level marketing. Thus, MLM has a VERY bad reputation these days because so many companies have utilized a warped version of MLM (generally what is loosely called a "pyramid scheme") to promote poor quality products to unsuspecting customers and "home business junkies" that hop from program to program hoping to find "the one" that is going to make them rich. MLM is actually a very sound business model and can be a much more equitable compensation structure than traditional owner/manager/employee structures. In fact, the majority of companies out there are actually utilizing MLM in some way or another these days. They just don't call it MLM. When was the last time you saw a company advertising an incentive for referring a new customer to them? Probably sometime within the last week. From chiropractic care to cable TV to cell phones, just about every company out there offers compensation for referrals (a month of free service, a free movie pass, etc). THAT is MLM ... or at least a form of it. Probably closer to what I described as an affiliate program (one-tier), but that is still a form of MLM. You tell friends and relatives about restaurants you enjoyed or businesses that did good work for you all the time, why not refer them to a product you believe in and make a little money for their purchase? In multi-level marketing, as with affiliate marketing, you not only try and sell product yourself to regular customers (either offline or online), but you try and sign up other distributors to do as you're doing (and make commissions off of their sales). This is similar to the two-tier affiliate program structure except that most MLM companies offer to pay commissions on multiple levels of your "downline" - sometimes infinite levels. Downline simply refers to ANYONE who has been brought into the distributor network as a result of your efforts. So, if you sign up Bob and he signs up Jane and she signs up John and he signs up Raymond and he signs up Mary, then Bob, Jane, John, Raymond and Mary are ALL in your downline, because none of them would be in the business were it not for you signing up Bob in the first place and then training him to do the same. Now, a network marketing business can be VERY lucrative and can alleviate alot of the headaches that go along with the other business structures I've already mentioned. BUT,


it's not for everyone. Only you can decide whether MLM is right for you. However, this ebook will help a great deal because any MLM business that you decide to sign on with should also meet at least a majority of the criteria I'm laying out in this chapter of the book. Multi-level marketing is the business structure that I have chosen to align myself personally with, although I'm not necessarily recommending that you do the same. It's a good business, and about 60-70% of my income or more is generated by my downline, so that takes a major load off of me. Moreover, the oil and fertilizer that I sell (along with the nutritionals) lend themselves to MLM pretty well, believe it or not. Nevertheless, you still may find that one of the other business models suits you better. Only you can decide. Just keep an open mind. So, keep reading. No matter what type of business you end up going with, this book is going to be a tremendous help in making sure you choose correctly for YOU and that you structure the business so as to have the best chance of success.


Make Sure There is Minimal Demand for Your Product Whether you start your own business or get involved with an MLM or affiliate program this is another excellent way to ensure home business failure in short order. Make sure nobody is looking for your product. Going this route, you'll have the pleasure of spending the majority of your time and effort convincing potential customers that they actually need your product or service.

Give People What They Want Of course, I'm being facetious to suggest you offer a product for which there is minimal demand. Clearly that would be a bad idea, and I don't think that you're dense enough to believe otherwise. But, I'm amazed at the number of people who begin marketing a product that really has minimal market appeal simply because they didn't take the time to investigate whether anyone is actually looking for something similar to what they'll be offering. Why waste your time beating your head against the wall trying to sell a product nobody wants? Give people what they already want or need. In other words, make sure there is demand for the product BEFORE you start marketing it. Or, at least evaluate the current trends in the industry to see if it seems clear that demand will continue to rise over the coming years. There are simple ways to check on this and at the same time establish how much competition there is for a particular product or industry you might be considering. Just a simple Google search (NON-REFERRAL LINK) for related phrases will give you some idea of how many other companies or individuals might be promoting a similar product or service. You can determine how many people are searching for particular phrases by setting up a free account with Yahoo Search or Google Adwords for pay per click advertising. You don't actually have to spend any money, although if you take a look at my Advertising chapter, you may find that pay per click (PPC) advertising would work well for you. At any rate, when you set up an account, you can go to the "add keywords" area and type in a phrase related to the product/service you'd like to offer. Yahoo or Adwords will provide you with a list of related phrases, the number of times they have been searched for and the amount that advertisers on their system are paying for each click on their link for each search phrase. For instance, if you typed in "website" in the "add keywords" dialogue at Yahoo Search, you might see "website design" in the list of related phrases. Next to that it might say that 100,000 people searched for "website design" last month. Next to that it might list $2.00/$1.97/$1.85 which are the top 3 "bids" from advertisers for the keyword phrase "website design". Thus, when someone searches for "website design" through the Yahoo search engine the


top listing would be a descriptive link to the $2 advertiser's website. Something like: "Website Design Services: We're the Best" which would link to the advertiser's website at "". Then, under that would be the listing for the $1.97 advertiser, and below that the $1.85 advertiser. If a person clicks on the $2 advertiser's link, the advertiser would be charged $2 by Yahoo. The nice part about this is that he/she only pays for traffic coming to their site specifically looking for website design. However, a more targeted phrase which might result in more actual clients would be "website design service" which clearly indicates that the searcher is looking for someone to do the work, as opposed to "website design" which might be used to simply search for design ideas for the Do It Yourselfer. At any rate, that is slightly off topic. The point of this section is simply to indicate that there are easy ways for you to determine the demand (customers) AND supply (competition) for just about any product you might consider offering. If demand is low and supply is high, that is not likely to be a product you want to offer. However, if you find that demand is high and supply is low for a particular product niche, that might be just the area you want to get involved in. For instance, demand is high for organic fertilizers right now and is only going to grow over the next decade or so. Moreover, although supply is pretty high (lots of organics out there), our product is priced lower than most competing fertilizers. So, there is good demand for our product, and we can differentiate our product from the rest by showing that it is not only effective, but also less expensive than most. This makes for an easier sale. Similarly, for the oil, many people are starting to look toward extending their oil drains, now that OEMs like GM are starting to move that direction. In addition, synthetic oils are gaining more popularity among general consumers and synthetic oil sales are climbing steadily (projections show that trend should continue). Customers are now looking for more convenience in their vehicle maintenance schedules and 25,000 mile oil changes alleviate alot of routine maintenance. So, since no other major oil manufacturer is offering a 25,000 mile oil, we can set ourselves apart as one of the only products that is meeting that particular consumer demand. In addition, since our technical specifications are better, we can easily point to these as proof of superior quality. Now, even though demand is currently very high for Nutritional Supplements and there will pretty much always be a demand for Telecommunications Services, supply is VERY high for both (MANY other companies are offering similar products and services). So, why these two? Well, for one, the nutritionals are offered through the same dealership as the oil and fertilizer, so it came in the deal. But, these are a good add-on, because all of my oil and fertilizer customers are exposed to the nutritional line as well. If they are already happy with the other products, and believe we produce high quality products, often they will be likely to try the nutritionals. These are simple sales for quality products that generate additional commissions for me without any significant additional effort. The telecommunications services are an add-on that I specifically chose because of the multi-level structure of my business. I have alot of dealers under me, all of which need long distance or cellular or conference calling or internet, etc. This is another simple add-on (that


generates monthly commissions for me and good services at a good price for them. Since it cost me nothing to become a distributor, and it has a multi-level structure which my dealers can take advantage of, it was a no-brainer for me. Both myself and my dealers end up coming out ahead. In the end, if you only take one thing from this page of the book, understand that it is foolish to try marketing a product for which demand is low and there is no indication that is going to change anytime soon. Do not assume that you alone will be able to create demand for your product. It is likely that you will fail in that regard and so will your business.


Make Sure to Offer a Low Quality Product or Service There is no better way to insure that your customers will NOT come back and will NOT refer their friends to you than to offer a sub-standard product or service that does not perform the intended purpose to the utmost. Be sure to praise the performance of your product or service all over your website and then offer a product that doesn't even come close to doing what you say. In fact, you don't even really have to go that far. Just over-exaggerate the usefulness of your product. Then, when people use it, they will be sure to be disappointed and will stay away from you, your company and your products like the plague. Word will quickly spread that you offer a shoddy product, and you'll be lucky to sell your product for pennies on the dollar. This one is sure to put your business under in short order.

Quality Counts in Business (and in Life) I'm sure you can remember purchasing a product that you had high hopes for and then were disappointed in the performance. Take most cleaning products for example. People have gotten accustomed to purchasing cleaning products for specific jobs and then finding that their cleaning ability is little better than filtered water. Did you want to run out and tell your friends how great the product was? Of course not. You told people how poor the cleaning ability was. Expect the same from your customers. If you offer a product that does MORE than what you said on your website, you will receive high praise, repeat business and many referrals. If your product performs less adequately than you advertised, you can expect plenty of negative comments to friends and family and no referrals. It's that simple. Do NOT go into business selling anything that you have not tested yourself, and make certain you believe it is as good as or better than the claims you'll be making in your advertising. Also, make sure that the price you're going to charge for the product offers real value to the customer. People will pay for high quality, but don't price it so high that the perceived value of the product is outweighed by the price. You need to make certain that the perceived value you instill in your customer for your product is significantly higher than the actual price you're charging. Then, make sure that once the customer receives the product he/she will still think they received good value for their money. Notice that I highlighted "perceived" in the above paragraph. This is for good reason. The value that your customer perceives for your product is far more important than the actual value of the product. Now, that is not to say that the actual value is unimportant. Just make sure that the value your customer places on your product both before AND after their purchase is higher than the price they have to pay you to get it. This will make a happy customer every time. Even if the product only cost you a dime, as long as the customer


receives value from the product or service in excess of what they paid you (even if they paid $20), they will be happy. A high quality product will almost always leave a customer with a high perceived value. So, as long as you have a high quality product priced appropriately, perceived value should never be an issue (at least AFTER the purchase - raising perceived value BEFORE the purchase can take a bit more effort). Every business has some returns, but in the last decade I have had only a very small handful of customers ever request a refund for their oil, fertilizer or supplements purchase, and generally, it was because they had not used the product as instructed (although it can be tough to explain that to some customers). Either way, that says alot to me about the quality of my products and gives me more confidence each time I speak with a new customer.


Don't Forget to Fork Out a Hefty Initial Investment This is an excellent option for speeding you down the path to financial disaster. It is very closely related to the "inventory" issue. So, if you make sure that the business you begin requires substantial inventory, then you've probably got this one covered. However, if you haven't found a business option that requires you to carry a large amount of inventory, no need to worry. There are still a number of other ways to make sure that you put a heavy financial burden on your business from the "get-go". For instance, you could start out with an affiliate program that requires you to purchase their product (a very expensive product) in order to become an affiliate. Maybe some "state of the art" stock picking software package for a few thousand dollars. Or, you could set up with an MLM that has a $500 sign-up fee. Get creative. I'm sure you could come up with numerous other ways to spend what little financial capital you have before you even get to the stage of advertising your business. Done right, this one will run your business into the ground and is sure to leave you in debt as well.

Never Spend More Than You Can Afford to Lose This little gem of truth is applicable to ALL aspects of your business, not just the initial start-up. You should NEVER spend more money than you can afford to lose for anything related to your business, because you often don't know beforehand just how useful that product, service or advertising medium is going to be. It might turn out not to be worth anything. For instance, even if it seems like a particular advertisement is a "sure thing" and should easily bring a profit which is double or triple the cost of the ad, don't spend the money unless you can afford to lose it. Many ads that SEEM like a sure thing turn out not to be. Or, consider paying to have someone design a website for you. If it costs $1,000 to have a company develop a website for you, but you find that it is not actually producing sales, you may have to spend more money to "fix" it. However, if $1000 was all you had, now you're stuck. So, technically, you couldn't afford to "lose" that $1000, and you shouldn't have spent it. However, for now, the focus is on business "start-up" costs. If you've got $1000 with which to begin a new business and you spend $600 right out of the starting block just to affiliate with a certain company/product, you'll have very little left for advertising or web design or anything else that is going to be a necessity in order for your business to be a success. So, spend your money wisely. In fact, I would go so far as to also say, especially if this is going to be a home based business, I wouldn't even recommend using a credit card or bank loan to pay for any of your initial expenses, unless you KNOW (not just think or hope) you can pay that amount off within a pretty short period of time (preferably the first month or two


to avoid excessive interest). If the business doesn't succeed, you don't want to be stuck with a huge debt to try and pay off. Not only will this be a burden on you and your family if your current occupation is not exactly paying you extra for additional debt payments, but it will delay or eliminate the possibility of trying a different business. Even though there is a good chance of success your first time around, if you apply the principles found within this book, you still have to consider the possibility that your first home business attempt may NOT succeed. In that case, you should leave your options open for potentially beginning another business (since the conditions which prompted you to want a home business in the first place will most likely NOT change if your initial business flops). That means leaving money "on the table", so to speak, for another try. As an example, the Telecommunications Company I'm working with doesn't charge anything for their distributor program. So, as long as a distributor doesn't go nuts on advertising that doesn't produce, he/she should easily be able to move into another business if this one doesn't pan out. Or, take the oil and fertilizer that I sell. In order to become a distributor, it costs only $15, and that includes a start-up kit and six months of wholesale buying power. I knew that I could easily afford that and wouldn't break the bank if it didn't work out. However, let me point out something else that is important to note here. I'm not recommending that you hopscotch around to dozens of business opportunities looking for the one "home run" business. You're not going to find it that way. The "home run" business is the one that you finally COMMIT to and stick with. It's the one that you finally spend some time and advertising dollars on. It's the one that you DON'T QUIT as soon as things get a little tough. That's the one that will be the "home run" you're looking for ... the one that you are willing to fully commit to. Just remember not to commit to any business that requires you to fork out significant sign-up fees (or related fees that basically serve the same purpose).

So, although there are certainly legitimate businesses which require a significant initial investment, most of them are "brick and mortar" businesses that are not being run from your home and probably not online. In other words, very few HOME business options (especially those that are primarily internet based) should require significant initial investment. So, investigate diligently and choose wisely. Affiliate programs should generally be free to join. Multi-Level-Marketing programs should generally be either free or very low cost (to cover the cost of a start-up kit/manual, etc.). Most affiliate or MLM programs that have a hefty up-front cost are paying HUGE bonuses to distributors JUST for sign-ups (regardless of whether any product is actually ever sold). This is considered a pyramid scheme and is illegal, for good reason. If you "hook up" with an affiliate or MLM program, consider what they have available to you to help manage and market your business. The less they have available, the more you'll have to develop yourself which will either cost you money, time or both. These are


expenses that must be considered. Are you offered a comprehensive website (either your own or one you can link to with your affiliate code)? What about an email autoresponder system? Catalogs and/or product brochures? How about electronic versions of those brochures to provide customers via email or download? Does the company offer training of distributors via conference calls? What about online training articles? Online advertising materials such as graphic banners? A leads program to help generate customers and/or dealers quickly? Some might argue that many of the above are not necessary. I would ask then, what is their definition of "necessary". If necessary means you absolutely cannot run your business without them, then I suppose they may be right. However, I would argue that most of the above ARE necessary, if you want to build your business quickly and efficiently. And, if the company you're about to affiliate with does not have most of these things available to you and your future downline members, then you'll end up developing them yourself, if you really want your business to expand at more than a snail's pace. However, all of these things will cost you time and/or money. These expenses have to be considered in your start-up costs. Likewise, if you decide to begin your own business with no specific affiliation to another company (as through an affiliate or MLM program), then you'll have all of the above mentioned expenses and more. You'll need to try and evaluate ALL that you will likely need to put in place to actually begin selling something: website design cost, advertising costs (online and offline), product development and/or procurement costs (what does it cost to make it or to have someone else make it), product fulfillment expenses (cost to store/ship the product or have someone else store/ship the product), etc. Of course, there are MANY other expenses that could be important to consider, depending upon what type of product or service you decide to sell. Just make sure you take plenty of time to consider all of the expenses you're going to incur, just to get started in your new business. You may even want to ask some family/friends to help you brainstorm potential expenses that might come up. In the end, it will be worth it to make sure that no major expenses catch you by surprise, potentially sinking your business.


Keep Your Product List as Short as Possible Be very careful not to offer too many products to your customers. Otherwise, you might end up increasing your sales. That is NOT the way to tank a business. What you want is to have as few products as possible, preferably just a single product. That way, you can earn as little profit as possible from each of your customers. If you're offering a consumable product, you'll continue earning the same amount of money each month from the re-orders of your current customers, and the only increase in income you'll ever see will be the result of acquiring NEW customers. For example, this month let's say you pick up 30 new customers, each purchasing the one item that you sell and earning you $10 each. That's $300. Next month, assuming that you're foolish enough to be offering a quality product ... we're shooting for failure here, remember ... all of your 30 customers would come back to purchase again, earning you another $300. So, to increase your income, you have to expend the time, effort and money necessary to bring in NEW customers, each of which are going to earn you $10. Even better, make sure the product is NOT consumable. Then, the only way you'll earn more money is if you bring in more customers this month than you did last month. There is no better way to minimize profits than that because it is impossible to keep outdoing yourself month after month forever.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify ....... I really can't stress this enough. Outside of having a consumable product, this is probably the most important way of increasing and stabilizing the income produced by your new home business. Think about it. Would you rather have 1000 customers each ordering 1 product per month, or 200 customers each ordering 10 products per month? It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out that 2000 orders per month is most likely going to earn you more money than 1000 orders per month. In addition, it's easier to manage 200 customers ordering 10 products each than 1000 customers each ordering 1. And, the more products that your customers are ordering from you, the more likely that they will still be ordering from you 5 or 10 years from now. Even if some of your products end up being phased out or discontinued there are still likely to be other products that your customers will continue to order. Similarly, if your customer happens to find a similar product to one of yours elsewhere that he/she likes better, that's only one of many products he/she is ordering from you, so at least you don't lose the customer entirely. It just makes sense to offer multiple products to your customers. Just make sure that they are ALL high quality products, otherwise one poor product might turn a customer off and send them looking elsewhere for ALL the products that they were previously ordering from you. Also, don't just have the products available, make sure you tell your current customers about other products that you offer.


Remind them of how happy they are with "Product X" that they are already purchasing from you. Then, reassure the customer that ALL of your products are made to the same, high quality standards they are used to. It's much easier to sell a new product to a currently happy customer than to sell a new product to a customer who knows nothing about you. Once you pick up a new customer, make sure that, over time, they are exposed to ALL of your products.


Focus All Your Efforts on a Single Niche Market Make sure that your product(s) only appeal to a small niche market. That way you narrow the available market that you can promote your product(s) to. By doing this, you generally increase your advertising expenditures and increase the difficulty of finding large numbers of new potential customers to advertise to. Related to this is the issue of personal consumer vs corporate sales. If your product(s) only apply to one market or the other (personal consumers OR businesses), you limit your available advertising opportunities significantly, not to mention your potential profits.

Multiple Markets Mean Multiple Profit Avenues Although it certainly can be simpler to learn about and promote to only a single market, you're really shooting yourself in the foot if you go this route. First of all, it is my opinion that a company based upon a single market and nothing else is much more likely to fail than a business which has multiple potential markets (even if they are not actively promoting to all of them at the same time). I believe this holds true for a home business as well as a large corporate giant. Diversification of products and markets helps stabilize a company's income levels and makes sure that if one market dries up (for whatever reason), there are still plenty of others to fall back on to pick up the slack and keep the company moving forward. Why do you think that Ford owns Jaguar and a number of other automotive manufacturers? Why do you think GM owns Saab and Hummer and so many other "brands"? If one brand is doing poorly, the others will likely pick up the slack and keep the company "in the black" (making money). I would not recommend you become an affiliate or dealer for a "one hit wonder" company with limited potential sales markets, nor would I begin an independent business with limited open markets to advertise to. For long term business stability it just doesn't make sense. And, of course, as you already are aware, I am practicing what I preach here in my own business. I am affiliated with multiple companies offering numerous products which appeal to a "slew" of different markets (consumer AND big business gardening, farming and lawncare through the fertilizer line, consumer, commercial, retail, municipal, government and industrial markets through our synthetic gas/diesel/2-cycle oils, tranny fluids, filters and the like, consumer and retail markets for the nutritional supplements as well as consumer and commercial markets for the telecommunication and internet services I offer. My options are really pretty endless. One market dries up, move on to another. That market dries up, move on to another. And, just to be absolutely clear, I'm not saying that to brag to you. There are many people who've made more money than me through their home business. But, you do need to know that I make a very comfortable living using ALL of the tips and techniques I'm presenting to you, and I'm selling real products, not home business tips and strategies. The things I'm telling you WILL help you build a successful business selling products and/or services people can actually use, IF you heed my warnings and steer clear of the pitfalls that could


send your business into the Financial Abyss.


Ignore Lead Generation Questions The most crucial aspect of running a successful business is to be sure you have a way to generate leads for your business on a regular basis. Without a constant and consistent influx of new sales leads to follow up on your income will be sporadic or even stagnant. So, it follows that one of the best ways to increase your chances of blundering in business is NOT to pay any attention to how you'll generate sales leads for your business. Let's face it, no matter how big demand might be for your product or service, if you don't have a way to tap into that demand you won't make a penny.

So, by not considering the available methods of lead acquisition for any potential business, you are definitely enhancing the possibility that you end up with a top-notch product that you just simply can't sell effectively. Talk about depressing. Not only is nobody getting to use your AWESOME product, you're not making any money either.

Sales Leads are the Lifeblood of Your Business Every business is different and the methods you'll use to generate sales leads will be different for each business. Ideally, you'll have multiple options available for generating sales leads. For instance, simple "natural" ("not paid for") search engine listings send traffic to your website. Hopefully, a percentage of your website visitors will place an order through your site (making them a GREAT sales lead for cross-selling other products ... which you SHOULD be offering). Of those that don't order, a certain percentage will request information regarding your products and/or your company ... IF your website is designed properly to encourage this. These too, are wonderful sales leads because the client has contacted YOU, giving you permission to contact them. Or, consider other methods of generating leads such as magazine ads. Are there any magazines out there catering to the types of people that would want your product? If so, that could be an excellent way to generate sales leads. Depending upon the type of people you'll be advertising to, it might be better to send them to your website OR it might be better to provide a toll free number direct to you OR it might be more beneficial to provide them with a toll free recorded message they can call for more information. Which will work best will depend upon your primary "customer pool" and the type of product/service you're offering. A little trial and error might be in order to determine which one best suits your situation. How about postcard mailings? These could be an AWESOME way to generate sales leads (or distributor leads - those that might be interested in joining your team). Again, it depends upon your audience and what you're offering. The only way to know is to test it. Important to note here is that you MUST investigate the cost that will be associated with any of these (and MANY other) methods of generating sales leads. Just because you think that a particular method will work well for your product or your intended market does NOT mean that it is a viable option for you. If you don't have the "capital resources" (read: MONEY) to implement such a lead acquisition method, then it does you no good. And, remember, you


may have to test a particular lead acquisition method more than once to get a good response. So, be sure to account for multiple advertisements and their associated cost. I think that it is clear that, when you are investigating particular business opportunities you might be interested in, you need to consider this issue of lead generation. No matter how good the opportunity sounds, if the only ways that you have to generate sales leads are going to cost more money (or time) than you can afford to "spend", it is NOT the business for you. It is for this reason that I try to put lead generation programs into place that ALL of my downline dealers CAN implement as long as they have SOME time or money available. If they don't have money to invest, but have time available to "work" the business, I have some very viable options for them to use to build their business. If they don't really have a great deal of time, but have money, then I try to provide co-op advertising programs that they can use to generate EXTREMELY targeted leads. Alternatively, if they have a little time and a little money, but not a great deal of either, I also need to have very INexpensive co-op lead programs available. And, if they don't have any time or money available to invest, they probably shouldn't be attempting to start a home based business in the first place. They will likely only get discouraged. I try to make sure that anyone that comes into my organization has options available to them so that they don't have to struggle to build their business. If you're looking at aligning yourself with a particular company or a sponsoring dealer in an MLM, make sure that they offer YOU some simple ways to generate sales leads so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel on your own. I emphasize "you" because some lead generation programs require more money or more time than you have available and, thus, are useless to you. There ARE companies out there that will provide the resources you need and some simple ways to generate sales leads that will work for you personally. There are also plenty of businesses that you can get involved with which are going to leave everything to you. If you're not ready to develop your business from scratch, then don't put yourself in a position where you will have to.


Do Everything Manually If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, right? Try to manually process all your orders, fill out and file all of the order paperwork yourself, handle ALL email and telephone information requests personally, do periodic personal follow-ups with all your customers to make sure they know of new products, etc. That way, you won't have any time left over to seek out new advertising or joint venture opportunities. In addition, you'll have to be attending to your business at all times to make sure that orders continue to come in (since you don't have a way for them to be processed without you).

Following this route, it should only take you a couple of years to realize that you've put yourself in a smaller cage than your previous 9 to 5 job did. Now, instead of working 8-10 hours per day and then coming home and leaving work at work, you now work 12-14 hours per day and work comes home with you. Not exactly what you originally bargained for, I'm going to guess.

Automation is Key to Your Success To avoid the above scenario, there are numerous mechanisms that you can put in place to automate different aspects of your business. One area you can simplify through "automation" is order processing and shipping. If you sell an electronic product like an ebook or a members only website, then orders can easily be taken and fulfilled online through a good online shopping cart script and possibly an additional server script for creating a password protected members only website. All of this can easily be setup to occur 24/7 without ANY intervention from you, unless someone happens to have a little trouble with the ordering process or their login. If you're going to be selling a tangible product that has to actually be shipped, then you'll want to hire a company to handle all of your product storage/packaging/shipping. They should receive all of the orders electronically from your website, so you don't have to be personally involved in that process. Alternatively, if you are going to be selling some other company's product (as with an MLM business), then you need to be sure that the company you align yourself with does all the product shipping. Don't start purchasing a bunch of inventory and start selling from your own inventory. Even if it seems you could make more money by ordering in large quantity (for product discounts) and then selling the product for slightly over retail (to pad the profit a bit more), it's not worth it. The amount of extra time, effort and hassle involved in handling all the product yourself is NOT worth the extra money. Let the company take care of processing the orders, paying the credit card processing fees and packing and shipping the orders. That way, orders can be processed and shipped even if you're on vacation with the family. Moreover, all the time that you would have spent processing/packing/shipping orders can now be spent on generating new customers, which equates to higher profits for you.


What About Customer Support? Another aspect of your business that should be automated as much as possible is responding to customer questions and concerns. Now, that doesn't mean you never personally talk with your customers. That would be a major boo-boo. Customers like personal attention, when they need it. At the same time, there are many times when personal attention is not necessary to address their concern. Most customers are far less concerned about whether they receive a PERSONAL response or not than they are concerned with whether the response they get actually addresses their problem. Think about it. How many times have you received a personal response from a company that really didn't answer your questions at all. It's like they didn't pay any attention to what you asked. You get upset, don't you? Why is that? Well, part of it is that you're annoyed that they didn't seem to pay attention to your support request. But, it is my contention that the primary reason you're upset is that you didn't get an answer to your question. In truth, I think that most of us would be perfectly happy with an automated response to our question, IF it answers the question we have or supplies the information we need. So, I would submit that ANY information that you feel a large number of your potential (or current) customers are likely to request, or questions that they are likely to ask, should be responded to in the most automated way possible, to free you up to handle those issues that CANNOT be handled via an automated method. Notice I'm not saying to automate everything completely. Some questions simply cannot be answered with an automated email or pre-recorded phone message. However, other items can easily be responded to via an automated reply, and should be. Let me give you an example. I used to sell an electronic book called "The XXX XXX XXX". It was basically 150 pages of information about motor oil and filters, written so that just about anyone could understand it. Well, for awhile, I was concerned with "piracy", people sending my book to their friends for free. So, I put a password protection system in place. Unfortunately, the method I used created a great deal of unnecessary manual work for me, which kept me from taking care of other aspects of my business. Eventually, I realized that, by eliminating all that extra work (by eliminating the password protection), I'd be free to spend that time doing additional marketing, and I'd actually make MORE money, even after accounting for potential issues of piracy. I had more time to talk with customers that needed personal attention, more time to seek out new marketing avenues, more time to revise and update the book, etc. You might not call this "automation", but it was a way to eliminate unnecessary work from my day. Email Autoresponders An email autoresponder is an excellent way to automate a large portion of your business. This is simply software that you install on your website server (or a service you use) which allows customers to send "you" an email (or submit an information request form) and receive a specific answer to their question by email IMMEDIATELY. As soon as their email comes into the autoresponder system, it records their email address (and possibly name or any other information you have them submit on the request form) and subscribes them to a particular "list" (or more than one). The system then sends the first email from that "list" to the customer right at that moment


(probably only a few seconds after they submitted the request unless you have specifically configured that list to wait to send the first email). So, as soon as they request the info, they have it in their email inbox. You could be sleeping, eating lunch, on a cruise, climbing a mountain or exploring some underground cave at that exact moment, but they will still get the information they want without having to wait for you to read their email personally. Pretty slick. Moreover, you can configure a particular "list" to follow-up with further emails related to their question at whatever intervals you specify. Have the system send them one email per week for a few weeks or indefinitely. Or, send one every day, if you like (although this might annoy many people, so I wouldn't recommend it). The point is, you can continue to follow up with the customer with information relevant to their initial request, without actually having to spend any time doing it. The software/service does it for you. Some examples of how I've used this are for: 1) Special Offers - I craft 3 or 4 or 5 special offers for products and put them each into a separate email. When someone requests information regarding our special offers, they get one email every couple weeks or each month detailing a different special offer they can take advantage of. The only time I have invested is the time to write the initial emails and set up the autoresponder list. 2) Dealer Information - Anyone can request information about becoming a member of our dealer group by submitting their name and email address through a form on my website (or through any of my downline dealer's websites). The system immediately sends the prospect information on our dealership opportunity as well as a way to download an electronic dealership application. Neither I or my downline dealers have to do anything to make sure this email goes out. It happens automagically. Moreover, the system will continue to follow-up periodically with additional information about our dealership opportunity. At any time, the prospect is encouraged to unsubscribe if they no longer are interested, and this is automated as well. Within all of these automated emails is a "blurb" indicating that if they have questions which are not sufficiently answered in the email they've received, they are welcome to contact us directly by phone or email personally, and we'll be happy to answer their questions. So, personal communication is easily available. 3) Special Topic Related Articles - I write articles dealing with different topics and put each topic into a separate email within the "articles" list. Anyone can request to subscribe to our monthly "newsletter" in which they receive a different article each month. At the end of each of those articles is information about our products and our opportunity. They get some useful information, we get another opportunity each month to advertise to them again. And, it is all done automatically. I think you get the idea. ALOT of work is accomplished through this automated email system without any of the dealers in my group having to lift a finger. I cannot overstate the importance of this. It frees us up to do so much more with our business than we could ever do if we had to answer all of those questions manually. All dealers within my group are provided with an email autoresponder that is integrated with their free website. So, a great deal of information can be provided to their potential


customers without them having to do much work. Other companies and/or dealer groups may or may not offer this capability, which might leave it up to you. Either way, make sure that you make use of email autoresponders. Some options for you are:

• AutoResponsePlus - This is the autoresponder software that I use. It is excellent, but expensive. In addition, the owner sold the script to another company, and, although I have not had to make use of their support services, a friend of mine, who has, says he was not impressed with the new company. The script is probably one of the most powerful available, though. (To Avoid Paying Me a Commission: • GetResponse - An autoresponder service I have used in the past that is quite powerful and easy to use (To Avoid Paying Me a Commission: GetResponse)

There are, of course, others. These just happen to be the ones that I have experience with. For what it's worth, I am a firm believer in installing your own autoresponder software on your own website/server. GetResponse has some great features (although not as advanced as AutoResponsePlus), but it has one MAJOR drawback (as do just about all autoresponder SERVICES). Many email providers and Internet Service Providers "block" emails received from these services because so much spam is received from accounts on these services. For instance, I found, while using GetResponse, that if I subscribed to one of my autoresponders using my Yahoo mail account, every email sent to that account was put into the "bulk" or "junk" mail folder. Many people don't even open this folder. So, if you had someone subscribe to your newsletter who was using Yahoo as their email provider, all your emails would end up in the "bulk" mail folder and might never be read. Maybe they've improved on this, but I doubt it. This is why I still highly recommend purchasing your own autoresponder software and installing it on your website. That way all of the emails received by your website visitors are coming from YOUR domain, which, as long as you are diligent about making sure you ONLY send email to those that have requested it, should not be "blacklisted" with ISPs and free email service providers like Yahoo. Some features you should be looking for in any autoresponder system would be: personalization (being able to insert personalized fields like a name, phone, address, etc. directly into an email), unlimited autoresponders (a single autoresponder would be a series of emails regarding the same topic), unlimited emails per autoresponder, easy unsubscribe links within all emails, specific scheduling of emails (set number of days/weeks between emails - set this interval for EACH email in the series), import/export of mailing lists, filtering of autoresponder subscribers by multiple criteria and large scale mailings to portions of your database. Also useful, but not completely necessary would be: bulk deletions (being able to remove numerous subscribers from your list at one time), duplication of autoresponders (being able to copy an entire autoresponder series - settings and individual emails - into a new series for modification), tracking tags (which allow you to put the same info request form in multiple


places and track which locations produce the most information requests for a certain autoresponder), link tracking (allows you to put special links into your emails, which your autoresponder software will track to see how many clicks occur for each link) and automated backup and restore of your database. AutoResponsePlus has all of the above and much more. GetResponse has many of the above features. Other autoresponder systems/software may also have the features listed above. Just research carefully and get as many of the features I've listed as you can for the best price. 24/7 Toll Free Pre-Recorded Phone Messages These can be just as useful as email autoresponders, depending upon your audience and your method of advertising. And, they are really not all that costly. What you do is simply set up an account with a company that leases these phone message services to you. Then, record your own message (or messages) into their system via your telephone. You can even tie multiple messages together with a "dialing interface". In other words, you could have an intro message which tells the user to enter "1" for such and such, "2" for so and so or "3" to be immediately connected to a live person. These systems are great because you can record a short message regarding numerous aspects of your business or products and tie them all together with a simple intro message. Customers can get a great deal of information from one of these systems, and they are ALWAYS ON, whether you are or not. In addition, many of these systems allow you to have "fax on demand" options as well. So, people who call into your pre-recorded message could then use their keypad to request that the system fax them particular documents (again, without any manual intervention from you). Very cool. I and my dealers make use of one of these type systems. You can listen to our message at the following number: 877-521-3329. This is a generic message used by our entire dealer group. It was fairly simple to set up, and the monthly fee is only about $10. The primary expense is the per minute fees for each call coming in. But, at the same time, you're only paying when people actually hear your message, and you only pay for the amount of the message that is heard. In other words, if someone calls the number and realizes in about 30 seconds that they are not interested, then you only paid for 30 seconds of "advertising". So that's a good thing. You can find a system like this through the telecommunications company I work with (along with many other communications services). Automated Postal Mailings to Customers It can also be good to have a way to follow-up with your customers via regular mail periodically. Notifying them of new products or highlighting testimonials of new customers, etc. You can do this through catalogs, postcards, letters, etc. What you send is really irrelevant to this discussion. HOW you do it is what is important. You don't want to be doing it all manually. Once your customer base grows into the thousands (hopefully, it will), doing this manually would be a real chore. So, you have to out source it in some manner. If you're not aligned with a particular company, as with an MLM type business, then you'll probably have to find a way to do this on your own. There are companies out there that will


do this sort of work. They'll help you with everything from designing the mailing to addressing all of the mailings to actually sending out the mailings. Some companies will even allow you to set up a system similar to a simple "autoresponse" system in which mailings are sent out to all new customers in a certain order over a certain timeframe. For instance, maybe you have 4 different postcards on file with them. Each week, you send them a new listing of all new customers that you've brought in. They take that list and begin the mailing campaign with the 1st postcard. Then, in 2 weeks or a month or 6 weeks (you choose), they send out the next postcard to all who just received postcard 1. And the process continues until each new customer has received all 4 postcards in the sequence. The above could be utilized in a number of different ways, but it is just another example of how to automate a critical aspect of your business to generate the most response from each new customer with the least amount of effort. This type of service is not common, but a little leg-work may turn up some options.

A couple postcard mailing companies that offer low quantity mailings (for those just starting out with this): PostCard Builder - offers online design of your card and mailing services for a good price, United States Postal Service - offers online design of your card, saving of mailing lists and postcards and pre-scheduling of entire postcard campaigns, but not as cheap. Both links above are NON-REFERRAL LINKS (ie. I'm not an affiliate). Of course, even better than sending out periodic customer mailings would be if you are aligned with a company that will do all that for you. For instance, you join a particular MLM company as a distributor. Each customer that you bring in is then followed up with periodically BY THE COMPANY. Since the customer is already registered as yours, any future orders are always attributed to you. So, the more contact your company makes with the customer to try and generate further sales, the better off you'll be. As an example, one of the companies I am a distributor for sends a retail catalog of our oil and filter products to ALL retail customers every six months showing new products and what-not. In addition, any preferred customers (people who've paid a small fee to get wholesale pricing) receive our monthly magazine detailing new products, industry trends, new product testimonials, etc. Dealers also receive this monthly magazine. These are all ways that the company attempts to generate more business by exposing customers to products they may not have known we offered (or didn't know would benefit them personally). The benefit to me, of course, is that all that business generates additional commissions for me without me having to lift a finger or pay a dime for the mailings. As far as I'm concerned, those are automated postal mailings because they don't require my intervention. Something to think about. Conference Calls This is something that has really gotten big with MLM reps, and with good reason. It's not exactly automation, but it CAN save a great deal of duplicated effort. Some people who have an MLM business have thousands of reps in their group. Even if only a small percentage are really serious and active, you've still probably got 50 or 100 or maybe even 2 or 300 that would be interested in some "1 on 1" coaching or assistance with


their business. Unfortunately, that's not all that feasible with so many people vying for your attention. Of course, many of these people are not your "first level" downline members (in other words, you didn't sign them up directly, someone in your downline did). So, you could just say, "Hey, it's the job of my downline dealers to support these people. Not my job." Well, technically, you might be true, but with a fast growing organization, often people are signing other people up before they are REALLY well versed in the business, so it's hard for them to provide the same level of knowledge and support that you can provide. Thus, if there is a way for you to provide the support in the beginning, it's in your best interests to do so. That is where conference calls come in. You can simultaneously talk to dozens, even hundreds of people all at one time. They can ask you questions which you can answer for the benefit of the whole group. First level downline members can begin to get the answers to questions THEY should be answering. Lower level dealers get an opportunity to listen to someone discuss the business with them, who's been in it for awhile and "knows the ropes". It's a win/win for everyone. Now, these types of services can be set up in one of two ways. You can either have the call on an 800 number, in which case, none of the participants pay anything, but you pay the fees for the entire call (X cents per minute x the number of minutes x the number of participants). This can get pretty costly for a large group. Alternatively, you can have it set up on a NON-800 number, in which case participants pay for their own call into the system. You pay a small fee for having the call hosted. In this case, it can sometimes be a good idea to schedule the call so that at least some of the participants could use their cell phones' "Night & Weekend" minutes, so that the call is free. Either way you run it, conference calls can be a great training method. In addition, you can also use it for recruiting. Set up a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly call. Have your downline dealers encourage their new prospects to call in so that they can ask questions and learn as much about the business as possible. They get to talk with someone who's been doing it awhile and may know more about the business than the guy/gal who is signing them up. Just make sure with all of these conference calls that you are still encouraging your downline members to learn as much as they can for themselves so that they can answer these questions as well. Not everyone is going to be able to call into the conference calls, so their sponsors need to be able to answer their questions too. Automate as Much as Possible I hope that this section has helped you realize that there are alot of areas of your business where you can eliminate work in a way that will not offend customers/dealers, but rather will help them get the service and support they desire. I hope that you have also gleaned from all this that I do not recommend automating everything. Choose wisely and only automate what is helpful to you AND to the customer. Just because it saves you effort does not mean that customers will like it. If they don't, you may be minimizing your effort, but also your profits.

48 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Keys to Running Your Business Effectively There are a ton of things you're going to learn as you begin your new business. Hopefully, you're a quick learner, because the faster you pick up on this stuff, the easier your life is going to be. I certainly could not possibly expound upon all of the issues you're going to run into with a home business and tell you how to address them. So, I'll pick out a few crucial aspects that I think you should pay close attention to. These are not necessarily in order of importance. Leverage the Efforts and Resources of Others This issue we've already discussed, so I won't spend a great deal of time on it, but I think it's worth mentioning again. Don't rely entirely on your own efforts!!! This is foolishness. If every function of your business hinges entirely upon you doing it, your business WILL fail, it is only a matter of time. You can't do everything, and, eventually, something is going to happen which puts you out of commission for awhile. When that happens, your business will crumble. So, to avoid this, hire out ANY and ALL work that you can afford to pay for and that does not require your direct attention. Automate any process that can be performed just as well or better WITHOUT your personal intervention. Take advantage of the marketing power of having your own (or plugging into someone else's) affiliate program. Or, tap into the explosive power of a LEGITIMATE network marketing company (there is a chapter devoted specifically to MLMs later in the book - pay close attention to it, because there are alot of "so-called" MLMs that are really just pyramid schemes and are illegal). DON'T Leave to Others What SHOULD be Done by YOU Although there are plenty of business tasks that can and should be left to others, ALL aspects of your business should NOT be run by someone else or by some automated process. Don't automate or hire out what you shouldn't. Don't hire someone to answer customer questions that can REALLY only be answered effectively by you. For instance, You should be the one answering questions about your product. Many times people need some pretty detailed responses to their questions so that they can fully understand your product and how it will benefit them more than some other product. Thus, they need someone who knows the product very well and who cares about helping THEM understand the product as well. In my business, our liquid organic fertilizer is becoming much easier to sell today than it was about 10 years ago when I started (because people are finally starting to see the need and recognize that organics really DO work better and cost less in the long run). But, many


people still don't realize that ours is a universal product that can be applied to ANY plant with good result. They are used to using a separate product for the lawn, the flowers, the garden, etc. I often have to be able to explain to them (in easy to understand terms) why our product is so much more universal. Many potential customers don't realize and/or don't understand why, with an organic fertilizer like ours, most people use less and less fertilizer over time because the soil becomes so much more balanced and self-sustaining. If I don't explain sufficiently why that is possible, many potential customers might not believe that claim because it runs contrary to what they are used to with chemical fertilizers. Likewise, selling a 25,000 mile oil can be a challenge (although it IS getting easier than it used to be). People are leery because they don't understand it. They are used to 3,000 miles or maybe 5,000 miles between changes. 25,000 miles is simply hard to imagine or comprehend. Moreover, since many people would be putting our oil into a $20,000 or $30,000 vehicle, they have to be VERY well convinced that they are not going to be harming their engine (or transmission or differential, etc.). Hence, the person explaining this to them better be very knowledgeable about the product. Hopefully, if you're selling the oil, that describes YOU. So, you should be the one answering those questions. Of course, you MAY end up with salesmen/women working for you or other people in your downline (if it's multi-level) who will be doing the question answering. You had better make sure that THEY know their way around your products or they will be very ineffective, and, as a result, you will be too (or at least your organization will be - which will directly affect your income). Other items that are worth mentioning as well: Don't utilize software to try and answer customer questions of a personal nature. Current and potential customers would resent that. Related to that, don't eliminate all methods of personal contact from your website in favor of automated responses. Customers like to know that they CAN contact you personally if they need to, even if you utilize automated methods to answer most of their questions. In short, YOU do what YOU should be doing and let someone else (or some automated process) do what you don't need to be doing. Commit Only to What is Beneficial to Your Business It is very easy to overcommit yourself in business. So many things to do, so little time. Everyone wants a piece of you. You have a million ideas about how to market your business, but only so much time and resources with which to implement any of them. Customers have questions. Bills have to be paid. New services need to be ordered. It all saps your energy and each task takes you away from some other task. How do you juggle it all? Well, first of all, you need to always keep one thing in mind. Everything that you do in your business should be something that is going to help your business grow (read: make you more money). Let's face it, that's what having your own business is primarily about, right? I mean, sure, the other benefits are nice: no boss, flexible vacation time, tax deductions, etc.


