Get a life by outsourcing tasks for your online business

Has your online business endeavor taken over your life? Are you finding it hard to balance the business with your other life? You know the life of a wife, mother, husband, dad, or friend – that life. If you are finding that it is harder and harder to complete the tasks that earn money for your business, and you’re spending more and more time on tasks such as customer service, loading shopping carts, setting up sales pages – tasks that don’t directly earn money for your business such as product creation or idea development.

Good news, you can outsource any task that you either do not want to do, or simply don’t have time to do yourself. You can become the manager of your business and have an entire army writing information products, creating sales pages, setting up your websites, article marketing, social networking and more all based on your ideas and direction. In fact, you can even hire an online business manager to manage your army so that you only need to deal