But, in the end, the primary benefit, for most of us, is that a home business CAN earn you more money ... if you do it right. So, back to my point. When evaluating whether to commit yourself to anything, decide whether it is going to benefit you AND your business in the short and/or long term. For instance, if you have a customer who is asking you for a significant discount on your products, you have to decide whether that actually benefits you or not. This can be a tough one for some business people. They want to be all things to all people. They want to please everyone. They never want to turn away a potential customer. But, in the long-term, that could actually hurt their business more than help it. Returning to my example, let's say you DO discount the product for this person, just because they asked, and you want to be a nice guy (or nice lady). Well, if what that customer purchases is a consumable product, they will want the same discount next time they order. And the next time, and the next time ... unless you specifically indicate to them that you're offering this discount ONLY because it is a first time order. Over the life of the customer, that COULD be a great deal of lost profits for just trying to be nice. And, what if they tell all their friends how "nice" you are and have them call for the same discount? In some cases, that might be fine. Depends upon your product and whether you're still going to make any money providing that sort of discount. The key is, you better evaluate whether it makes sense to do so for you. If you make a habit of discounting product to be nice, you could end up OUT OF BUSINESS, and then they can't get ANY product from you. That doesn't benefit you or them. If you have a product that is in demand, cannot really be purchased from any other source and is priced appropriately, don't start discounting the product just to be nice. What is really happening is you're being taken advantage of. If your product is priced fairly for the value it offers, then stick to the price. $5 or $10 put back into your customer's pocket to pay for their next McDonald's meal isn't really going to benefit anyone in a significant way. However, the additional money that you earn by NOT discounting your product can be put to good use in large sums, either to support your family more fully, support God's efforts through your church, provide for the needs of those in your community, etc. Just remember your business purpose. Even though you certainly want to treat your customers well, provide them a product of value and offer good customer service, the purpose of your business is to provide money for YOU to use in the most beneficial way possible for your family, your church, your community and the world as a whole. Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction are CRUCIAL I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It is MUCH easier and more cost effective to try and sell to a happy current customer (or referral from a happy current customer) than it is to try and gain a new customer that knows nothing about you. Thus, it is in your best interests to do whatever you can (within reason) to make your current customers happy. They will come back and purchase other products, and they will send their friends to you as well. Many businesses receive up to half their business from referrals. You could be one of them.

I would even go so far as to say, it is sometimes worth taking a loss on a particular order in


order to gain a happy customer who will buy from you again and who will relay their positive customer service experience to their friends. In fact, I contend that this is even more effective in this day and age when customer service is basically dead. However, I am certainly not recommending that you take a loss on an INITIAL order, unless you're using the order strictly as a way to build a customer base to sell other profitable products to. What I'm specifically referring to is the situation where something has gone wrong with a customer's order (slow shipment, no shipment, damaged shipment, etc.) and now they are looking to YOU to make them happy. In some cases, this is a time when taking a loss on an order MIGHT be appropriate in order to salvage the customer and possibly get some "good press" from them as a result of their positive customer service experience. Most people these days EXPECT that most companies are NOT going to adequately address their concerns when they have a problem. 90% of the time, they are right. So, when they encounter that rare person/company that actually cares about helping them and goes out of their way to make them happy, they remember it and they tell everyone. Don't you? Of course, the flip-side is also true. Even though it is common not to receive good customer service, people still seem to frequently relay their customer service horror stories to friends and relatives (and now also to internet forums and chat rooms which are available 24/7 to all of your potential customers). So, taking a small loss on an order (either in terms of monetary loss or time spent resolving the issue) is sometimes WELL worth the pay-off in repeat business and referrals. I have seen this time and time again in my business. When I go out of my way to help a customer, they generally go out of their way to make sure people know that I did. I receive ALOT of repeat and referral business for both the lubes/filters AND the fertilizer line that I market. Just treat people right and most of them will treat you right in return. Don't let them walk all over you. But, if humbling yourself a little bit and maybe even taking the heat for something that wasn't actually your fault can gain you a happy customer, sometimes it's worth it. Something to think about, both in business AND in life. Set Goals for Your Business: Short AND Long Term Although I can't say that I'm a big fan of all the motivational speakers, I think Zig Ziglar put it best when he said, "Most people aim at nothing in life, and hit it with amazing accuracy." Don't be "most people". I've often been one of those people wandering aimlessly through life without a real plan, no goal to aim at, and alot of time is wasted that way. If you have a goal in mind, then you have the ability to evaluate each aspect of your life, each decision you make, each purchase you make, each obligation you commit yourself to and determine if it falls in line with what you're trying to accomplish. If it doesn't, then you need to discard it. This is just as much true in your business as it is in life. Determine what you want to accomplish with your business. If a good part of your goal with your business is to make money, then make sure that everything you do helps you accomplish that goal. Don't spend 3 hours on the phone with a "prospect" if it is clear they will likely NEVER purchase anything from you. Don't waste time trying to convince someone of your product's value if they continue to be antagonistic toward you. That is a waste of your time AND money, because you could be spending that time on a prospect that you've got a good chance of converting to a PAYING


customer or new dealer in your organization. More specifically than determining what your overall goals are for your business (your "mission statement" if you will), you need to set periodic and specific goals: daily, weekly, monthly, annually and maybe even a 3-5 year goal. Then, periodically, evaluate whether you are meeting those goals or are on track toward meeting those goals. If you're not meeting your goals, then determine why. Maybe there is a good reason, and you need to rethink your goals. Maybe there ISN'T a good reason, and you need to simply get off your duff and do what you said you were going to do (or go back to working a 9-5 job where your BOSS will make sure you set and meet his or her goals). Some Sample Business Goals Let me give you an example of some home business goal setting in the short term, medium term and long term. Let's say you decide to go the MLM route and become a dealer for some astronomically amazing product. You've got a little money to devote to promotion and about 4 hours per week that you can devote. DAILY: You decide that every day you're going to "talk" with one person face to face about your product. Remember that the key to success in a home based business is to CONSISTENTLY do something each and every day (or each and every week) that is going to help you grow your business. It has to be consistent, though. The goal can't be, "I'll TRY and talk to a few people each week if I have time." The goal must be attainable AND measurable. So, the goal here is not to get 1 new customer per day but just to talk to one new person per day about your product (or your business). When you're first starting out, this is a good goal. The pressure is off to get new customers. The only goal is to "talk" to someone about your product. Whether they are interested or not makes no difference. The goal is only to talk to one person per day about your product or your business. As long as you do that, you're achieving your goal. Once you've been with the company for awhile you may want to revise this goal to talk to more people each day. Alternatively, if you are REALLY strapped for time, maybe your goal would simply be to talk to one new person each WEEK about your product, although, personally, I think that might be a weak goal. WEEKLY: You determine that each week you want to "cold call" one new business about your product. In other words, you open the phone book and find 1 business in your area that might have an interest in what you have to offer. Then, you take a little time to investigate that business. Depending upon the type of business, maybe do a drive by and see what their customers are like. If it's a store, maybe go in and check out the establishment: what sort of products do they carry, are their any products that seem to be collecting dust (that your product could replace on the shelf), what are customers asking for, is the place clean, are the employees courteous and helpful, etc. These are important questions (as might others be) to help "qualify" the account. They MAY not be a good fit for your product. Then again, they might be a perfect fit.


Moreover, depending upon the type of relationship that you might have with them, you may want to consider how the company and its employees will reflect on you and your product. If customers could end up seeing you and your product in a negative light because you've associated yourself with this company, then you need to do an about face and pick another company out of the phonebook. Don't tarnish your reputation and the reputation of your product just to get another account. It is not worth it. Trust me. MONTHLY: It's good to set income goals in business, and if it's an MLM business, you might also want to think about setting goals related to the size of your organization and/or parts of it. So, you might set a goal that specifies you want to be making at least $100 more each month than you did the month before. Or, maybe, $200 more or $300 more. The amount really doesn't matter, as long as you think it's an attainable goal and you evaluate each month whether or not you attained the goal (so you can make adjustments the next month if need be to make sure you do). In MLM, the size of your organization oftentimes determines the size of your income. Of course, the quality of the people in your organization and how well you support them also play a major role in your income, but ultimately, the size of your organization is going to determine how much money you make. The more customers, dealers and accounts you have "sponsored" the more money you're going to make. So, you have to set these type goals as well. So, you might have a goal that each month you want to pick up 2 new retail customers, 2 new dealers and 1 new account. Or maybe you make your goal a little less specific and just indicate that you want to have 5 more in your organization each month than you had the month before. Could be all dealers, all retail customers, all accounts or some mixture of the three. Again, I'm not trying to tell you what your goals should be. Only you can decide that. I'm just trying to help you see the importance and how you might go about setting up some goals for your business. ANNUALLY: Maybe the MLM company you've gotten involved with offers an annual bonus for growth. If so, maybe your annual goal is that your growth bonus is X% higher than it was last year or $X bigger than last year. Or maybe you're shooting for a new type of bonus that is only available when you attain a certain sales volume. Maybe that would be your goal. Or, your goal might pertain to something you're going to be able to do as a RESULT of meeting all your monthly goals. For instance, maybe if you manage to meet your monthly goal every month for year, you know that your annual profits will increase by $10,000. Your goal might be that you and your wife/husband are going to go on a cruise to Alaska for 3 weeks with the increase in income. Sometimes goals have to be something fun or exciting that you're working toward. Some people need these types of "fun" goals to be shorter term to keep them going. Maybe you might have another version of this type of goal each month instead of just annually: "If I pick up 10 new customers this month, we're going to go out to dinner and a movie and get a babysitter for the kids." You get the idea. Build some fun into it. THE 3-5 YEAR GOAL: This one might be a certain level of achievement with the company you work with. Maybe you want to make "Platinum level" or you're shooting for that vehicle


stipend or who knows. Alternatively, maybe this is more of a "benefits oriented" goal as well. Maybe you want to buy a new car and pay cash. Or maybe there is a house you've had in mind to build, but never had the money. Your goal might be to build that house within 3-5 years. Your Goals Should Be Related Keep in mind when setting goals for your business and for your life that your goals are related. Your daily goals should be set up so that they help you meet your weekly goals. Your weekly goals should be designed in such a way as to help you attain your monthly goals. Your monthly goals should be such that, if attained, you will be nearly certain of achieving your annual goal. And so on .... Thus, once you have all your goals laid out, make sure you go back and check to see that each short term goal is going to help you meet the next longer term goal following it. If it doesn't, then you need to revise. Otherwise, you'll get discouraged when you meet your short term goals but keep "missing the mark" in regards to your longer term goals. That would be a shame. Design your goals so that they lead you to success, not disappointment. Don't Pay for What Is Available Free Now, this is one that is true, but only to a point. A person can definitely push this too far trying to save a buck or two. So, let me clarify my position here. First, if you're willing to do a little research, often you can find software and services to do a great deal of your work either for free or at very, very low cost compared to other offerings. Problem is, often times, these little "gems" are hidden away in some remote corner of the Internet and it takes a little resourcefulness to come up with them. In the end, though, a little research up-front can save you a great deal of money in the long run. To give you an example, probably 75% of the software on my computer is "freeware", which is just simply software that costs nothing to use. The author of the software either wants to provide something of value to the internet community at large, or they have another agenda that doesn't require payment for the software. Either way, it makes little difference to me, if it puts useful software on my computer at no cost. However, there is a limit to what I'll do to save a buck. There are some people that will spend 3 or 4 days looking for free software when there is an excellent program readily available for $15. My question to those people is, "What is your time worth?" Mine is definitely worth more than 50 cents per hour. Spend the $15, get the program and get on with life and your business. And, don't settle for less powerful software than you really need, just to save a few bucks. Pay the extra and get what you need, assuming you can afford it. Same goes for services that you pay others to perform for you. Find the company that is going to do the best job for the most reasonable price. Don't go looking for the cheapest company regardless of the quality of their work or the level of service they will be able to provide. My point is simply that, there is nothing wrong with trying to save money in your business. It's a good thing, and there are many ways to effectively save quite a bit of money. Just make sure the time investment is justified by the savings, in the end.


See the resources chapter at the end of this book for a listing of the free and inexpensive software and services I use to run my business every day. Some of them may prove useful to you as well. Time and/or Money IS REQUIRED Do NOT expect to build a solid income through a home based business if you have NO money to invest in your business and NO time available to run your business. You're going to need at least a little of one or the other (and most likely both). If you have plenty of money, but little time, then you'll want to WISELY spend some of that money on advertising your business. In addition, you're going to likely have to spend money on software and services to help accomplish the work that you don't have time to do yourself - automation. On the flip side, if you have plenty of time on your hands, but very little money, then you need to focus your advertising efforts in ways that don't require much monetary investment. For instance, calling local businesses costs you nothing but time, since local calls are generally free. It costs nothing but maybe a little gas to start going door to door and soliciting business from local companies, but it does take time. I think you get my point. Whether it's going to be time, money or both, you're going to have to invest SOMETHING into your business. If you don't have ANYTHING to invest, then you may want to consider sticking to your 9-5 job, to be perfectly frank. Alternatively, if you don't want to go back to your 9-5, then you need to re-evaluate your schedule and/or your monthly budget to create more time and/or more money to invest in your new business. Track EVERYTHING!!!! This is probably just about the most important thing I can tell you in this entire book. This is primarily because MANY companies and individuals fail to do this and end up losing a great deal of money in the process (either as the result of wasted expenditures or minimal profits). For instance, let's say you run 3 newspaper ads this week, all in different papers (same exact ad). When the calls start coming in or you begin to receive visitors to your website, do you know where they came from? Newspaper 1, 2 or 3? If you don't know, then you will be wasting money month after month. You might find that if you tracked the results of each ad, you'd find that even though newspaper #1 costs a little more, you had double the response from that ad. Worth the difference. Or, you might even find that the least expensive ad actually performed the best. Depending upon the type of ads you're running, maybe that result might indicate that you should drop the other two ads and put more money into the one that performed the best. Or, depending upon how much difference there might have been in the performance of each ad, maybe you still keep all 3. The important thing to remember is, without tracking the results, you'll have no way to even know that the differences between the ad placements even exist. This is true of different ad COPY as well. You may want to consider running three different versions of your ad in the same paper, maybe on successive weeks or even all the same week, depending upon the circumstances. Find the ad the performs best and use that one exclusively - maybe. Or maybe run the same ad in 3 different sections of the same paper. Of course, this principle applies equally well to Internet advertising, and is sometimes easier


to implement on the net. Place the same ad on multiple websites, or the same ad on multiple different pages of the same site. Or, place different versions of the same ad on a particular website and see how the response compares. Also, be sure to consider the TYPE of response you get from each ad. Don't just look at how many calls or emails you received from a particular ad, determine how many of those calls resulted in a sale (or a new dealer sign-up). Ultimately, that's all that counts, really. If you only received 10 calls from an ad, but 8 of those calls resulted in order, that would be a much better result than to have received 20 calls, but only 5 orders or sign-ups (unless those orders happened to be MUCH bigger than those from another ad - which is also important to consider. So, How Do You Track Your Advertising? The answer to that question depends upon how/where you're advertising. If your advertisements are run offline (not on the Internet), you're tracking method might be a little different than from an ad run on a website. If you put a phone number in the advertisement, then you might want to consider setting up 2 or 3 different toll free numbers to route the calls through. Point them all at the same destination phone number. In other words, in the end, people calling any of the 3 toll free numbers will end up ringing in to the same phone number. BUT, the company that hosts your toll free numbers will show you on your month-end bill which calls came through which toll free numbers. If more calls came in to toll free #2 (and that number was used for NOTHING but your ad), then you know that ad produced the most response (although not necessarily the most orders or sign-ups). Of course, once a customer has that number from your ad, they are likely to use it the next time they call you, so the waters could get a little muddied, if you start getting follow-up calls through the same numbers that you're tracking for your ads. You could also set up a single toll free number that asks the caller to enter the number that was listed in the ad (for instance, your ad might say something like, "enter reference code 28 when you call"). Upon entering the number, they are provided with a recorded message or are immediately transferred to your business line for you to speak with them. Each different reference code could either get the same or a different message. Regardless, the company that hosts the toll free number would keep a record of the key-presses so that you could see which ones were entered the most, giving you an impression of which ad performed best. Of course, as I mentioned before, it's not necessarily about how many calls, but how many sales/sign-ups, so you might want to take your tracking a step further than that, but I think you get the idea. If you put a website address in your offline ad, then you could use a different address for each ad. For instance,,,, and so on. Or, alternatively,,, ..... Your website statistics would show how many times people came through each address. They can all be directed to the same page on your website or to different pages, depending upon how different the initial advertisements might be.


There are also tracking services available online that you can use to track advertising performance. You can use these services to track both online ads where people actually CLICK on a link to your website as well as offline ads where people simply get a web address from your ad and then type it into their web browser. Either way , you can use these tracking services to determine how many people clicked on or typed in a certain address, how many of those requested a certain autoresponder message from your website, how many placed an online order, etc. These services are very powerful. The specific service that I use is called Hypertracker and it has served me very well. I like the service and have used them for years. I probably have at least 200 different tracking campaigns set up on their system. I use them to see how much and what type of response I get from online and offline advertising, but I also use them to help me see what links WITHIN my website are generating the most clicks, info requests, online sales, etc. In the "Resources" chapter of the book, you'll find not only a link and review for Hypertracker, but also to some other possibilities for tracking your ad campaigns. I highly recommend selecting at least one of the options listed because you will find that your advertising becomes MUCH more productive when you actually track what you are doing. TEST Your Advertisements This is really a part of the "tracking" section above (or maybe the "tracking" should be written as a part of this "testing" section, since we actually use "tracking" to generate data that allows us to evaluate the results of our testing). Either way, it's important that you test your advertisements. In fact, more than that, you really should test just about everything you do. That includes, of course, advertising, but also even things you might not think about, like the color scheme of your website, different headings for the homepage of your site, different guarantees on your ordering page, different email autoresponders ... All of these things, and MANY more, can have a HUGE effect on the profitability of your business. I've discussed that, in the past, I wrote an ebook which was originally designed to be a short primer on motor oils and filters to help my customers understand the differences between different oils and filters and such. Over time, the short primer turned into a 150+ page book that really offered a great deal of useful information, as well as a compilation of technical specifications (from the oil manufacturers themselves) for dozens of brands and hundreds of oils. So, it made sense to begin charging for the book separate from my oil business. This ebook became a side business of it's own. Well, in the process, I wrote a single page sales letter to sell the ebook. When I first started advertising this book for sale, about 1 in every 125-150 people to my webpage purchased the book. Believe it or not, that's not a bad conversion rate. It's certainly not great, but many sites have much worse (they just don't stay in business long). So, I started testing and tracking various aspects of my marketing plan and procedures to see if I couldn't make some improvement. I used Hypertracker (To Avoid Paying Me a Commission: to track customers from my various advertisements to see which ads were generating the most actual sales for me. I dropped ads that weren't performing and put more money into ads that were generating sales. I "tested" performance of my ads and made decisions accordingly to increase my results for my advertising dollars.


I also ran two versions of my webpage at ALL times. One small detail would be changed between the two pages. Each person that came to my website would get one of the two different pages (evenly split between the two). I tracked, again, using Hypertracker, which page produced more sales over a period of about a week. Whichever page got the most sales would become my new "control" or "base" page. Then, I would again modify some small aspect of the page to see how it affected my overall conversion from webpage visitor to paying customer. I tested MANY aspects of the page. I tested different color schemes. I tested different guarantees. I tested different headings on the page. I eliminated paragraphs, added paragraphs, modified paragraphs, added and subtracted testimonials from the page, provided more or less detail about the book, modified the price of the book, adjusted HOW I listed the price on the page, and the list goes on. I changed just about every aspect of the page on numerous occasions whenever I felt like I could make it better. Two versions of the page ran at ALL times. Over a period of about 6 months, my conversions went from 1 sale in 125-150 visitors to 1 sale per 20 website visitors!!!!! A 6-7 fold increase in sales! In other words, my profit went up by 600-700% just by making slight modifications to my ads, where I placed them and how my sales page was presented. You think testing and tracking aren't important? Think again. Most businesses only DREAM of increasing their profits that much in that short a period of time. Some simple testing and tracking accomplished that for me, easily. DO IT. It works. Testing Using the Taguchi Method This is sort of a new method that has come on the scene but it is a phenomenal upgrade over traditional "split testing". Allow me to explain. In traditional split testing, you have a "control" page and then you have a "test" page. The control page is the sales page you are currently using. You then take ONE aspect of your control page and modify it to something that seems like it might increase action from your website visitors. This becomes your test page. Then, you use some sort of script (a piece of software that is installed on the server where your website resides) or an online service to "split" all your traffic between these two pages evenly. You then track "actions" that occur from each page (actions being sales, newsletter subscriptions, etc.). Over time, you will pass enough visitors through each page to draw a statistically significant conclusion regarding which page performed better. Whichever page that is now becomes your "control" page and you then change the same page element again or some other page element to create a new test page and do it all over again. Traditional split testing has been used for years and is very effective. However, it can take a very long time to end up with a new page that performs significantly better than the original control page. For instance, in order to get enough traffic through your split test to know that one page will outperform another, you might have to run a few thousand people through your site. Depending upon how much traffic you normally receive to your site, that could take a week or two (for some sites it only takes hours). If it took two weeks to complete one test, you could spend 6 months testing 12 different versions of your page. With the Taguchi multi-variable testing model, you can complete the same testing that


would normally take six months in a matter of a couple weeks. This is because Taguchi method uses mathematical principles to "predict" which COMBINATION of multiple variables will give you the most likely "winning page" that will generate the most action from your website visitors. A little research online would give you additional detail on just how Taguchi method works. But, regardless of the underlying mathematical principles, Taguchi is a HUGE step forward in split testing that allows you to accomplish so much more testing in such a short period of time. It's phenomenal. You could literally see a 500% jump in website conversions just from a simple 2 to 4 week Taguchi split test run. Seriously. I spent about 6 months split testing my ebook sales page and ended up with a 600% better conversion rate at the end. With Taguchi method I could have tested EVERY VARIABLE at the same time and completed the testing in less than a month. That means you could give yourself a 600% raise in pay within 2 to 4 weeks of implementing a Taguchi based split test. Try that with your typical 9 to 5 job. Needless to say, Taguchi split testing scripts and services are a phenomenal way to increase your income. Unfortunately, they are also generally very expensive. I have recently used one particular script with good success, so it is what I recommend, although it is pricey. There are others, so, I'm also providing below some additional options you may want to consider - ones that I have not personally used, but have received good reports regarding their usefulness. Some are less expensive alternatives. Split Test Accelerator (STA) (To Avoid Paying Me a Commission: This is the script that I use and have installed on my website server, and I have been thoroughly impressed. Although I haven't used any other Taguchi based split testing scripts, I would find it hard to imagine that any of them have too many additional features that would offer much beyond what STA offers. The website's not much to look at, but the script works very well. Installation is pretty simple, even if you're not an Internet pro. You can set up multiple tests on different pages of your site at the same time and the script has some impressive features to make your life easier. You can read a more detailed analysis of this script in the "Resources" chapter. Google Website Optimizer (free service) - This a newer alternative to STA that also performs multi-variate split testing. Considering that it is free, it may be worth considering. However, my use of the system has been mixed, with results that don't seem to line up. Seems that "conversions" are somehow being counted, where sales never actually occured. Obviously, that's not too helpful when you want to know which variables are going to produce the greatest results. So, take that for what it's worth I guess. You can try going the free route with Website Optimizer. Maybe your results will be better. Change Just One Letter on Your Page Want an example of just how powerful a very small change to your sales page can be? Try changing just one letter on your page and seeing a 45% increase in sales! That's what Jason Lewis did. In fact, he tested it on 3 different websites and saw sales increases on all


three sites. All he did was use a common print copy method which involves changing the very first letter on the page to a "pretty" graphic version (Drop Cap Style). You've seen this if you've ever read a magazine article. Many of them use a "stylized" version of the first letter of an article. As it turns out, this method has been used for decades and is even more effective on the net. Well, most ideas this simple and effective eventually end up being sold, and this one was no exception. Mr. Lewis created a pack of stylized capital letter images that anyone can use on their webpages to create the exact same effect that Jason used to generate such a spectacular increase in sales. So, I figured, "What have I got to lose?" I bought his pre-packaged letter graphics (because I really don't feel like creating them all from scratch) and am doing a test run on some of my webpages. I expect it to work out well. If you're interested in taking a look, you can find the information here: Drop Cap Package from Jason Willis (To Avoid Paying Me a Commission: Copy Success Why re-invent the wheel? Copy what works. Look to people who are doing what you want to do, SUCCESSFULLY, and follow the patterns they've laid out for success. What are they doing? What AREN'T they doing? Those are the very same things that YOU should and should not be doing. If you're looking into multi-level-marketing, then you had better find someone who is either leading or is part of an organization that is already successful and has tools and resources in place to help you duplicate what they are doing. It doesn't help you much if your sponsor is successful in "the business" but has no way to help you do what he or she is doing. In addition, in MLM, you want a marketing structure that can be passed to YOUR downline as well. If YOU can do what your sponsor is doing but most people could not, then the people in your downline won't produce much and the MLM aspect of your business won't be worth much. Make sure the marketing methods and structure your sponsor is using can be passed down through multiple "generations" of your downline for the greatest effect. At a bare minimum, a multi-level organization should be able to offer you a comprehensive free website with online ordering capability and email autoresponder functionality. There should also be plenty of product literature available, both offline and ON-line in the form of PDF documents. An online training area is helpful so that you can read tutorials on different aspects of the business and products. Conference calls can be helpful to those who actually take the time to dial in. Some sort of leads program should also be an important part of any successful MLM system, because you and the dealers you sign up will need an effective way to gather new prospects to generate business quickly. Most people initially coming into "the business" don't know how to generate their own prospects. They need a system in place to help them do that while they are "learning the ropes". That way they can experience success without having to know EVERYTHING when they first start. Just make sure that you're following after those who have gone successfully before you and


can help you follow them, not the ones that ended up in the "swamp" because they weren't paying attention and made a complete mess of their business. If you follow after that model, you're sure to end up with the same result. Copy what works. Copy success and you'll achieve it.

62 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Your Time is Worth Something: Act Like It Time is money. At least that's what "they" say. And, quite frankly, I am a firm believer in that, even though I'm not quite sure who "they" are. My time is worth something. Any time I spend on my business is time that I cannot spend with God or my family and friends. That means I had better be sure that the time I spend on my business is well worth it. You are no different. Your time is worth something. Act like it. Try to realistically determine the amount of time and effort a particular task will take. Then, double it. I guarantee, if you're anything like me, 9 times out of 10, you'll underestimate the time required to tackle any particular task. Now, take that estimated time investment and multiply it by what you believe an hour of your time is worth. Now, just to be perfectly clear, your time is worth significantly more than minimum wage. Don't use $5/hr as your multiplier. In fact, I would say if you use ANYTHING less than at least $10-$15/hr as your multiplier you are selling yourself short. Think of it this way. How much would you pay to be able to take that time off and spend it with your family, if money was not an object? Unless you really don't like your family (in which case, you need to file this ebook away for awhile and work on your family first because there is something WRONG), I would venture to guess you'd pay quite a bit for that. So, if someone or something is going to be taking up your time, time that could be spent with your family, they should have to pay for it handsomely. Now, decide whether the task you're considering could be automated in some way. If so, how much would that cost? How does that cost compare to the time saved (considering what you have decided your time is worth)? If the amount you have to spend to automate the process is less than what you feel the task will "cost" you in time lost, do it. Alternatively, if you can't AUTOMATE the process, hire the work out to an individual or company that can do the work at least as effectively as you can. Again, compare how the cost to hire the work out compares against the time and effort saved (considering how much you've determined your time is worth). If it makes sense, do it. If it doesn't, don't. DUH. ` Only 24 Hours I once heard it said that there are only 24 hours in a day, so never waste any of that time on tasks that don't require YOUR attention. There are too many other priorities that DO require YOUR presence, such as time spent in prayer, with your family, doing volunteer work, etc.


I think that is good advice. You can't get that time back. Every ball game you miss, every track meet, every romantic dinner, every band concert, every opportunity to have fellowship with your friends and family ... these are all important events in your life that you won't get back. You won't be able to do all of it, but don't miss them all because you were too busy doing things that really didn't require your personal attention. So, never waste time on tasks that can be done just as well (or better) by someone else (or someTHING else, like a computer program). Conversely, NEVER let someone else take over those important duties and events in your life that can be done better by you or should be done by you and you alone. For instance, do not let someone else spend time with your wife/husband that you should be spending with them because you feel like you should be working. There may come a time when that is no longer your privilege (when your wife/husband leaves you for someone who will actually pay attention to them). Don't let someone else spend time with your kids that you should be spending with them. You may find there comes a point when they would rather spend that time with that other person. Wives need their husbands. Husbands need their wives. Kids need their parents. QUANTITY time with them, not just "quality time". The idea that quality of time spent with a person is more important than quantity of time spent is a farce. True "quality" time with anyone only springs from quantity time, because you never know when those "quality" moments are going to arise, and you can't fabricate them during convenient moments for you. It doesn't work that way. The quantity of time you spend with a person (or with God) will directly affect the amount of quality time spent with that person. Fulfill the Calling on Your Life So, I guess what I'm saying is, don't let someone else receive the blessing for what God has called YOU to do. He has called you to be "one" with your wife or husband. He has called you to be protector, nurturer, educator, friend and spiritual leader to your kids. He may have called you to start a new home business (to free up more time with your family and/or to accomplish some other more worthy goal than simply making more money to buy more "toys"). Whatever He has called you to, make sure that YOU fulfill that calling and nobody else so that you and your family may receive the blessing for it. He may not call you again. Nobody else has a vision for your new business like you do. Extending and elaborating on that vision is YOUR job (or at least you should be integrally involved in that process). Making sure you set up your business in such a way as to INCREASE the available time and resources you have for your family and for other charitable purposes is YOUR job. Actually making use of that increase in time and resources to be with your family and do the charitable things God has called you to is YOUR job. Everything else is negotiable, and it may be well worth it for you to pay or barter with someone to do all or part of it for you. Use every time/effort saving resource you can, as long as it does not compromise the quality of your product or service or compromise your integrity or that of your business. That means software, services, companies, people, joint


ventures, piggyback advertising, etc. Grow Your Business & Enhance Your Life Every minute saved on tedious tasks that can be done as well or better by software, a service, a company or individual is a minute more that you can devote either to non-business responsibilities or to new advertising/marketing methods to help GROW your business. "Get" this concept from the start of your business and implement it in everything you do. You'll be amazed at the positive effects it will have on your well being, the "health" of your family and the productivity of your business. See the "Resources" Chapter of this book for many time/effort saving options that I have used in the past (or continue to use) that I found to be highly useful and relatively inexpensive (and many times free).

65 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Advertising Tips, Tricks and Resources Advertising. Marketing. Promotion. Call it what you want. It all means basically the same thing. How do you get new people to find out about your company and decide to purchase from you? How do you get people to call or email you for more information? How do you get them to phone in an order? How do you get them to place an online order? How do you get them to sign up as one of your affiliates or as a member of your MLM organization? The Ever-Elusive, Magical, Mystical Advertising Utopia Often times new business owners have the idea that they are going to happen upon some mystical advertising utopia that is going to solve all of their lead acquisition problems. If they could just find that one advertising method that nobody else has thought of that will skyrocket their business to profitability. The problem is, although they might happen upon a tremendous advertising opportunity that may very well speed them on the way to success, the reality is that there are incredible advertising opportunities all over the place. The problem for most home business owners isn't finding the right advertising opportunity, it is recognizing the proper way to take advantage of the hundreds of opportunities staring them right in the face. Often times, a person will try a particular advertising method and, when it doesn't "produce" they will deem that particular advertising method as ineffective I'm even been guilty of that myself. But that isn't necessarily the case - in fact, I would say that OFTEN it is not the case. The Problem Lies in the Mirror The truth of the matter is, if a particular advertising opportunity does not produce for you, look in the mirror to find your solution. It is more likely that you did not correctly evaluate the needs of your ad, the audience for your ad, the media that your ad was placed in, etc. As a result, you placed an ad that was doomed to fail from the start. You see, many small business owners tend to lump all of their business promotion needs into one single advertising solution, and they are then saddened by the results of their efforts. What you need to do is begin asking questions about each separate ad and handle them all independently (in addition to other "questions" you may come up with relative to your specific business). What Questions to Ask of Your New Ad Is the ad being placed online or in print? If online, what type of website is it? Informational?


Entertainment oriented? Who are the website visitors or magazine/newspaper readers? Primarily men or women? Income level? Education level? What do you want to accomplish with the ad? Are you looking for online or phone in orders? Newsletter sign-ups? Information requests? What is going to catch your reader's attention well enough to cause them to actually call or click to your website? The questions could potentially be endless, and you don't want to get so bogged down in the questions that you never actually finish/place the ad. But, it would also be foolish to ignore these questions and their answers. Every ad will be different and will generate different answers to those questions. As a result, each ad will require a different method, format, media, call to action, etc. Now, that doesn't mean that the methods you use for each of them might not be similar from one to another, but if the method is identical, I guarantee it will either work REALLY well for one ad location and the result will be dismal for the other or the results will be mediocre for both. Either way, you'll have wasted some advertising dollars that you didn't necessarily have to waste. Some Simple Examples for Diversifying Your Ads As an example of what I've been talking about, I might advertise our synthetic diesel oil on a trucking website or in a trucking magazine, but if I'm advertising on a racing website, I'm likely to promote our synthetic racing oils. If I'm advertising in a magazine, I might be more focused on getting that person to CALL me, since they might have a cell phone or land line close to them when reading the ad. The likelihood that they have a computer right next to them to log onto my website at that particular moment is slim. So, in a magazine ad, I'd likely provide some sort of incentive for them to CALL me right away at my toll free number while having my website address listed but not prominent in the ad. Alternatively, if I was placing the same or similar ad online, I'd, obviously, offer an incentive for CLICKING over to my website and include the phone number "in the background", so to speak. So, your advertisements must be tailored to the medium in which they are placed as well as to the audience that will be reading the ad. In addition, if you're advertising with the intent of getting an online order from the reader, then your ad had better link to a page that offers a simple way to order product without 3 or 4 clicks in between. The reader should easily be able to find the way to order the product without searching around on the page or, worse yet, having to search through your entire website looking for a way to place an order. Likewise, if your ad is targeted at getting new sign-ups for your business opportunity, then you had better make sure that the number they call or the webpage they are directed to has either a great deal of information regarding the biz opp or has a very enticing offer to get them to supply their email and/or phone number to you for follow-up. I think you get the idea, so, let's move on with a little more "meat" related to this discussion. I'm going to touch on the most common ways that you might advertise your business. There are, literally, thousands of ways that you might promote your new business, many of which


you might think of that I never would. So, please don't read this section as the be all and end all of your advertising options. Get a little creative. Combine a few of these together. Or, think outside the box and come up with something entirely new. You're in charge. It's your business. I'm sure you can come up with some great ideas with this chapter as a foundation. - Pay Per Click There are many types of pay per click advertising, so we'll take them one at a time in just a moment (at least the major categories). However, first, you may need me to define just exactly what "pay per click" (PPC) means. Of course, the name itself implies the definition, but depending upon how new you are to the internet or to internet advertising, even that may not be immediately clear, so let's break it down. Pay per click advertising is just what it says. You pay whenever someone clicks on your advertisement to go to your website. How much you pay for each click is determined by you and the company you've chosen to advertise with. So, for instance, you might agree to advertise on a particular website with a little logo for your company. Anytime someone clicks on your logo from that website, they are taken to whatever webpage you have specified and you pay "X" amount of money for that 1 click. Now, the most common methods of pay per click advertising (often referred to as PPC) are image banners placed on websites or within emails, in context links (on websites or within emails) and search engine advertising. I'm certain you'll run across others, but most will be some variation of those that I've just mentioned. PPC Banners: You've seen banners at parties hanging above a doorway or something saying "Welcome Home, Dave" or "Congratulations, Charlie", etc. Well, image banners placed on a website or within an email are the same thing, only the message is: "Come Visit My Website". The purpose of a banner on someone else's website is to get someone to actually CLICK on the banner to leave the website they are on and visit your website. For that privilege, you pay a fee. Of course, these days, when webpages can even be sent to people via email, banners can show up in someone's email inbox as well. They work the same way. If a person receives an email, reads the email and then decides to click on your banner to visit your site, you pay the person who SENT the email a fee. Normally, that person or company owns a list of subscribers and you simply pay a fee (per click) for him/her to advertise your website in their email newsletter. Now, currently, we're discussing PPC banners, but you can also advertise using banners and pay, not for clicks, but for "impressions" (in other words, viewings of your banner). The purpose of a PPC banner is actually to generate a click, while the purpose of an impression based banner campaign is actually something quite different, which we'll talk about shortly. For now, let's stick with the PPC model. With PPC banner advertising, you pay NOTHING each time your banner is VIEWED by a website visitor. In other words, if you, hypothetically, had PPC banner advertising running on the front page of Yahoo's website (which would cost an absolute FORTUNE, by the way), each time their homepage loaded ( your banner would show up at the top


of the page (just an image that conveys whatever information you want it to convey). 10,000 Yahoo visitors could see your banner and never click on it, and you wouldn't pay a dime. Only when one of them clicks on your banner to go to your website do you pay. How much you pay is decided by you and Yahoo ahead of time. What is great about this is that you get ALOT of "branding" exposure for your company name and/or product name and/or website address. And, of course, by doing that, you get your brand-name embedded in the mind of those who frequent the website so that, when they ARE in the market for a brand new, gold plated, diamond studded, widget thingy to give to their wife for their anniversary, they'll remember that (your website) offers them at the "best prices around". Why will they remember that? Because that is exactly what your banner said, and the person viewed your banner 15 times over the past month. But, what if your banner was just a big picture of a widget? No website address shown on the banner. No company name. No mention of "best prices". Would that person still think of your company when they're looking for a good price on a really nice widget? Even if they did remember your banner and liked the picture of the widget, would they remember where they saw it so that they could go back and click on it (since they don't know your website address or company name)? How many other banners might be rotating with yours on Yahoo's homepage? Will they have to reload the homepage 155 times to get your banner to come up? Are they going to go through all that hassle? I think the answers to those questions are quite clear. You're likely to lose that customer because you didn't take advantage of your "branding" opportunities. Even though you probably want your banner to elicit a "CLICK", it would be foolish to ignore the branding opportunity that you have available to you. Design your banner to be dual purpose. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "This presents an interesting situation. Why not design the banner entirely for the branding and then advertise it using a PPC type arrangement? The best of both worlds. I only pay for clicks, which the banner is designed NOT to generate, thus minimal cost. I don't pay for impressions, so I get tons of branding at a really good price." Well, my answer to that is two-fold. First, many advertising companies and website operators already recognize this type of "scam". They have the right to refuse any banner, and, if they believe you've intentionally designed a banner with that purpose in mind, they are likely to reject it. Also, many systems are designed to check click through rates of each banner campaign. If a campaign is getting a lower than normal click through rate, the banner might be "kicked" and you lose the rest of your branding opportunity. The second part of my answer focuses more on the ethical side of such a practice. In my opinion, it would be disingenuous to advertise through a PPC system using a banner that is clearly designed for branding purposes alone. You MIGHT find a place to advertise such a banner via PPC, if the people running the site or the advertising system are new at this and haven't put safeguards in place against such practices. But, just because you can get away with it does not make it right. Never enter into ANY arrangement with a person or company where you have intent to deceive or manipulate the other party into providing something to you that they never


intended to provide. Eventually, such practices will come back and bite you, even if not right away. God designed the universe with certain natural and supernatural "laws" that govern our actions, and there are always consequences for thinking and acting in ways that violate the "right order" of His kingdom. He's in charge. We are not. He may be lenient for a time, but wrong doing will not go without practical consequences, both personal and business related. Besides, it's the best way to run your business anyway. In fact, a study was done awhile ago to determine what the defining characteristics were of the 400 wealthiest people in America. What was it that made them so wealthy? Were there certain personality traits or environmental influences that were common between most of these wealthy people? The study investigated nearly 40 different "categories" to establish whether there were any statistical similarities between all these people. Want to know what they found? The #1 thing that they found in 100% of these wealthy people was that they had a HIGH level of personal integrity. In other words, they did what they said, they said what they meant and they never tried to "jerk anyone around" with deceit or manipulation. God's universal laws in action. Do right and you'll be blessed for it. In Context PPC Links: These are links that are placed within the context of a website. So, for instance, you sell horseshoes on your website. You run across a website that happens to sell saddles (but not horseshoes) and has many articles on horses, a few of which deal with "re-shoeing" (is that a word?) horses. What a great place to have your "ad". So, you ask the webmaster (the person who designed and/or maintains the website) or the advertising coordinator for this horse website if they would mind placing a few carefully worded links within those articles that point to your site. Every time one of their website visitors clicks on one of those links, you pay "X" amount of money (PPC). This can be an excellent method of advertising. It can also be a very inexpensive way to advertise. Find a large number of smaller websites about horses that have some articles where such an "in context" link would work and ask them each if they would be willing to link to your site from those articles in exchange for a small PPC payment. Many would jump at the chance if they do not yet have an advertising plan in place. You might get a great price on your links and help them generate a little income from what is currently a personal site that produces no income whatsoever. It can take a little extra time and effort to find decent websites with informative articles that don't already have advertising lined up, etc. But ... if you DO find one, you'll be glad you did, and so will they. And, don't forget, this is also a possibility in emails. If there are some electronic newsletters that relate to your products in some way, subscribe to them. See, if the articles in the newsletter are actually useful and well written. If so, see if you can get some "in context" advertising links put into these emails. Again, if the author/editor of the newsletter is not already doing this, they might be more than willing to do it for a very fair price. Search Engine PPC Advertising: Here's the BIG ONE. If you want a ton of traffic in a short period of time, in most cases, this is the best way to do it - but also generally the most expensive, because everyone else is also going this route. With this type of advertising, to one degree or another you are bidding against other advertisers for top placement on a search engine listing. Let me give you an example:


One of the major players in search engine advertising (specifically PPC advertising) is Yahoo Search (formerly Overture). Yahoo Search listings show up not only on the search pages, but also on a number of other search engines like and the like. You can get alot of traffic from the Yahoo Search Marketing program, but you have to be careful. With that much traffic comes the potential to REALLY overspend yourself quickly. Paid PPC listings from the Yahoo Search program are placed in specific locations within the search listings of various search engines. So, for instance, if someone is searching for something using the search engine, they will see some paid listings on the page, as well as some "natural" listings that are not paid for. Search engines, are basically just big compilations of webpage information. When you or someone else types in a search phrase, the search engine basically just spits out what is in the "natural" and the "paid" database that relates to what you typed in. For the "natural" or UNpaid listings, any new webpage that is submitted to a search engine or that they "find" on the internet via links from other sites is "indexed" into their catalog. Basically, the search engine "spider" reads the page and puts all the information from that page into a database entry for that page. Then, it follows the links on that page to get to other pages and does the same thing all over again. Millions to Billions of webpages are indexed by the major search engines and placed into their giant database. Then, when someone goes to or some other search engine looking for something, they type in a search phrase and click "go" or hit enter or something. The search engine takes that phrase and compares it against all of the pages within it's database looking for that phrase (or similar phrases) within each webpage. The webpages that seem to have the best match to that search phrase show up near the top of the listing. As you go down the page the listings generally become less and less relevant to the search phrase entered. It's not perfect, but this is basically the way it works. Now, there are some other criteria that search engines use to determine how relevant a webpage is compared to the search phrase entered (remember that we're still talking about "natural" listings). How long has the page been around? How many other websites link to that page? How important are the websites that link to that page? Etc. The algorithms used by these search engines to determine relevancy of listings is actually quite amazing and very complex. So, when you type in your search phrase, the search engine goes through it's database of "natural" listings to find those that are most relevant. But, then it goes into the PAID listing database and looks for sites that show up as being relevant for that search phrase as well. Often these "paid" listings will show up at the top of the search listing and/or to the side of the natural listings. Most of the time, the paid listings will be highlighted in some way so as to indicate that they are not part of the natural listing. Where your paid listings falls within that list depends upon how much you're willing to pay for each click on your listing. So, let's say you're still selling "widgets". BTW - on a side note, it used to be that people referred to "widgets" as a substitution for a "whatchamacallit". These days, in the computer world, the term "widget" actually refers to something specific. However, for the purposes of this ebook, understand that widget is used to mean "whatchamacallit". So, getting back to our discussion, your particular widgets are tailored to meet the needs of


commercial office users. So, you set up an account on Yahoo Search and then start doing a little research. Within your account area, you have a tool that allows you to type in a search term related to your topic and have Yahoo Search give you a listing of other possible search phrases you might consider. Next to each potential search phrase is the number of times it was searched for last month, the estimated number of clicks you'd receive and how much other advertisers are paying for clicks on their link. So, you pick out some search phrases like "commercial widgets" and "office supply widgets" that seem like they could offer some good traffic for a good price. Once selected, then you must enter a title that you want to show up within the search listing, a description and the page that you want your listing to link to. A couple of things to remember here. You're paying by the click. So, it is best to PRE-qualify prospects before they click on your link. That way you're only paying for really good prospects instead of tire kickers. In other words, make sure your ad gives enough information to weed out the people that would likely click on your link and then immediately return to Yahoo Search for a different listing, but also vague enough to spur some curiosity among those who you think will be interested in what you have to offer. For instance, what if you only sell BLUE commercial widgets. Do you want people clicking on your link that are only looking for RED commercial widgets? Probably not. So, you should stipulate in your ad (preferably in the title which is more often read - but at least in your description) that your widgets are blue and make it prominent so people notice it. That way, the majority of people that click on your link are actually looking for BLUE commercial widgets and are much more likely to buy from you. However, to create interest and/or curiosity, you might also have your listing ALLUDE to a special offer you have running or a special report you're offering, etc. Something that will grab their attention, stimulate curiosity and cause them to click on your link. Be careful, though. Yahoo Search does not allow you to go hog wild with your listing. No hype or deceit allowed. So, now you've created your listings and you've made sure to make it clear how your site is related to the topic of their search (you should probably use the exact search phrase in your title if you can). You've also carefully crafted your ad to weed out those people that probably wouldn't buy from you and to stimulate interest and curiosity in those who might. Next, you have to decide how much you want to pay for each click on your listing. This is a debatable question. On the one hand, the higher in the listings you are, the more likely you are to get more traffic from your listing. So, if you bid enough to be in the number 1 slot, you'll get more clicks (generally speaking). But, cost-wise, this may not be the best solution. By going for the number 2 or 3 spot, you may get a little less traffic, but of the traffic you DO get, many of the people have already been to the sites listed above you and have now come to you to see if you can offer anything better than the other sites. IF you do, then you've got a good chance of making the sale. So, you MIGHT get more for your money by settling for the #2 o r 3 position in the listings. However, keep in mind that if the sites listed above you are as good or better than yours or offer a product/service that is as good or better than yours for a similar or better price, people may never come back to the listings and see you. So, investigate the sites listed at the top. Many times they are paying major bucks to be #1 in the listings, but their website is


so terrible or their product so overpriced, that chances are searchers will come back to the listing and check out the #2 and 3 listings before settling on the site they intend to purchase from. You might have to play around a little with this one, but you'll figure out what works for you. One other significant item to mention is that you can set a maximum daily expenditure for Yahoo Search. If you only want to spend $10 per day on advertising, you can do that. Your listing will show up in the search listings until you hit your $10 mark, then it will drop out. The next day it will come back until you hit $10 again. So, this is a good way to control expenditures, if you need to. This brings me to another important point that you should seriously take note of. When advertising through PPC search engines, you will have the option to choose MANY different search phrases on which to advertise. For instance, in my synthetic oil business, I am advertising on well over 100 terms. I could probably advertise on hundreds of terms. This is a question you'll have to answer for yourself. What terms do you choose to advertise on? How many do you advertise on? The answer to that depends upon what you're looking for and how much you're planning on spending. For instance, in my business, there are many terms I COULD advertise on that are somewhat related to my synthetic oil business (like "automotive repair" for instance). So, are there other search engines that offer PPC advertising? Yes. Tons of them. But, most are fly by night operations that will only be around a short time or that provide very little value for your advertising dollar. FindWhat and Kanoodle are two that I put in this category. I've used them both and the results from those search engines were DISMAL compared to the results I could get from Yahoo and one other that I use regularly: Google Google is THE major player on the search engine scene. They are the 800 pound gorilla that everyone else is trying to "knock off". Some say, though, that Yahoo Search may overtake them (I'm not so sure). Either way, there is ALOT of traffic passing through Google, so if you're going to advertise your business through PPC search engine advertising, it is wise to at least consider Google. They call it their Adwords program. Although the setup is a little different in the administration area than Yahoo Search, the concept is the same. Choose a topic, enter some keywords, let Google generate a list of other possible phrases, take a look at how many searches are going through each month for particular phrases and what it will cost you to get a good listing on Google's search pages. Then, decide which phrases you want, how much you want to pay and what you want your listing to say. Now, with Google, your placement in the listing is a little different than with Yahoo Search. Google actually rotates their listings to a certain extent. So, one listing doesn't always have the top spot. However, the more you're willing to pay per click, the more frequently your link will be in that top spot. Again, be careful here. With the amount of traffic running through Google, depending upon the phrases you decide to advertise on, you could easily rack up a $5,000 bill in a day or two if you're not careful. As with Yahoo Search, you can limit your daily expenditure to X number of dollars if you like. In the beginning, I highly recommend it.


Keywords Analyzer If you're going to advertise via PPC through the search engines, it pays to have an efficient way to analyze the entire PPC landscape, seeing what you're competitors are doing and finding areas that they may not be effectively infiltrating - so that YOU can. There are alot of programs on the market designed for this purpose - some useful, some not so useful. Today I ran across one called Keywords Analyzer that I hadn't seen before, but it looks really powerful, and they have another program called "Competition Dominator" that looks equally as powerful. I want to stress that I have NOT used this software, so this is not a review. Only a suggestion of some software that may prove useful to you in your question to gain search engine traffic. Judging by my time spent reviewing the featureset, watching the training videos and reading through the forum, the developers of the software have really outdone themselves. Assuming that the software is stable and quick, the price they are asking seems very reasonable considering the potential benefit of using this software to it's fullest. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm in the middle of a very large project right now (and not focusing much on PPC at the moment), I'd probably purchase it myself for a testdrive. As it stands, I know I won't have an opportunity to really put it to use for at least another few months, so it makes little sense to purchase it now. At any rate, if you want to really make the search engines work for you, information is the key, and this software offers it up in spades. Take a look and see what you think. One extra note: The same company that runs Carbonite's affiliate program (for which I am an affiliate) runs the affiliate program for this software (which is actually how I ran across it). As such, I can use my same affiliate ID to promote both Carbonite AND Keywords Analyzer, so that's what I'm doing. However, as I will do in the "Resources" portion of the book, I'm providing a quick link here directly to the site (bypassing my affiliate ID), if you don't want to pay me a commission ( Otherwise, if you don't mind me earning a commission (IF you actually purchase the software), here's my affiliate link: Keywords Analyzer. More importantly, though, if you happen to purchase this software and you find that it is not all it's cracked up to be, please let me know. If it turns out that this software isn't as useful as I think it will be, I want to quickly remove mention of it from this book. So, just to be clear, I'm not endorsing this software because I haven't yet used it. Just offering it up as a possible resource that looks REALLY promising and will likely be a part of my software "toolbelt" at some point down the road. Impression Based Advertising Most impression based advertising is related to banners or pop-up/pop-unders of some sort. There may be other variations, but they'll likely be similar to these. With impression based advertising, as opposed to PPC advertising, you pay for the number of times your ad will be SEEN, regardless of whether it will be clicked on or not. In fact, more specifically, in most cases, an "impression" really only means that your ad "loaded" with the page or email. It doesn't necessarily mean that it was "seen", although many places you'll advertise through have measures in place to be sure that, generally speaking, an impression is equal to an actual viewing.


Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let's say that you don't do all your homework on a particular advertising opportunity. You purchase 10,000 impressions at $5 CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions - M represents 1000 in Roman numerals). Your total cost would then be $50. That's ALOT of ad "views" for $50, don't you think? Well, maybe. Depends upon where the ad banner is placed. If you purchase the advertising on the homepage of a site that generates alot of "hits" to their homepage, but everyone leaves within 5 seconds, those impressions won't help much if your banner is at the bottom of the page. Nobody will ever see it. So, not only won't you get any clicks to your website, you won't get any branding either. You want to make sure that your ad is being placed somewhere that website visitors will actually see it and NOTICE it. Is your ad going to be stuck between a bunch of flashing, screaming, loud colors? Maybe not so good. Could turn people off. Bottom of the page ... might not be seen. Just make sure you get a chance to see an example of exactly where your banner is going to show up. Then, load that page and try to put yourself in the shoes of a website visitor. Will they see it? Notice it? Remember it? Click on it? Base the amount your willing to pay on the answers to those questions and a few others, like, "who are the visitors of this site and do they care about my product?", "how much money do the visitors to this site have and can they afford my product?", etc. These questions are very important. Don't overlook them. Sites that already have advertising options available should have visitor demographics that they can provide you with. If they are a larger site offering advertising opportunities but no demographics, be very careful about advertising with them. You need to know who you're going to be advertising to. Pop-ups & Pop-unders Pop-ups and pop-unders are impression based advertising. When purchased in bulk, you can pay to have your ad banner load or to have your actual website load in the pop-up window. Depends upon the company you're purchasing from and how you want it done. Either way, you pay when the banner or your website loads, you're not paying for clicks. Although pop-ups can be effective, they must be done properly in order for you to get any benefit. I suggest, and some might disagree, that pop-ups and/or pop-unders ONLY belong on your own site. Do not purchase pop-up or pop-under advertising from other sources. Almost always the results are dismal. But, if used tactfully and correctly on your own site, they can be a great way to get new sign-ups to your newsletter, etc. Many web browsers these days (and some other specialized software) are designed to block pop-ups because they are SO prevalent and most webmasters don't know how to be tactful about using them. However, there are ways to avoid having your pop-ups blocked AND avoid annoying your website visitors. The pop-up that I use on my site comes up gracefully, only comes up ONCE and not on every page or every time a person returns to my site, and is easy to close (but web browsers can't block it). It is quite effective in generating information requests, so don't underestimate the power of a pop-up advertisement, just make sure you're only using them on your own site and not purchasing them from someone else. Normally, the method they are using to generate the pop-ups in large numbers does not provide good results and your advertising dollars will have been wasted. Put a small, tactful pop-up on your site offering some sort of free report


or ebook or newsletter subscription along with a form to submit name/email. Email Advertising With email advertising, there are technically two routes you can go. Either you can purchase advertisements in an electronic newsletter that goes out to X number of email recipients every week/month/etc. or you may purchase a single bulk mailing to an email list (or simply purchase the list and do the bulk mailing yourself). I submit that, in most cases, especially if you are new to this, buying large email lists to advertise to or paying someone to do a large bulk email campaign for you is going to get you into trouble and may not generate nearly the result you're hoping for. First, if you're purchasing large lists of email addresses to mail to yourself, it is often hard to determine whether the company you're purchasing from is a reputable one. If it isn't, you may get a list full of undeliverable emails or, worse yet, a list of people who have NOT willingly provided their email addresses for mailings such as what you're sending. In that case, you're going to get all sorts of SPAM complaints and could get your ISP and/or website account terminated by your provider. Not a situation you want to get into. So, I would recommend not doing large mass emailings of that nature. A better option is to find established electronic newsletter publishers who regularly send an email to their subscribers. Place an ad within their newsletter (such as a banner or in context link as I discussed earlier). Your response rates will be better and you won't be taking on the risk of being labeled a spammer, you're not even sending the email, just advertising in it. Forum Posting This is one of my favorite methods for generating website traffic and increased sales. It is especially effective if you've got a little time on your hands each day or each week (consistently). There are a number of very positive goals that can be achieved through this sort of advertising. But, before we get to the benefits of using Forums in your advertising, let me explain just what forums are (in case your somewhat of an Internet newbie). What are Forums & How Do You Use Them? Forums are online bulletin boards, of sorts, where people post comments or questions about certain topics and have discussions with other forum members. It is all done online and, often, there can be thousands of members to a forum, all from different areas of the world and with very different perspectives on the topics of discussion. Of course, that can lead to some pretty heated discussions sometimes, so you have to be careful not to get sucked into that kind of thing. Also, there may be some opinions expressed that you really dislike or that get you upset. It's important to remember your purpose for being on the forum in the first place and to make sure your ACTIONS on the forum lead you to that goal. An Example of How to Use Forums for Advertising As an example of how to use this forum based advertising method, I once had an account


set up on the "Road Star Riders" forum. A RoadStar is a motorcycle, which, by virtue of having an engine, needs oil and filters regularly (which is a good thing, since I sell the best synthetic oil available anywhere - with full data to prove it). So, I became a member and began "lurking" a little bit to see what the general attitude was of the people on the forum, what the common threads were, how things were moderated, etc. Seemed like a well run forum with lively discussion, a good moderator and plenty of discussion about maintenance of motorcycles. So, each day I'd log into the forum and do a search for motor oil or filter related postings. Any of them for which I could provide useful information, I did. At the end of all of my posts was a "tag line" that listed my little slogan ("Change Your Thinking, Not Your Oil") and my motor oil website address. Nothing fancy or flashy. I pretty much never mentioned in my post that I sold oil or how someone could go to my website. I simply answered the question as objectively and honestly as I could. At first, I didn't get much response. Some people still thought I was just going to waste forum space "advertising my wares". But, over time, people began to realize that I knew what I was talking about, and that I was very honest in my responses to people, even recommending competing products, if I thought they would be more suited for a particular application. As time went on, many people would actually post their questions and address them specifically to me for response. Within about 6 months, nearly a third of my income was coming from motorcycle oil and filter sales to RoadStar riders. That's pretty significant, considering that motorcycles take VERY LITTLE oil compared to trucks and autos, which were a large part of my business. So, the moral of the story is, if you don't come across as just a salesman, but rather as someone who knows what they're talking about and genuinely wants to help, people will begin to trust you and will eventually try the products that you offer. But that's not the end of the story. There is another very important aspect of forum "advertising" that I haven't yet explained ... Using Forums to Enhance Search Engine Placement Another thing that forum postings do for you is create "link popularity" for your website. If you frequent a few very large forums and stay focused on only responding to posts that deal with your particular area of expertise which will help you build sales of your product (over time), you can put up ALOT of targeted posts. Every post that goes up is another link back to your website (because of your "tag line"). That does two things for you. First, when people search for particular phrases on search engines, often forum postings come up in the listings (because they are indexed also by the search engines). So, if you've written a post about a particular topic, then when that topic is searched for on the search engines, your post on one of those forums may very well come up in the listings. If the searcher clicks on that link and likes what he/she reads in your post, they will be likely to click on the link in your tag line to see what you have to offer. Free website traffic. BONUS!!! The second thing that all those tag line links do for you is to create that link popularity that I discussed earlier. Basically, search engines rank your website in the search listings partly


by how many other RELATED websites link to your website. The assumption is that if 100 automotive sites link to your motor oil site compared to only 50 linking to another motor oil site, yours must be the more useful/relevant one. So, you'll be listed higher in the search engine listing for a search on "motor oil" (all other aspects of your page being equal). Since all of your posts will be on forums that are related to your product line, and your posts will be regarding subjects even more specifically related to your product line, the links within your posts will be very targeted links and will REALLY increase your link popularity, especially if you are a member of many different forums that are regarded as high quality forums. Important Things to Note About Forum Advertising As you can surely tell, I am a big fan of this method of advertising. Although it does not generally produce immediate results, over time it can be one of the most effective advertising tools you have in your "belt". That being said, though, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you decide to pursue this method of advertising. How Well Indexed is the Forum? First, if a particular forum does not index with the search engines well, then you will NOT gain nearly the benefit from your posts that you could. You won't gain any link popularity for your site, and people searching for your topic of interest will not see your posts show up in the search engine listings. So, make sure that you take the time to see how well indexed a forum is before you make a decision about which forum(s) you decide to start promoting on. There is actually a very simple way to know whether a forum is well indexed or not and I'll explain it in just a moment, but there's another issue I want to make mention of first. Will Search Engines "See" Your Signature Links? The links that you place within the "signature" portion of your postings are what will give you link popularity with the search engines, but that will only be true if the search engines actually can "see" those links. Thus, it's important to make sure that they CAN before you start posting to a particular forum (so that you get the most benefit from your efforts). What do I mean by "see"? Well, there is a trend on many blogs and forums recently to begin adding "nofollow" to many of the links on their site, which are placed there by users of the site. This is done to discourage "marketers" from placing ADS disguised as forum posts for the sole purpose of generating links back to their site. Moreover, some forum owners have actually gone so far as to not allow forum signatures at all, eliminating the issue altogether. This is a good idea for a forum owner and keeps out alot of "spam". Unfortunately, it's not so great for you. The good news is that not all forums do this, so if you can find a forum that does NOT, which meets all of your other criteria, THAT will be your best bet and will generate the greatest reward for your efforts. So, how do you KNOW whether a search engine will "see" your signature links? Well, first, check to see whether a forum allows signatures in the first place. If you go through a number of forum posts and see no website links or "tag lines" on any of the posts, chances


are they don't allow signatures at all ... move on. But, how do you know do you know if they are using "nofollow" on the signature links that ARE allowed? I'll make it easy for you. Click on the following link. A page will pop up in your browser which will allow you to add a bookmark to your browser that will quickly allow you to check any page for "nofollow" links without ever leaving the page. AND ... it won't cost you a dime. Check for Nofollow Links Some Extra Investigation Will Go a Long Way I spoke a moment ago about evaluating just how well "indexed" a forum is (do all - or at least MOST - of it's pages show up in the search engines?). A little investigation is going to go a long way here. First, go to the forum website in question. Look through the forum category listing which is ordinarily found on the front page of the forum (for instance, check out You'll notice on the front page of the Cadillac forums website that there is a column listing for "threads" (some forums might list this as "topics") and one next to that called "posts" (some forums list these as "replies"). Count up the total number of "posts" or "replies" listed for the forum. In this case, on the Cadillac forums site, there are approximately 600,000 "posts". That means that members to this forum have posted about 600,000 times regarding various topics since this forum began (a pretty busy site). Now, first of all, this is a good place to mention that choosing a forum with a high number of members and good lively discussion is a crucial part of this as well because the more people that frequent the site, the more people will be reading your posts. More business for you, as long as you sound like you know what you're talking about. So, with these Cadillac forums, already you'd be in good shape if you offer a product that would appeal to visitors to this site because they clearly have a large number of ACTIVE members. But we still don't know how well indexed this site is with the search engines (primarily Google). So, here's what we do next. Click on any of the forum categories to do a little more in depth searching (best to choose one that has a large number of threads/topics). In this case, to follow our example, click on the Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum link to enter that specific category which, at the time this article was written, had 8800 threads listed. What we want to find out is, what is the default number of postings that this forum lists for each page of a thread. For instance, my motor oil forum defaults to 15 posts per page of a thread. So, if someone starts a new thread about extended oil drains, and there are 35 posts to that thread over time, then there would be 3 pages in that thread (1-15 on the first page, 16-30 on the second page, and 31-35 on the third page). Why do we care? Because we're going to use this info to determine just how many pages exist within this forum (approximately). Then, we're going to see how many of those pages are actually indexed on So, inside the CTS V-Series forum we see all of the different threads that have been posted to this category since the forum began (some forums will only list the threads that have been started in the last 30 or 60 days, although there is normally a setting at the top or


bottom of the page to adjust this to show ALL threads ever started in that particular category). We also see, the total number of posts/replies per thread (shown over at the right) as well as the number of pages in each thread (shown directly after the thread title/link). These two numbers are going to tell us what we need to know. Find any thread with more than one page and click on the link. On the page that comes up, count the number of individual posts that show up on that page of the thread. On the Cadillac forums they help you out just a bit because each thread is actually numbered on the page. At the time of this writing, the default for the Cadillac forums seems to be 20 posts/replies per page. If you're a math savvy reader of this article, you probably also know that you could have simply used the total number of posts/pages of a few different threads and calculated out how many posts are put on each page. Either way you should come to the same conclusion. So, now what do we do? Putting the Results of Our Investigation to Use Now, take that default posts-per-page number (in this case: 20) and divide that INTO our total number of posts. This will give us an approximation of the total number of pages on this particular forum. In this case, the answer is about 30,000 pages (600,000/20=30,000). WOW!!. So, now, let's check Google to see how many of those 30,000 pages are actually indexed. To check this, go to the search engine and type the following: Then, try it without the "www": Of course, don't actually type "", use the domain name of the actual forum your investigating. In this case, our forum domain name is: So, if you were to type: into Google you'd end up at this page. At the time of this writing, Google lists about 65,000 pages indexed (for both the "www" version and the domain listed without the "www"). So, clearly this is a well indexed forum. In fact, it appears that are potentially many more pages within the Cadillac Forums website which we didn't see but Google "sees". This would appear to be a perfect forum on which to "advertise" through informative posts to the site. Notice the bolded word: INFORMATIVE. Do not go in and just start placing little ads in the forum discussions hoping to gain business. You'll make alot of people angry and you'll get banned from the forum.


Be an educator. Be a helper. Be a servant. People posting to those forums are genuinely looking for help or offering help. Be a part of that community. It can actually be alot of fun, and, over time, very lucrative. So, if you have the time to do so, and not necessarily alot of money to advertise your website, forums are a great way to generate free traffic to your site and create new customers who trust you. Don't overlook this potential advertising avenue. It may be one of the most powerful free advertising methods available on the net. And, if you think you'd like to take full advantage of this marketing technique, you can get even more useful tips from the following free ebook: Forum Supertips. Some of the tips I list above are provided in this book, which I found a quick but informative read, but you will also find various other tips and techniques in this book which should really benefit you, if you decide to use forum posting as a method of marketing your business. Quickly Find Appropriate Threads If you're going to use forums as a significant portion of your marketing, you'll likely end up being a member of multiple forums (at least you should). As such, on a regular basis, probably at least every other day, you'll want to logon to each of those forums and do a search to see if there are any threads that you can supply useful information to. You'll want to try and keep a list of search phrases that relate to your business/products and that you will be able to respond to intelligently. But, even with the list, it can take time to navigate to each forum, login, do the search, and then scan through the listings to find threads that fit what you're trying to do. Fortunately, there is a MUCH faster way: Google Alerts. Google has a service that allows you to receive an email from them anytime a NEW listings comes up for a particular search phrase. For instance, if you searched for "gold plated widgets" today and didn't find what you were looking for, you could sign-up for a Google Alert which would let you know when a new webpage was listed for that search phrase (one that did NOT show up in the list today when you did your search). That can be really useful, but it is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL when you recognize how targeted you can make your search phrase. Click on the following link: Search Example You'll find a listing of all pages on the website that contain any of the following phrases: - Synthetic Oil - Motor Oil - Oil Filter - 2-Cycle Oil - Two-Cycle Oil Since the website will contain primarily pages devoted to forum posts, the vast majority of these listings will refer to forum threads that discuss the phrases listed above, in one way or another. Chances are, many of the threads may not be ones to which you can supply useful information, but, it narrows your search. However, there are still


ALOT of listings there. Going through them all would probably take awhile, and many of them would be old threads. Enter Google Alerts. Since Google Alerts only talls you about NEW pages that have been added to Google's database, the list will be MUCH smaller, and will NOT, in most cases, contain old threads. So, by using Google Alerts, each day you would receive an email listing any new pages that have "popped up" since your last alert. If nothing new has been added to the database that matches your search phrase, no email would show up. And, you can setup an alert for as many search phrases as you like. Meaning you can monitor dozens of forums all at the same time, without ever having to logon to the forums unless Google sends you an alert. This is a HUGE timesaver and an excellent marketing tool. So, the question is, how do you use it and what does it cost? Fortunately, the answer is, it costs NOTHING and is very simple to use. Just go to the Google Alerts website (Google Alerts) and sign-up for an account. Once you have an account, sign-in and click the "New Alert" button. Then, simply fill in the details. Of course, the details are where the power is at. HOW you setup your search phrase will have ALOT to do with how targeted and useful your alerts will be. So, crafting your search phrase is important. Typically, you'll want to narrow your alerts to only search forums that you've already deemed a "good fit" for what you're trying to do (ie. topic related to your product or service, lots of ACTIVE users, well indexed in search engines, allows signatures and doesn't use "nofollow" links). So, in your search you'll want to use "" (without the quotes) which narrows the search ONLY to pages on the site found at So, for instance, if you're wanting to search the site, you'd use "". Then, add a space and start including relevant search phrases. As an example, in my alerts, I search specific forums for "synthetic oil" OR "motor oil" OR "oil filter" OR ... You can use AND instead of OR, if it suits your purposes. You don't have to put the phrases in "", but, if you need the phrase and not just the individual words to show up on the page, use "". For instance, if you did a Google Alert for: dog walking, a page which had the phrase "the walking stick landed on my dog's head" would trigger the alert because it contains both the words "dog" and "walking". However, if you changed your alert and put "dog walking" instead, only pages that contained that EXACT phrase would come up. Any phrase that you can use to do a search on Google can be used in an alert, so be creative. Then, set the other Alert characteristics (how often to notify you, what types of pages to search and where to send the alerts) and you're done. Add a new alert for each site you want to search. Possibly add an alert for the "www" version of a web address and a separate alert for the address WITHOUT the www as sometimes the listings can be different. No matter how you use it (and I'm sure you'll come up with some new and ingenious ways), Google Alerts will save you a TON of time marketing your site. Make use of it - after all, it's FREE! Viral Marketing: PRE-selling, RE-selling and CROSS-selling


This is one that could be the most effective and least expensive of all, although potentially time consuming in the beginning - depends upon how you do it. I know that in the past year you probably caught a cold. Chances are, you aren't the only one. It's likely that your whole family ended up getting it by the time all was said and done. Maybe numerous people from church or your workplace ended up with the same cold/flu bug. How did that happen? Colds are contagious. Typically, if one person gets it, chances are, many of the people that person comes into contact with are also going to get it. A cough, a sneeze, touching the same doorknob, etc. There are probably 100 different ways that a cold/flu bug might spread. The point really isn't the how, but simply that it does, and there's not much way to stop it once it gets going. You just have to let it run it's course. Well, that's viral marketing. You want to use word of mouth and the power of email and the internet to spread the word about your company/products quickly. How does that happen? Well, you offer something to customers and potential customers that has a high perceived value but is low cost or free to you. Then, you provide an easy way for that person to let multiple other people know about the offer. Free Software: Offer free software from your website or through your electronic newsletter that will actually be useful to YOUR customers and potential customers. In other words, don't offer a free mp3 music player from your website if your primary visitors have severe hearing loss. Make sure the software will be incredibly useful to YOUR website visitors or newsletter subscribers. Just because YOU think it's cool, doesn't mean your website visitors will. Try to see the software through THEIR eyes. Then, encourage those that download the software to send it to friends and family who might be interested. If your website visitors are likely to have websites or mailing lists of their own, encourage them to offer the software for download from THEIR website. The beauty is, you will have designed the software so that it contains prominent links back to YOUR website, possibly even multiple sites that you own (or to websites for which you are an affiliate). In this way, each person that this free software is forwarded to is presented with a link back to your company website(s). Free advertising for you. Free software is one thing that spreads on the internet very, very quickly, IF the software is useful and stable. So, in a very short period of time, you could easily have thousands of copies of your software residing on thousands of computers, each with a prominent link back to your website(s). Of course, if you have more than one website, you would want to make sure that each of your sites has links to your other sites. This process would be considered CROSS-selling. You have interlinked all of your websites/products to make sure that any customer of one website is exposed to the products/services that you offer from the other sites. This is an excellent way to maximize your advertising costs, since an advertisement for one product/service can end up exposing that potential customer to multiple products/services that you offer. The free software is the VIRAL part of the equation that ties everything together and spreads the word quickly. The free software approach could also be an example of the PRE-selling approach if you happen to be a software company or if the free software somehow has a direct relationship to the product/service that you offer. PRE-selling is the art of building credibility for your product/service BEFORE you actually try and sell it to someone.


For instance, as I just mentioned, the free software could be a PRE-sell for your "pay-for" software. If the free software is REALLY useful and well done, there is a good chance that those who download it will come to your site and check out your other software offerings, because they will assume that your "pay-for" software should be even better. Or, maybe, you are a company that offers domain names for sale. Your free software might be a program that helps people brainstorm domain names and then check to see if they are available. Then, when the person finds a domain that they like, they are offered the opportunity to register it through you. Since you have already provided them something of value, as long as you are not incredibly overpriced, there is a good chance that the person will purchase their domain name from you. Of course, the one aspect of Software Viral Marketing that I haven't yet covered is that of RE-selling. RE-selling is a term I use to refer to any method you utilize to create additional opportunities to sell the SAME product without any additional effort. That would be a RE-sell. Software could fit that method in two different ways.

If the software is a program that a customer will utilize on a regular basis, and your product is one that they might need to order more than once (which, if you haven't guessed already, I HIGHLY recommend), then each time the customer uses your software they are RE-sold on your products. The more opportunities you have to RE-sell your product to a customer, the better chance you have that they will purchase it ... DUH. Seems like kind of a no-brainer, doesn't it?

Hopefully, your software is well received by those who download it, because, if it is, chances are they will recommend the software to others, either by sending them the file or by sending them a link to your site where they can download the file themselves. This, again, would be what I consider a RE-sell opportunity, because, again, you are creating for yourself multiple opportunities to sell the same product (and, at the same time, other products as well), with no additional effort on your part. As much as you can, encourage people to send their friends back to YOUR site to get the download (instead of just forwarding the file to them). If people always come to your site to download the software, then you always have control over what software people are getting their hands on. Why is that important? Well, first off, if the software is upgraded or enhanced, or if "bug" fixes are made, you want to make sure that old copies of your software are not circulating. And, secondly, if you offer more than just that particular piece of software from your website, wouldn't you like people to be exposed to those products/services as much as possible? By having the person come to your website to get the software, you have an opportunity to (UNobtrusively) present some other products/services that you offer while the person is retrieving their software download. Of course, if you're going to offer free software as your Viral Marketing method, the obvious question probably becomes, "How do I develop a useful software program when I don't know the first thing about programming?" Well, that's a good question. Truthfully, even if you had the know-how to do it, the time involved in programming a piece of software that is useful AND stable is considerable. So, even if you had a programming background AND


had an idea for a piece of software that a large number of people would use, it might take you at least a month or two to create it (if not a year or two - depending upon the complexity of the program and your level of time availability), then another month or two (or 12) to test it and revise it. And that is probably a best case scenario. It COULD take you considerably longer. In the meantime, your Viral Marketing campaign is on hold. Alternatively, you could hire a programmer to create the software you've envisioned. Of course, there are inherent problems there too. First, unless you KNOW a programmer already, you could easily end up with a very flaky programmer who does a poor job or never completes the job, in which case you're left with no usable software to offer. Even if you do manage to find a programmer who will do a good job for you, it is highly likely that the costs could be significant. And, since the idea is to offer the software for free to create sales for your other products, the initial fee for the software creation might be tough to swallow. It could easily run into the hundreds or, MUCH more likely, even thousands. Luckily, there are websites out there offering free software that you can "re-brand" with your website links and offer for download from your website. Be careful with these. Many are severely restricted versions of commercial software that push heavily for an upgrade to the "full version" of the software either via the limited features or a limited time-frame over which to use it before many features end up being disabled. You don't want that. For the "viral" aspect of this to really work, the software must be completely free and highly useful in it's free version. So, before you go rebranding someone else's program, make sure you've tested it to verify that it is simple, useful (to YOUR target audience), stable and completely free. Free Ebooks: This is another really good viral marketing method, possibly better even than free software (although not necessarily). Many people will read a good quality free ebook which focuses on a topic that interests them. What's more, if they enjoy the book and/or feel they learned something from it then there is a good chance a certain number of them will click over and check out your product offerings - resulting in product sales and profit for you. Of course, that's assuming that you have properly placed links throughout the ebook back to your website(s) and product(s). In this case, as we learned from our free software example, you are using your free ebook to PRE-sell the products/services on your website, by building credibility and trust between you and your potential customers. Moreover, if your ebook readers have found your book useful, they are likely also to forward the book on to their friends, family and/or customers and newsletter subscribers. Again, you want to make sure that you place in the book prominent links pointing back to your website(s) (or affiliate links to high quality services/products that will earn you money). As we discussed above, these are your CROSS-selling opportunities. If the book is well written and covers a topic of interest to a large number of people, it won't be long before your ebook will reside on numerous other websites and thousands of computers (creating thousands of PRE-selling, RE-selling and CROSS-selling opportunities). You can even incorporate a little "twist" that makes Free Ebook Viral Marketing many times more powerful. The idea is simple. Most people browsing on the net are looking for information of some sort. If they can get the info for free, even better. From a trusted source that seems to know what they are talking about ... JACKPOT! With free ebooks AND free articles you can provide ALL of that and make a bundle of money doing it (which, there is nothing wrong with, by the way - don't let anyone convince you that making money is a bad thing - it's only bad if you make money in an unethical way or if you use your money for


unethical/selfish purposes). Free Articles: We've talked about how a free ebook is an excellent way to PRE-sell your products and services by building credibility and trust in your customer's mind. But, in order to stimulate interest for your ebook, you need to go BACK one step in the process. You need to PRE-sell your ebook, which, in turn, PRE-sells your product or service. So, in order to PRE-sell your ebook, you have to give people reason to believe that it is in their best interest to get their hands on it, especially if you're going to require them to provide their email address in order to get it (so that you can follow up with them). Free articles are an excellent way to accomplish that goal. A note about free articles: You might think that Viral Marketing via free articles can only be used to pre-Sell an informational product of some kind, such as an ebook, but that is certainly not the case. Even software can be PRE-sold via free articles. For instance, let's say your software was a PIM application (personal information manager contacts, datebook, todo lists, etc.). You could write numerous articles that relate to that area of business management. The importance of keeping contact information in a central location that can be searched. The value of having an electronic scheduler to remind you of important appointments, phonecalls, etc. A discussion of how much more money can be made by an efficient business vs. an inefficient one (and how a PIM manager can increase efficiency). Each of those articles would have a link back to your website which would contain more useful content regarding efficient business and communications management. Your website would then offer opportunities to download your free software.

I think you see how this progression mimics the free article/free ebook scenario above. Don't get your mind set on a certain way of using these techniques. Think outside the box a little and see if you can apply these Viral Marketing techniques to unique new situations that arise within your own business. I guarantee you can find ways to make these marketing methods work for you - in a BIG way. The beauty of this system is that the only real work required is the writing of the book itself. Once the book is written, most of the rest is a cakewalk. Take sections of the book, cut them down a bit into short articles and submit them to free article repositories online. A free article repository is basically just a website that keeps a database of free articles. Authors write articles and post them on their site. Website owners looking for good content to add to their website come to the repository and search for articles related to their subject of interest. If you've written an article that relates to their search, it will come up in the listing. If the website owner likes your article, they publish it on their website, along with your bio (which tells a little about you and has a link to your website). If you write well and your articles are useful, it won't take long before they begin to circulate around the internet and show up on MANY websites all over the place (all with a link back to your site, and all free advertising). It also serves to build link popularity since there are so many links pointing back to your website (and all sites that are related to yours). So, you get a bunch of free links back to your site, your articles help to show that you are an expert in your field, and the link at the end of each article provides free traffic to your website. Then, from your website, hopefully, you've got a sign-up form for a person to


request your free ebook (which is a significantly expanded version of your free articles). That way your website visitors get something of value at no cost and you receive their name and email in order to follow-up with them regarding special offers you might have, other products, etc. (of course, you want to make absolutely certain that you offer an easy way for them to "opt-out" of your mailings - normally a link within each email - you don't want to be sending information to someone who doesn't want it). Throughout your book you should have various links to products, services and/or companies that will help the reader and make you a commission. Of course, don't just include links because they'll make you money. If there is a service/product that you know is available for free and you instead promote ONLY the one that costs money (because it makes you a commission) then you're losing your focus. You'll make more money by always thinking of your reader's best interests first, than you will by focusing on what is going to make you the most money. Don't forget that. It is a very important business lesson (and life lesson). So, keeping that principle in mind, with USEFUL affiliate links sprinkled around your book, the more people that download your book, the more affiliate sales you make, the more money you make. So, the primary goal in this method is to get a LARGE circulation of a large number of articles so that you get people downloading your book. In order to do that, you'll need to make sure that your articles are written very well and that the information provided in them is actually useful. If not, your articles will not circulate and nobody will read them. Hence, no ebook downloads and no money made. The key is in the content. Content is king. Remember that and you will go far. It's also important to note, although it may seem completely obvious, that the number of articles you write and distribute will have a direct effect on the amount of traffic that is generated to your site. The more articles, the better (as long as they are well written). Also, try to diversify the article content a bit to appeal to a wider audience. Always make sure that the topic of an article is closely related to what you do, but branch out as much as possible into as many different related areas as you can. This will get you wider distribution on a larger number of websites - meaning more traffic for you.

Rebranding: There is one critical aspect of Viral Marketing that I haven't really touched on and really should cover, even if only briefly. If you utilize free article PRE-selling, then you'll hopefully have a wide distribution of free articles around the internet. But, you may also want to consider the option of allowing websites to offer your free ebooks and software for direct download from their site.

Notice I say "consider". This is not the best option in all cases. First, if you allow direct download of your software or ebook from other websites, you may end up with alot of outdated software out there, as you continue to upgrade/update it on your end but they do not. In addition, if these other websites put the software on their server, they won't even be linking to your domain to get the software, so you won't gain any link popularity or any direct website traffic from the relationship. There are benefits, though. Many website owners


would be happy to offer your ebook or software for download from their site, if they can make some money from the downloads. In addition, many of them would love to be able to offer such a useful benefit to their website visitors if they could have THEIR name and website address listed on/in it. And THAT is where rebranding comes in. There are numerous ways for you to allow other business owners to insert THEIR company name and website address into your ebooks and software and it is called "Rebranding". It is beneficial to both you and the company doing the rebranding of your content. First, you generally will see wider distribution of your books and software if other companies can put their name and address on it. The benefit to them is obvious. Having their website link in all of those downloads is a RE-sell opportunity each time someone opens the software or ebook. In addition, there can be further benefits to other businesses considering offering your books or software as a download from their site. Depending upon what sort of links you have in your book, and whether you personally are running an affiliate program for your business, they might be able to make money on product sales that are generated from your book. For instance, let's say you are offering this free ebook called "101 Fun Things to do with Blue Commercial Widgets". In that book you have links back to your site which happens to sell high quality Blue Commercial Widgets at a lower price than ANYONE else on the planet. You also have an affiliate program that pays 15% on every widget sale. sells only Red Commercial Widgets (and can't get Blue Commercial Widgets because of your exclusive relationship with the manufacturer), but they have customers who are interested also in Blue Commercial Widgets. If you allow rebranding of your "101 Fun Things..." ebook to include affiliate links, then might consider offering your ebook for download from their site (because NOW with their new rebranded book, they can make 15% on every Blue Commercial Widget sale they send your way from that ebook download. This can be very powerful. Or, maybe YOU are an affiliate for another company that sells Blue Commercial Widgets, but their affiliate program is two-tier. You get paid 15% for all direct referrals you make, but you also make 5% commissions on the sales generated by any affiliates you refer to the company. Again, you write an ebook called "101 Fun Things to do with Blue Commercial Widgets" and place within the book a link to the Blue Commercial Widget Company which references your affiliate id. But, you allow the book to be rebranded by any affiliates that YOU have referred to the company (such as So, now, THEY can use your book to get a 15% commission on any Blue Widget sales they generate through ebook downloads, but you now earn a 5% commission on all of the sales they generate (sales which YOU probably never would have made). Win-Win-Win all around. As you can see, there can be considerable extra profit generated by utilizing this rebranding concept to its fullest extent. But, there is still that problem of people having your software or ebook on THEIR server which can lead to outdated ebook/software versions and provides no link popularity to your site (because they won't be actually linking to your site for the book - it will now be on THEIR site).


So, we come to a possible solution (for ebooks anyway). Have your ebooks rebranded "on the fly" right from your server. In other words, these other sites and affiliates don't rebrand your book and then put it on their server for download, they simply put a special link on their website which has their special affiliate id or code embedded in the link. For instance, ""). So, when a visitor to clicks on their link to your website ebook at, a script on YOUR server pulls the correct ebook file and automatically embeds their special affiliate code (redwidgets) into every appropriate link within the book. Then, the book is displayed for the end user (who has no idea any of this has transpired) with all of the correct (redwidgets) affiliate links already embedded in the book. The person downloading the file can save that file to their computer if they like, read it, print it, send it to a friend, whatever they like. It's THEIR file, but it has "redwidgets" affiliate links embedded in the text so that if they decide they need a Blue Commercial Widget, RedWidgetsRus will get the 15% commission. How awesome is that? You get to offer rebrandable ebooks. Other websites get to use your well written ebooks to promote their affiliate links and make money. You get paid your 5% on every sale, AND you get to make sure that EVERYONE downloading your book gets the very latest addition. AND, all download links point back to your site, so you get the link popularity. NOW this is a Win-Win-Win situation for everyone concerned. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this might be more difficult to implement for software, but I think it probably could be done if you hired the right programmer. For ebooks, this dynamic rebranding is only available for Adobe Reader PDF files, as far as I know. So, you'd have to offer your books in PDF format. But, this is simple and painless to do and costs next to nothing. Moreover, PDF is pretty much the standard file format on the net now for anything that you want virtually EVERYONE to be able to read. It won't matter if someone is running a new or old Windows machine, a Mac, Linux, etc. All of them will be able to open your PDF ebook. To learn a great deal more about viral marketing and to find out how you can get the server software to do this "on-the-fly" ebook rebranding yourself (VERY easily and inexpensively), take a look at the following link. Harvey Segal is a guy who is really setting the standard in this area of Viral Marketing. Now, this gentleman is selling primarily business building tools, which, as I've said before, tend to be easier to sell than everyday products because everyone and their brother is blinded by the $$$$ promised by a home business. BUT, at the same time, the techniques that he reveals for creating a viral marketing "empire" really can be applied to just about any product/service you might consider selling. So, I highly recommend following the link below for a more in-depth analysis of the viral marketing strategy: ** Viral Tell-a-Friend ** - Ok, so we've been discussing the basics of setting up a Viral Marketing campaign in order to explode your business, but the one thing that we didn't really take much time to discuss was the process of actually helping your website visitors/ebook readers/software users tell as many friends as possible. Obviously, they can just send an email to their friends, but you want them to tell as many friends as possible,


and you want them to do it before they forget. So, what do you do? How can you enhance the effectiveness of that process? AUTOMATE!!!! There is software out there that will do a phenomenal job of making this process astronomically more effective. It's a new twist on a relatively old internet marketing method: Tell-a-Friend forms. The simple Tell-a-Friend forms that have been used for years offer a way for your website visitors to recommend your site to their friends without ever leaving your site. They simply fill out a form with their name and email and their friends' names and emails and hit "Submit". Immediately, an email is sent to all the friends they listed, telling them about the site. This has been a relatively useful and effective way to get free, targeted and PRE-sold traffic to your site. I say targeted because your website visitors KNOW their friends, so they know whether they would likely have an interest in your site. Since they respect their friends, they are not going to tell them about your site if they would have no interest. Thus, Tell-a-Friend visitors are a very targeted audience, already predisposed to be interested in your products or services. I say PRE-sold because when someone receives a recommendation from a friend they immediately lend more credibility to the business or website that has been recommended, because they trust their friend's judgement and they trust that their friend would not recommend something to them that was not worthwhile. Thus, Tell-a-Friend visitors are already pre-sold on your company and your products or services. An ideal prospect. But, here's the twist that takes traditional Tell-a-Friend to a whole new level and makes it truly Viral. There is new software out there that will run on your website and allow your website visitors, with just a few mouseclicks, to import all or just a part of their email address book into your tell-a-friend form. Then, with just a click of the mouse, they can tell ALL of those friends (often dozens to hundreds of people) about your site. The beauty of this is that NOBODY will be able to remember ALL of the friends that they have who might be interested in your site AND their email addresses in order to type them all into a traditional Tell-a-Friend form, nor will many of your website visitors want to spend the time typing all of that in. By importing their addressbook they can quickly tell dozens of friends without ever having to type in their names and email addresses, many of which they might not have thought of on their own. Even more powerful is the ability of these scripts to automatically REWARD your website visitors for recommending your site. Customize these rewards in any way you like. A discount coupon to purchase your product. An additional free ebook. An extra free report. Just about anything you can think of. Again, the key here is to make it valuable so that people will be enticed to tell their friends about your site. Specify within the software exactly what the website visitor has to do to get the REWARD. Tell 3 friends. Tell 5 friends. 10 friends. Or, get even more specific, don't provide the reward unless at least 3 friends actually come to your site, or only if at least 3 friends sign up for your newsletter or only if at least 2 of their friends tell THEIR friends. You get the idea. YOU decide just what a visitor has to do to get the reward. The software takes care of making sure it happens AND automatically provides the reward when it does - AUTOMATED VIRAL MARKETING.


Now, there are a number of scripts available online that will do the above, and they are all somewhat similar. However, in researching what was available, the one script that seemed to offer the most functionality for a decent price was ViralInviter, which I am currently using on some of my sites and will be using on more of them as time goes on. Now, one of the things that I disliked about ViralInviter was that there seemed to be a shade of false advertising involved. The sales page says that one installation of the script can be used to run tell-a-friend campaigns for multiple websites at once, which is TECHNICALLY true. However, realistically, this is not the case. In order to run multiple campaigns (ie. for multiple websites), you actually have to use the same campaign for all of them. In other words, you can use the forms on more than one site, but every tell-a-friend form will say the exact same thing, offer the exact same reward and point to the exact same page. Obviously, that's not a very workable scenario in most cases. So, 99% of marketers CANNOT realistically use the same ViralInviter installation to run tell-a-friend campaigns on multiple websites. The good news is, you CAN have multiple installations of ViralInviter (one for each separate website) so that you CAN run multiple, distinct, tell-a-friend campaigns all at once and you don't have to purchase multiple licenses of the software. Once license can be installed multiple times for multiple websites. Not quite as convenient as a single install for all, but, a workable solution. And, since none of the other Viral Tell-a-Friend scripts I've seen offer this capability either, you're still better off with ViralInviter. Check it out and see what you think. And, since I am an affiliate, if you don't want me to earn a commission (your price won't change, but I won't be earning a commission), you can use this link instead: Pay No Affiliate Commission. Targeting, Tracking and Testing This section is going to be short and sweet, because I've already touched on a large portion of this info. I just felt it needed to be mentioned separately to "drive the point home". Nearly ALL of your advertising will be a complete flop (even your Viral Marketing methods) if you don't pay any attention to targeting your ad to the right people, tracking who responds to your ad and HOW they respond to your ad and then using that information to "comparison test" your ads, ad locations, website formatting and design. This step is CRITICAL to the success of any of your advertising campaigns. Quite frankly, many of your ads will NOT perform well the first time around. Some tracking and testing and tweaking will be necessary (either to your ad, the ad location or to your website to improve conversions). Either way, you can't skip this step. Just don't forget that. If you're advertising without paying any attention to this detail, whether your marketing is free or not, you're losing money BIG TIME on lost sales and possibly wasted advertising dollars. You are sure to "tank" your business very rapidly if you don't put a stop to the loss. Take it or leave it, it's the truth, and your business will live or die by this one issue alone.

91 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Some Notes on Home Business Training Courses As you move further into building your new home based business you will find that there are literally hundreds to thousands (probably tens of thousands) of business building training courses available online. These courses take many forms: electronic newsletters, websites, ebooks, tapes, dvds, streaming online video, conference calls, etc. As I said before, many, if not most, of these resources are probably worthless. My own experience in purchasing many of them has been that the ideas generally sound pretty good in theory. Some of them might even prove to be useful in practice IF there was enough "meaty" practical advice provided with it to make it "doable" for most people. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. The ideas presented are vague representations of ideas that have proven useful in selling home business building resources but have not been tested in the "real world" of actual everyday product marketing. So, as you go through this process of beginning and building a home based business, don't buy up every home business ebook you can find, looking for the "Holy Grail" of Internet marketing. You'll likely end up spending a small fortune that could have been invested in actually promoting your business only to find that most of the "gurus" are saying the same thing in about a thousand different ways. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't read anything about Internet promotion and home business building. I'm just saying be a little more discerning. Check to see if similar information might be available for free. Often times, the ebooks that you find being sold on the internet are actually available for free from somewhere else (especially the "free bonus" books that are so often given away as an incentive to purchase the "main product". So, if you're planning on purchasing a book on marketing or business building of some sort, see if the same book is available someplace else for free or for simply signing up for a free newsletter or something. Or, check to see if there are other books written on the same or similar topic (chances are you'll find at least one) that are available for free or at a much reduced cost. Then, take the time to evaluate what you read and really think through the process of what they are telling you to do. Does it REALLY make sense to you? Do there seem to be "holes" in the process or in the reasoning that was used to develop the process? Can the individual actually show you that what they are suggesting has worked for selling products OTHER THAN home business resources? Until you have gone through the process of truly evaluating what the individual is saying, don't just assume they know what they are talking about because they have written a book. Anyone can write a book. There are literally thousands of home business books/ebooks out


there and many are not worth the paper (or electrons) they are printed on. However, at the same time, don't assume that they DON'T know what they are talking about either. That too would be a mistake. Even though the vast majority of home business "gurus" don't really have a clue, there are a good number of them that do. And, don't assume that an ebook has more or less value to you because it is free or not free. I have read many free ebooks that had some excellent business building information in them, as well have I read a number of excellent business building ebooks that I had to pay for. However, the reverse is also true. Use your head. Pay attention to your "gut". If you're a "believer", pay attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit, as He is God's truth living inside of you and really can help you discern the truth of any situation. The bottom line is, don't allow yourself to be so caught up in the idea of getting rich that you lose your common sense. You will not find many recommendations within this book for other home business books. For the most part, I'm going to stick to recommending products, services and software that I think will prove useful to you. But, you may find a few ebooks recommended throughout this book. Pay close attention to them, because I wouldn't say a word about them if I didn't have every confidence that you could learn something important from them.

93 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

MLM Specific Things to Look For Ok, in previous chapters of this book I've discussed things to look for and build into your business in general, no matter what type of home business you decide is right for you. In this chapter, I'd like to elaborate on some of those same issues, but more specifically as they relate to MLM type business structures. Basically, throughout this chapter, the thing to keep in mind is that, in beginning your new network marketing business, you still want it to be relatively inexpensive to start, capable of producing a significant income, easy to manage, easy on your schedule and, above all, legal. That last one might seem obvious, but there are alot of home "businesses" out there that are nothing more than scams that will not only take advantage of you but will USE YOU to take advantage of others. Depending upon the setup of the business, you could end up getting yourself into legal "hot water" by even participating in the business. Don't put yourself in that position. Research ANY business thoroughly to make sure there are not any serious legal complaints or state/federal actions against them. Checking the website is a good place to see whether there are any major legal actions against the company by the federal government (either for their business structure or for false product claims). can also be a good one, although you have to take some of that with a grain of salt since, on the BBB, complaints against companies are not really run through much of a "filter" to weed out those that have no basis, and there isn't much detail on what the complaints are actually regarding or what the company's action to resolve a complaint was. Also, with databases like the BBB, you have to take into account the amount of total business a company actually does in comparison to the number of complaints logged, since EVERY company is going to have some complaints from customers, no matter how good their product or service. You just can't please everyone every time. If you see 10 complaints against a company, that might seem "bad". But, if they did 50 million dollars worth of business last year, then 10 complaints would be an awesome record, especially if the BBB record shows that a good faith effort was made to resolve most/all of the complaints. For instance, I was recently looking into health insurance for my family. In the process, I found some policies that were much less expensive than my current one. However, I also found a considerable number of complaints against them. At first, it made me think twice about whether to switch over my insurance. However, upon further inspection and research, I found that the number of verified complaints against these companies in comparison to the amount of business they were doing wasn't too bad. Also, I discovered that MANY of these complaints were in regards to "rate hikes" which are generally inevitable in the insurance industry (especially lately) but consumers, obviously,


don't like them, so they complain. Many of the remaining complaints were in regards to medical procedures that were not covered by the insurance company, but that were not supposed to be covered - based upon the policy that was agreed to. So, just keep in mind that, although it's important to look and see what sort of complaints might have been lodged against a company, it's also important to consider the nature of the complaints and the number of complaints in respect to the amount of business a company does. Another good way to test the legality of a particular company's business practices is to simply evaluate how long they've been in business. If a company has been around for 10 or 20 or 30 years, you can pretty well bet that they are doing everything above board, or they would have been "taken to the mat" for it. At the very least, with a track record of that many years, if they were doing anything that was not "above board", then you should find some sort of formal complaint or legal action filed by the FTC (and listed on their website). Once you've researched a company to determine whether their business structure/compensation structure is reasonable and legal, then you need to move on to the other areas of investigation. And, as I mentioned a moment ago, just about all of the issues raised in the "sure fire ways to failure" chapter apply just as much to an MLM business as to any other home based business. There are, however, some special implications that I'd like to elaborate on here, briefly, so let's get started:

Recurring Sales Are What It's All About Ok, first, understand, if you do not already, that the whole point of an MLM compensation structure is to make the most amount of money with the least amount of effort, while helping others accomplish the same goal. You're trying to leverage the efforts of others to increase your income without necessarily increasing your workload. Secondarily to that, the best way to increase your profit potential without significantly increasing your workload is to sell products that offer the potential for repeat sales. Consumable products that customers will have to return and purchase again. Although MOST MLM companies offer products that will earn you recurring sales commissions, there are those that don't. I can only think of one instance when this would be a profitable business structure. You could offer an inexpensive "single sale" product as an introductory product that you know your customers would be really impressed with, using this product primarily as a means of gaining the customers' contact information for follow-up mailings regarding other products. Using this method, you gain the customers' trust by providing them a quality product that they are really impressed by. You gain a LARGE customer base because inexpensive products are typically easier to sell than more expensive ones. Then, using this LARGE customer list, you then periodically send offers to this list regarding other consumable products that will earn you recurring sales. Thus, you get the benefit of the recurring sale on the "back-end" products and use the "front-end" product only as an inexpensive "lead generator".


The above scenario could really be effective, if done right, but it would be even more effective if the initial product offering was an inexpensive product that still offered the option of recurring sales. That way, even if customers who purchase your initial product offering decide not to purchase any additional products from you, you still have a good shot at recurring sales from the original offering. So, I still say that products that offer the potential for recurring sales are always the best option and are especially suited to an MLM type business. If the company you're investigating is not offering products that have the potential for recurring sales commissions, you may want to think twice about joining that organization (or at least question whether or not it should be your primary business).

MLM's are Notorious for Requiring "Inventory" This is one that I can't stress enough. Many MLM companies, more or less, require you to carry a certain amount of product inventory. Any product that you have on hand which your family couldn't possibly use up in a normal month is "inventory" whether it is referred to in that way or not. Many MLM's require (or STRONGLY encourage) you to set up an "autoship" type situation where you receive a certain amount of product (generally more than a medium sized family would likely use) each and every month. It's obvious why they do this, so I won't go into the details of that. However, I do want to again stress that, as a general rule, this should NOT be a requirement for joining an MLM organization or for receiving a decent commission on product sales. If "autoship" is required, you had better make absolutely sure that the product you'll be offering is really top-notch and that you'll be able to use/sell (or give away as product samples) the amount of product you'll be receiving on autoship. That being said, there are some companies that OFFER autoship but don't really require it. I'm not necessarily against the autoship idea, just the way that many companies implement it. Putting yourself on autoship for a product that you really don't know how to sell yet is a sure-fire way to get in over your head, fast. I don't recommend it.

Many MLMs are "Me Too" Companies You've already read my recommendations to offer a truly unique product to your customers, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I would relate that to MLMs as well. If you haven't researched this area much, it would be a good idea to think about this while you're researching companies to get involved with. Vitamins/supplements, telecom and business services are all VERY common product/services to see offered by MLM companies these days. This is primarily because they are consumable products and because they are in high demand right now. However, because these type products are also in HIGH supply, I don't really recommend


using them as your primary business/product line. It will make your life too difficult. You'll constantly be trying to prove that your products are different or better or less expensive than the other 3 dozen companies your customers could be ordering from. Not fun. Nevertheless, since these are consumable products that many people need, they are still not a bad idea ... as "back-end" products. They are good "add-ons" to offer to people who are already on your customer list. In other words, sell your customers on your UNIQUE product(s) up-front, in order to differentiate yourself from other companies. Then, once you've gained the customer, you have the opportunity to offer them these other products, that may not necessarily be unique, but they are products/services the customer needs. If you happen to offer a better price, you've got a good shot at the sale. So, sometimes it's good to have a primary MLM, but to then also have one or two secondary MLMs that you're involved in. You don't really heavily promote these, but simply use them as back-end add-ons to your primary business and product line.

Product Quality is Scarce but Important You probably guessed from my earlier discussion of this quality issue, that this is a "biggie" with me. If you're not offering a quality product, you may as well go back to your 9 to 5. Unfortunately, many MLMs rely heavily on their promises of "wealth" through the business and use the dollar signs in peoples' eyes to avoid heavy focus on the actual product. Many network marketing companies are offering nothing new and often nothing of any real value. But, since they've now associated the product or service with an MLM pay structure, all of a sudden the product is more valuable to potential customers who could stand to earn a few bucks on the side with their own home business. It's too bad that the MLM industry has those issues to deal with but it is, regrettably, human nature to become greedy when the potential for increased profits exists. Just make sure that you don't let the compensation plan cloud your judgement and take your eyes off the all important quality issue. That MUST come first or all the rest will fall in short order.

More Markets Means More Money It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the more people/companies you have to market to, the more money you'll likely make. Unfortunately, many MLM products are really only suited to consumer OR commercial business. That doesn't necessarily mean that you don't want to market those products. On the other hand, if you can get everything else you're looking for AND have the availability to effectively market to both personal use customers AND commercial use customers, that opens up a whole new realm of income possibilities. So, just keep that in mind. The more markets you have available to you, the more money you're likely to make. Always ask yourself, "Who can I sell this product to and what resources does the company offer to help me with each of those markets?"


You and What Army? Ever heard some "macho" guy telling someone they were going to beat the tar out of them only to have the intended "victim" give a retort like, "Yeah? You and What Army?" Well, I'm going to pose that question to you. Who's going to build your business? You and what army? We talked about the importance of playing the numbers game with MLM and affiliate programs. Only a small percentage of the distributors under you are going to have the motivation to really make something out of their business, and you really can't control that. Motivation comes from within. So, it's your job to do three things. One, make sure that EVERY dealer feels they have your full support and all the resources they need to make their business a success. Two, make sure that even the dealers that don't make alot of money will still stick with you, because you've got a superior/unique product. Three, make sure you sign enough dealers into your group that you've got at least 100 "heavy hitters" who'll "go after it". But, since you never know who are going to end up being your heavy hitters, you always want to make sure that every dealer you sign up feels that you'll provide everything they need to succeed with their new business. The point is, provide all the resources you can to your dealers and sign up as many of them as possible, because it's all about the numbers. The more dealers you have in your group, the better chance you have of making some really good money with your new business. Thus, having a solid way to generate a steady stream of new leads is paramount to growing your new business. Make sure that the MLM company and sponsoring group you sign up with have programs in place to help you generate leads effectively and efficiently.

You Won't Build MLM Wealth Without Automation The only way to really generate a good income with an MLM company is to build a large organization of dealers and customers. However, with a large organization comes administration headaches. Customer service. Technical expertise. Business building resources. The list goes on. The larger your group gets the more you're going to need automated methods to tackle many of the administrative tasks that will befall you. I urge you to go back and re-read the automation chapter of this book because, if you want to make money with MLM, you will HAVE to automate your business.

MLM Growth Comes Through Duplication

All the MLM "Gurus" will tell you that without duplication, your MLM downline will never grow large enough, fast enough for you to make any real money ... and they're right.


Unfortunately, they leave out one of the most important piece of the "duplication puzzle". I think this is generally for one of two reasons. Either they don't know how to duplicate this last crucial piece or they just don't think it's really necessary. Regardless of the reason, the result is the same ... most of their downline members never achieve the sort of success that they're looking for, so they drop out. Thus, their downlines grow, but not very quickly. They are constantly having to replace the members that are "dropping off the bottom" of their organization. So, they focus on bringing large numbers of new people into their organization, hopefully getting more people coming in than are dropping out. You Have to Stop the Bleeding Think of it this way. Not addressing this constant loss of dealers from your organization is like cutting off your arm, and then giving yourself continuous blood transfusions because you don't know how to close up the wound. Technically, you can keep yourself alive that way but it's going to get incredibly tiring, painful and very costly having to keep pumping in more blood than you're losing through the wound. Much more logical would be to close up the wound. Same principle in MLM. You have to find a way to stop the "bleeding". So, how do you do that? Well, you first have to identify the primary problem. In most organizations, the problem is this. You've got replicated websites, so you're duplicating your internet presence just fine. You've probably got an email autoresponder, so you're duplicating your customer follow-up. Hopefully, you've got an online dealer training system in place and maybe a regular conference calls, so you're duplicating your dealer training efforts. The Missing Ingredient for TRUE MLM Duplication But what about your advertising and promotional efforts? How well is that being duplicated in your organization? Are your dealers following your example? Are they able to follow your example? Is what you're doing feasible for them? Do they have the time and/or money and/or expertise to do what you're doing? Can YOU even do it effectively? Are you trying to follow the example of YOUR sponsor only to find out that what he or she is doing isn't even feasible for you? Herein lies the problem. You can provide all the "backend duplication systems" you want, but if you're not duplicating the "front end" of your business, it's worthless. What does that mean? Well, "backend duplication systems" are the replicated websites, autoresponders, training systems, conference calls, etc. These are all necessary systems but they only address those people who either already have expressed an interest in YOUR business/products or are already members of your organization. Front end duplication refers to the duplication of your advertising, marketing and prospecting efforts. These are the systems that actually get people "through the front door", so to speak. An electronics store cannot sell a single stereo until they actually get somebody to come through the front door of their business, call their ordering line or visit their online store. The same is true of your business. You will never make a single sale or sign up a single new dealer if you have no way to get people to initiate some sort of interaction with you and your downline dealers. That means you have to develop ways to advertise your business. You have to find ways to prospect for new customers and dealers. But, more importantly,


you have to develop methods that can be duplicated fairly easily by your downline members. So, of course, the question then becomes, "What CAN and what CANNOT be easily duplicated by your downline members?" What CANNOT Be Easily Duplicated There are a number of advertising/marketing/prospecting methods that likely will not be easy to duplicate for a majority of your downline members either because of the expense, the time involvement necessary or the expertise required. That's not to say that they are not potentially useful marketing methods. BUT, they are not ones that you are going to want to promote to your entire downline, because MANY of them will not realistically be able to use them effectively to generate any significant income in a short period of time. The following marketing methods are ones that you should reserve and only discuss with dealers who are VERY serious and have a good deal of time and/or money and are significantly motivated. Let's take a look at a few:

Pay Per Click Search Engines - These are a tough ones to duplicate for very many of your downline members for a number of reasons. One, it's pretty expensive. Quite frankly, to get a significant amount of traffic from PPCs these days can cost thousands of dollars per month. Most of your new dealers won't have that kind of money - that's why they joined your organization in the first place. Another reason that PPC search engine advertising is difficult to duplicate is because only so many websites can be listed near the top of the list for any given search phrase. Searchers normally only pay attention to the first 5-10 listings for any search they might perform. If they don't find what they want within the first 5 or 10 websites on the list, they'll normally just perform a new search. So, for any given search phrase, your entire dealer network would be jockeying for those top 5 or 10 spots on the list. That many people bidding for the same 5 or 10 positions results in higher and higher prices for the same traffic. Not very cost effective for anyone and the costs will continue to rise (and your dealers will become discouraged). In addition, if you're utilizing replicated websites, most all of your dealers are going to have websites which are basically identical. If a person does a search for "green heavy duty widgets" and the top 10 spots on the list are all held by dealers in your network, the person is basically going to see the same website for every link he clicks on. That will be incredibly annoying to the searcher, and he/she might choose NOT to order through ANY of those websites as a result. PPC search engine advertising is NOT duplicatable and will only serve to exhaust your downline dealers' financial resources and create a spirit of UNhealthy and unnecessary competition between the dealers in your downline. About the best that you could do is to put a single ad at the top of the list for your organization and have that ad rotate through your dealer's websites (those who've paid to participate in the rotation). At least then you're not


all competing for the same top slots and increasing the price. Unfortunately, it's still not ideal, because then the resulting traffic to any given dealer's website could end up being so miniscule as to not make it worth their trouble - depending upon how many dealers want to "buy in" to the rotation.

Search Engine Optimization - Search engine optimization (SEO) is the act of modifying your website content and code to make it more "friendly" to the search engine ranking algorithm. For instance, if the Google search engine ranking algorithm likes to see the search phrase in a "heading", then to rank higher in the Google listings for your intended search phrase (say, "green heavy duty widgets"), you might modify your webpage to show "green heavy duty widgets" in the heading for your page. • What's nice about this is that traffic from natural search engine listings is free (if you don't account for the time spent modifying your site to move higher in the listings) and can result in increased orders and sign-ups. The problem with this method of advertising is that most of your new dealers will be using replicated websites that don't allow them to modify much except their contact info. That is not enough to cause any sort of significant change in their search engine listings. Moreover, even those that might consider putting up their own website will NOT likely know enough about website coding to make the necessary changes for SEO. In addition, SEO is MUCH more complicated and involved than many people think. It can take hours to days to even weeks to get just one page to list high enough on a particular search phrase to generate any significant traffic. Most of your dealers will not have that kind of time available, not to mention the determination to stick with it long enough to reap the benefits. Search engine optimization is NOT a duplicatable advertising strategy, and suggesting this to your downline dealers will NOT grow your organization - it will only serve to discourage your dealers when it doesn't work for them. As with the PPC search engine advertising, the best that you could hope to do would be to hire someone to create a website which would rank well for the intended search phrases and then have that site randomly funnel traffic to your downline dealer's websites (again, those who have paid to be a part of the rotation). But, the cost for such website optimization can be high and the results unpredictable.

Forum Posting - This is an excellent method of advertising, but it takes time to develop and you must really know what you're talking about for it to be effective. You read about this method of advertising earlier in the book (and can read even more in the free Forum Supertips ebook), so you should have a pretty good handle on how it works. Considering that, it is clear that new dealers who are just learning about the product and the industry within which it is sold are not adequately equipped to utilize this method of advertising. It won't work for them. • Even if they did already know a great deal about the product, it still takes time to cultivate this type of advertising. Most dealers would like to see some sort of significant results fairly quickly. This method of advertising is not going to produce this. So, advocating that your new dealers follow this road will be ineffective and will discourage them even further.


Purchasing Home Business Leads - This is a step in the right direction, but still doesn't quite get you there. There are two opposing problems with this method. On the one hand, if you purchase leads which are specific to YOUR business/product (in other words, you hire a company to generate leads specific to your business only) they are typically INCREDIBLY expensive (not to mention that it is hard to find companies which can effectively do this). But, it takes fewer phonecalls and less time to convert many of those leads to dealers or customers because they already know about your business/products. So, these types of leads are great for dealers in your organization that have a little time and ALOT of money on their hands. • Unfortunately, most of the dealers in your organization will have very little money with which to purchase leads, so purchasing leads that are specific to YOUR business will be out of the question for them unless they purchase only a small handful at a time. For these dealers, generic home business leads are the better option because they are significantly less expensive. However, a NEW problem arises with THESE types of leads. Since these leads do not already know about your business (they are "generic"), and are simply looking for a home based business of SOME sort, you generally have to contact ALOT of them to get only a handful that decide they are interested in YOUR business. Making all of those contacts can be very time consuming. In addition, it can be very discouraging to talk to so many people that are NOT interested in your business - even though it is to be expected. So, for dealers that do not have much time available or who don't handle rejection well, generic home business leads may not be a good choice. On the other hand, you WILL have dealers in your organization who will be able to effectively utilize the leads to generate new dealers and customers, so don't rule it out entirely. Use Good Judgement The marketing methods you want to promote to your downline as a whole should be those methods that ARE easily duplicatable by the vast majority of dealers in your group. Other marketing methods that MAY be incredibly effective, but are not super easy to master are ones that should be discussed with a select group of dealers in your downline who you feel would most effectively be able to take advantage of them without becoming discouraged.

102 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Website Design - Key Issues Ok, so we've talked about just about every major aspect of business setup, management and promotion that we could possibly get to in a book under 500 pages, but, before we move on to the resources section of "Cash Machine", I think it is relevant to take some time discussing some of the most important aspects of website design. The fact is, if you're reading this ebook, chances are you recognize the value of the Internet, not only to shoppers and information seekers, but also to those looking to build a business. You simply cannot anymore ignore Internet marketing if you expect to have a viable business plan. But, a large part of Internet Marketing is the website that you send people to. If it's not designed properly (not just to look good, but to actually produce SALES) then just about everything else you do will be worthless. Now, we did take some time to discuss testing earlier, and one of the aspects of testing is website testing. We talked about how important it is and how just a little change here and there can make a HUGE difference in the performance of the site as a whole. I'd like to take some time and go a little deeper into this discussion of website design and some things you should be doing if you want your website to really "perform" to the fullest extent possible.


Web Design - All About the Sale Before we get into the nitty gritty details of things to consider about your website design, we should first take a little time and discuss HOW to design a website in a more general sense. In other words, what software to use and why, what the downfalls of certain types of software are, etc. Of course, let's remember the purpose of a website. Generally, the purpose of your website is going to be either to sell something directly or to collect the names and contact information for potential customers you would like to sell your product to later. So, really, selling something will be your END goal even if it is not the IMMEDIATE goal of your website. Thus, we have to keep that in mind.

I point this out because in order for a website to be an effective sales tool, it really neeeds to have a few certain key features, which can be greatly effected by your choice of web design software and the choices you make about the layout and design of your site. The sections that follow in this chapter will address the most important aspects of your website which can affect its ability to generate sales for you. Read this chapter just as carefully as you read any other because website design problems can easily tank an otherwise solid business plan. It would be a shame to work so hard to put together a profitable business plan and then have it be a flop because you didn't know how to create an effective website. Of course, if you have the money to pay someone to create a profitable website for you, that may be advisable, BUT, since the title of this book is "Cash Machine on a Shoestring", I'm going to assume that is NOT the case, and you're likely going to have to produce a website yourself. Besides, even if you CAN afford it, hiring someone or some company to do work such as this can be a mixed bag anyway. It's tough to know the difference between someone who REALLY understands how to make a profitable website vs someone who simply knows how to design a pretty website. The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are NOT the same thing either. A web designer that doesn't know this is pretty much useless to you. Unfortunately, often you don't know if they understand this key principle or not until you receive the final product and see that it either DOES or DOES NOT produce any sales. I would say, whether you plan on doing the work yourself or hiring it out, read the rest of this chapter very carefully so that, either way, you'll be able to evaluate whether the end result is going to produce the sales you're looking for BEFORE you pay what could easily be $1,000 or more for the completed project.


Web Design - Easy to Update From time to time, you will want to update your site. Sometimes, your primary interest will be in updating the content of your site. You may want to add pages to your site or you may want to modify the content of pages that already exist. Other times, you may want to update the LOOK of your site, but leave all the content the same. Either way, you want either of these processes to be as quick and simple as possible. Otherwise, you will put off updates to your site because they are too difficult. As a result, your website content and/or design will become old and stale, which can be the death of an online business, depending upon its nature. -- Webpage Templates So, there are a few things to consider as you attempt to simplify the process of updating your website. Many HTML (website) editors these days have the option to save "templates" for your websites. These templates contain all the code that is common to all the pages on your site (basically, the LAYOUT and NAVIGATION elements of your pages). Stuff you don't want to have to retype or copy and paste each time you want to create a new page. That way, each time you want to add a new page, instead of writing all of that code all over again, you simply select the proper template and then add the new content to create your new page. Done. Simple. So, when selecting a website (HTML) editor, make sure that it has this "templating" feature, which will make adding new pages a breeze. Another convenience of this feature is that there are numerous sites out there that offer website templates for download. You simply peruse through their directory of template previews until you find something you like. Then, download the files, open them up in your webpage editor, make any modifications you might like to make, and then save them as new templates in your website editor using the feature I was just discussing above. Then, each time you want to add a new page to your site, simply pull up that template, add your content, save as a new webpage file and you're done. There are numerous sites that offer free website templates and many others that charge a fee to download their templates. Some sites charge per template, others charge a flat membership fee for download of as many templates as you like. My personal opinion is that, if you're going to pay, find a service that allows you to pay a one-time fee or monthly fee to download as many templates as you like (as long as the subscription fee is reasonable). The reason I believe this is that, often, even if you like the "look" of the template preview, there are many times that you download a template and realize, for whatever reason, that although the template looked nice in the preview, it just isn't going to work for your site. If you've paid only for that template, then you now have to go back and purchase another template. If the template was cheap, maybe that won't be an issue. But, my research tells


me that most sites that charge for individual templates generally charge as much for one or two templates as some other sites charge for unlimited template downloads for a month or even indefinitely. If you had purchased a monthly or lifetime subscription, you could then go back and download another template without paying a penny more. Regardless, whether you download a template for free or you pay for it, make sure that it's a design that you like, that fits with the theme of your site/business/products and that it addresses the major issues raised in the remainder of this chapter. Also keep in mind that no template will likely be perfect "out of the box". You will likely want/need to make at least a few minor modifications to it. When looking through these template directories, you're really just looking for something that will provide a good foundation to build off of. There are dozens of websites that offer templates, but, quite frankly, many of the templates are pretty sad looking. Also, many of the sites only offer a few dozen templates. You could view ALOT of these types of sites before you find something that really works for you. You'd be better off hitting some of the larger template directories (which generally have thousands of templates) first. Then, if you don't find anything there, move on to some of the smaller directories. Here are a few links to some of the larger directories: - This site actually offers numerous types of templates, not just website templates. Get flash templates, banner templates, logo templates, graphic templates, and even newsletter templates from this site. In addition, although they offer a large selection of "pay-for" templates (subscription based - pay once - download as many as you like), they also have a large directory of free templates. For instance, they offer about 250 really nice and FREE website templates. Definitely worth a look. - Here you'll find about 1,000 "pay-for" website templates (pay once for unlimited usage) as well as Microsoft Word templates, Powerpoint templates, Flash templates, etc. - Offers high quality templates in just about any category you can possibly think of - website, flash intro, logo, postcard, ebook, flyer, etc. All available for a one-time subscription payment. Very reasonable, but no free templates. - Google Search: A quick search on Google for "free website templates" brings up a number of options, some of which are pretty nice. However, the selection is pretty slim compared to the "pay-for" sites. You could try these first. If you don't find what you're looking for, take a look at the sites above for some really nice options for a very reasonable price. -- HTML Code vs. WYSISYG Editors I mentioned just a moment ago that you should make sure the web design software you settle on has a "templating" feature. Generally, although not ALL of them will have the feature, there are both code based HTML Editors and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website editors that do offer this feature, so you're not limiting yourself to one type or another in order to have this feature available. Code based HTML editors are those programs which show you ALL the code on the page, both content text and the HTML programming code which formats it the way you want it.


You have to understand HTML programming code in order to use a program of this nature, but you don't actually have to WRITE all the programming code manually. Most of these programs have program buttons, which, when pressed, will automatically insert HTML code for certan layout elements (like tables, image insertions, text formatting, links, text and background colors, line breaks, etc.). Nevertheless, you still have understand what those layout elements actually do and how they work. Otherwise, all of those handy buttons won't do you much good. WYSIWYG editors, on the other hand, show you the end result of the programming code and not necessarily the code itself (although most of those programs will allow you to display the code if you wish). Basically, in these types of programs, you'll be looking at what your website will actually look like to your website visitors, as you build it. You simply type the text and insert the images you want on the page, and the program shows you exactly what it will look like. Don't like where you put a certain image or portion of text? Drag it someplace else on the page. Pretty convenient and a must for anyone who needs to put up a site NOW and does not have the time to learn HTML programming code (which isn't all that tough, by the way, even if you've NEVER done any other type of programming).

Of course, convenience often comes at a price. Computers and software programs generally do what you tell them to do. By not understanding HTML programming code, it is easy to tell the software to do something that might actually be a bad idea, but the program may not know it. By allowing the program to write your code for you, you can end up with ALOT of html code that is unnecessary and/or misplaced. Some of the more recent and more expensive WYSIWYG editors have improved in this area, but the code still will not be as clean as if you code it yourself (assuming you've learned proper HTML). All of this unnecessary and misplaced code can cause many serious problems with your site, including slow page loading, inconsistencies and incompatibilities with various web browsers, search engine placement problems, etc. We'll talk about those issues in more detail further along in this chapter, but, just understand that the simplicity of WYSIWYG programs can come at a price, and the price may be fewer sales. -- Separate Content From Layout Something else to consider which may simplify updating of your site is to separate the content from the layout of your site. The "templating" feature we discussed earlier addresses this in part. By utilizing this feature, each time you create a NEW page on your site, you don't have to retype all the code that generates the layout of your site - just the text for the content of the new page. However, what happens when you want to edit one of those pages? You then have to weed through all the "layout code" until you find your "content text" to edit. Not incredibly difficult, but more hassle than it needs to be, especially if yours is a complicated site with some pretty intricate layout code. So, you really want to carry this webpage simplification to the next level. You have to, as completely as possible, separate your content text from your layout code. In other words, you'll have files which contain just content and other files which contain the layout properties of your site - layout meaning color scheme, header images (logo), element placement, navigational menu, etc. By separating these you make it easy to modify the entire look of ALL the pages on your site (even if there are 1000 of them) by modifying only


a few key layout files. This separation of content from layout can be done in numerous different ways. You can use "server side includes" (SSI), "cascading style sheets" (CSS), dynamically generated PHP pages or even a full blown CMS (Content Management System). I'm only going to briefly touch on those here, because to utilize any of them you'll need much more explanation than can be done in this ebook. However, so that you can at least consider your options and begin the decision-making process of establishing WHICH method might be best for your site, I'll give some basic info on each. SSI - Server Side Includes: This method is probably the simplest to implement of any that I've listed above, but it is also the least powerful. With this method, you simply create standard html webpage files. Within these files, you'll have sections of code which are common to all of the pages on your site. These sections of code can be replaced by a short "include statement" which basically says something like: "replace this include statement with the code from file (navigation.shtml)". Now, when a page of your website is loaded into somebody's web browser, the file will tell the web browser to "fetch" whatever is in the file "navigation.shtml" and place it into the webpage file at exactly the location of the include statement. You can have as much or as little html code in either of those files as you like. The point is, SSI is used to take sections of code OUT of your actual webpage files and put them into a separate, common, file which will be drawn from by all of them. Then, if you want to change the navigation links on ALL of your pages, you would simply edit the navigation.shtml file and then all of your actual webpage files would simply pull the new info from navigation.shtml to show the new link structure. There are plenty of tutorials online regarding SSI, so if you want to use this method, you can pull up any one of these tutorials to help you learn how to properly implement it. Just remember a few key things. Only put code into an SSI file that you want to be common to everything. Any code that could potentially be page specific should NOT show up in your SSI file. Also, SSI files can be nested. In other words, you can include navigation-sub.shtml into navigation.shtml and, subsequently, you can include navigation.shtml into mywebpage.shtml, so that, in the end, the code from both navigation-sub.shtml and navigation.shtml end up being inserted into mywebpage.shtml. To my knowledge, this nesting can go as deeply as you like, but will probably slow the loading of your page if you take it too far. CSS - Cascading Style Sheets: This method will likely be one that you'll use in conjunction with and not, in place of, one of the other methods. It cannot easily accomplish the feat of separating content from layout entirely by itself. However, at the same time, it can be a powerful tool for assisting in that process. Explaining what CSS does might be easier by using a simple example. Let's say that you wanted ALL of the paragraphs in the main content section of your website to have an arial 12 point font, but any bulleted lists you wanted to be verdana 13 point font. You could edit each individual paragraph tag (one tag for each paragraph) and include that information in each and every tag. Alternatively, you could simply give each tag a simple id,


like "p-main" and then, in a separate CSS file, you could define the characteristics of all paragraphs that carry the "p-main" id. You could do the same for all the bulleted lists. By removing all that extra formatting code from each paragraph and bullet tag within your page and placing it all into one file, you reduce a great deal of code from your site, so it loads more quickly, and, again, makes editing the site easier because it separates layout and design from your content. Dynamically Generated PHP Pages: If you choose to utilize this particular method, you'll most likely have to learn a little PHP programming in addition to HTML coding. If you already know these programming/coding languages, then you don't likely need to be reading this section of the book. PHP pages are pretty powerful and allow you to add elements to your page by pulling them directly from a database (which is sort of like an Excel spreadsheet, if you're not sure what a database is). So, for instance, you could have a database which contains 100 different listings in it, 1 for each of your webpages. In each of those listings you could have a field that represents different aspects of the page. For example, one of the "listings" in your database might be for your "Platinum Extreme Widgets". One field within that listings might contain the filename for the product image to display on that page. Another field would have a short description of the item. Another field would contain a brief HOWTO to explain how the product should be used. And so on. Each listing in the database would be for a different product page. For each listing, you'd have a product image field, a short description field and a HOWTO field. Then, within your PHP file, you'd have insertion statements which would pull that information from the database and insert it into your webpage. That way, if a website visitor clicks on the link to go to your Platinum Extreme Widgets page, the php file will load and will draw all of the correct information for Platinum Extreme Widgets. This is actually very powerful, and much more can be done than what little bit I've explained above. However, if you don't already understand PHP coding or think it might be a little over your head to try and learn it, you might consider the option listed below (a Content Management System), which, most likely, will utilize dynamically generated PHP pages, without you having to know how it works. Content Management Systems: Often you will hear these systems referred to as a CMS. There are many to choose from. Which you choose to utilize will depend a great deal upon what you want it to do. In short, a CMS is a "program" that you run on the server that hosts your website. I discuss what a web host is later in the ebook, but, in a nutshell, a web host is a company that owns a server on which the files that represent your website reside. When an individual types "" into their web browser (like Internet Explorer), the web browser does a quick search to figure out where "" resides. That search will lead their web browser to the web hosting company that has Bob's website. It will also determine WHICH server (basically, which computer) at the webhost actually has Bob's website. Then, it will determine which account on that computer has Bob's website, and finally which file on that account to display. All of this, of course, happens in a matter of seconds.


So, a CMS is a "program" that Bob would install on his account on the webhost's computer (server). Then, he would use that CMS program to "design" his website. Most CMSs have "plug n play" templates that can be used to instantly change the entire look of your website. So, in determining which CMS to use, if you don't want to have to design a website template yourself (ie. come up with a pleasing color scheme, figure out how to position your logo, content, navigation, etc.) then browse through the templates that are available for the CMSs that you are considering. If you don't like any of the templates offered, find a different Content Management System. With most CMSs, you simply install the CMS, choose your desired template, select which "modules" you want to use (website calendar, forum, polling system, chat system, support desk, tell a friend, etc.), modify various settings to your liking and then start writing content for the site. Once you've chosen your templates, modules and settings appropriately, from that point forward, all you're really doing is just writing articles for the site. The CMS does all the work of figuring out how to lay everything out. Your content and design have effectively been separated by the CMS, so you can focus on developing useful information for your site visitors, rather than spending all of your time trying to come up with a good looking, effective design for your site. Of course, you have to keep in mind that the "templates" designed for these CMSs are not always designed by people who understand how to sell online. That means you could easily select a template that looks cool, but won't make you a dime. So, all of the other issues I discuss in this book regarding effective website design have to be considered when selecting a template for your site. Make sure the template loads quickly. Make sure it's laid out in a way that will make sense to your website visitors. Make sure they can get to virtually all information they might want, within 1 or 2 clicks - 3 at the absolute most, and only on occassion. Test the template in multiple different web browsers to be sure it looks good and is usable in all of them (or at least the MAJOR ones). Also, consider that some CMSs are easier to work with than others. More intuitive. Less clicks to accomplish the same tasks. Some are updated more frequently than others or have been in development longer than others (so they may be more "refined" with less bugs). Many webhosts these days supply a built in "software installer" with their accounts, that will allow you to quickly and easily install multiple different CMSs to test them out. "Fantastico" is the most common software installer that is used. Ask about that when you choose a webhost to hold your website. I highly recommend checking into these CMSs for developing your website. I personally am using one for 3 different websites that I run and I'm very pleased with it. Most CMSs out there are absolutely free, although some may offer additional support or installation services for a fee. So, it doesn't have to cost you a red cent to install and use a Content Management System to manage your new website. I know you want to know what I'm using, but, the truth is, there are TONS of them out there and the one that I use may or may not be one that is of that much use to YOU personally or to your business. However, I am going to help you with your decision making process. Check out If you head over to the site, in the left-hand navigational


column you should see a heading which says "CMS Demo Menu". Most likely the CMS solutions you'll want will be considered "portals", which are basically, all inclusive Content Mangement Systems that allow for the creation of a standard website with all the bells and whistles. However, you're welcome to choose any of the other options, for instance, if your intent is to simply run a forum, then choose one of those options to see the various available solutions. Once you click the link to reveal the various options available, you can select each option to bring up a description of the CMS, as well as a link to view the CMS in action (what a website visitor would see) as well as a link to test out the administration area (where you'll do all your work to setup the site and develop content). Test them out. See what you like and what you don't. And, don't forget that most of the available CMS options offer numerous "templates", so if you don't like the initial look of the site, chances are, that can easily be changed, so don't discount any CMS just because the initial template shown isn't to your liking. Since there are a plethora of CMS options listed on OpenSourceCMS, you might like some input regarding which options to take a look at first that will be most likely to serve your needs most effectively. OpenAdvantage has done some reviews of various high profile and FREE CMS options. After taking a look at about 35 systems, he has about 6 to recommend as possibilities. The previous link will get you to his review. CMS Matrix is an excellent option if you'd like to compare the features of various CMS options side by side. Good luck to you. The selection process won't be easy since there are so many CMS options out there, but if you take your time you will likely end up with something that will fit your needs very nicely.


Web Design - Page Load Times Ok, I mentioned this briefly in the previous section as one of the criteria you should consider when selecting a CMS solution and/or a website template. Well, no matter whether you choose to use a CMS or choose to design your site yourself, this is still a very important issue to consider. The slower a website responds to a visitor's interaction, the more likely they will become frustrated and move on to somebody else's site. So, it is incredibly important to take this into consideration when designing your site or testing a CMS solution. However, one mistake that is often made when considering this issue is that people think that the entire site has to load immediately in order to keep website visitors happy. This is simply not the case. Visitors really just need to see SOMETHING useful within short order when they click a link on your site or when they come into your site from someplace else (such as a search engine, for instance). Think of it this way, how frustrating is it to call a company and be put on hold, but have NO music or anything playing in the background? The truth is, although we may not care much for the on hold music or company information that play over the phone as we wait, at least it tells us that we have not been simply dropped or disconnected. If NOTHING is playing in the background, it doesn't take very long before we figure our call was somehow dropped, and we hang up. Likewise, if the music plays for minutes on end, and the operator never comes back on the line to indicate we haven't been forgotten, we're probably still not going to stick around long (although probably longer than if there were NOTHING playing in the background at all. Visitors interact with websites in much the same way. If they click on your link from a search engine and it takes 30 seconds before ANYTHING shows up on their screen, they are likely to think your site is simply not functioning and will push the "Back" button to return to the search engine and find another site matching their search. Similarly, if they are already on your site, but each time they click a link on your site it takes another 30 seconds for ANYTHING to show up on their screen, they will get frustrated. Fortunately, once the first page of your site has loaded, if you keep a consistent theme with the same primary images and layout from page to page, subsequent pages of your site should load much more quickly, since your browser will store some of the common information so that it doesn't have to load that information again. So, in case it isn't already obvious, if you design your site yourself and do not use a CMS, try to keep pages of your site consistent from one page to another. Same logo, similar color scheme, etc. Not only does this make visitors feel more comfortable, it will make your site load faster, once the first page has loaded. Now, just having "something" show up quickly on the page, once a visitor clicks a link is good, but may not be enough for very long. If "something", like the logo of your site, loads wtihin just a few seconds when a visitor clicks on a link to or within your site, that will help them realize that "something" is at least happening. But, if that is the only thing that shows


on the page for the next 30 seconds, they will again feel that you're wasting their time. In contrast, if your logo shows up within a few seconds, and then, a few seconds later, SOME useful information or images shows up on the page for them to begin reading or looking over, your visitor will be perfectly happy to stick around, even if it takes another 20 or 30 seconds for the rest of the page to load - although it's still advisable to keep this to a minimum. Just make sure that you keep "inactive" time to a minimum for your website visitors. Don't leave them sitting there doing nothing for long. They'll get bored and move on. A Few Design Tips to Keep Things Moving Reuse Images: As I indicated a short bit ago, one thing you can do is utilize the same images, as much as possible, from one page to another on your site. Once the users browser loads the image, if it is reused, it does not have to be downloaded again. Image Size: If you are creating the images for your site (or even if you have someone else creating them), it is advisable to keep the "size" of the images to a minimum. When I say "size", I'm not actually referring to the width and height of the image, but rather the FILEsize of the images. How much space do those images occupy on a computer. The larger the filesize of an image, the longer it takes to download to your website visitor's computer. Since most webpages have quite a few images on each page, keeping each image as small as possible can significantly decrease the time it takes for your webpage to load. How Many Images: In the same way that the filesize of an image can effect the loading time for your webpage, the NUMBER of images on your site can have the same effect. Although your visitors will want to see a visually pleasing site, you have to find a good balance between visual appeal and page load times. Keep the number of images per page to a minimum. Flash, Javascript and Other Goodies: As you get into developing websites, you'll begin to learn about other technologies that can make your pages more interactive. These are GOOD things. You want visitors to enjoy interacting with your site. Otherwise, it will be stale and dead. However, as useful as these technologies can be for site interaction, they all take time to load. So, the more of these "features" that you add to your site, the longer it will take to load. Keep that in mind as your trying to increase the "cool" factor of your site. It's only "cool" if visitors actually stick around to see it. Design in Sections: By spliting your site into sections from top to bottom, your site will APPEAR to load more quickly. For instance, place your site logo in a section (table or div) at the top of your page all by itself. Keep the logo filesize somewhat small. This section will then load nearly immediately, with the rest of the page loading thereafter. If, on the other hand, you place your entire page all within a single "table" or "div" element, virtually the entire site will have to download to the visitor's computer before ANYTHING will actually display on their computer screen. That's just the way that web browsers work. It's not really about how fast your site ACTUALLY loads, it's about how fast your site APPEARS to load for your visitors. If they have the impression that that the site loads quickly, and USEFUL sections of your site load fast enough to keep visitors occupied, it doesn't really too much matter how long your pages take to load.


A good resource for checking your page load times and for determining what items on your webpage are taking the most time to load is:


Web Design - Browser Compatibility It is possible that certain aspects of your website will display well in one or two web browsers, but not in others. Depending upon which web browsers display your page well, and which don't, this could be more or less of a problem. You see, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera and Safari (as well as others) are all different programs people use to view webpages, and they all tend to display webpages differently based upon the code you use. And, as if that were not bad enough different VERSIONS of each of these browsers exist, and they don't all display webpages the same. Each time a browser program is updated a new "version" is created. However, not all people upgrade to the latest version immediately. So, people will be coming to your website using more than one version of these browsers. Often, each version displays pages just a bit differently. So, you'll want to test your site with the last 2, maybe 3, versions of each of the major browsers. There are simply too many different browsers to do this with all of them. IE (Internet Explorer) and Firefox are currently the most widely used, so webmasters tend to focus on them the most when they design a website (to make sure they both display well), but other web browsers should not be ignored. Any web browser that does not display your webpage correctly creates the potential for lost revenue because some people may not be able to use your website the way you intended. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, when you code your webpages there are certain programming "phrases" you might use. Different browsers (programs used to browse the internet) will "interpret" those phrases differently just like two different people might interpret what you SAY differently which could cause a communication problem. Depending upon how the program interprets your page, the layout of your webpage could change somewhat in each browser. Sometimes, these changes aren't all that critical, but other times they can completely destroy the look and functionality of your website, so this issue MUST not be ignored. Sometimes the display problems are caused by improper or missing code - oftentimes due to using a WYSIWYG webpage editor. Other times it is caused by using code that one browser can read but another browser cannot (or both browsers can read it, but they have been designed to display that particular code in different ways). Whatever the case, it still ends up rendering your page in a way you likely did not intend. NetMechanic will let you know if you've used improper code on your site, where it is, and possible corrections. The service will also tell you if you've used code that is not displayed properly (or at all) in some browsers. If you're willing to PAY for the service, then they'll even take a "snapshot" of what your webpage would actually LOOK like in each different browser - kind of a neat feature. My personal opinion regarding the browser display issue is that you should take the time to make sure your code works in as many browsers as possible, and that your site LOOKS GOOD AND IS FUNCTIONAL in at least the last two versions of IE, FireFox and possibly even Opera browsers (since those are widely used). If there is time and you can make the


necessary corrections fairly quickly and easily, you should work on coding your site properly for even some of the less widely used browsers like Safari. One easy way to test your site in a large array of different browsers, and even different operating systems, is You might think that it doesn't matter to test in different operating systems, but, you might be surprised to know that the same browser, run on two different systems can yield a somewhat different result. For instance, Firefox has versions for Windows, Linux and even Mac. I can't speak for the Mac, but I can say that I've seen slightly different results viewing a page in the Linux version of Firefox vs. the Windows version of Firefox. So, this is not a bad idea. CrossBrowserTesting offers a free service to view your sites using the ACTUAL operating system of your choice and the browser of your choice. You are allowed a free 5 minute session. In your browser, a complete operating system environment will load, through which you can start up Internet Explorer or Firefox, etc. Once you do, just enter in your website address and start navigating around to see what things look like and how they work. Once your free 5 minute session is done, you can run another, with the same or a different browser/operating system. You can run as many free sessions as you like. However, you can also purchase additional time, so that you can run a single session for a longer period, if that becomes necessary or more convenient. Additional time is VERY inexpensive - about $1.00 for 5 minutes (which is actually quite a lot of time). That additional testing time can be spread over multiple sessions with different OSs and Browsers. I use the service quite often and it seems to work quite well. You don't really get the FULL 5 minutes for a session, because part of your session time is used up waiting for the operating system to load and then loading up the browser. However, you still probably get a good 4 minutes of time. Besides, if you go with the free sessions, you can't exactly balk at losing out on 1 out of the 5 minutes. After all, it's not like you paid for it. Again, the website address is:


Web Design - Screen Resolutions When you design a website or select a CMS template you'll find that one of two things will be true. Either the website/template will be designed to fill the entire available screen space of a website visitor or the website/template will be designed to a particular width. Both options have merit. If you design a site who's width will shrink or expand depending upon a website visitor's screen resolution, then, you don't much have to worry about what size screen resolution they are using. Your site will work on virtually any computer screen. On the other hand, if you design a site that has a fixed width, you allow for "whitespace" which can be crucial to good page design and to making people feel comfortable at your site. If all screen real estate is COVERED with text and images, it can get overwhelming to a visitor. So, whitespace is good. That space doesn't necessarily have to be "white", just relatively empty of images and text. It helps people to be able to focus on particular areas of the site, which allows you to DRAW their focus to the most important areas of your site. Of course, it IS possible to create "whitespace" even on a page that uses the entire width of a visitor's screen. You just have to pay careful attention to the design. IF you decide to design your site to fit a certain width, then make sure that you do not design it so narrow that it looks puny on most peoples' screens. At the same time, do not design the width of the site to be so wide that a large percentage of your website visitors will be scrolling from left to right and back again just to read your site. That will last all of about 1.27 seconds before they move on to someone else's site. So, how do you know what width to design for? Well, the first consideration is who your likely audience will be. If the vast majority of your website visitors will be fairly well off (ie. they have enough money to afford a fairly recent computer, which will have a larger screen) then you can likely design for a screen width of about 950-1000 pixels. Most all of your customers will have screen widths of at least 1024, and upwards to 1600 pixels. On the other hand, if most of your website visitors will not be quite so well off, or there will at least be a fairly significant percentage that are not, it is highly likely that their screen width will be more like 800. Thus, you'll have to design the width of your site to fit to about 700-750 pixels (which accounts for a scrollbar and whatnot). Of course, in this case, if you will also have customers that will likely have very large screens (ie. you have a very diverse clientele), you MAY want to consider using a design that simply fits to the available screen real estate. Thus, customers with smaller screens will be able to see all of the site, but customers with much larger screens will have not have TONS of blank space on either side of the actual page layout. This is an issue that will require a little thought and possibly investigation on your part to decide which will be the best course of action. This is an area that I really can't tell you what


you should do. Just give you some pointers to help you make the decision.


Web Design - Color Scheme The color scheme of a website can have a DRASTIC effect on the performance of that site, so you need to choose your color scheme wisely. Certain colors can be more effective for generating actual sales. Psychologically, they put website visitors in a better mood for buying. The same is true of certain color combinations. So, it's important to make sure that the colors you choose compliment each other well. So, the question is, how do you most effectively do that? If you're someone with good color coordination skills, you can probably pull it off, but, if you're anything like me, that's not your thing. Fortunately, you're not alone and you're not without resources. You can use the color scheme helper application found here: Color Scheme Generator


Web Design - Navigation How a potential customer navigates your website will also be crucial to how productive your website is. If navigation is difficult or links to critical areas of your site are hard to find, you will lose sales. If it takes 3 or 4 or even 5 clicks to get to any area of your site, you have a severe problem with the navigation of your site, because most website visitors will not take the time to go through that much hassle to find what they want. I recommend sticking with fairly standard methods of site navigation. Getting some cool new navigation method might seem like a slick idea, but, in the end, you will only turn people away. They might think your navigation method "looks cool", but if there is a learning curve associated with it, they won't bother. Stick with what works: top of the page navigation bar, left hand navigational column or right hand navigational column. Within those areas there are numerous ways that you might link to the most important areas of your site. You might even combine multiple navigation bars on the side and at the top. It would also be advisable to have some basic links at the bottom of each page or at least a link at the bottom that will move the visitor directly back to the top of your page. Make things as easy as possible for your site visitors. I find it advisable to incorporate navigational methods which allow for essentially ONE click to get to virtually any page of the site, while remaining visually condensed on the page. In other words, the only thing immediately visible in the navigational area(s) of your site, when it first loads, would be primary category headings. However, when a visitor puts their mouse cursor over those categories, subcategories are revealed instantly and possibly specific content items under those subcategories are also revealed. In this way, the visitor doesn't have to click on a link to go to a "category" page, wait for it to load, then browse the subcategories on that page, click one, wait for that page to load, then scan through the individual page links on that page, click one, wait for that to load, .... That is tedious and most customers are not interested in going through all that. A couple of final points on this issue. There are certain areas of your site that will be ULTRA critical. Contact information should be easy to find. "How to Order", should be easy to find. If you have a newsletter that you'll be producing, you should make sure that customers can either easily find your subscription page or a subscription form should be located in a prominent location on EVERY page. Lastly, if you use some sort of special script to design a nifty navigational structure that can all be accessed from a single page, understand that, the more pages/sections to your site, the more "invisible content" that will have to load each time a customer pulls up one of your webpages. Even though those links are not VISIBLE on the page when it first loads, they are still there. Which means they have to load. The more links there are, the larger the filesize of the page and the longer it will take to load. So, just pay attention to that so that you do not push page load times into the stratosphere.


P.S. - Sorry, one more item I should mention. DO NOT, under any circumstances, create a navigational structure/method, which requires your website visitor to install anything new in their browser. If they have not already installed whatever high tech gadgetry is required to run your site, there is probably a reason, and they are not going to be any more willing to install it for YOUR site than they have been for anyone else. Also, realize that some website visitors will have Javascript turned off. Many navigational systems are designed around Javascript. Since MOST website visitors will have Javascript enabled, this is not a problem and can be very useful. However, you MUST provide an alternative that will be made available to anyone who is running their browser with Javascript turned off. Otherwise, it's possible that up to 20% or more of your visitors will not be able to navigate your site. Of course, the above recommendation also applies to any other crucial features of your site. Do not block a good portion of your visitors from taking full advantage of your site by going "high tech" without first considering the consequences and the possible alternative solutions.


Web Design - Quality Content This one should be pretty obvious, but it's amazing to me how many people believe they can slap together a website, start advertising it on the search engines and just expect to start pulling in orders. Quality content is the KEY to making an online business work. Not only does adding quality content pages to your site give you more listings in the search engines, and, thus, more opportunities to show up in the search engine listings, it also gives you more opportunity to prove to your website visitors that you know what you're talking about - to prove that you're an expert in your field and they can trust you to give them advice about what they should be purchasing. People browsing online are becoming more savvy and are more likely now than ever to put significant research into any online purchases. They don't just purchase from any John or Jane Doe. They want to know they can trust you. They want to know that you've put significant effort into giving them the resources they need to make an informed decision. That shows your website visitors respect. It says that you recognize that they are intelligent shoppers and you want to help them make an intelligent decision regarding their purchase. Quality content also makes it more likely that other sites will link to you as an excellent source of information. There are plenty of sites online that are not selling anything. Thus, they are not going to be competing with you. As a result, they will not mind linking to you, if your site provides useful information that THEIR site visitors will find useful. Not only does this provide you with more website traffic directly from those links, it also raises your sites rankings with the major search engines, because they SEE all those links pointing to your site. The more links back to your site from other quality sites, the more important the search engines figure YOUR site must be. Therefore, you get better placement in search engine listings. Do not underestimate the importance of creating a site that has LOTS of quality, topic related content. This will easily make or break your business, no matter what you are selling.


Web Design - Page Length This is one that is a two edged sword. On the one hand, short pages load more quickly. In addition, by breaking up a long page and turning it into multiple shorter pages, you get more pages indexed in the search engines, which is more opportunities to get people to your site for various search phrases. In this sense, creating a site that uses shorter pages can be very useful. However, designing a website with more short pages is not all peaches and cream. For one, it means more work for you, MAYBE. If you're designing your own site and not using a CMS, then it can take a little extra time to divide a long article into multiple pages vs. creating one long page. In addition, uploading multiple, smaller files to your web server MAY take more time than uploading a smaller number of larger files. Thus, your time investment may be a bit more to do shorter pages. However, depending upon which CMS you use, IF you use one at all, you MAY have an easy way to divide long pages into smaller ones with little additional effort on your part. Of course, dividing longer content pages into multiple smaller pages WILL create faster loading pages, BUT it will mean that your visitors will have to load more pages to read a single article. In the end, for the website visitor, as long as your pages are designed to load relatively quickly, this will likely not be a big issue, but it IS something to consider. Either way, this is an issue to think through and weigh the relative pros and cons for. Then, just make a decision.


Web Design - Search Engine Friendliness In some respects, this is a somewhat subjective topic. The algorithms used by search engines to determine what sites should be listed first for any given search query are complex to say the least. Nobody but them REALLY knows exactly what it takes to get a top listing for your site, which is, of course, the way they want it so that webmasters are not manipulating search engine listings. Search engines want the most relevant sites to show up at the top of any search. So, the key is, if you want your widgets site to show up at the top of the listing when someone searches Google for "Blue Widgets", then you have to give Google what they want. Of course, nobody knows EXACTLY what they want - that would mean that someone, other than Google, actually knows their ranking algorithm (which changes regularly, by the way). Nevertheless, there are some things that been proven to be beneficial to Google and other search engine listings. If you want good search engine listings, although there may be other ways to enhance your listing, the best way is to convince Google that you are a quality site that searchers will find useful. Of course, the easiest way to convince someone that you ARE a certain way is to actually BE that way. So, if you want Google to believe you are a quality site, then it is best to actually BE a quality site. The following are qualities that Google would expect a quality site to have: »» Lot's of quality content »» Regularly changing content »» Many links from other qualiity sites Other things to consider doing as you design your pages for best search engine placement: Keyword Placement: Try to place your primary keywords in important areas of your site such as the webpage title, in headings, within links to other pages within your site, in the "alt" tags for your images, near the beginning AND end of your page. Content Placement: Search engines read the "content" of your site from the top to the bottom of the actual HTML code that represents your webpage. Thus, if, in the actual code for the page, there is ALOT of text and coding that shows up in that file PRIOR to the actual content of the page, this can hurt your search engine listings. As a result, it may be recommended to keep the "heading" of your site to a minimum, load Javascript functions at the end of the page as opposed to in the beginning (if possible) and placing your navigational column on the RIGHT hand side of the page. Moving your navigational column to the RIGHT hand side of the page means that the actual code SHOULD be placed AFTER the content in the coding your page, which will move your main content closer to the top of your source code, potentially raising your search engine rankings.


Unfortunately, website visitors are accustomed to looking for the website navigation on the left. Putting it on the right will only make navigating your site "a chore". A better way to get your actual content closer to the top of your html source code is to use the "Table Trick" or to design your site using Cascading Style Sheets which allow you to place your content/source code exactly where you want it. Personally, I like CSS based websites, but, if CSS seems daunting to you and you're comfortable working with html table-type web designs, the "Table Trick" will be just as effective for Search Engine Optimization purposes. The following site gives a concise explanation of the "trick" and provides the code to accomplish it. Please note, however, that I know nothing about the services provided by the website below and am IN NO WAY endorsing their business. They simply have a good explanation of how to use the "Table Trick". A Promotion Guide Of course, if you don't know HTML coding at all, what I've just said is probably gibberish, so, just know that it can help, and, if you decide to do your own webpage designs, as you learn HTML coding, you'll understand what I'm referring to. File, Folder & Domain Names: The more different places that your primary keywords show up, the more likely you'll be listed well for those keywords. So, when you are designing the pages of your site, try to place important keywords IN the actual filenames for your pages, if possible. Also, if you create separate directories for different pages of your site, the keywords that most represent the content of the pages in a certain directory should be used in the actual naming of that directory. It's also not a bad idea, if it's possible, to incorporate one or two of your primary keywords in the actual domain name for your site.


Web Design - Visitor InterAction If at all possible, try to get your website visitors INVOLVED in your site. Gaining interaction from your visitors is really crucial to raising the popularity of your site. There are numerous ways to gain interaction from visitors. You can offer the option of leaving comments on certain website articles. Setup a discussion forum on your site so that customers can post questions or comments. In fact, these two visitor interaction methods are actually SUPER for helping bring more traffic to you from search engines. By allowing website visitors to actually ADD to your website content, you develop constantly changing content that is very focused on the topic of your site. And, as I indicated just a moment ago, search engines LOVE frequently updated content. Other ways that website visitors can interact through your site include opinion polls, product reviews, testimonials and tell-a-friend scripts which allow them to recommend your site to their friends and family. I recommend making use of as many of these interaction opportunities as is feasible for your site. It WILL benefit you in the long run, even though it may require a little more effort to maintain.


Web Design - Testimonials Although testimonials can often be looked upon with skepticism, the absence of testimonials oftentimes will also be viewed as questionable. Why hasn't anyone provided a good review of your product(s) or service(s)? It really is a must to have testimonials on your site. In fact, the more the better. Of course, testimonials are only as believable as the supporting information that is provided with them. What I mean by that is, anyone can write a "testimonial" and add it to their site. So, providing ANY additional information about the customer who's providing the testimonial will make it more believable. The more information, the better, although some customers may not want too much information posted. Posting a customer's email is a definite NO-NO, as spam bots will pick it up nearly immediately, and your customer will NOT be happy with you. However, many customers would be perfectly happy to allow you to put their full name and city and state. Others would even allow their full address and/or phone to be used. Each customer will have their own ideas about how private they want to remain, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Another way to make your testimonials more believable is to get audio or video testimonials. If you had very many of them, website visitors would be incredibly hard pressed to dismiss them entirely. One option you may wish to consider for easily adding audio and/or video testimonials to your website, is It's a relatively simple to use service which allows you to add a little webcam recording module to your website. Through this little doohickey, your visitors (those with a webcam or microphone) can quickly and easily leave you an audio/video (or just audio) testimonial. Their recording will be placed in your account where you can then retrieve a small portion of code to embed their actual testimonial on your website. From that point forward, anyone who visits your testimonials page will see a preview image for their testimonial. Clicking on that preview will play the video. Simple. You may be able to find other services online that perform a similar function. This is the one that I've used. Give it a shot.


Web Design - Wrap Up In wrapping up this web design section, there's really not too much else to be said. The design of your website will be crucial to how well your business performs. There is simply no greater medium for promoting and building a new home based business than the Internet, but you really have to know how to use it effectively. Hopefully, as you've read through all of these many pages, you've picked up some useful tips to help you make your business as successful as possible, as quickly as possible. You'll pick up alot as you go along. I've certainly learned a great deal in the past 10 years creating and promoting my own websites/businesses. When I started I didn't really know much of anything - of course, back then, there wasn't much to know. The web has come along way since then. At any rate, as you design your new website and work on your business plan and marketing plan for your new "Cash Machine on a ShoeString", I think you'll find that, if you keep the recommendations within this book in mind and refer back to the parts that you've forgotten, your new business will be a very productive profit generator for you. Just don't complain to me if you spend all your time making deposits to your savings account. In the sections that follow, what you'll find is a large database of companies, services and software that I have used in the past (and many that I'm still using today) to build my business to where it is today. I have used these resources and tools to effectively implement most of the tips and strategies that you've been learning throughout the beginning of this book. I hope that you will find them to be as useful as I have.

128 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Business Building Resources - Services & Software In order for your business to be as successful as possible, you want to take advantage of every time/effort/money saving option that is available to you. Most people don't realize that you can SIGNIFICANTLY increase your PPH (profit per hour) by simply reducing the number of hours spent managing your business. Sometimes that means hiring another individual or company to do what they can do more effectively than you. Other times that means eliminating or simplifying certain business tasks that are sapping your time, money and energy. Often this can be done by downloading/purchasing software specifically designed to help you streamline your business, like contact management, scheduling or communications software. Other types of software can also help you streamline your business, such as software designed for more efficient graphic editing, internet browsing, website design, etc. However, before purchasing/downloading and installing such software it is important to make sure it is the most effective, economical and stable of what is available. Otherwise, your new time saving software could end up costing you more than it is worth. Many times it turns out that the best software is that which is available for free because it is often developed and enhanced by communities of users and programmers who all have input into the final product. It is ever changing, updating and improving. Of course, free software is not ALWAYS your best avenue, but you'd be amazed at just how much powerful software you can get for free. I'll give you my top picks in the following "Resources" sections of this book. Of course, some of my top picks will not be free, but I try to stick to the inexpensive side as long as the software serves the purpose for which it is intended. Of course, I don't only use software to run my business. Often I also use online services to accomplish what I need to get done. So, I'd also like to focus on some online services that I personally use (or have used in the past) for various functions related to my business. I use them because I feel they are the best solution for my business. They may or may not be the best solution for you (be sure to investigate them all fully).

In fact, I'd even ask that you let me know if you find other software or services which you find to be better than what I'm recommending here. Just remember, part of what makes a particular program or service a good solution is that the benefit outweighs the expense. So, if you find a better solution, but it costs 3 times as much as what I'm already recommending, make sure that the additional benefits really justify the additional cost. That being said, let's


get to the recommendations. And, remember - if you don't feel like paying me a commission for recommending any of these services, you're welcome to click the "To Avoid Paying Me a Commission" link below each resource heading.


Affiliate Program Management Why don't we begin with services that will help you manage your affiliate program, if you decide you need one, since this is one area that could become a major headache in a hurry if you don't set it up right to begin with. If you decide to run an affiliate program, the software or service you use to manage it will, without a doubt, be the most important piece of your marketing puzzle and will either become a source of great peace and satisfaction with your business productivity or a source of great anguish. Pay close attention to this piece of the puzzle. It could make or "break" your business.

Clickbank Affiliate & Order Management System ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

This is one that I've used quite extensively in the past and still use to a certain extent. They are sort of an all-in-one ecommerce solution for electronic goods and services. Not only will they handle the payment processing from your customers (via numerous payment methods), they will also handle all the details of your affiliate program (should you decide to have one). Their system tracks all the referrals and sales, determines how much your affiliates are owed and ClickBank cuts all the affiliate checks (so you don't have to worry about whether and when your affiliates get paid). Then, ClickBank cuts you a check for the remaining profits once your affiliates have been paid and they've taken out the fees for their services. Of course, another benefit of having them run your affiliate program for you is that they have 100,000 affiliates already promoting other companies' products via the ClickBank system. So, by setting up with ClickBank, you already have an audience of over 100,000 people who will be provided the opportunity to promote your product through the ClickBank directory or products. If you offer a useful and unique product or service and make your affiliate program attractive enough, you've got a good shot at developing a nice-sized affiliate army pretty quickly since ClickBank will be promoting it for you, to some extent. Moreover, many people actually come to the website in order to search for products to purchase, and your product would be listed in the directory, which would generate even more sales for you. As far as methods of payment for your customers to use, ClickBank offers payment by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Eurocard, Bravo, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB, online checks, and PayPal. Payment options really don't get a whole lot more flexible than that, so your customers will always be able to pay via their favorite method, meaning you won't lose sales over this issue (which can often be a bigger problem than you might think). Sign-up to the ClickBank service is free and easy, but there is a $50 activation charge. So


it's not quite free, but you don't have to pay the activation fee when you set up the account (so you can begin testing out the system before paying any money, the way I understand it the setup was a little different when I signed on - eons ago). Outside of the activation fee, ClickBank per transaction fees are $1 plus 7.5% of the total cost of the item being sold. Those fees are passed on to you AND to your affiliates, so you're not eating the entire fee out of your "AFTER-AFFILIATE" profits. The higher your affiliate commission, the lower the fee to you. In other words, whoever gets the most profit from the sale of your product (you or your affiliate) pays the higher portion of the ClickBank processing fee. For an excellent guide to using ClickBank to run your own affiliate program or to take part in the many affiliate programs already offered through ClickBank, there is an excellent site available. ClickBank Guide offers many tips and tricks to make your use of Clickbank most effective, much of the information is free, although they do also recommend some useful ebooks and services to help you make the most of your ClickBank experience. All in all, I feel that the ClickBank service is an excellent option to consider for the sale of any electronic product or service, especially for someone who is new to Internet marketing and wants a simple way to get setup fast and to generate an affiliate army in the least amount of time. I highly recommend it. (click here to go there now)

LinkShare Affiliate Management System NOTE -- You may notice that there is not a "To Avoid Paying Me a Commission" link above. This is because I am not an "affiliate" of LinkShare - meaning they pay me no commissions for sending business their way. Since I don't earn a commission on traffic I send to their site, there is no need for a "To Avoid Paying Me a Commission" link. So, as you read through the resources section, if you see a listing that does not offer that "To Avoid Paying Me a Commission" link, it is because I can't earn a commission from that company anyway. -END NOTE

LinkShare is another affiliate management system and affiliate program directory. They do not handle the processing of payments from customers - only your affiliate program management. They have an extensive database of companies which you could become an affiliate for. Alternatively, you can set up your own affiliate program on the system. I have used LinkShare in the past in BECOMING an affiliate for various companies. They have a large database of companies to choose from when deciding on who to affiliate with. That is definitely a plus. The payout percentages didn't seem as good as for the ClickBank options, but remember that ClickBank is only for electronic products and services (which tend to have a higher profit margin - hence bigger commissions paid to affiliates). LinkShare offers companies the ability to set up an affiliate program for any type of product (within reason), not just electronic. As such, the commission payout to affiliates for NON-electronic goods tends to be lower. Really doesn't have much to do with LinkShare themselves.


Setting up with LinkShare as an affiliate is free, although maybe a little cumbersome. The initial setup takes a few minutes, but isn't too bad. However, once you have a free account, then you have to go through and set up what they call a "channel", which I found to be overkill and somewhat annoying. I imagine they use it to help merchants decide whether to accept you into their affiliate program or not, so as a merchant, maybe I would find it to be a good thing. If you're looking to use them to run/manage your affiliate program, expect to pay a hefty price. When I was originally looking at using LinkShare for my ebook affiliate program, I ended up looking to ClickBank because of the high initial cost of LinkShare. They no longer list the price of their services online, so I can't tell you what it costs. You'll have to investigate that for yourself. (go there )

Commission Junction Affiliate Management System This is another online company that will manage your affiliate network for you (but not your payment/order processing). As with LinkShare your business/product is promoted to their network of affiliates (which is large) and through their online directory of affiliate programs. They handle keeping track of all business that is sent your way via your affiliates and how much you owe your affiliates for that business. CJ handles the payout to all of your affiliates. Pretty turnkey solution. However, as with LinkShare, the fees are significant to use CJ as your affiliate management solution. CJ actually lists the fees for their basic program and when all is said and done, the bare minimum cost associated with setting up a CJ account is, the way I figure it, about $6,000 ($3,000 of which is an initial deposit used to pay your affiliates, but you still have to come up with it). In addition, the MINIMUM monthly fee to CJ is $500, and if you don't have enough affiliate business coming through your program to reach that minimum fee level, CJ will simply charge you the difference. So, again, as with LinkShare, if you have the funds to set up with CJ, you could develop a huge affiliate base in a pretty short period of time (if you have a good product for a reasonable price and you pay your affiliates well). But, you have to come up with that initial capital, and I DO NOT recommend going into debt to do it. If it's a flop, then you're in debt with no feasible way to pay off the debt. Not a good situation to be in. Just keep this in mind as you're deciding what to do about this potentially critical aspect of your new business. Of course, if your intent is not to run your own affiliate program, but rather to sign up for other people's affiliate programs, then CJ is a fine option and there is no reason not to use them in addition to possibly LinkShare and/or ClickBank as well. The cost to sign up is free. I have used CJ in the past in the same manner that I used LinkShare. I found them to have a very complete directory of affiliate programs with adequate payouts (for primarily tangible products). I have not used their service for quite some time, though, so I can't say how there service is now. I tried to set up an account to take another look, but there sign-up form was not functioning correctly when I tried. I'm sure it was a minor glitch that would already be corrected if you tried now. (go there)


PayDotCom ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

If you're considering ClickBank, you may also want to consider PayDotCom as an alternative. A service similar to CB, PayDotCom offers some benefits over CB. First, with PayDotCom you can promote not only electronic products/service (as with CB), but also physical products. PDC is not as restrictive in terms of what products/services they will approve either. If you're wanting to start a new affiliate program, PDC has lower start-up fees than CB as well. It's definitely worth taking a look. Although I still use ClickBank for some things, I've also signed up with PayDotCom for one of my affiliate programs and have been relatively pleased with them. (go there)

Alternative Options Besides the primary affiliate management services offered online, there are numerous other smaller services available that will be less costly. Just be aware of a few things. The smaller the company you host your affiliate program with, the less exposure your affiliate program is going to get. So, your affiliate program will likely grow more slowly in that situation. I recommend you weigh the savings in initial expense against the lag-time in getting a large affiliate marketing force behind your product. Depending upon your situation, one or the other direction may end up being better for YOU and your business. In addition to affiliate management services there are also numerous software applications that you could use to manage your affiliate program. Just remember, with any of these, YOU'LL be the one in charge of actually making all the payments to your affiliates. This might not be bad if you have a small group of affiliates to manage, but as your program gets larger, this might get pretty challenging. In addition, recognize that moving all of your affiliates over to a more powerful management system down the road could be a major headache that could cause the loss of some of your affiliates. So, you MAY want to consider going with the most likely option to support your affiliate program both now AND down the road (assuming you can afford it "out of the gate". No matter what system/software you decide to use for your affiliate program management, make sure you will have a way to export the data for all your affiliates, should you decide to move to a different service or software package. If you can't export information, the transition to a different service/software will be a significant headache to you and to your affiliates. It doesn't have to be that way if you design things right from the start. A quick search on Google for Affiliate Program Management will yield numerous alternative services, software programs and server based scripts that you can use to run your affiliate program. Just be sure to investigate them fully before making a decision on anything. Your affiliate program is too important to the success of your business to make foolish decisions on the front-end that will end up kicking you in the "back-end" (pun intended).


Communication Software & Services Another area of your business that could easily cause you excessive grief or bring you great success is the manner of communication you utilize (or don't) in running your business. In fact, chances are you'll need to utilize multiple methods of communication to be as efficient and effective as possible in your new business. Certainly, you'll need to use email (both personal and autoresponse). So, I'm going to provide what I believe are the two best email programs available along with possibly a few other programs, services and scripts that could come in handy. Instant Messaging (IM) is also a big thing these days. To be quite frank, I don't use IM at all, but there are those who can't seem to live without it. I'm not really going to focus much on this since I don't have much experience with it. Primarily, what I can tell you is, if you have a group of people that you would regularly converse with for your business, IM is a nice (and free) way to do it simply and quickly either through "private chats" or what I would call "conference chats" with multiple people. There are tons of free programs available for IM, so I don't waste time in this section trying to detail these, especially since I don't have any experience with any of them. And, although you MIGHT be able to avoid it, the likelihood is that you'll end up using telephone communication at least a little (whether manual calling or an automated calling/answering system). For instance, you'll probably want a toll free number (although some businesses are better off without one), maybe some sort of conference calling system, possibly an automated calling service, an automated recorded message service, cell phone, etc. I'll recommend those that I use and believe offer good value for your money. Lastly, although it has been overtaken by email as the primary method of document transfer between businesses and individuals, fax still has a role in most businesses. Fortunately, there are some pretty inexpensive online services that provide you with the ability to use email to send and receive faxed documents. This is actually quite convenient and is the method that I primarily use, although I do have a separate fax machine that I use on occasion.

Pocomail Email Software ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

This is one terribly powerful piece of software. Pocomail is not a free program, but it is not all that terribly expensive, and may just be the program you use the most each day, depending upon what you end up using as your primary means of communication with customers - I personally do ALOT of email (although I also talk on the phone quite a bit during certain portions of the year). Of all of the email software that I've used, Pocomail is the most feature rich, user friendly, powerful email program I have ever used. There really isn't too much this software can't do.


This program has excellent filtering capability, both for junkmail/spam and for legitimate mail that you want to file a certain way when it comes into your inbox. Filtered emails can be automatically deleted, moved to a particular folder, marked as important, read or unread, can automatically pop-up a notice that the email has come in, can be automatically printed, forwarded, replied to with a template, can automatically start a particular program on your computer or run a script on your computer. The filtering criteria and actions are nearly limitless (in fact ARE limitless, since you can write your own PocoScripts to do just about whatever you want, and have that script run whenever an email meets your filtering criteria). It's truly amazing. Finding emails is a breeze with the quicksearch function. Search quickly and easily by subject, sender, recipient, date of receipt, date of send and numerous other factors. You can set up multiple send/receive accounts, in case you have email through multiple providers. Set up numerous different email signatures and have them inserted EXACTLY where you want them in your mailings and replies. Set up as many email templates as you like so that frequently received questions can be answered quickly and easily. Create "text shortcuts" to insert frequently typed portions of text by typing only a few letters (for instance, by simply typing "download", you could have Pocomail insert the text: "Thank you for your order. You may download your new ebook from"). Saves ALOT of typing. Pocomail also supports easy "subscription" to RSS and Newsgroup feeds so you can stay up to date on all of your frequently read feeds. Pocomail is VERY secure from email viruses. First of all, it does not use the Internet Explorer HTML processor to display "web page"-like emails (with images and heavy formatting and such). Instead, it uses a custom, secure, built-in HTML display processor. In addition, you can easily set up the program NOT to display any HTML emails unless you specifically enable that feature for a particular email (which is easily done with the click of a single button, right on the email itself). Pocomail does not understand VBScript or JavaScript, which are the most oft-used programming languages for writing email viruses (so your system can't be infected by them). Pocomail is easily configurable to create a format/layout that works well for YOU and doesn't contain alot of additional clutter that you do not need. You can even change the aesthetics of the program with "skinning" (which uses themes to change colors and button appearance/layout in the program). One other feature that I really like is the "notation" feature. Ever wanted to add a little note to an email, like "this guy is the one who owns the trucking company in Wisconsin"? Just a little reminder of something that doesn't show up in the email, but that might come in handy, such as something he/she said over the phone. Well, in Pocomail you can. Just right-click on the email, select the notation feature and type in your note. It will show up in your email listing with a little yellow "sticky" so that you'll know there is a note attached to that email. GREAT feature. Here's another excellent one. Is there a feature that you feel that Pocomail is missing? Well, if you're a programmer, you can easily create an "extension" that will plug right into Pocomail. Or, if you're not a programmer, why not just take a look at the extensions library on the Pocomail website? Chances are, if there is a feature you think is missing, someone else thought so too, and developed an extension to add that feature. Just download and install the extension and you're up and running. No charge. Pretty cool.


Lastly, the importing and exporting features of Pocomail are top-notch and support transfer of email, folder structures and contacts to and from many popular email software programs. This is a real plus when you're testing out a new email program, because it allows you to easily switch from your old program to Pocomail, but also fairly easy to switch back again, if need be. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a really big fan of Pocomail. This is definitely a piece of software you should consider for your business if you intend on doing much email. ( go there)

Thunderbird Email Software - FREE Thunderbird is my "runner-up" email software of choice. It is free, secure and fairly feature rich, but what I like the most about it is that it uses "extensions" like the Pocomail product does. Thus, even though there are some features which are not present in the "base" version when you first download the program, there are oodles of extensions that pick up the slack and fill in the gaps in functionality. I had used Thunderbird for awhile in-between Versions 3 and 4 of Pocomail and was fairly pleased with it. Thunderbird has pretty decent filtering capability, both for junk and legitimate email (although not as powerful as Pocomail). Thunderbird also has a quicksearch type function, allowing you to find important emails fairly quickly and efficiently. You can set up multiple accounts and can have multiple email signatures placed above or below the "quoted text" in your replies (for me, this is a big feature, and one that is lacking in most email programs). Thunderbird is also a very secure email program that is not really vulnerable to email viruses like Microsoft products are. So, you can be fairly confident that you're not going to infect yourself with a virus by opening the wrong email (although you should still be careful how you handle email attachments and not open any that you were not expecting). With the extensions in Thunderbird, I was able to add a host of features that the program seemed to be lacking when I first downloaded it. For instance, I was able to create "templates" for my most oft-used email replies. The implementation was not quite as seamless as in Pocomail, but it worked pretty well, and for free. I added a number of other useful features as well, but ones that might be difficult to explain here. All in all, I think that Thunderbird is an extremely capable and secure email program that is available for free, so it's certainly worth a shot. (go there)

Email Cloaking - FREE This one sounds a little "bad", but really I'm just referring to protecting your own email address from being placed on a "spam list" while still making your email address available on your website for customers to use. You see, in case you are not already aware, ANY email address that gets posted to a website, forum, blog, etc. is vulnerable to being "mined" from the page by email harvesting software. Spammers run this software and it basically just browses the net in search of email addresses. It places all these addresses into a


database and starts spamming. Obviously, this is a nuisance to anyone, but to a business person it can have a dramatic affect on productivity. So, you have to protect yourself. But, at the same time, you have to make sure that you are easily accessible to your customers. Putting a "contact us" form on your website, although it can be done in order that your email address is not actually present on the webpage (so email harvesters can't find it), in most cases, I don't recommend it. The reason I don't believe a contact us FORM is a good solution is because many people get frustrated when the question/comment they need to communicate to you doesn't seem to "fit the mold" of what your contact form is looking for. Many just simply won't contact you unless you design your contact form to be fairly generic and requesting minimal "extra" info. In most cases, it is best to have a simple email address available for customers to click on from your website. That is where the "email cloaking" comes in. You see, what you do is insert just a small section of javascript code on your website in the location where you want your email address to appear. Make a few changes to the code and upload it to your web server (or have your webmaster do this). Like magic, all of a sudden, your email address is nearly invisible to email harvesters, but is perfectly available to your customers. The link above will take you to a website that offers at least 2 or 3 different scripts that will do just that. I HIGHLY recommend it. Wish I had known about this option when I was first starting out. (go there)

AutoResponse Plus ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

I could not do without this script. My entire business and marketing strategy hinges on the use of this email autoresponder script, which I've mentioned earlier in this book. I've already provided the reasons why you should be using an autoresponder of some sort, so I won't go into that here. I'm just simply going to discuss the AutoResponse Plus script in particular. AutoResponse Plus allows you to create an unlimited number of automated follow-up autoresponders, each with an unlimited number of messages (timed at whatever intervals you like). The script resides on YOUR website server, so you have full control of your database of subscribers and you never have to worry about your emails being blocked because someone else using the system is spamming. You're the only one using it, so, as long as you are careful about never sending out any unsolicited email, you won't have a problem getting your emails blocked by large email providers. AR Plus is simple to use. Setting up an email autoresponder is a no-brainer, and the script will even generate the HTML code you need to place a subscription form on your website. Modifying your database of subscribers is also easy with a very user friendly system. Because it is based on a MySQL database structure, I have also found the AR Plus script to be very fast. Even performing functions on thousands of subscribers takes mere seconds. Moreover, navigating to various functions of the script is also fast and easy since over 50 primary functions are available with a single click via the navigation menu on every screen. You can have AR Plus notify you of every subscription or UNsubscription, if you like. You


can also receive a complete report at the end of each day telling you how many people subscribed or unsubscribed from each autoresponder series on the system. So, you can always know how your system is doing at generating new sign-ups and keeping them subscribed. You can track who opened your emails and who didn't (effectively testing how successful your email subject line was at inducing someone to open your email). You can also track which links within the email were clicked on. This can be invaluable in establishing how your email campaign can be improved to increase its effectiveness. One MAJOR feature that sets AR Plus apart from many other autoresponder scripts is the personalization capability. You can literally collect ANY piece of information you like, from your subscribers and easily have that information inserted into any email you send out. There are about 70 BUILT-IN tags that you can use, but you can also use custom tags to request and insert whatever information you like. This is a feature I would NOT want to be without, and many autoresponder scripts are not powerful enough to support personalization of more than simple name and email. Another slick feature is the capability to add as many attachments as you like to ANY message the system sends out. This is great for sending PDF documents to your subscribers, especially if there are words and/or phrases in the PDF document that might cause your message to be filtered as "junk" or "spam" by some over-zealous filter (such as words like MLM, network-marketing, home business, etc.). By putting that information inside a PDF file and attaching it, the spam filters won't read that info and penalize your email. AR Plus also allows you to easily "clone" any of your autoresponder series. For instance, let's say you have a series of messages that you send out to auto enthusiasts who come through your website. You want to send a similar series to those who visit your website, but the messages can't be identical. Just "clone" your original series of messages and then modify each message slightly to fit your motorcycle enthusiasts. Simple. Any concerns about reliability or security? Not to worry. I have had AR Plus installed on my server running around the clock for over 4 years. Only twice have I ever had any problems with the functionality of the script and BOTH times it was my own fault. You see, I like to "hack" many of the scripts I use, to make them do things that the original script was never actually designed for. But, since I'm not actually a programmer, I often get things messed up before I get them right. Luckily, I can normally figure out the problem and had AR Plus back up and running pretty quickly. I also mentioned security. To my knowledge I have had NO breach of my database in the entire 4 years I've been running this script. That tells me it is pretty air-tight. That gives me peace of mind, knowing that my subscribers can be confident their information is not going to fall into the hands of someone who would exploit them. In addition, you can always be sure that the integrity of your database of subscribers is intact. For one, MySQL is a very reliable method of data storage. But, in addition to that, AR Plus can be easily set up to do automated, incremental backups of all your data. So, you can have it do a backup every day of the month, if you like, and it will keep all of those backups, so you can go back to the database from yesterday, last Tuesday, two weeks ago, etc. You can go as far back as you want, provided you haven't deleted your backups (I go in


and delete my backups every few months - just the ones that are more than a month old - to save server space since my subscriber list is quite large). You can create standardized templates that you can easily insert into any email on the system. For instance, custom headers and footers that you can insert in any message with a simple little word. Or, create multiple different email signatures that you can insert in any email just as easily. Have ads from other companies that you intend on inserting in your messages. Just add them to the multiple "advertising" fields in your profile, then insert "ad1", "ad2", "ad3", and so on into any message. Insert multiple ads if you like. Then, if your advertisers change, you can just change your profile to reflect the new ad for #1 or #3 or #4. The change will be immediately reflected in any message that has the phrase "ad1", "ad3" or "ad4" in it. Simple but powerful. Afraid of being accused of spamming someone because they don't remember subscribing or because someone else subscribed them to your mailing list without their knowledge? Not to worry. AR Plus has you covered. First, it stores the IP address and a date/time stamp for every subscription request. This way you will always have information to back up your claim that the person actually subscribed. But, if you want to go a step further, set up any email campaign (or don't) to require a confirmation from each subscriber. When they fill out your form to subscribe to your autoresponder (or if they send an email to one of your autoresponder addresses - which will also subscribe them if you set the autoresponder up that way) you can have AR Plus send them a confirmation message asking them to click on a link in the email to confirm their subscription request. If they don't click the link, they won't receive any further email from your autoresponder. Slick. Truth is, I've already written more about this script than I'll probably write about any other service, program or script in this book because my business has been so transformed by the features it offers. But, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the awesome features this script has that many autoresponder scripts/services do NOT. I could write as much or more about this script than has already been written. So, I encourage you to take a good long look at this script. It is not free, but for the capability it offers it is FAR underpriced at about $200 (at least at the time of this writing). (go there)

GetResponse Autoresponder Service ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

Ok, I mentioned this service earlier in the book. It is a good service that offers numerous useful features. It is certainly not as powerful as AR Plus, but, for a service, it offers good functionality. As you read the features below, be reminded of what I mentioned earlier. Because this service (and their domain) is being used by thousands of different people/companies, chances are at least some of them are going to be using the service to send SPAM to unsuspecting victims. As a result, the domain will receive SPAM complaints which will get them "blacklisted" with certain ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and email providers. Once that happens, any autoresponse emails that originate from GetResponse accounts will either end up not getting through at all or will be filtered immediately to users "Junk" or "Bulk" mail folders. Many users don't think to look there for email they requested, and so they then mistakenly believe that you did not send the info they requested. This can be very


frustrating for them and very ineffective for you. Now, to be fair, it has been awhile since I used GetResponse. Maybe their "delivery rates" are higher than they were when I was using them. Just be careful how "delivery" is defined. I define it as emails that actually get to a prospective customer's INBOX. When I was with GetResponse they defined "delivered" as any email that gets to a users ACCOUNT, no matter what folder. So, even those emails sent immediately into a users JUNK or BULK mail folder are considered "delivered", though many of those emails will never get read by the recipient. Test the system out for yourself. They have a free account option. Set up a free account and then try sending yourself some mailings. Design your emails so that there couldn't possibly be any content within the email that would be considered spam or junk mail. Make the email at least a few paragraphs long, no formatting (plain text) with no potentially objectionable words. Then, put your own email address into your recipients database so that you'll receive the autoresponse message(s). Then, set up a free and webmail account and see if your autoresponse emails actually end up in THOSE inboxes (and not your JUNK or BULK folder). If they do, you're in business, since those two free services alone account for a LARGE number of the email subscriptions you'll receive. If they don't end up in your INBOX, then you might want to consider whether a GetResponse account is right for you. Nevertheless, I thought the GetResponse system was easy to use and pretty full featured. So, assuming that you get decent delivery, you may want to consider them. Here is a brief synopsis from the GetResponse website of what you get with a standard GetResponse account that will run you about $20 per month (10 months to add up to the $200 purchase price of AR Plus):

• Unlimited autoresponders - create as many autoresponders as you want and use each one for different purposes, even for tracking your sales! • Instant, reliable delivery - someone sends you an email or fills out a form, and a reply is sent in only 30 seconds! • Unlimited follow-up messages - keep emailing prospects till they make a yes or no commitment. • Unlimited message length - your reply message can be as long or as short as you want! You're never limited! • Unlimited message changes - change, update or edit your autoresponses whenever you want, 24 hours a day! • Easy set-up and management - it takes only minutes to set up and we take care of the rest, behind the scenes! • Password-protected online control panel - gain access to a private, easy-to-use, intuitive administration panel. • Powerful personalization features - our most prominent feature is easy-to-configure, customizable personalization! • Smart tracking features - know instantly and precisely which autoresponder and message are pulling the most! • Database access - access and manage your database of prospects' email addresses, 24 hours a day, such as adding subscribers, viewing removals, updating messages, etc. • Powerful mailing list management features - use your mailing list for publishing a


newsletter on a regular basis! • Automatically clean your mailing list - maintain your list easily, with hard bounces removed automatically for you! • Built-in anti-spam filters - that way, you make sure good messages go through and nobody abuses your responder! (go there)

Cognigen Communication Services ... » To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

I have used Cognigen for a number of years for various communications services. My long distance is through OPEX, a Cognigen provider. I have a 24 hour toll free hotline that is run through a Cognigen vender service. My cellular service was purchased through a Cognigen provider. OPEX has been great and the rates are very good. My toll free hotline has never had any problems that I'm aware of. My cellular was a pain to get set up, unlike the other services, which went quite well, but once through the initial pains, my service with a large national chain, Alltel, has been good. There are many other services available, some of which I'm currently considering. Take a look at what they offer below and see if any of their services could save you some money. NOTE: Cognigen has changed their name to Commission River Long Distance Services » T1 Voice Service Rates as low as 1.3 cents/min with real-time loop pricing! » CogniState 2.7¢/minute, great In-State rates! » Unitel Quality long distance service at 3.9 cents per minute » Opex 2.7¢/min State-to-State calls anytime! » PowerNet Global Many different outstanding plans. Great toll-free services! Bundled Local and Long Distance » iConnectHere World's leader in Broadband Phone, PC-to-Phone and Calling Card » Packet 8 Broadband phone services starting from $19.95/month... » Cleartel Makes your local and long distance service easy... » PowerNet Global Local Service and Long Distance Internet Access » T1 Data Service Real-time quotes for dedicated broadband of all speeds! » ShopforDSL Comparison shop for DSL, Cable, and Satellite Internet in your area! Conference Calling » UltraConference Reliable conferencing with international access at no additional cost... » CogniConference Premier conference calling with great features at a discount price! VoIP Services


» iConnectHere World's leader in Broadband Phone, PC-to-Phone and Calling Card » Packet 8 Broadband phone services starting from $19.95/month... » My Phone Company Unlimited calls within North America for only $24.99/month 800 Follow Me Anywhere » Kall8 Inexpensive, instantly programmable 800 follow me anywhere Cognigen also offers cellular/wireless, as I alluded to earlier, satellite TV and calling card services as well as some others. The pricing for most of the services is as good or better than most anywhere else, so it's worth a look. (go there)

Basement Ventures Teleconferencing - FREE Ok, this is one that I have personally used to do conference calling for my dealer group (although I originally went through their partner site at Basement Ventures). Incredible service. The calls are very clear. You don't have to reserve a particular time for your conference - set it for whenever you like - even up to just minutes before the call. You have your own conference call phone number which will not change. Up to 250 participants can call in at once (more than any other free conference calling service I've seen). Of course, that's just the basics, but it's important that these basics are implemented well. Of three different free conference calling systems I've used, this one seems to have the best line quality and cleanest implementation of any of them. Now, on to the special features that you won't get free with most, if any, other services. Generally, these are the upgrade features that you have to pay for. First, you can record ANY call or any portion of any call (or even multiple, separate portions of any call). These recordings are saved in your Basement Ventures account as mp3 files. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of these recordings. They are You can then name them with whatever descriptive title you want. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of these recordings. Once they are live in your account (looks like about an hour after they are originally recorded - possibly less) you can then name them with whatever descriptive title you want. In addition, you can keep them private or make them public, or, you can delete them altogether. Then, you've got a few options as to how you can use them. First, as regards the public vs private setting, if you make a recording public, then anyone can login to the Basement Ventures system using their name, email and your conference call number to listen to any public conference call recordings you have in the system. If you leave them classified as private, then they will not show up at all for public use. Your second option would be to download the actual mp3 file for any recording you've made. Then, do whatever you like with the file. Put it on a CD, upload it to your website server, send it to someone via email, you choose. If you don't want to download the file, your third option is to offer the recording for playback from your website directly. Just click on the "script" option and you'll be given code that you can insert in your webpage code that will allow your website visitors to play that particular


recording. Put as many of your recordings on your page as you like. Just get the code to insert each individual recording. Your final option is to offer your recorded conference call as an RSS/Podcast feed. If you don't know what that is, then me trying to explain it probably wouldn't do any good. However, if you DO know what that is, then you probably recognize the possibilities available with that capability. Recordings are available online for a minimum of 30 days. After that time, there is a possibility of them getting deleted from the Basement Ventures system, so if you want them for future reference beyond the 30 days, then you'll want to download and save the files to your own computer and/or web server. Want more features? You got it. During any call, as the moderator, with a simple keypress on your telephone, you can do all of the following: » Mute/Unmute callers (all lines except the moderator's) » Lock/Unlock Conference (disallow new callers) » Conference Continuation (call continues after moderator leaves) » Self-Mute (mute only the moderator) » Start/Stop Conference Recording » Enable/Disable Participant Name Announcement (when a new caller comes on) » Roll Call (hear the names of all conference participants) » Perform an attendee Count » Turn New Participant Tone Off/On (here a tone when someone calls in or hangs up) Maybe you're still looking for more. How about an online control interface for your conference calls? This blew my mind. Maybe someone else offers it, but I can't imagine that could have made the interface any more user friendly, and I'm quite certain that they probably don't offer it for free. Basement Ventures does. Perform all of the above functions through an online interface as opposed to through your telephone keypad, if you like. But, you can also do more. You can actually dial OUT from the Basement Ventures system to a participant that is not yet on the call. What a great feature. Or how about a complete listing of everyone that is on the call right on your computer. Every number that has called in, the time they called in, etc. If they hang up, their listing stays up, but it shows they are no longer live on the call. Great for seeing how many of your callers stick with you till the end. Or, here's another good one. How about the ability to add an actual name to each caller on your list and SAVE it on the Basement Ventures system so that on this call and every conference call following it their name will show up right next to their number on the list. I couldn't believe this one. It seems so simple, but how useful that feature is. I absolutely guarantee you are NOT going to find another conference calling system out there with this much functionality for free. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet you'd be hard pressed to find this many features (USEFUL ones) on most of the services you have to pay for. It's just that good. But, alas, there is always a downfall (although this is one you should expect). If you'd like a toll free number for your conference calls, then you'll have to pay up. You can upgrade to a toll free number for a pretty good price, though. The maximium you'll pay is 8 cents per


minute, which is in line with other providers. However, if you purchase minutes in quantity, as your conference calls get larger in number of participants and/or occur more frequently, you can get significantly better pricing on monthly plans. Set up a 1000 min/month plan for $70 (7 cents per minute). 2500 min/mo is $150 (6 cents per minute). Jump a couple steps up to 10,000 min/mo for $400 and you're paying just 4 cents per minute (half price!). You might think that is ALOT of minutes, but if you're a network marketer with a large and active downline and you're getting 100 or 200 or 250 people calling in at a time (it can happen), just a one hour conference call is 15,000 minutes. But, if you have that many people active enough in your organization to be calling into your conference calls regularly, you'll EASILY be able to afford the $400/month fee. At any rate, I am REALLY impressed with the Basement Ventures Teleconferencing system, and I think you will be too. I don't know of ANY other company out there offering this level of service for free. Frankly, I'm amazed that they can afford to do it. So, if you need this service, get on it now before they come to their senses. This really is a great service at an awesome price (FREE!!). (go there)

VoiceShot Automated Voice Services I've been using VoiceShot for about two years now. When I originally signed up for their service, I researched automated calling systems quite a bit before settling on VoiceShot. There were a few other solutions available for small business, but they were all severely lacking in features and/or overpriced, when compared against VoiceShot. Voiceshot's website may not be the most visually pleasing, but it is functionally well laid out. I found their system very easy to use. You can setup scheduled, automated outbound campaigns which will call any number of people that you like with the same message (although you can set it up so that key presses by the call recipient will customize their call to provide them with the info THEY want). You can setup inbound call routing systems which can play numerous different messages depending upon choices made by the caller, can take messages and can forward callers to numerous different numbers. These are amazingly useful systems for handling communications with your customers in the most efficient way possible. All messages (either inbound or outbound) are recorded in your own voice (or the voice of anyone you choose), so they are not just a computer generated voice. You decide the routing of the calls and the messages to be played. As long as you set up a system that answers all of the most frequently asked questions while also providing a simple way for the person to get in touch with a LIVE human being, these systems can be tremendously effective sales/customer service tools. Account sign-up is absolutely free and very fast. Within just a few minutes you can have an account on the VoiceShot system to setup as many inbound/outbound campaigns as you like. You can even run a free "demo" of an inbound or outbound campaign so that you can actually experience what your callers/callees would experience on the other end of the phone. Like what you've seen in the demos? Request up to 200 minutes of free calling on the VoiceShot system so that you can test it out for yourself with your own personalized


campaigns. You never pay a dime until you actually have the system call someone or have someone call into the system. Set up as many campaigns as you like without ever having to pay a cent. Obviously, the folks at VoiceShot recognize that once you test their system you WILL end up purchasing minutes from them.

I found the VoiceShot interface to be very user friendly and intuitive. There are little helps all along the way, and there is a complete online help guide which will lead you through the process of doing just about anything you'd like. Set up campaigns that are as simple or as complex as you like. The VoiceShot system can easily handle whatever you throw at it. In fact, to give you just a little bit of a metaphor to help you understand just how a campaign can be setup, think about any "choose your own adventure" book you've ever read. Dungeons and Dragons is the one that comes to mind as probably one of the most common when I was a kid (even though I think I only ever read one of them). If you've ever read one, you know that every so often within the book you have to make a "decision" and the decision you make then requires you to goto a particular page in the book. There can be dozens of these "decisions" that will be made throughout the reading of the book and each one will take you to a different outcome. That's about how a VoiceShot campaign works. After hearing an initial message, the caller can then be given multiple options that will be accessed by a simple keypress. Then, from there you could have more options or the option to return to the previous set of options. Alternatively, allow them to contact directly to you or another person in your organization by hitting a special key or set of keys. Set up correctly, a person could learn a great deal about your business just from a simple phonecall - one that might require no direct, personal intervention on your part whatsoever. And, before you get too antsy about a completely automated system and how it takes the personal service out of a business, remember what I said earlier. Most people don't mind a little automation if it actually helps them solve their problem or answer their question. Automation only becomes a bad thing when it doesn't really serve its intended purpose and allows no easy way for a caller to get in touch with an actual human being. As long as you keep those two things in mind, you can automate a great deal and still keep your customers happy and feeling well serviced. So, what do you get with the VoiceShot system? What are its capabilities? Well, I could spend about 30 pages of this book on that question, so I'm going to focus only briefly on the main features of an OUTBOUND calling campaign (some I've already alluded to). Many of these features will be similar to what you would find in an INBOUND calling campaign (taken directly from the VoiceShot website): Âť Instant online set up and execution - Create, schedule and launch a full blown call campaign instantly right from the VoiceShot Web Site. Take a survey or a poll, send notifications, reminders or alerts with VoiceShot. Voice broadcasting, its fast and its easy. Âť Launch by Phone Option - Launch by Phone option allows you the convenience of initiating your call campaign by telephone. This premium service is perfect for time sensitive calls such as emergency alerts and notifications.


» Target specific types of call recipients - Optimize your call campaign for answering machines, live answers or both. VoiceShot can automatically detect whether a live person or answering machine answered the call and deliver your call accordingly. » Easy recording options - Record your messages using VoiceShot's dial in service or your own computers microphone and speakers. You can even upload sound files created by professional announcers. » Visual call designer - Once you have recorded your voice messages, you can arrange them quickly and easily with VoiceShot's easy-to-use campaign designer, available from within your VoiceShot account. » Powerful call list management - VoiceShot can use your existing call lists from the applications that you are most familiar with such as Microsoft Excel and Access as well as industry standard formats such as ASCII comma delimited. » Schedule call delivery times - Set delivery dates and times. Run a call campaign at different times in a single day or spread it out over multiple days. » Organize your messages and call lists into "Call Campaigns" - VoiceShot voice broadcast automatically organizes your voice messages and call lists into call campaigns. Call campaigns can then be scheduled, modified, reused and compared to one and other to get you the results you want. » Total Web based campaign control - Start, stop, pause, speed up or slow down a campaign from within your VoiceShot account. » Connect to live operator - Allows those who receive your voice message the ability to press a key and instantly the call is routed to the phone number of your choice. » Conditional call branching - Build as simple or as detailed of a call design as needed. Voice broadcasting call flow can be controlled by the call recipient input, branching to specific points based on the call recipient's key presses. Branch on specific key presses, no key presses and incorrect key presses. » Key press verification - When a call recipient presses one or more keys in response to a voice prompt, you can optionally have the key presses spoken back to the call recipient, with the option for the call recipient to re-enter or accept. » Powerful call transfer management - Transfer call recipients to a phone number of your choice - perfect for "press 0 for a live operator" applications. VoiceShot's powerful call transfer management can automatically pause dialing when all of your available operators are talking and resume dialing as soon as one becomes available. » On-hold custom music or message - Call recipients can listen to a unique message or music selection that you record. Re-enforce your sales message or choose a music selection that fits your target audience to a tee. » Automatic re-dial of unsuccessful calls - Calls that were not answered are automatically re-dialed free of charge. You can even choose additional re-dialing with VoiceShot's one click re-dial feature.


» Reporting of caller response by key press - Real-time reporting captures all recipient key presses allowing you to identify call responses. Additionally, call responses are matched up with all the information from your call list, making it easy to identify which recipient produced which responses. Download your voice broadcasting results into Microsoft Excel and other applications. » Permission based opt in, opt out control - Allows you to design your call campaign in a manner that asks recipients permission to play your voice message. Based on recipients key press your message is either played or the call is ended. All reporting is provided real time to insure proper record keeping of those who have opted in or out based on your campaign design. » Automatic do not call list management - Professional do not call list management tools allow you to honor the request of those who wish to opt out of future call campaigns. Call recipients can add themselves to your do not call (DNC) list by pressing a key during the call. In addition, you can upload your existing do not call list into your account and VoiceShot will automatically remove any number on the do not call list from all of your future call campaigns. » Automatic removal of duplicate numbers - This feature ensures that you do not send duplicate calls to the same recipients and saves you money by removing these numbers from you call list prior to launching your call campaign. » Voice Merge with text to speech (TTS) - Personalize each message for the intended recipient with realistic human sounding text to speech (TTS). Send alerts and notifications, reminders, rates, names, numbers and more. Choose either a male or female voice and even control pitch, speed and the volume of the voice used. » Web-based autodialer - More powerful than the most expensive autodialer. Easier to use than any traditional auto-dialer. Best of all no autodialer or equipment is need to use VoiceShot. » Personalized service - A VoiceShot voice broadcast account representative will take the time to get you started using VoiceShot and will continue to support your needs on an ongoing basis. » Telephone and email support - Assistance and technical support available via email and telephone, with quick response time. At VoiceShot, the customer always comes first. I think you probably get the idea. This is an incredibly powerful automated voice calling and messaging system, and you don't pay a dime until a call actually goes out or comes in. Once you do end up paying, outbound calls are only 12 cents per minute, which is very reasonable considering how much time and effort you'll save. In my opinion, VoiceShot is the best option available right now for automated voice services. (go there)

VistaPrint This review will be short and sweet. VistaPrint is an online printing company. I know that


doesn't seem like a "communications" tool, but to me it is - just a different type. Anytime you meet someone face to face and "communicate" with them, you had better have a professional business card to give them so they have a way to get back in touch. If you send them a letter, it's a good idea to send it on company letterhead and a company envelope for that professional touch. If you've got a new sale going, you'll want to notify all your previous customers - probably via a professional looking postcard. The print media that you use for your offline communications with potential customers is a crucial part of the communications/sales process. VistaPrint will be a significant help to you in this area. Use their online software and NUMEROUS templates to create professional looking business cards, postcards, envelopes, stationary, envelopes, mailing labels, brochures, magnets, flyers, folders, rubber stamps, cards and more. So far, I've only used them for business cards, but I've been THOROUGHLY impressed. So far, I've only used them for business cards, but I've been THOROUGHLY impressed. These are FULL COLOR cards, not just one or two or four colors. I generally order about 250 at a time. The first time I ordered, I did their "free business cards" deal. Get 250 cards at no cost besides shipping, which I think was about $5. The only catch is that they put a TINY ad on the back of the card in a corner. That's it. Just to give you an idea of just how good that deal is, 2-COLOR business cards of the cardstock quality as those you get from VistaPrint, in a quantity of 500 would run $43 plus freight through one of the major online office supply companies. That works out to be nearly $25 for 250 cards, and they are not even full color. So, you spend $20 less with VistaPrint and get the full color option. You can't beat that deal. Of course, you can upgrade your cards for an additional cost, but you can get two sided printing (no VistaPrint logo) and a glossy finish and still not pay as much as you'd pay for cards from that other source. You can see that VistaPrint services are incredibly well priced. You just can't beat their price vs. quality. Take a look for yourself. I am fairly certain that the rest of their offerings will be just as inexpensive and just as high quality as the business cards. (go there)


Internet Related Software & Services Ok, so we've put some really good affiliate program management and communications tools in your arsenal, but we're not done yet - not even close. If you're going to have a home based business these days, chances are, a good bit of your business is going to be Internet related, which means you'll be browsing the net, filling out online forms, etc. So, it seems like a good idea to let you know the primary programs I use in my business for those purposes (as well as some alternates that you might want to consider).

Maxthon Web Browser - FREE Ok, this is another one I absolutely would NOT be without. I use this program constantly, and it saves me so much time I can't imagine having an internet connection without it. It is, by far, the most powerful web browser I've ever used (and I've used my share - probably at least 7 or 8 different ones), and, best of all, it is completely free (unless you decide to donate - which would be a nice gesture, considering all the hard work that has, obviously, gone into this program). Basically, Maxthon serves the same purpose as Internet Explorer, which is the default web browser in Windows: it is a program that allows you to view webpages. But, the similarity ends there. Whereas Maxthon is the "Jack of All Trades, Master of Almost All", IE (Internet Explorer) is "Jack of a Single Trade, Still Not Mastered". The differences are night and day, except in their visual rendering of websites, which is identical, since Maxthon sort of "rides on IE's shoulders". You see, Maxthon basically uses IE for the actual webpage display and then adds TONS of useful features to the software that Microsoft should have thought of long ago. One MAJOR improvement over IE is the "tabbed interface" (which, apparently, Microsoft is now building into their next generation web browser). In IE, to open more than one website at a time, you have to open multiple instances of IE. This causes two problems. One, you end up with multiple "program buttons" down on your Windows Taskbar (each for a different instance of IE) which clutters things up. More importantly, though, each instance of IE uses more of your computer memory, slowing things down. In Maxthon, each new website can be opened in a new "tab" within the same program window. Click on a different tab, get a different website. Sort of like "worksheets" in Microsoft Excel. Technically, you can open an unlimited number of different websites in Maxthon all at the same time, although you will be somewhat restricted by memory constraints of your computer. Based upon my experience, with Maxthon you can probably have 50% more websites open at one time than you could with IE while using the same amount of computer memory (RAM). But, if you had 100 different websites open in Maxthon all at the same time, you could still end up using quite a bit of memory, so there are limits. I regularly have 20, 30


even 40 or more websites all open at the same time on a computer with 768Mb of RAM running Windows XP. That is in addition to multiple other programs that I'll normally have running at the same time such as email, web design, etc. So, most people won't ever come close to the limit of their computer as long as they have a decent amount of RAM. Maxthon will even remember what tabs were open when you last shut it down and ask you if you want to re-open them again when you start the program. Or, save the tabs that are open as a "group". Alternatively, right-click on specific tabs and save only that particular website to your favorites or to a pre-defined group you've already created. Then, anytime you want to open those same windows, just select that group and they'll all open together. You could have one group for checking your search engine placement on various search engines, one group for loading your favorite new sites, one group that loads all of your communication services, etc. Great feature and a real time saver. Mouse gestures are also a neat way to perform certain tasks in Maxthon. I personally don't use this feature much, but know that others do and really like it. You can program Maxthon to perform certain functions just by a certain movement of your mouse. You can easily set up numerous different gestures for various functions you'd like easy access to. How about a "utility belt" (well, they call it a utility "bar", but that's splitting hairs). Have programs that you use regularly? Add them to your utility bar. Then, instead of having to click away from Maxthon to open them up, just click their icon on the utility bar and they'll start right up. Maxthon also has a built-in feature called "Ad Hunter" which does a good job of blocking many different types of ads, pop-ups, etc. Of course, there is always a simple way of temporarily disabling Ad Hunter for a certain page/link so that you can view it if you like. There are numerous other built-in functions that I haven't discussed, and there are nearly 500 "plug-ins" (extensions) that you can download to enhance the functionality of Maxthon even further. But, I think you get the idea. This is one POWERFUL piece of software and will save you an incredible amount of time and effort. I highly recommend it, and I won't make a dime off it, even if you decide to donate. Just see the link at the beginning of this Maxthon section. (go there)

Firefox Web Browser - FREE Firefox is an alternative to the Maxthon browser. I don't find it to be quite as refined as Maxthon, but, having also been produced under the Mozilla development program, it is similar to the Thunderbird email program in that you can install multiple extensions to enhance the capabilities of the browser. It is a tabbed interface which is the PRIMARY benefit of Maxthon, but some of the other refinements that Maxthon offers are not readily available in Firefox.

However, there is a benefit that Firefox offers that Maxthon does not. Firefox is much more secure. Internet explorer, on the other hand (which is the web browser "engine" that Maxthon is based on) is prone to security holes. In most cases, as long as you have your IE


security/privacy settings correct and you've installed up-to-date anti-virus and spyware control software, security holes are not really an issue. However, for those who are concerned they might not always have all the IE "holes" plugged, Firefox is a good secure substitute and the extensions give it capability that ALMOST rivals Maxthon. Firefox is also free, so it's certainly an acceptable option. Because I am such a big fan of Maxthon and have been using it so long, I'm very used to it. As a result, I haven't really been willing to switch over to FireFox. However, I really want to stress that, if you're not already really "attached" to a particular web browser, you really should consider giving FireFox a shot. I think if you were to use it for a week, you probably would never give it up. It really is a very capable browser, with alot of additional functionality built in through extensions. In fact, later in this resources section I'm going to give you one VERY GOOD REASON that you should consider FireFox. UPDATE: I've officially switched over to Firefox and am incredibly happy with it. Although Maxthon is more powerful (out of the box) than Firefox, there are SO many powerful free extensions for Firefox, once you've got it tweaked out that is NO more powerful browser on the planet, especially for web development. I highly recommend it. (go there)

Roboform Online Form Filler ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

Another application I would NEVER be without. In my business I visit ALOT of websites each day that require me to either enter my contact details, credit card information or username and password to log-in to my account. Roboform saves all my information securely in an encrypted file. Then, when I happen upon a site that needs my information, Roboform pops up a little button. Clicking on the button automatically enters the correct information for THAT form on THAT particular site. It is amazing how much time and effort this saves me each day, not to mention the number of usernames and passwords that I don't have to remember now that Roboform does it for me. In addition, if need be, I can export or print off the entire list of passwords for reference purposes. They even have a way to transfer Roboform passwords and personal data and transferring it easily between computers or between computer and PDA. Roboform is not free software, although there is a free trial version you can use (for 30 days, I think). Once the free trial expires, the only way you can continue to use the software without paying is if you are using it for personal use only. Businesses and gov't agencies must pay for the use of the software. The cost is reasonable, though, and has been well worth it for me. I probably saved enough time my first week using it to more than pay for the price of the software. I believe it is currently $30. (go there)

Google Toolbar - FREE Google toolbar is another must have utility, if only for one feature that it offers. Before I get to that, though, let me tell you a few things. First, "toolbars" are simply "add-ons" to your web browser that enhance it's functionality in some way. Roboform is actually placed as a "toolbar" in your browser to make for convenient access. Google toolbar is similar in that


respect, although it doesn't serve quite the same purpose. Unfortunately, although the Roboform toolbar and numerous others will work with Maxthon, the Google Toolbar will not. You can only use it if you're in IE specifically. So, in many cases, most of the features of the toolbar won't help you much if you use Maxthon and not IE (although the developers of FireFox indicate that you CAN use Google Toolbar with FireFox the web browser). Nevertheless, one Google Toolbar feature that I find indispensable, even if I have to load IE separately to use it, is the PageRank function. I believe I mentioned PageRank earlier in this document in regards to Google search engine listings. Generally speaking, the higher a website's PageRank, the higher it will show up in the search engine listings for search phrases related to its content. So, checking the PageRank of your own site periodically will be important to you because it will affect your own rankings on Google searches. However, it is important for another reason. Remember that I indicated earlier in this book that the links to your site play a big role in the Pagerank (and therefore the search listing position) of your site. The number of relevant links to your site is important, but also the PageRank of those sites. A site with a PageRank of 7, for example (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best) will be a big bonus to you as a link partner, especially if the current PageRank of your site is anything less than 7. On the other hand, a site with a PageRank of 2 is not likely to offer you much benefit as a link partner if your site has a current PageRank of 5. So, when I'm considering a site to be a link partner with me, I will sometimes pull up their site (and more specifically the page of their site that will link to my site) and check its PageRank on Google Toolbar (in IE). If the PageRank is good and the content of their site is complimentary to (and not in competition with) my own, then I link to them (in exchange for a link back). If not, then, unless I REALLY think the content of their website will benefit my website visitors, they don't get a link from me. So, that is primarily why I think Google Toolbar is a good thing to have installed on your computer. Some other features that it offers, even though they won't help you much if you use primarily Maxthon for your web browsing, are a form filler (similar to Roboform, although not nearly as powerful and no capacity to remember your logins for different sites), a power search box, quick access to new Google features such as Gmail (Google Email) and Blogger, and a special built-in bookmarks handler (different than IE favorites). (go there )

Download Accelerator - FREE This is one that I could probably do without if I had to, but it's still a pretty helpful piece of software. As opposed to being "freeware" which is completely free software with no strings attached, DA is "Adware", which basically means you get free use of the software in exchange for them being able to show ads within the program. Personally, I don't really even notice the ads, so it really doesn't bother me. Others may have a different opinion. Either way, although there is a paid version of this software, the free version is still pretty useful. Once installed, whenever you click a link in your web browser for download, DA pops up to handle the download. The key features of this software are its ability to speed


your download considerably (it really does) and allow you to pause and resume downloads. The pause/resume feature is really useful, and I'll tell you why, in case it is not readily obvious. How many times have you started a download only to lose your internet connection right in the middle of the download? What did you have to do? If you're like most people, you had to start the download from scratch. Not a big deal for small files, but what about a 20Mb download on a dial-up connection? Or a 300Mb file on a high speed connection? Frustrating to get to 285Mb and have your connection die for some reason. With the resume feature, once your connection comes back up, you simply restart the download from where it left off. Or, if you're in the middle of a download but you for some reason need to stop it yourself, just pause it with DA. Then, when you're ready again, resume it where you left off. A considerable time saver if you download many large files, and even if you don't, it's still pretty convenient. (go there)

Please Read This Our wives and daughters are in danger. Our husbands and sons are losing a battle. Thousands of large and small/home businesses are losing productivity and revenues from this ever increasing problem. Something needs to be done, and I'm going to make my stand here - popular or unpopular as it may be. I hope that whatever your opinion is on the topic I'm about to raise, that you'll at least read what I have to say over the next few paragraphs because it may very well impact your business AND your marriage and family. This is a topic (and a related service) that you may not care to hear about (nor believe should be a part of this book), but since it is important and this is my book, I'm going to talk about it anyway. The Internet is an incredibly useful tool for research and for conducting business. The limitless opportunity is undeniable and has been a great blessing to me and my family through my online business. However, there is a side of the Internet that increasing numbers of people are being entrapped by, and it is killing relationships and families, endangering women and children and hindering business productivity everywhere. I know first hand because this issue has affected my own business and family, and I'm not going to sit idly by and watch it happen to anyone else without saying SOMETHING. The problem is pornography and it is running rampant in the anonymous world of electronic data. The statistics don't lie. Being a math major, I recognize the ease with which numbers can be manipulated to show whatever you want. But if you look at the studies that have been done and take a good, hard look at the numbers (from numerous sources - many that are NOT religious in nature) you'll quickly see that pornography in all its forms is causing MAJOR negative effects on our society and economy. Want some hard data on just










not to mention hundreds of other sites that discuss the dangers of pornography. Without going into a great deal of detail, I too was caught up in the snare of pornography


from the age of 8 all the way through my 20's (beginning when I accidentally discovered someone's "hidden stash" of magazines when I was in 3rd grade). I hated what I was doing and yet couldn't seem to stop. It affected my marriage and my business, not only with the time that was wasted on it, but also with the images that my wife had to compete with in my mind. Luckily for me, the Lord helped me get this behavior under control, first by convicting me to discuss it with my wife and make a commitment to stop, and later by helping me find and implement a "watchdog" program on my computer. The "watchdog" that I use is called Covenant Eyes, and it is not a filter. First, because filters don't really work and second because I tried filters and they often kept me from going to websites that I really needed to access for my business. Covenant Eyes simply tracks my movements while I'm online and reports all of it at the end of each week to my wife. It "flags" certain sites that it thinks may be objectionable, but everything is logged. With Covenant Eyes installed, I really can't go anywhere online without her knowing. That keeps me accountable to my promise to her and also gives her the peace of mind that comes with knowing FOR CERTAIN that I'm not sneaking around looking at images I shouldn't. The wonderful thing about it is that, the longer I'm away from it, the easier it is. At any rate, as much as you might think this was a major diversion from the topic of the book, I don't think it is. I am incredibly ashamed to admit that I would literally waste hours of my time each week on this destructive behavior. I literally was (am) addicted. However, I am not going to allow myself to feel condemned over it. I know I have been forgiven by my wife and my God, and now, that wasted time can be put to better use building my business and my marriage, and educating others about the danger they may not see. As much as I loath actually having to admit this side of me to people that I want to see me in a positive light, I can't just sit back and keep quiet about this issue. I've spent the majority of this book discussing ways for you to be more productive and effective in your business. As strange as it may sound to you, considering that statistics show pornography is a "problem" for well over 50% of the male population of the world, chances are better than 1 in 2 that you have a problem - whether you want to admit it or not - unless you're a lady, in which case you may want to consider the distinct possibility that your husband or even your older sons may have a problem with this that MUST be confronted. Pornography has ruined MANY lives, and I have only God to thank for the fact that mine isn't one of them. I hope that you will consider these words very carefully in light of their potential affect on both your business and your life in general. (visit the Covenant Eyes website)


Website Management Resources If you're going to have a home business, it would be silly not to have a website, since this is likely to be your best means for making new sales and sign-ups. There are certainly many home businesses that operate without having a website, but these are becoming fewer and farther between. It just doesn't make sense not to have a presence on the Internet. So, in this section, I'm going to provide you with some excellent resources for getting a website on the Internet.

ThirdSphere WebHosting - And Much More ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

Well, before you can have a website, you really should have a place to put it (otherwise, designing one won't do you much good). Of course, it's possible that you may not yet really understand exactly how a webpage works or why you even need a place to "put" it, so let me see if I can give you a brief tutorial. Think of the Internet as a HUGE corkboard/bulletin board. On that board there are billions of business cards (websites). Now, if you're looking on that bulletin board for a company that sells poodle t-shirts, chances are only a small percentage of those billions of business cards are going to be for such companies. So, you have to have a way to find the right business cards (website). Luckily, there happens to be a guy who has a REALLY BIG scanner (search engine "spider"). So, he uses this big scanner (spider) to scan the corkboard and take a "snapshot" of each business card (website). Then, this guy's computer takes all those individual business card snapshots and puts them into a categorized file so it's easy to find the businesses that sell poodle t-shirts. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and the like are the "Guys with the REALLY BIG scanner", and they send out computerized search engine "spiders" to crawl through the internet and find new webpages (from links on sites the spider has already found). Once a new webpage is found the spider then "reads" (scans) the information on that website and puts all the information into the search engine database. Each word on the webpage is "indexed" in the database, just like the scanner took a snapshot of each business card. Then, when someone goes to the or website to search for something, they type in a phrase related to what they are searching for and the search engine brings up all the websites in the database that match up with that phrase. So, with this background in mind, let's step back a bit and talk about the webpages themselves. We'll go back to the corkboard/business card analogy. It's really pretty inefficient to have such a HUGE corkboard with all those business cards on it, so, let's say we break it up into a bunch of smaller boards, each containing multiple business cards.


Then, instead of every company putting their business card on the one large board, they would now find the individual smaller boards and put their business cards there. But, there are companies that own those individual smaller corkboards and charge money for businesses to put their cards up. Some corkboard pieces are more expensive than others. Some are larger than others, so they offer more room for more business cards, etc. That is like a "webhost", a company that owns many servers (computers). Each server can hold numerous webpages (like a piece of corkbord would have room for multiple business cards. You pay a webhost to allow you to store your website on their computer, because, via the internet, people have a simple way to access your webpage on the webhost's server. You could technically be your own webhost if you knew how to set up your computer to allow people to access your website on YOUR computer. However, this opens you up to all sorts of security risks with that many people accessing your website on YOUR computer. So, it is best to pay a webhost to handle all of that. Hopefully, that is somewhat understandable. Now, there are THOUSANDS of different webhosts out there, each with different "packages" of services that they offer. Differing amounts of space for webpages and so on. Who you choose depends upon your needs. There are free hosts, hosts that charge only a few dollars per month all the way up to hosts that charge hundreds of dollars per month. The likelihood is you won't need to pay hundreds of dollars per month. MOST businesses can get away with webhosting under $30 per month that will have all the features they need and maybe a few they don't. If you happen to sign up with an MLM business or affiliate program that offers you your own personalized website, you MIGHT not even need to worry about a webhost (because your website is already hosted for you). Some companies offer you these websites for free, others charge you for them. But, if you are going it on your own with your own product, then you'll likely need to put up your own company website and, thus, will need to pay for a webhost. One company I've used in the past is ThirdSphere. I found their offerings to be very complete and their customer service was very good. I have since moved to a new host because I needed to be the ONLY website on the server, which Thirdsphere didn't offer. Most businesses will NOT need that, which is good for you, because it is very expensive. What is really nice about ThirdSphere is that they offer you a VERY complete package of tools to run your business which includes not only the actual hosting of your website, but also other types of services that I have recommended throughout this book. For instance, I highly recommend that you utilize an email autoresponder for your business. Thirdsphere offers an autoresponder that is hosted under your domain (which I feel is very helpful). It may not be quite as powerful as the AutoResponsePlus script that I utilize (and recommended earlier), but it might be enough to serve your needs, and it comes with the ThirdSphere webhosting package. They offer you powerful website design software that can be accessed online. It is not a program that you purchase for your computer, but rather a program that you run within your Internet web browser, just like loading a webpage. Although this MIGHT be a little slower than a program that is installed on your computer, it is included in the cost of your webhosting and is very powerful. Something worth thinking about. Thirdsphere offers server software that will help you set up your own one or two-tier


affiliate program, a secure online store with online payment options, server software for advertisement testing and tracking, as well as "snap-in" server scripts that will perform dozens of other useful functions for you. So, how much? Well, at the time of this writing, the price was under $25 per month. Considering that the cost of a good featured webhosting solution anywhere else will be at least $15 or $20/month, and the additional cost of web design software, email autoresponder software or services, ad tracking services, and so on (if paid for separately) could run into the hundreds, this is a stellar deal. (go there) - FREE Of course, there are many other companies out there, besides ThirdSphere, and one of the best places to find/research different webhosting companies is through the website listed above. You can do a detailed search for just about any criteria you require and pull up only the companies that meet those criteria. They have an incredibly complete database of webhosts with a great deal of data on each company. I recommend trying to find a good host that you can stick with. I have changed hosts on numerous occasions and never enjoyed it. There is a great deal of work that can be involved in switching from one webhost to another, and the amount of work only increases, the longer your site has been up and the more modification and tweaking you've done. So, to avoid having to modify/upgrade your webhost numerous times, at a minimum, so that you have room to grow a little and flexibility to do what you want, I would recommend that any webhost you choose have the following. Even if you don't know what much of this means, make sure your webhost offers it. The more you learn, the more you'll figure out that you're going to want most of these options at some point down the road.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

500 Mb server space 15 Gb monthly data transfer Nightly data backups CGI-bin PHP capability MySQL support Control Panel (Cpanel) SSL Server statistics Telnet (SSH) Server Side Includes (SSI) Domain Parking Webmail Unlimited POP3 email accounts

go there

FileZilla FTP Software - FREE


Now that you have a place to host your website, unless you are using a system like ThirdSphere where you edit your files online, you'll need a way to get your webpage files from your computer to your webhost's server (we'll talk about how to actually create those webpage files on your computer in a moment). So, once you've created your webpage files, how do you transfer those files from your computer to your webhost's server? FTP Software, like "FileZilla" are what is typically used. Of course, you may be asking yourself, "What in the world is FTP Software?" Well, FTP is an acronym for "File Transfer Protocol". Basically, FTP software is simply a program that knows how to interact with your webhost server so that you can get your webpage files from your computer to their computer (server). Of course, this book is not really designed to be a technical resource for things like FTP. So, if you wanted to know more about the subject, just do a search online for "File Transfer Protocol" and see what pops up. I'm sure there will be at least a few references that would explain it to you. In this reference it should suffice to say that you'll probably need it, and FileZilla should handle your needs nicely without eating into your pocketbook. In brief, FileZilla has the main features you'll need in transferring files from your computer to your webhost. It offers a simple to use "site manager" that will remember your server login details - multiple server logins if you have multiple websites on different hosts. The interface looks much like the Windows OS file "explorer", so it should be simple to understand. I have found in my use of FileZilla that it uses less memory than some other FTP programs I've used and seems to perform tasks more quickly (although the actual file transfer speed is determined primarily by your internet connection speed). Overall, I like the FileZilla program, and it has most all the features you'll likely need for keeping your website files up to date on your webhost's server. (go there)

NameSecure Ok, so you've got a place to put your website (a webhost) and you've got a way to get your website files "on the net" (ftp software), but you're still missing two things. First, you need a way to actually create your website files (so you actually have something to upload through your ftp program). We'll talk about how to actually design your website in the next section (there are SOOOOO many useful programs and services that I want to tell you about, I need a whole section of the book just for that). Before we get to that, though, there is one other item that you SHOULD get to make your website as professional as possible. You need a domain name. You know ...,,,, you get the idea. A "name" for your website that people can type in their browser to get there.

There are TONS of domain name providers on the net, so you won't be at a loss for finding one, but the service I use is What I like about them is that they offer a reasonable annual price (well under $10 per year) while also offering many of the services you may need for free. Domain names are pretty straight-forward, as are the services you generally want to have with them, so I'm not going to get into a long discussion here. I just happen to think that NameSecure has provided me with good service, a reasonable price,


an easy to use web interface and a good number of FREE services that many other domain name providers (registrars) will charge you for. (go there)


Website Design Resources Ok, so you've got a place to put your website (your webhost) and you've got a way to get your website onto your webhost's server. Now, you need a way to actually design the website itself. This is going to be a pretty big section because there are quite a few different resources that I think will benefit you. First, you MAY want to learn HTML coding. In truth, you SHOULD learn HTML coding at some point because it really will help you properly code your webpages so that they load quickly, function properly in multiple different web browsers, etc. However, in the beginning, you may want to simply get your website up and running and then learn HTML coding as you go. Of course, you may be wondering what HTML is in the first place. HTML is another acronym and it stands for HyperText Markup Language, I believe. That's not really important, though. All you really need to know is that it is a SIMPLE programming language which tells your web browser (like Internet Explorer) how to render a webpage (how to present it in your browser). In other words, where does each image go, what size should the text be, what font style should be used, which words to display in bold, etc. The coding is actually very simple learn and requires NO programming experience at all. Again, you don't HAVE to learn HTML to get a webpage online, but it will help make sure that your page is as accessible as possible and loads as quickly as possible. It will also provide you with more flexibility and more control over the true layout of your page. Nevertheless, there are plenty of programs available (including the one that ThirdSphere offers with their webhosting account) that allow you to design a webpage just as easily as if you were using a word processor like Microsoft Word. You just don't have quite as much control over the small details and can end up with extra code in the page, which causes it to load more slowly. - FREE If you'd like to learn about HTML there are alot of tutorials online, or you can likely pick up an "HTML for Dummies" book from just about any bookstore. One of the best resources I know of for learning the HTML "programming" language (as well as related languages that can enhance your webpages like CSS, Javascript, XML, PHP) is (as in "WWW" - 3 W's - W3). At any rate, this is an excellent site filled with tutorials on various aspects of HTML and many interactive examples that you can use to train yourself in basic (and advanced) HTML. I highly recommend this site. (go there)

FirstPage 2006 - FREE I have mixed feelings about this one. FirstPage has an AWESOME feature set rivaling some of the most expensive webpage editors available. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What


You Get) as well as HTML source editing. Real-time preview of your page. Instant script insertions. EASY table creation. Project manager. Built-in website/webpage templates as well as the capability to create your own templates for later use. Tabbed interface to work on more than one page at a time. Stylesheet editor. Server Side Includes insertion and preview. Imagemap creator. Form creator. Page color themes. Pop-up creator. Frames maker. Spell checker. I could go on and on. So, the feature set of this program is top-notch. My hesitation with FirstPage lies in two areas. One, it would appear that there has been no continuing development or support since 2006, when this latest version came out. This COULD be a problem. Second, at least for some people (I happen to be one of them), the program seems to run incredibly slow for certain functions, primarily typing of text within tags. There are some work-arounds, which, might make it worth trying, but I'm so used to my current html editor, it's not worth my trying to get used to the workarounds. However, if you're new to HTML editing, FrontPage might be just the ticket for you. If you are one who does not get the typing delay bug, then it's an awesome program. If you do end up with the typing lag problem, the workarounds might not seem all that annoying to you, since you've got no reference point to compare against. I say, give it a shot. You've got nothing to lose, and this is a spectacular program other than the typing delay. (go there)

NoteTab Pro Text/HTML Editor I have been using NoteTab for years to do my HTML and text editing. It is an incredibly fast program and has some very unique features that I use regularly, as well as many I don't (but you might). It supports incremental backups (each time a file is changed and saved, the previous version is saved as a backup file - just in case you save something you wish you hadn't :). It supports automatic scheduled file saving (save your work every "X" minutes). These two features have saved me on many occasions from ruining or deleting hours or even days worth of html coding. You can set NoteTab to automatically "wrap" your text to a certain number of characters with a "hard" or "soft" return (which will prove useful to you, even if you don't currently know what I'm talking about). You can set up NoteTab with two different browsers to quickly preview your HTML editing. NoteTab has a tabbed interface like the Maxthon and Firefox web browsers which makes it possible to open MANY documents all at the same time without using up a tremendous amount of system resources. I'll often have up to 30 or 40 documents open all at the same time without any significant drain on system resources. Many of your primary HTML tags have simple buttons in the NoteTab clipbar which will quickly and easily insert the correct coding (such as bold/italic text, left/center/right justified text, font family/size/color, H1-H6 text headings, line breaks, horizontal rules, bulleted lists, links and bookmarks, images and linked images, a special characters list and numerous others via other available clipbars). When you're just starting out writing HTML code, these buttons will be a big help in creating HTML elements quickly and easily. As you get more adept at writing the code, you may stop using some of the buttons in favor of manually hand coding it, but there are a few that you'll likely still make use of. Another nice feature of NoteTab is that all HTML tags within your text are highlighted, which comes in very handy when you're trying to find a particular section of code. NoteTab also has a pretty powerful search and replace function. It's very FAST, and you can search just


the document you're working on, all the documents you have open or even an entire directory of files that may not even be open (and the subdirectory files as well). This feature alone is a real time saver and is not common to many HTML editors (actually NONE that I've ever used). Clipbook libraries are another useful tool. There are libraries available on the NoteTab website for numerous functions, although the primary once that I use are those for HTML and CSS. These provide easy access to even more HTML codes than the clipBAR utility offers. Again, another timesaver. NoteTab also has a spell check function as well as numerous other features that I won't bother listing here because you can read about all of them on the NoteTab website via the link at the beginning of this review (or at the end). Suffice to say, I think that NoteTab is a phenomenal piece of software. I have even paid the $20 to upgrade to the Pro version because it is faster and offers some options that the free version does not. However, even the free version would do a great job for you, if you couldn't afford the $20 to upgrade. (go there)

JavaScript Kit -- FREE This is a terrific repository of free JavaScripts that you can use on your website(s) to enhance their functionality/interactivity. There are, of course, also tutorials on writing JavaScripts, but, for the most part, you can generally just copy/paste the specific codes you want from their database right into your webpages to accomplish many different tasks. Put calendars on your website, forms, navigation systems, dynamically changing clocks, interesting graphical effects, image slideshows, password protection, calculators of all sorts and many other interesting features that you didn't even know you "needed". Check it out. After all, it won't cost you anything. (go there)

HTML/CSS Table Border Wizard -- FREE From the host website: "Use this wizard to experiment with table border styles and generate style source code. This wizard uses dynamic HTML to change the style of the table in-situ, without loading another page. It is cross-browser compatible with Firefox, Netscape, Internet Explorer, and other modern browsers." Basically, this is a webpage based wizard to help you stylize your tables without going through the headache of coding it all yourself and previewing each separate coding change in your browser. The wizard shows you all your changes in real time. As soon as you change a certain aspect of your table style, you'll see the result on a small sample table to the bottom-right of the interface. Just pull up the page and push the buttons to change different aspects of your table (border thickness, style and color; cell padding and spacing; background color). The wizard also allows you to set different styles for the table and for the individual cells within the table. Once you've completed tweaking and have the table set the way you want it, you'll see the html and css source code shown in a text box below the interface. Just copy the code and


paste it into your website in the appropriate locations, then fill the table cells with whatever text/data you like. (go there)

E107 Content Management System -- FREE All of the above programs, websites and services are terrific and will greatly assist you in creating a website you can be proud of, but sometimes, you just need something that will kind of "manage it all". To some extent, that is what E107 does. Strange name - don't really know what the story is behind that, but I have three sites running on the E107 platform, and I really like it. Let me see if I can describe what a content management system (CMS) is in a few sentences. Basically, you install "software" on your web server - really, besides uploading the files, it nearly installs itself, at least e107 does. Once the initial software is installed, you choose a "theme" for your site - how you want it to look. There are numerous themes available, and if you are savvy enough, you can even design your own. Once the theme is chosen, then you set certain options and such, through a very user friendly web interface. Then, you start adding content: articles, downloads, link resources, special pages, etc. Easily modify your navigation menu to include links to special pages you've created, pages on other websites, etc. Decide you don't like the look of your site anymore? A few clicks and it is changed. A CMS is basically a system for minimizing the amount of HTML coding that has to be done to create a new website. Really, it is much more than that, but it would really be very hard to explain all that a CMS does for you without you actually installing it and playing around with it. In my opinion, E107 is one of the best CMS systems out there. Installation on my server was about as simple as it could be. E107 is really well thought out, has a very user friendly administration interface, includes a built-in forum system, a calendar system and numerous other plug-ins to enhance it's functionality (which are INCREDIBLY easy to install - just upload the zip file to your server). You can quickly and simply hide or display just about every aspect of the site or move it to another location. Numerous themes are available to create a different look and feel for your site. And, to top it off, it's free. You can't beat that. Drop over to their website and check it out for yourself. If you're lucky, the webhost you settle on for your website will offer e107 as a pre-built system - just a couple clicks and it's installed on your account. (go there)

GIFbot by NetMechanic - FREE NetMechanic offers a number of useful services, but the one that I use most regularly is their GIFbot service. This service reduces the file size of images (not just GIF images) so that they load faster. One of the most common reasons for website visitors to leave your website is because it loads too slowly. They get tired of waiting. GIFbot allows you to reduce the file size of all of those images on your site so that it loads more quickly. Most images have "extra" information encoded in the file that you really don't need. This information does not help with image quality. Comments included in the file.


Extra colors that exist in the color palette of the file but not actually in the image. GIFbot removes all this unnecessary stuff. The service works on GIF, JPG and PNG format images and can convert between them as well. So, pretty much any image type that you can put on a webpage can be SHRUNK with GIFbot. You can only do one image at a time, but, personally, I don't think this is a problem. GIFbot shows you multiple versions of each compressed image (with varying compression levels) so that you can choose the one that has the greatest file size reduction while retaining the most image quality. In fact, they have even designed a "nifty" feature into the display page. By putting your mouse cursor over any of the compressed images, you'll see it replaced by the original image so that you can easily see the difference between the two images. I love that feature. Once you find the image that you want for your site, simply left-click on it to bring it up separately on a new page. Then, right-click on the resulting image and save it to your computer. Then, upload it to your server to be displayed on your site. You'd be amazed at how much you can reduce an image without really losing much image quality. Often, file sizes can be reduced by 50-80% with very little visual difference in image quality. If your site happens to include a large number of graphics, this could reduce overall page load times by half, which could easily cause a 50%-100% increase in sales/sign-ups.

A LITTLE SIDE NOTE: GIFbot is not a substitute for good website code. The best way to make sure your site loads as quickly as possible is to provide the height and width tags for all images, tables, etc. That way, even if all the text and images have not yet loaded in the browser, at least SOME of your site will begin to load, so that the website visitor "FEELS" like your site loads more quickly than others. And, THAT is truly the key. It's not actually about how quickly your page loads, but how quickly the website visitor FEELS that it loads. Now, sometimes, those two things are the same. But, not always, in fact, most of the time they are not. I'm sure you've been to some websites where each page sits for a considerable period of time and then displays all at once on your screen. It FEELS like the pages take forever to load, even though, in reality, they might only take about 20 seconds. Contrast that with a site where an entire page might take a full minute to load, BUT, the site has been designed in such a way that SOME images and SOME text load initially within a few seconds, and then more and more of the page loads as the seconds roll on. This site FEELS faster because each time you click on a link, it only takes a few seconds before there is something showing on the page. You can tell something is happening. The page is loading - so you're willing to wait - especially if there is text on the page that you can begin reading while the rest of the page loads. Which website are you likely to continue browsing? The one that has SEEMINGLY slow loading pages that actually only take about 20 seconds to load, or the one that FEELS fast but actually takes up to a minute or more to load each page? Most people will stay on the site that FEELS faster. In fact, some sites are losing, EASILY, 50% of their website traffic on the first page load because visitors don't want to browse a "slow" site. So, it is critical that you do all you can to make it SEEM like your pages load quickly, even if they don't. Although, of course, you still want to do all you can to keep total page load times down.


So, be sure to use GIFbot to shrink image sizes (there are software programs available too). Always make sure your image and table tags have width and height attributes established. Keep the bloated code out of your site. Try to learn HTML coding so that you can spot extra code that is often inserted by fancy HTML editors (or learn HTML code well enough to code the page yourself and eliminate that issue altogether). Lastly, design pages intelligently. Create one small section at the top of your page which is separate from the rest of the page and will load quickly before everything else does (to give the APPEARANCE of a fast loading page). All of these things could mean the difference between a 2% conversion and a 10% conversion rate for your site, and THAT could be the difference between you making a million dollars next year or going back to your 9 to 5 and making 30 grand. You don't want to overlook simple things like this that can be so crucial to the success of your business. (go there)

Web Developer for FireFox - FREE Regardless of how you design your website and get it online, and even if you get all your images reduced and your code modified for quick display, there is still the possibility (likelihood) that there are potential "problems" with your website code that you haven't noticed yet. Some of these problems may be worse than others, but all of them may affect the usability and effectiveness of your website. Lucky for you (and me), Web Developer for Firefox exists. Web Developer is an extension that can be installed for the FireFox web browser (assuming you have FireFox installed on your computer). This is a "killer" extension that I would not be without, if I were you. This extension (you could almost call it an entire "program" all to itself, it offers so many features) will easily take the place of numerous different programs and services that you could use to address each individual "problem issue" with a new website. One of the menus offered on the Web Developer toolbar is specifically designed to help you find image problems. With Web Developer you can find "broken" images that don't show up at all. Web Developer will show you the dimensions of each image on the page as well as the file sizes for each image (which will help you see if there any particular images which might be slowing down your pages). Developer will also easily highlight on the page: all images, images with no height or width tags (which will slow down your pages), images with no alt tag and the "broken" images that don't show up on your page at all. But, that's certainly not all. Screen resolution can be another sticky issue. If you design your site to display properly only on large resolution computer screens, then users who have older computers or who purposely set their screen resolution low will have a very difficult time actually using your site. Not only will they be scrolling up and down to read content (which is normal), they will also have to keep scrolling their computer screen left and right. Most website visitors won't put up with that for long. Web Developer to the rescue again. With the Resize tool you can quickly and easily simulate different screen resolutions to see how your site will look. Also handy is the "zoom in/out" feature, which allows you to zoom in or out on any webpage you're viewing.


What else can Web Developer do? Well, it might be easier to tell you what it won't do. Web developer has a feature to check your overall page load time. It will check for broken links (links that go to dead sites or to no site at all) so you can get them fixed. It provides you the ability to validate your programming code (make sure it is written correctly so that the page will be displayed properly). You can validate HTML, CSS and Javascript code (the most common programming code languages that will likely be used on your page). Some other useful features of Web Developer are the ability to highlight/outline logical sections of your page. Outline all table cells, entire tables, all headings and much more. Or how about a built-in HTML editor that will show you your changes in real-time? Make a change to the code and immediately see how it will affect the look of the page. In truth, it's really just a built in basic text editor that shows the code for whatever page you're currently viewing, but the real-time view feature is AWESOME. Even better, it has the same capability for editing any CSS files associated with the page (css or stylesheet files are used to additionally control how a page looks - they are very powerful and if you're going to design webpages, you really should learn to use them). And, believe it or not, we're still not done. Can you believe this is just an "extension" to another program? With Web Developer you can also display just about any conceivable piece of information about the page you're viewing. Of course, unless you're already adept at designing web pages, most of what it will display won't even mean anything to you at this point ... but it will later. Web Developer has one more capability that I'd like to discuss, which can also come in very handy. As you get more adept at designing websites you'll likely end up using cookies for various purposes. Now, depending upon your level of understanding, you might think that cookies are "evil" things used to track your every movement and steal all the info from your computer. This is simply not the case. Generally, cookies are a very useful tool designed to help websites be more powerful, interactive and user friendly. Web Developer gives you the capability to easily set or delete cookies at will, either all the cookies on your system or just the cookies related to a certain domain. Right now, that may not mean anything to you, but later on you will come to LOVE this feature. Of course, none of the above really matters if you don't actually have the FireFox web browser installed on your computer - since Web Developer is not a stand alone program, but simply an extension that can be added to FireFox. So, I think you can guess what my advice to you is. INSTALL FIREFOX!!!!! Even if you don't choose to use FireFox as your primary method of browsing the internet, with the addition of Web Developer, FireFox is an incredibly useful tool for developing websites. Besides, now that FireFox is becoming such a popular web browser, you need to know what your website looks like in FireFox anyway, so you really need to have it installed on your computer (as well should you probably have the fairly popular Opera web browser installed). (go there)

SEOQuake for Firefox - FREE This is another Firefox add-on/extension that will prove to be extremely useful for internet marketing and promotion. If you're trying to gain better search engine optimization, this tool is invaluable and provides a TON of useful information. There's really no point in me going into a long explanation of the features. Just head over to the following link and read the


description for yourself. If you know anything about SEO, you'll immediately recognize the value of this tool, and, if you're just beginning, it won't take long before it's value becomes completely evident. (go there)

IE Tab for Firefox - FREE Web development can be a pain when you're trying to test your site in both IE and Firefox. But, what if you could do all your testing in Firefox, while testing IE at the same time? IE Tab allows you to load any tab in Firefox with either the Mozilla Firefox "engine" or the IE "engine". Load your page in Firefox and then alternately click the IE tab button to view the page as it would be seen in IE or Firefox. Very convenient. (go there)

CubeCart - FREE Depending upon what sort of business model you settle on, you may need some sort of online shopping cart system for your website. If so, I think this is definitely one to take a look at. I'm going to preface this entire review by saying that I have used numerous other shopping carts in the past, so I have a working knowledge of how they function, what most of them will do and what they won't, etc. CubeCart is one that I have NOT used for my own business, only because I did not know about it until I began writing this book and am no longer in need of such a powerful system. Nevertheless, I installed it on my server and have taken some time to "play around" with it to check the features and test for any major bugs. Here's the scoop on this incredibly powerful shopping cart and my testing of it: First, the installation is pretty straight-forward. Download the zip file to your computer, unzip it, then upload the files to your server. Once the files are uploaded, open the CubeCart directory in your web-browser to begin the installation. There are just 5 simple steps. As long as you know how to set file permissions and create a MySQL database/user, you will be able to complete the installation. If you don't think you can do that (it's actually quite easy), you could pay CubeCart to install the script for you (only $30). I would say, if you think there is a possibility that the installation could take you more than 2 hours of actual effort, the $30 is well worth it. FYI: not counting the time it took to upload the files (which didn't require me to be present), the installation took me about 5 minutes. Once installation is completed, then comes the setup/modification of store settings. You must input the store name, address, email and such as well as certain preferences and settings, shipping options, tax options, etc. All of this is really straight-forward. There are ALOT of different shipping options you can utilize including charging by weight, price, percent, category, item or via UPS and USPS shipping schedules. There are 27 different payment gateways you can use to actually charge a person for the order, so you're sure to find at least a few that you can implement to take payment. CubeCart also integrates directly with three different affiliate program management systems, although I believe you could likely integrate with any affiliate management system you like (it just might take a little more effort). Adding and editing products was a breeze, and you can even add multiple pictures for the same item (a rarity). Create as many product "options" as you like, such as color, size, format, etc. Setup product categories to group


your items. All customers are kept in a searchable database and are easily edited or deleted. When customers register for an account to place an order, they are provided the option to sign-up for your mailing list which you can utilize from within CubeCart to send new product announcements, etc. From your orders listing, you can pull up the detail for any order. Once the detail is up, you can easily print a very clean packing slip. You can change the status of the order so that the customer can see through their online profile what the status of their order is. You can even have the system notify your customer of the change in status and include a note to the customer regarding the change. In addition, you can add notes to the customer's order (that will not be seen by the customer). There are three different themes you can choose from which are good basics to start from. I did not delve into modifying these, but the explanation on the CubeCart site seems pretty straight-forward. If you are not comfortable modifying the skins/themes yourself, there are a number of sites online that offer skins/themes for CubeCart. Most of them charge a small fee for each skin, but at $10 - $50 per skin, it's really not that bad considering the amount of time you'd likely have to put in designing your own. Having trouble with a particular aspect of installing or configuring or using CubeCart? There are numerous flash movie tutorials to help lead you through the process. The CubeCart forum seems pretty active and offers alot of great information for anyone having trouble with the script. They also have a support ticket system whereby you can request support directly from the developers. Of course, the big question is how user-friendly is the CubeCart system for website visitors? So, I tested it out. I liked it. Everything seemed very straight-forward. Every page of the site shows you the critical information you need. You can see how many items are in your shopping cart and what the subtotal is. Easy access to view the actual cart. Easily add 1 or more items to your cart at a time. Product category list is prominently displayed across the top on tabs. There is an easy to use search function as well as a mailing list subscription box on all pages. All in all, I think that if I was in the market for a new shopping cart for one of my websites, I would seriously consider CubeCart. This is one heck of a powerful shopping cart script to be had for free. All the features you'd likely need and all packaged in an easy to use interface for both the administrator and the website user. You really need to check this one out if you have a need for a shopping cart script. (go there)

Mals Ecommerce - FREE Ok, so you need a way to take orders, but maybe CubeCart is a bit much for you. Well, Mals is a perfect option to consider. I used Mals Ecommerce as my shopping cart of choice for a number of years when I was selling another ebook. It worked out very well for me and was incredibly inexpensive. The free service probably would have served my needs just fine, but I chose to upgrade to the Premium version for about $8/month to gain a few additional features. None of those features are necessities, and, the likelihood is, you could use the free service and have everything you need until your business profits are large enough to easily absorb the $8/month fee for the premium service.


What's nice about Mals is that there is nothing to install as with a solution like CubeCart. It's a service that you integrate with your current site, and it integrates very easily. You can use Mals to sell just about anything, whether electronic in nature or not. Sell everything from ebooks to software to wigs to widgets to motor oil. It doesn't matter. Just set up a free account on Mals site, edit some configuration settings, and then place the "buy it now" links/buttons on your website in the appropriate locations. It's that simple. For a free shopping cart system, Mals is actually VERY capable. You can do some basic customization of the shopping cart area by adding your header graphic, adjusting the width of the checkout page, text size, color scheme and so on. Add special messages to your shopping cart which will show before and after the sale. Specify what information you're going to require from each customer and so on. You can even specify a minimum order size (based upon item quantity or total price). Shipping rates are VERY customizable. Use free shipping, free shipping for orders over a certain total, flat rate shipping, an extra handling charge, shipping costs based upon quantity of items of weight of combined items, as well as a number of other options based upon variations of those I already listed. It's actually quite impressive. Likewise, discounts and vouchers can be used which are also quite configurable. Discounts can be flat amounts or percentages and can be based upon cost of items or quantity of items. In addition, create as many as 5 different types of vouchers/coupons which can be offered as a percentage or flat rate discount on the order total or can offer free shipping. You can set an expiration date on the vouchers or not. You can even set how many of the vouchers will be honored before that voucher will no longer be valid. The Mals Ecommerce service can notify you when orders come in and will also send email notifications to customers for completed orders. If you sell any downloadable products, you can set up a total of 50 download links to be presented on the final thank you page. The correct download link will show depending upon which product the customer actually purchased. There is even a built-in affiliate program. Pay a commission on a per sale or per action basis. Pay a flat rate per action/sale or a percentage of a sale total. Pay on one tier or two-tiers, it's up to you. Mals m-tracker will keep track of all new affiliate sign-ups, sales and commissions due, but you still have to determine how you'll pay the commissions and actually make the payments (such as through PayPal, for example). Setup your shopping cart to accept online check, money orders, COD or credit cards. Accept payment manually or via a number of different payment processors like PayPal, PaybyCheck, E-Gold, etc. If you set up on the $8/mo. premium plan, then there are a total of 39 different payment processors you can integrate into your Mals cart to take payment from customers. You really can't go wrong with the Mals Ecommerce service. I know of no other service on the net that offers such a robust system for free, and even the $8/month premium plan is still dirt cheap compared to most other systems I've seen. It's an awesome service. Moreover, I can attest to the level of service that Mal offers. Even though he's overseas, when I needed assistance with my cart, he was very available and answered emails promptly. In addition, he even offers his phone number. With international calling rates falling like they have, even a phonecall to him was not all that expensive, and he was very


helpful. (go there)


Graphic Design Resources Well, it does you no good to have a wonderful webhost, a catchy domain, a fast loading website and a super snazzy shopping cart system if your colors and graphics look horrible. So, it seems only fitting at this point that we take a few moments to discuss some graphics and color palette software and services. The keys here are you want to be able to create great looking images without being a graphics designer (because most of us are not and cannot afford to hire one - at least in the early stages of our business). Now, I actually only use two image editing programs and one of them is an old program that I used when I was teaching (and NOBODY else uses it). But, it's what I'm used to and I know how to make it do what I want. That being said, the program is horribly outdated at this point and I would not seriously recommend it to anyone else because there is much more powerful software available for free. So, rest assured, I will shoot straight with you (as I have throughout this book) and make it clear which of these programs and services I have actually used and which I have not.

The Website Boss - Cheap or FREE ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

Following this particular review you will find a few recommendations for free software and services which should be of tremendous benefit to you in regards to your graphic design endeavors. However, before I get there, I'd like to point out a little gem that I just ran across today which I believe will save you HOURS on graphic design for your websites, ebooks, etc. not to mention giving them a really professional look (and depending upon your needs, it might not cost you a dime). You see, this guy Ross "The Boss" (I know, it's corny, but he's got some really great graphics) has a FREE membership package where you can get hundreds of high quality graphics, sales page templates and killer text templates to use for your marketing and web design projects. Just go to the link above, and you can read all about it and see samples of what he's offering - it won't cost you a dime. So what's in it for HIM? Well, when you sign up for the free membership, you'll be given a quick opportunity to "upgrade" to an Elite membership, but, no worries, it's unbelievably cheap and if you decide you're not interested, you'll be put straight through to download your free membership graphics and such. However, I think you're going to find that the cost is peanuts compared to the resources you're going to get from the upgrade. I was absolutely floored when I read through all that the Elite membership upgrade offered and then got to the bottom of the page and found it was only $12 for the upgrade. That's it! Now, I don't know this guy from Adam. I'm not plugging his site so he'll plug mine like so many "Internet Gurus" these days. I honestly have no idea who this guy is, but I can tell you that he's put together an amazing graphics package that will completely revamp any site


you currently own or are considering putting online. For $12 I just couldn't resist plunking down the cash to see the whole package. And, once I was able to download all of the materials, I was just as impressed with the value for my money. I mean, honestly, I couldn't have produced ONE of the incredible graphics in this package in less than an hour. So, considering that I value my time at MUCH more than $12/hour, I look at this as a VERY GOOD BUY! All of that being said, I do have a few qualms. First, many of the graphics are provided in png format. This is fine, if can find an image that you like AS IS and will simply be inserting it directly into your site. However, if you want to "tweak" any of the images, png format is going to make it a bit tough. Providing the files in Adobe psd format would have been much more useful for editing purposes. Moreover, the above issue is even more significant because many of the graphics are provided in only a few different color variations. So, unless your website color scheme just happens to match one of those color variations, you'll need to modify the color, and this could take a bit of fiddling. Also, downloading and extracting all the files is somewhat of a pain. There are numerous different zip files in this package, so, once you've downloaded all the large zip files, you then have to go through the process of extracting all of them, which can be a bit time consuming and annoying. A better solution would be offering a single executable file which would extract all of the graphics into an appropriate and well organized folder structure all at once, saving the end user the hassle of doing it manually. Of course, this would result in a mighty large executable file, but it would be nice to have that option for those with high speed internet access. Lastly, as implied at the end of the previous paragraph, a little better categorization of the files would be helpful for finding what you need. I suppose once you get used to where you've saved and extracted the files, it probably won't be much of an issue, but, when you first extract, the process of sorting through all that you've got can be daunting. Nevertheless, even with the slight annoyances listed above, you're only paying $12 for the entire set of graphics, so I think a bit of manual effort to make good use of them is more than acceptable. Check it out for yourself. I think you'll be very happy with the graphics set and $12 is a SMALL price to pay for the time savings this graphics package offers. (go there )

The Gimp - FREE Ok, I did a little research and the funny name, GIMP, stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program". Really doesn't much matter, but I know I thought the name was quite interesting and wondered where it came from. Now you know. So, what is GIMP, really? Well, it's a FREE and very capable replacement for programs like Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and Corel Photopaint, all of which will generally run you in the hundreds of dollars. This program is power packed full of features both for power graphics designers and for beginners (although it doesn't do alot of hand-holding, so beginners might find the program a little intimidating).


What IS nice, though, is that they have a very complete selection of online tutorials to help both beginners and experienced users with basic functions and advanced features. There are also many websites devoted to helping you learn how to use the various functions in GIMP. And, there is a pretty complete help file (although it does not install by default with the Windows installation - it is installed separately - and I had to change my preferences in GIMP to use the GIMP help browser instead of my web browser to be able to view the help file). In my opinion, if you're willing to do a little bit of reading, you should be able to figure out how to do just about anything you'd ever like to do with GIMP. In fact, let it be known that I am by no means a graphics artist, just a guy who needs to be able to do some basic graphics editing in order to create websites for my various websites. As I mentioned at the beginning of this "Graphic Design Resources" chapter, there is another program that I have primarily used for all my image editing needs. It works well, but isn't nearly as powerful as some of the newer software available (such as the most recent version of The GIMP). What I found, though, was that most of the primary features available in The GIMP were understandable from my use of this other graphics manipulation program. It certainly was not all exactly the same, but I was able to find my way around GIMP without too much trouble. And, as I tested the program and read through some of the tutorials I was AMAZED at all that The GIMP can do. In fact, I'm even considering spending a week or two using GIMP to see if I can get comfortable enough with it to make it worth ditching my current graphics program - The GIMP is that good. Quite frankly, the only downside I can see to GIMP is the interface. It takes some getting used to. You'll often have at least 3 and possibly up to 5 or 6 different windows open, all for The GIMP. You'll generally have the primary program window, a layers/channels/paths window and your image window. Depending upon what functions you might be using, a couple more windows might be open. This can be confusing for new users who are running GIMP on a Windows system. We're used to programs that are all "contained" in one large window. Linux users (Linux is a competing and less expensive operating system to Windows) are more used to this type of program layout where many aspects of a program are more modular in nature. So, if you're a native Windows user, this modular layout of the program may take a little getting used to, but for the power that GIMP offers in a free program, I think it is well worth the effort. Make a commitment to use The GIMP for all your image creating and editing needs for just one website project, and I guarantee you'll end up making GIMP your editor of choice. It's a program that truly rivals commercial image editing and manipulation programs costing hundreds of dollars and you won't have to pay a dime for it. (go there)

Color Scheme Generator One of the aspects of good site design/graphic design is choosing the right color palette for your site (a group of colors that all look good together and can be utilized for different aspects of your site - background, header, border, text, links, images, etc.). A poor color palette can easily send your website visitors packing. Choosing colors that work well together can be the difference between a mediocre website and a great website. So, it's clear to see that I think this is important.


Search online for a bit and you'll find numerous resources that are supposed to help you with this that really don't. Most of them just don't go "all the way". They offer tools that might help someone with graphic design experience who already understands how to choose colors that will compliment each other. However, for the rest of us, who may not have a clue how to choose the right shade of blue to match a certain shade or orange or may not even know whether ANY shade of either of those two colors will work together, these tools won't get us anywhere but frustrated - at least that's been my experience. Now, there are some computer programs out there that WILL help you in this area and will take you all the way from start to finish in finding a good color palette for your site, but there aren't any that are free. Of course, I'm not against paying for software that will help me do what I want to do, but if there is a free alternative that accomplishes the goal with minimal effort, I'm still going to go that way. In the case of choosing a color palette, I have what I believe is a very effective free alternative to purchasing commercially available software designed for choosing a color palette. The free solution I'm suggesting here is NOT software that you'll install on your computer, but rather a tool that is offered on with a simple to use web interface for choosing a color palette. Just choose one "starting color" that you like and the interface will choose 3 other colors that are complimentary to it. It's really pretty slick. And, if you don't like the color palette that is generated, you can easily modify it by changing your initial color selection. Moreover, you can select from 5 other variations of the default colors chosen (Pastel, Light Pastel, Dark Pastel, Contrast and Pale) to adjust for the "tone" of your website and what you're selling. You can restrict to only "websafe" colors or select from an entire color palette. There are some other interesting features, such as choosing the type of scheme you want (Mono, Contrast, Triad, Tetrad or Analogic) and also a way to get an actual web address for the specific color scheme you've customized (so that you can easily return to it or send someone else a link to take a look). Pretty nifty. Now, quite often, I'm not a big fan of using online services to perform tasks that software is available for (mainly because the convenience of an online service almost always is tied to how quickly the pages will load, which is different for each user because not everyone is working on the same speed internet connection. So, a service that might work well for me on a high speed connection may be a very poor choice for someone that is still working off of a standard dial-up modem connection. However, in this case, the page load time isn't too bad, and it doesn't much matter anyway, because only ONE page has to load. Once that page loads, you do all your work on that page without having to wait for any additional pages to load. Check it out. I think you'll agree that it is VERY easy to come up with a color palette that will work well for pretty much any website in a short period of time. (go there)

InkScape - FREE Ok, even if you're not a graphics designer by trade, you have got to get this program. To be honest, I had never used it previous to writing this book, but now, I can see all sorts of uses


for it. What an awesome program. Here's the description from the website, much of which may not mean much to you, if you're not a graphic designer, but I'm going to show it to you here anyway. Then I'll give you my full review.

Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats. Inkscape's main goal is to create a powerful and convenient drawing tool fully compliant with XML, SVG, and CSS standards. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development

Of course, I can't say for certain just how closely Inkscape's feature set compares against Illustrator, Freehand and such, since I've never used any of them (didn't ever run across what I thought was a great need for them - considering their price), but from the other reviews I've read of InkScape, the feature set is close while lacking only some of the most advanced features of these other programs. The kicker is, most of the other available vector graphics editors are the $400 - $500 range if you're not a student and you're not upgrading a version you already own. In other words, the likelihood is that YOU would pay $400 - $500 for most of the other programs that will do what Inkscape does - with one notable exception. Xara X(treme) is one that seems to have very good reviews and is much less expensive than most other retail vector graphics software (only $79 if all you want is the full version CD). As with the others, I have not personally used it, so I can't make a specific recommendation of the Xara program. However, if you'd like to check out the Xara Xtreme program as possibly a more advanced alternative to InkScape, you can click here. But, this review is not about the Xara X(treme) program, since I haven't actually used it. This is a review of the totally FREE Inkscape by a NON-graphic designer (me). So, here's my personal review. It's Awesome!! Ok, I know, I already basically said that at the beginning of this review, but it's true. Not having anything to compare against, I was really impressed with this software. One thing I really like about vector graphics editing software is that you can scale ANY image up or down without losing any image quality at all. Try that with a standard image editor. For years I had troubles with this issue because once I designed an image, scaling it then caused a significant loss in quality. So, I'd always have to create multiple different sizes of each of my images. Not so with vector graphics editing. Any size, same quality. Perfect. I'm not really going to spend a great deal of time on the actual editing features of the program. They are listed in the description from their website which I copied above. What I


am going to focus on is some of the primary issues that would cause me NOT to choose a free software application. First, is it intuitive and easy to use? If not, then it doesn't really make any difference if it's free - it will cost me time and effort I can't afford to waste. In the case of Inkscape, if you are starting with zero knowledge of vector graphics editing software then I believe the interface should be very intuitive for most people - it was for me. If you have experience with other SVG (scalable vector graphics) software then it might be difficult to get used to another interface, but that would be true with any software. Second, is it stable or does it crash constantly, lock up, lose your work, etc.? I am pleased to report that in all my testing of Inkscape, it never crashed, locked up, lost any work or did anything that caused me to want to put my fist through my computer screen (as most M****soft programs do). Inkscape performed flawlessly and did everything I asked it to do without fail. It does use up some system resources - but it is my understanding that this has mainly to do with the fact that you're working with SVG format, which takes up resources no matter what program you're using. Third, do the program and/or it's authors offer enough help/support to allow you to learn the program features effectively in a short period of time? The answer for me was a resounding YES. The InkScape program itself has 7 extremely helpful, interactive tutorials built right into the program (under the "help" menu). These tutorials guide you, step-by-step, through the process of learning each of the functions offered by the Inkscape program, and allow you to actively practice using those functions right within the tutorial. Very helpful, in my opinion. I also found them to be very well written and easy to understand. In addition, just about every function you use within the application offers simple, but effective tips in the status bar at the bottom-left of the program window. For instance, when you are using the "selection tool" but have not yet selected any objects, the status bar shows: "No objects selected, Click, Shift-click or drag around any objects to select them". As an Inkscape (and SVG) newbie, I find those little status bar tips to be incredibly effective at reminding me of how to use certain functions. Moreover, if you are still in need of additional help, the website is actually a wealth of information. There is an extensive FAQ page which tells you much about the program and different problems you MIGHT run into. There is also an online "book" that has been written on InkScape which has some excellent information and additional little tutorials to show you some neat features of Inkscape. You'll also find an UNofficial (and incomplete) user manual as well as a keyboard/mouse shortcut cheat sheet. On the whole, I find InkScape to be an incredibly useful graphics program and I intend to spend some time (once this book is completed) getting to know it a little better and seeing just what I can do with it. I recommend that you do the same. Who knows, you might just find that you're a graphic artist after all. (go there)

Fresh Generator - FREE If you're looking to put Web 2.0 graphics on your site, you'll probably end up putting some Web 2.0 styled boxes or tabs on the site. This site offers a free online service to "generate"


Web 2.0 boxes, banners and tabs with many different configuration options. It's not really all that much to look at, but, it is a pretty simple to use, straight-forward service that generates a pretty respectable box, banner or tab image just the way you want it. If you're not a graphic designer and/or don't want to pay for and/or learn how to use graphics software to create Web 2.0 boxes, banners or tabs, you really should check out this site. (go there)

Web 2.0 Badges - FREE A "sister site" to the Fresh Generator listed above, this site allows you to generate pretty respectable Web 2.0 badges. If you're not sure what these are, just click on the link above to head over to the site and you'll see just what I'm talking about. Again, plenty of available configuration options to help you acheive a pretty good quality Web 2.0 badge image.

Again, as with the service above, if you're not a graphic designer and don't want to spend the time and money necessary to create these types of images with a graphics editor, this might be a site that could save you a lot of time and money. (go there)


Website Testing & Tracking Resources So, you can design a wonderful website with all the bells and whistles, compressed, fast loading graphics, error-free code, a pleasing color palette, interactive javascripts and so on, but, if you don't track what users are doing on your site and where they are coming from, and if you don't test different variations of the elements of your website, then you have absolutely no idea how well it is currently performing or how well it COULD perform if it was modified. That is, of course, where this section becomes relevant.

mROI Click Tracking - FREE I have been using Hypertracker for a number of years now to track my online advertising and some of my own internal website promotion (in other words, "ads" that I have ON my own site for different services and such that I offer). It's a pretty reasonably priced service and offers a free trial period to test them out. The Hypertracker system does a good job of tracking the number of times an ad is "clicked" on and also how many of those clicks result in an "action" of some sort (an order or newsletter subscription, etc.). This does help you determine your ROI (Return on Investment) for any ad you place which is valuable information. But, one thing that Hypertracker does not do is track where people go within my site. It only allows me to track if a person actually ends up at my "thank you" page (meaning they placed an order or subscribed to my newsletter, etc.). That IS helpful, and Hypertracker has actually helped me to discover a number of advertising campaigns/methods that I was using which were not generating sufficient results to continue them (and also helped me find ads that were performing well so I could put MORE money toward those ads). But what do I know about the people who "click" on one of my ads but never make it to my "thank you" page? In other words, what do I know about the people that come to my site as a result of clicking on one of my ads but they never actually BUY anything or request any info? WHY don't they buy? I still don't know anything about them or why they might not have made it to the "point of action" on my website. If I could track where they went and from which page they finally ended up leaving, then I might have an opportunity to improve upon certain areas of the site that seem to be forcing a "mass exodus" of visitors (either because of poor design, slow load, incorrect information, confusing information, etc.). Once that section of the site is "fixed" the "traffic hole" will be plugged and people will remain on my website longer thereby increasing the chances that they will "receive the call to action" and actually ACT on it! THAT is where mROI comes in. Quite frankly, I wish I had known about this script a LONG time ago. Would have saved me ALOT of money. Not only in monthly tracking service fees, but also in lost website visitors. According to the program author (my notes in parentheses): "mROI is an all encompassing professional grade program (web server based) that allows


you to manage all aspects of your website marketing from internal promotions to paid listings. By implementing this powerful yet friendly program into an existing website you can take control of your marketing once and for all and best of all it comes at no cost! (this is a FREE program/script that you install on your web server - where your website is hosted - so there is no up-front cost and there are no monthly fees - it truly is FREE). Complete Campaign Management: Create an unlimited number of campaigns, each with the ability to contain distinct listing segments (in other words, maybe you have a "campaign" called "GOOGLE" which will hold all ad listings on the Google search engine. Then, you would create a "listing segment" to represent each individual ad that you place on the Google search site). You can then monitor each incoming link and receive a detailed report of activity on local and global levels. Easily review your current marketing promotions and past history from one centralized location. Reporting Like Nothing Else: Generate real-time reporting with statistics over all aspects of your ROI. View detailed summaries on revenue per click, customer acquisition costs and conversion rates. Identify which campaigns and which listings are performing and which are costing you money. Detailed analysis of click activity, and navigation paths to for use in isolating problem pages on your website. Flexibility to do FAR More: Versatile functionality allows for tracking all types of marketing, both free and pay-per-click as well as internal and external advertising campaigns. Available reporting for content and membership based sites to determine costs per registration and action! Sophisticated fraud monitoring to help you identify suspect traffic and reduce fraudulent clicks. All this and more with a price that simply can't be matched ... FREE." So far, in my testing of this script, I have been thoroughly impressed. It is quite well done. Which begs the question ... "Why Free?" Of course, the authors say that their only intent in creating the program was to help webmasters better monitor their costs vs. profits for a price that is more reasonable than other software/services available, but it is perfectly clear this was not their only motive - which is absolutely ok. Throughout the administration interface and statistics reporting pages you'll see small ads for various internet business and advertising related services that I assume the authors of mROI are affiliates for. So, clearly, the software is designed to make money, just not off the software itself (in the same way that "Cash Machine ..." is designed not only to be a wonderful tool/resource for you to make money, but also as a way to help my downline dealers and me make some money and build our organization). Either way, mROI is still a wonderful program. Installation was a breeze. 5 minutes and I was up and running. The interface is straight-forward, allowing for simple campaign/listing creation, deletion and modification. The statistics section is fairly easy to use and makes it easy to get to each piece of visitor information (especially once you are used to the interface). All orders/actions are logged and tracked, and there is even a system for manually adding orders/actions to the system and connecting them with information already in the database about a visitor (if you know the visitor IP address). The program provides simple instructions for inserting code into your website to allow mROI to track visitor paths through your site. There is a fairly sophisticated fraud tracking feature which tracks by not only IP address but


also by cookies to see if someone is racking up your pay per click advertising costs by clicking on your listings multiple times. mROI also provides search engine traffic reports as well as order reports and campaign statistics. Easily drill down to individual visitors (no private info is collected - and no data could ever be tied to a particular person by name) to see how they navigated the site and what they did. There is also a pretty well done import/export feature which allows you to import all your google/yahoo search listings and then export new links to put back into google or yahoo search to track your campaigns. Neat little feature. And, of course, there is also a pretty complete user manual to help you understand how to use the various features of the program. I found mROI to be easy to install, easy to use and very capable of tracking my online advertising just as well as most any ad tracking service found online (and probably better than most). And, best of all it's absolutely free. No cost for the software and no monthly fees to pay for an online service. This amounts to a considerable savings. Now, there might be a catch. The company website for the authors of mROI ( currently "under construction", so the script cannot be downloaded from there. And, depending upon how much restructuring they might be doing of their business, it is possible that it may not be available from their website even after it is complete - I have no way of knowing. But, for the time being, there is a site where you can still get the free version of mROI (the same place that I downloaded it from and the link that is used below). Please let me know if you attempt using this link and find that it does not work. (go there)

STA - Split Test Accelerator ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

So, mROI gives you a way to track your visitors, and, to some extent, test their response to your ads and to your website itself. But, once you've found a "problem area" in your site that seems to be expelling website visitors, how do you fix it? How do you decide what to change and what not to? And, when you decide WHAT to change, how do you change it to make it better? How do you know for sure? You COULD, potentially, make things worse. How do you know with absolute certainty that you are changing the right page elements in the right way to IMPROVE response? Split testing, or, more specifically, Taguchi Testing. Now, I'm not going to go into a great deal of detail regarding why you should be split testing or why Taguchi testing can be a better option than split testing. That has all been discussed in a previous chapter. Here, I am simply going to give you a more complete review of the Taguchi testing software I use and recommend. One thing you should be aware of is that there are ALOT of Taguchi testing services/programs available, but most cost in the thousands of dollars to implement. To my knowledge, there are only 3 that offer this type of testing for under $1,000 (actually, under $500). One of them, the less expensive option (KaizenTrack), I have not used but have read is not well documented and can cause a user with minimal HTML/PHP coding experience a great deal of grief trying to implement. I can't say whether that is true or not, but I would


definitely think carefully about my purchase if I decided to try that particular option. The other two options are priced identically, and they have a higher pricetag than ANY other resource you will find recommended in this book. However, they also have the potential to yield the greatest increase in your income (potentially doubling or even tripling your income very quickly), so I think the pricetag is well worth it. One of the programs is more "wizard based", so it might be the simplest option for "newbies". However, it is not as flexible, so you may have trouble setting up your tests EXACTLY the way you want them with this software. It is called MultiTrackGenerator and you can easily find it on the web. This is not the program I use, but many do use it, and I've heard it works well. The program I'm actually using for my Taguchi testing is STA - Split Test Accelerator, and I really like it. No monthly fees, just the initial cost of the software download - which is steep, but worth it. Now, I haven't tried the others, so I don't personally have a way to compare, but I have a feeling that the interface of STA (the administration system) is not quite as "pretty" as the other options. However, at the same time, I find the interface easy to use and installation was pretty straight-forward. Setting up a campaign isn't that bad, once you know what elements of a webpage you want to test and what different variations you want to use. There is an excellent ebook that is provided as a help source for using STA, not only for using the actual program but also for help in understanding the power of Taguchi and how to make the most effective/efficient use of this testing method. Mr. Stone, the software's author, is very available for support. Each time I emailed him, I received a very prompt response to my questions. There is even a free version of STA which will test 6 different variations of ONE aspect of your page. So, you can test, for instance, 6 different headlines to see which one performs the best. This free version is installed and used in the same way that STA is, so you can try out the free program first to see if you are capable of making it work. If so, then you can consider upgrading to the full version. The free version is called T.E.S.T. (the Easy Split Tester), and you actually get a free ebook along with it to help you in maximizing the results of your split testing efforts. There is also a forum for posting questions, inquiries, etc. It's not super active, but Mr. Stone seems to answer forum posts quickly as well. There are a few interesting discussions on the forum already. The price for the full version of STA might be a little steep for a start-up business with little capital to invest, but when the time comes that you can afford it, it is WELL worth the price. Besides, you can always use Mr. Stone's free T.E.S.T. program for a little while for your split testing needs, and then bump up to STA later. If you're running an online business, you NEED to be split testing, and if you're going to do split testing, eventually you need to consider using the Taguchi method. STA is the best option I know of to do this type of testing. (go there)


Helpful Computing Tools Ok, we've probably got 90% of your internet, website, advertising, testing and tracking resources taken care of. There might be a few additional things you'll need here and there, but the resources you've already been given should handle the vast majority of what you need to do online to build your business. Now I want to focus on some other areas of your business that we can streamline and "power up" a bit. First, in this section, we're going to deal with some computer tools that will really speed things along for you, then we'll focus specifically on Adobe PDF documents (the universal document language for computers PDF - portable document format) and some tools that will help you work more efficiently with those documents. Lastly, we'll look at some miscellaneous online services that you might want to consider to finish out your home business building toolbox. So, let's first talk about some general computing programs that should help make your computing experience just a bit more "friendly".

Macromaker - FREE Often, in running a home business, you'll end up typing the same thing on your computer over and over again (or using the same mouse strokes repeatedly throughout the day). This can get tedious and time consuming. This is where a "macro" recording program can really come in handy. A macro, at least by my definition, is a mini-program that performs a series of keystrokes and or mouse commands automatically. So, for instance, maybe you type the same information in response to a certain email question about a dozen times every day. Well, it would be helpful to have a template that you could quickly insert into an email with just a few keystrokes. Or, how about that keystroke/mouse gesture sequence you have to go through every time you want to "XYZ". There are numerous tasks that I perform on my computer each day that require the exact same keystroke or mouse gesture/click sequence. Why not automate it so that just a simple key combination activates that sequence automatically? THAT is exactly what MacroMaker does. It's a terrific program. Now, if you don't really know much about macros or how they work or how to create them, going into a great level of detail about the many features this program may not help you. However, it's very simple to use. Installation is easy and I have had no conflicts or computer problems while using this software. To set up a new macro, just double-click the icon in your system tray and then click "add" to add a "recording". A recording is just what the name implies. MacroMaker will "record" all mouse strokes and/or keystrokes that you perform on the computer until you tell it to stop. You simply give the recording a name, indicate whether MacroMaker should record mouse strokes, keystrokes or both, then tell it which program you'll be using (or just Windows in general) and start the recording. Once the recording begins, MacroMaker will keep track of everything you do, exactly as you


do it. Then, when you're finished, you tell it to stop by hitting "Ctrl-Break" on your keyboard. Your recording is done. At that point, you create the actual Macro. In other words, you tell MacroMaker HOW to playback your recording and when it should do it. You can tell it to play your recording faster or slower than you originally recorded it and indicate what key combination you'll use to begin the macro. In addition, there are dozens special macro commands already built into MacroMaker that could come in very handy for creating complex macros for numerous purposes. You can have MacroMaker loop and replay the Macro multiple times before it stops. Have MacroMaker start a certain program, perform a certain number of actions/keystrokes/mouse strokes and then close the program back down again. This is an amazingly powerful piece of software that will really increase your productivity in a major way if you use it to its fullest extent. You will continually find new ways to use it to make your life easier. Besides, it's just so darned fun to watch your computer moving the mouse around and typing stuff in all by itself. (go there)

FreeRAM XP Pro - FREE What a nifty program, and so easy to use. One of the problems with just about any Windows installation is that it is just so terribly inefficient. This is especially true when discussing Windows' handling of RAM. In case you are not aware, RAM is "Random Access Memory". RAM is the component that holds recently accessed data for the CPU (central processing unit) to have quick access to. It is much faster than reading from a hard drive, so having a lot of RAM makes it quick to retrieve recently accessed files, applications, and other data. Having too little RAM will cause the whole computer to run slowly and sometimes can end up causing errors or the need to reboot the computer. Often, even if you have sufficient RAM, the longer your computer is left running without a restart (and the more programs that are run during that period) the more chance that the RAM that you have installed gets "tied up". Now, I'm not a complete expert on how RAM works, so this explanation may be a little simplistic, but it's close. Basically, Windows doesn't release all of your RAM after it has been used. In other words, let's say you have 512Mb of free RAM and then you start up a program. That particular program uses approximately 50 Mb of Ram to operate (that would probably be alot, but the number really doesn't matter). So, 512 - 50 and you're now down to 462Mb of free RAM. Unfortunately, when you close that program, instead of getting back 50 Mb of RAM, you might only get back 30. So, you have a net LOSS of 20MB of free RAM. Over time, as you open and close numerous programs, those losses add up, until, eventually, you have very little free RAM left, even though you may have no programs open at all. This is where FreeRAM XP Pro comes to the rescue. Not only can you have FreeRAM XP Pro release this tied up RAM at any time with the click of a button, but you can also tell FreeRAM XP Pro to release a certain amount of RAM whenever your level of free RAM goes below the level you specify (and only when CPU use is below whatever level you specify). This automatic release of RAM can be very useful and save you alot of headaches. There are a number of interesting features of this program which seem to set it apart from others. Some don't really mean much to me, but might to those who know just a bit more


about how RAM functions at a detailed level. Those that seem like they would be useful to computer geeks and newbies alike are as follows: 1) The ability to "stop" a RAM freeing operation (in case the program happens to get "hung up" and can't free the amount of RAM you specify). This should really only happen if you've configured the program in a very strange manner. 2) The "AutoFree" option which allows FreeRAM to decide how much memory to free without causing a temporary computer slowdown. 3) An advanced tray icon that allows you to access just about all of FreeRAM's features without actually pulling up the program window. 4) "RAM-cuts" - a unique feature that allows you to set up a desktop shortcut which will first free up a certain amount of RAM using FreeRAM and then open a specified program (maybe a program that requires a considerable level of free RAM to operate properly). 5) Additional Windows memory-related tweaks that may also have an effect on system performance. FreeRAM XP Pro is a terrific program that really does what it says it does. It helps your computer run much more efficiently, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to use it. Highly, highly recommended. (go there)

TuneXP - FREE TuneXP is a little bit different type of program. For the most part, it is a one time use type software. Install it, run it, check off the applicable system tweaks and restart your computer. Done. It's VERY simple --- and effective. Even on a new, "clean" computer with no software installation "leftovers" and messy file structure, I noticed a considerable improvement in boot times, shut-down times and general PC performance. I definitely recommend this program. One thing to note. READ THE MANUAL as you are using the software. If you don't look at the manual, you will have no idea which tweaks to enable and which to disable on YOUR computer. The manual makes it very clear which tweaks you should enable and which ones you might not want to, depending upon your computer configuration or how you use it. I found the manual easy to use, simply written and effective. I knew exactly which tweaks were meant for me, and which were not. With TuneXP you will be able to streamline usage of your memory and filesystem structure, IRQ handling, internet usage and a few other miscellaneous aspects of your computer. Another highly recommended program for anyone who wants to get the most out of their computer without having to know all the ins and outs of tweaking their operating system structure. (go there)

JustZIPit- FREE Simple, yet effective. JustZIPit is just what it says. Once it's installed, you simply "right-click" on a zipped/compressed file and select the "JustUnZIPit" option (or simply double-click on the file). No options or configuration. The program will simply create a new directory containing the compressed files. That's it. Done. Want to zip up a group of files or a folder?


Just select them, right click on the files/folder and select the "JustZIPit" option. Done. It just works. Many compression, decompression programs are so "feature rich" that they are simply overkill. 99% of the time, all you need is just to simply zip or unzip a file or set of files. You don't need all the special options. Quite frankly, I had been using a much more bloated program and thought it was pretty decent. But, once I used JustZIPit, I realized how much simpler file compression/decompression could be. I won't likely go back. JustZIPit is a terrifically simple program that does exactly what it needs to do and nothing more. Perfect. ( go there)

Back2Zip- FREE Ok, same company as above, just a different program. Back2zip is one I don't personally use because I already have a backup solution that I am happy with. However, it looks like an excellent free solution for your data backup needs. And, once again, as with the JustZIPit program, Back2Zip appears to be incredibly simple to use. Just select all the folders you'd like backed up, then tell the program where to put the compressed backup file. Done. Back2Zip will check the files you specified every 20 minutes for changes. If anything is modified, Back2Zip will make the change to the backup file. Simple. Now, Back2Zip may not have as many features and configuration options as other programs on the market, but it is certainly a simple way to make sure your data is protected. Of course, any backup solution is only as safe as the media you save the backup files to. So, make sure you're saving your backups to a separate storage unit, either an external hard drive or to CDs/DVDs. If you're saving to an external hard drive, be sure that it is UNplugged when you're not backup up to it. That means unplugged from your computer AND unplugged from any power source. This way, there is no chance of a power surge corrupting the data on your main drive AND your backup drive at the same time. At any rate, I am a firm believer in the value of backing up any critical data that you have on your computer. I have first-hand experience with what can happen when you don't. Luckily, I didn't lose too much, but I am acutely aware of how much worse my data loss could have been. To get Back2Zip for simple data backup, you can use the following link. (go there)

Carbonite Online Backup ... Âť To Avoid Paying Me a Commission:

Back2Zip is a great backup program, especially for free, but, it's not all that feature rich and it's lacking a couple of really important aspects to a good backup program: 1) Backups should be automatic 2) You should have off-site backups Of course, the reason that backups should be automatic is because, when they are not, our backups are at the mercy of our schedule and our motivation to backup. I know, in my case, I always have the best intentions of doing a backup every X days, but it never happens, if


it's left up to me manually doing the backup. EVERYTHING always seems more important. I'll get to it later ... 2 years later. That is NOT an effective backup plan. So, the better way to go is to have a program of some sort that will automatically backup the files and folders that you feel are most important on whatever schedule you set - and, once you set it, you can, more or less, forget it. The program runs in the background when you tell it to, or at night while you're sleeping - or at least NOT working on the computer. Either way, this scheduling is crucial to a good backup strategy. Alternatively, using a program that will continuously backup ANY files that are created, edited or deleted, as it happens will also do the trick, because, again, it's automated and doesn't rely on YOU to do the backup manually - which, most likely, will never happen. The second issue I mentioned was the location of your backups. Ideally, if you have critical business or personal files that you can't afford to lose, you should have them backed up in more than one location, and one of those locations should be OUTSIDE of your home or office. If all of your backups are simply on an external hard drive or on CDs or DVDs that you store in the house or office, then any disaster at your home or office that might damage your computer and/or the files on it, has just as much potential to destroy your backups because they are located in the same place. Now, certainly, there is good reason to have LOCAL backups, in case of an unexpected hard drive failure or something, but, having an OFF-SITE backup solution is also a good idea. It's best to have both, if possible, but, if you can only have one or the other, I believe that off-site backup is the safer way to go. Carbonite is an excellent, and quite inexpensive, solution to both of these issues. For $50 per YEAR (there is a free 15 day trial available), you can backup as much of your computer's hard drive as you like (unlimited storage) to their online servers. Carbonite automatically backs up your most critical files as they are modified or created (or on a schedule of your choosing). Carbonite is smart enough to know when you're working on your computer, so that it doesn't slow your computer or your internet connection at all. It does it's work primarily when you're NOT working or using the internet, so you won't even notice it's there. Installation is simple enough for just about anyone to complete. I had a few hiccups in my own installation, but this is because I have 4 different security programs running on my computer at any given time - and they were getting in the way. Otherwise, once those issues were addressed, I had no troubles at all. Even though I've only just begun using the service, so far all has gone smoothly (except for the minor problem with my installation). Of course, I haven't had to restore any files yet, but I've read numerous positive reviews of this service that have indicated that file restoration is just as easy as the initial setup and backup (which is why I decided to give it a shot in the first place). For $50 per year, this is an incredibly inexpensive and secure backup solution. How much is YOUR data worth? (go there)

WinDIRstat - FREE Another simple but useful and effective program. Basically, WinDIRstat allows you to know


EXACTLY which files/folders are taking up the most space on your hard drive. Open the program and select any drive/folder you like. WinDIRstat will search through that entire section of the hard drive including all subfolders and files. Then, the program will give you a directory tree with an indication of how much space is taken up by each file/directory. Drill down as far as you like to find out just what programs, folders and files are taking up unnecessary space on your hard drive. I think this is an invaluable program. You shouldn't need it often, but when you do, it comes in very handy. (go there)

DeepBurner - FREE If you work with computers at all, there is one thing you are sure to need to do. At some point you will have to burn data, audio or video files to a CD or DVD. Of course, Windows XP and Vista have built in software for burning a CD. For data, Windows itself can burn files to a CD. For audio, Microsoft Media Player can be used. However, in general, the built-in tools available through your OS (Operating System) will be lacking in features and often slow and inefficient. So, alternative programs will often be used. The alternative that comes with most computers from the factory is Roxio. I've used it, and it works, but if you do much work with CDs you may want to look to something else. The free program DeepBurner is definitely my choice for burner replacement. It has a full feature set and seems to do all you ask it to with very little fuss. Installation was a breeze and I had absolutely no problems using this software at all. With DeepBurner you can copy any file to any disk. Create ISO images. Write ISO images to disk. Create bootable disks and audio disks. Create multi-session disks that you can come back and write to again and again without writing over what's already on the disk. The interface is simple and easy to use. It takes up minimal system resources when performing disk burns. In fact, I'm typing this review as a am burning a DVD and I can't even tell it's doing anything (with the exception of the status bar that tells me how far it has progressed). It's also fast. DeepBurner completed writing a nearly 4Gb ISO file to my hard drive in only 7 minutes (and it's estimated time of completion upon starting that task was dead on. The same amount of data burned to a DVD disk took under 25 minutes. Other burners can often take well over an hour to complete the same task, sometimes up to 2 hours. DeepBurner just flat out works. It's FAST, easy to use, takes up minimal system resources, and has caused no system lockups whatsoever. I give it a perfect score. Get it. (go there)

BootIt NG BootIt Next Generation (NG) is a boot manager which allows you to choose, at computer start-up what partition/hard drive you would like to boot from, but it will do SOOOOOO much more than that. With BootIt you can also create and delete hard drive partitions (partitions are simply divisions of your hard drive that act like independent hard drives within the actual hard drive - put your Operating System on one partition, your programs on another, docs & data on another, pictures on another, etc.). Don't like the size or location of a partition? Move it. Deleted a partition that you shouldn't have? BootIt will UN-delete it for you.


Use BootIt to show or hide partitions on your drive depending upon certain conditions. Boot from a partition on a portable USB hard drive. Create shortcuts in one Operating System Desktop that will reboot the computer directly into another without any intervention from you. VERY convenient if you have multiple operating systems running on your computer and you access them regularly. Create an image of any of your partitions and then copy it to another partition. This is incredibly useful. Put multiple operating systems on a SINGLE partition. Quite frankly, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that, but I am entirely confident, based on my usage of the program already, that BootIt will handle that operation better than any other program available at any price. Maybe there are multiple users of your computer and each user has different partitions that they use. Set up a different boot menu for each user with their own username and password. Set up properly, one user won't even know any other partitions exist. Only the ones that show up on his/her personal boot menu. I've actually chosen to run two independent copies of Windows XP on my computer (one for testing of new software and OS tweaks and one to remain "clean"). So, I installed one copy of XP on the first partition of my computer, installed all the software I KNOW I want, tweaked out Windows with all the performance modifications and upgrades I could to enhance productivity and then used BootIt to create a perfect "image" of that installation. Then, I "pasted" that image to the next partition for my second Windows XP installation. With BootIt, not only can I choose which copy to run when the computer boots up, I can also make it so that neither XP installation even knows that the other exists. So, when I boot one of the copies, it thinks that IT is on the "C" partition and recognizes the rest of my partitions (for data and programs and downloads, etc.) as D, E, F, G, etc. Then, if I boot from the other installation, which is actually on the second partition (normally considered D), the first partition is hidden, making this installation THINK that it is in the "C" partition, thereby making all of my other partitions fall right into place as D, E, F, G, etc. I install all of my programs on the "E" partition, documents and data on "F", downloads on "G", web development files on "H" and so on. No matter which XP installation I choose to boot from, it still "sees" all of these partitions the same way and labels them with the same letters because the other XP partition is invisible. This is an awesome feature. Other boot managers claim to have this feature, but I tried 3 of them and none of them worked properly. BootIt worked flawlessly the first time and every time since. Now that I have used it, I would absolutely NOT be without this program. This program was an integral part in the setup of my new computer (to make it nearly bulletproof against problems with spyware, viruses, left-over program installations, file corruption, my own stupidity, etc). It is also an integral part of my daily USE of my new computer. BootIt worked perfectly as soon as I installed it. It has done everything I have asked it to do, in exactly the manner I expected. Documentation is excellent and clearly explains how to accomplish whatever you want to do. In the few cases where I was still just a bit unclear, a quick trip to the maker's website provided me with plenty of additional support to figure it out. I am incredibly satisfied with BootIt. After having used other boot managers that all fell short of claims, BootIt was a breath of fresh air. I was sold the moment I started using it.


If you have ANY intention of installing multiple operating systems (or multiple copies of the same OS), repartitioning your drive, resizing your partitions or creating images of any of your partitions, this is the one program that will do ALL of that and more, for significantly less cost than other commercial programs that will only perform one or two of those functions. BootIt NG is a true bargain. (go there)

BestSync Folder Synchronizer Another program that performs every bit as well or better than competing products, but at considerably less cost. One family outing to McD's would cost as much. Folder Synchronizer is a program used to perform full or partial backups of files/folders/partitions as well as file/folder/partition synchronization. This is a great program for LOCAL backups that could be used in conjunction with Carbonite Online Backup for an absolutely bulletproof backup scheme. Folder Synchronizer is another program that has performed flawlessly ever since the first download. Installation was simple. As a backup solution I have been very pleased with this program. You can configure it to do your backups in just about any way you like, although this flexibility does create just a bit of complexity in the process of setting up a backup entry. Unlike many backup utilities, the BestSync option has the ability to backup files that are in use at the time of the backup via the "Volume Shadow Copy Service" of Windows XP. This allows you to backup operating system files, database files that may be in use and so on. Very useful. Folder Synchronizer also now has the ability to backup files immediately when they are changed. So, if you have files being backed up from partition C to partition Z, as soon as a file changes on partition C, it is copied to partition Z. Synchronize your files in any direction between two folders. In other words, copy files from C to D, D to C or back and forth between them simultaneously. You choose. Encryption and Compression of backups is possible when transferring files to a portable USB storage device. That way, if you lose it, the files are safely secured. Numerous different types of scheduling options are available. Backup is possible to just about any storage option. Backup to USB flash drive, USB hard drive, FTP server, network drive, etc. Schedule backups/synchronization to occur on Windows startup, media connection to the computer or on a calendar based schedule. You can even have the program backup any files that are overwritten by a synchronization event. Backups of the backups. If you have the program only backup changed files since the last synchronization, then backups after the first one typically take only a few minutes, sometimes only a few seconds, depends upon how much you modify the files in a particular folder or partition. Either way, it's quick and doesn't tie up your computer. Feel free to do any work you like while the program is operating in the background. You won't likely even notice it's doing anything. Of course, there are certainly other features I haven't written about, but these are the primary ones I've so far been able to take advantage of. I just can't stress enough how much I like this program. It is incredibly easy to use, has not locked up once. Not even a little hiccup. Perfect performance since day one and an integral part of my computer backup


strategy. Highly recommended. (go there)


Computer Security Well, it's not as much fun as other topics we could cover, but you really can't afford to ignore it. If you're going to have a home business, chances are you're going to need to use a computer, and you'll likely be connected to the Internet. If so, then there are thousands of "hackers" out there that would like to infect your computer and suck valuable and sensitive information from it in order to use it for their own gain. As such, you have to be careful and secure your computer appropriately. Quite frankly, it doesn't really require all that much. Unless some hacker knows that you personally have some specific info that he/she needs and can't get from anyone else, they won't waste time trying to get into your computer, if it is secured as well as or better than the average Jane/Joe. It's not worth their time. They have programs that scour the internet looking from "open" doors that they can step through. As long as you close those doors, they won't waste time trying to get into your computer. They'll move on to someone else who DIDN'T close those doors. The software reviewed below will help you effectively close those doors without having to pay anything for the privilege.

AVG AntiVirus - FREE I'm not an anti-virus expert, so I'm not going to pretend to be able to go into alot of detail on this. But, I can tell you a few things. The free version of AVG uses the same scanning "engine" as the commercial version which has VERY high virus detection rates and VERY low false positive rates. AVG integrates pretty easily with your email program, so that it will scan all incoming and outgoing email. It provides real-time scanning of all files as well as scheduled scans of your computer. I had no problems with the installation of AVG, and it has always performed well for me. While having AVG installed on my and my wife's computer for the past few years, neither one of us has ever run into any problems with viruses (although, to be fair, most viruses come in by email, and we both use very "virus-safe" email programs - ie. NOT MS email programs). I'd say that just about covers it. It's a good program that does what it needs to do and doesn't cost anything to use. What could be better. (go there)

Avast AntiVirus - FREE Since the initial writing of this ebook, I have switched anti-virus programs to Avast, not because AVG wasn't doing a good job, but because I ended up with a conflict with another program. Avast got around the conflict, so I've stuck with it. Since it is also free, it was an easy switch. This software too has kept me virus free for a good while, and I've been plenty happy with it's performance.


Either way you go, AVG or AVAST, I think you'll find that you're well protected with frequent virus database updates, so, eenie - meenie - minie - moe... (go there)

FilseClab Firewall - FREE Well, not being a firewall expert either, I will say only this. After installing FilseClab on my new computer, I visited numerous different websites that will do a scan of your computer to tell you if you have any "holes" in your firewall protection (primarily competing firewall venders, but also some independent sites). All of them said that my computer was very well protected and had MINIMAL security risks. To put this into perspective, read the reviews of any of the major firewall products on the market and you'll see that they ALL have holes, some larger than others, for hackers to get through. Of all of them, I'd say FilseClab had no more holes than any other, and probably less. And, best of all, it won't cost you anything. Can't beat that. (go there)

Comodo Firewall - FREE Once again, as with the anti-virus situation, I've had to switch my Firewall, and, again, it was not due to the software doing a poor job of protecting my computer. That was never an issue. However, when you have as many programs installed on your computer as I do, it's not at all uncommon to find software incompatibilities that pop up. When they do, you either find a way to work around them or you have to switch software. Since I couldn't find a way around it, I made the switch to Comodo. Now, Comodo also offers anti-virus software, but, for some unknown reason, I've had trouble running it along with the Comodo firewall. So, I'm still using Avast anti-virus, but Comodo for my firewall. As with FilseClab, I have had no intrusions to my computer since installation (at least that I'm aware of) and security sites on the net say that I'm locked up pretty tight. Either one you choose is free, so no big either way. (go there)

Microsoft Defender - FREE Ok, I know, Microsoft for a security program? I admit it, it seems strange. Using anti-spyware software produced by the king of security holes is a bit like asking the Krispy Kreme donut delivery guy to help you stick to your new diet plan. But, believe it or not, Defender does a pretty darn good job of protecting your computer from spyware. Defender offers scheduled deep scanning as well as on-demand scanning. It also offers real-time protection to keep your computer safe while you're browsing. Defender automatically updates itself with the latest spyware database and (if you choose) will integrate itself with Microsoft's network of Defender users that help notify Microsoft of new threats quickly. I found Defender to be easy to use, it does not seem to be a system resource hog and


scans with other programs show that it is doing a pretty good job of keeping my computer spyware free. So, for once, MS does it right when it comes to security (although you still might want to run another anti-spyware program alongside of the MS product, just because no anti-spyware program is going to get it right all the time). (go there)


Adobe PDF Tools Since PDF files are the most universal file format available, it pays to have software on your computer that will allow you to effectively read, create and modify PDF files. Of course, you can purchase Adobe Acrobat and you'll be able to do all that, but it is incredibly expensive. There are free programs available to help you do most of what you'll likely need to do with PDF documents. This section will provide you with a few that I use.

FoxIt PDF Reader - FREE As you may already know, just about any computer you purchase, these days, will have Adobe Acrobat Reader already pre-installed on it. And, if it doesn't, you can go to the Adobe website and download it for free. This would allow you to view any PDF document that you like. So, why mess with another PDF reader? Well, primarily, it comes down to system resources and speed of operation. Adobe Acrobat Reader loads slowly and tends to hog system resources. FoxIt PDF Reader takes up little system resources (so it doesn't slow down other programs) and starts up and runs very quickly and efficiently. That's pretty much it. The features that you use in Adobe Reader will be present in the FoxIt program as well. It's a personal preference. Adobe's Reader will work just fine for you, but if you get tired of waiting for it to load or just want a program that's a little less resource intense, FoxIt is the one to choose. (go there)

Print to PDF Programs - FREE I'm going to offer up three options here that may help you out in this area. I do not use these because I have actually purchased Adobe Acrobat (the full version) which allows me to print any document to PDF, so I don't need these. But, they are options I would certainly consider if I did not already have Acrobat installed. There are numerous PDF printer drivers out there and quite a few are free. However, the two I'm going to list here seem to get the best reviews of any of the other free PDF printer drivers available. I would definitely consider using them first. PrimoPDF prints quickly and supports secure PDF documents and adding of document info to your printed PDFs. A few people have indicated that the resulting PDF filesizes are a bit larger than other programs they've used. PDF reDirect looks like another very good option. Also free and supporting many of the same features as PrimoPDF, as well as two that Primo doesn't seem to offer: the ability to specify exactly how the PDF should initially display when someone opens it (NUMEROUS different options) and the ability to merge more than one file (even different file types) into the same PDF document.


I actually did some brief testing with PDF reDirect as I wrote this, and I can say this much. The installation went without a hitch. I processed a 200 page document (THIS BOOK), and the entire process was done in less than 10 seconds (many programs, including Adobe would take much longer). I also used the merge function to put multiple documents together into one PDF. Flawless. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with PDF reDirect and may even use it as my PDF printer of choice unless I run into any troubles. UPDATE: I've run across one other really powerful PDF printer that should be included in this list. It's called PDFCreator and it is actually now my primary PDF printer because I have found that it is the only one that seems to faithfully reproduce my documents to PDF EVERY time. The other PDF printers that I've used, including those above, had troubles with some (although only a few) documents. PDFCreatorhas not. In addition, with PDFCreatoryou can add security to your PDF documents, merge PDF documents, and even print to multiple OTHER formats besides PDF. It's very useful and it is also free.

196 Helping you enjoy more of your life ..... by helping you enjoy more success in your business

Pulling It All Together Alright. By now you should be ready to put together a plan of action to get your new business up and running or to get your current business on track to increased efficiency and productivity. Obviously, this book is not the "be all and end all" of home business books, but it is designed to give you most of what you're going to need to get yourself going in the right direction. Hopefully, you've learned a great deal and you've added a significant number of new resources to your business building arsenal - most of which should have been free or very low cost. Of course, you'll learn much along the way as your business grows and evolves. You'll read other books that focus more specifically on different aspects of your businss. Some will be great. Others .... not so much. Either way, try and learn something that will help you build your business - even if it's simply an education in what NOT to do. Always be open to new ways of doing what you're doing, new programs or services to help you do it more efficiently. However, if what you're doing is working well, don't change just to change. Be sure you have a pretty solid reason for making adjustments and make sure that you test and track those changes to be sure they've actually created an improvement in the productivity and/or profitability of your business. If you don't see an improvement, be willing to admit it and take a step backward to what was already working. Above all else, enjoy the business you're in. Make sure it's a business that allows you to enjoy your family and grow in your relationship with the Creator of the Universe. No matter how much money your business generates, it's not worth a hill of beans if your spiritual and family life is in shambles. Take care of the first things first and everything else will fall into place. Treat customers, business associates and potential customers and associates with a greater level of respect than you feel YOU deserve. Most of us spend much of our time worrying about the fact that people are not paying us the respect we "deserve" when, in reality, if we focused more on how we treat other people, most of the time, we'd be treated well ourselves. You're not as important as you think you are (and neither am I). Consider others better than yourself and treat them that way. You will be rewarded for your selflessness. That's just the way the world works. I wish you all the best, in business and life, and pray that you will never allow money to become so important that you lose sight of who you are and what is important to you. Money is simply a means to an end. If money is the end goal, there is something wrong. Likewise, if money becomes the means to a selfish end, there is also something wrong. Give generously of your time and resources. Do more for others than you would expect


them to do for you. Love people more than they deserve to be loved because someday you're going to need someone else to do the same for you. Sincerely, Michael Kaufman


Cash Machine on a ShoeString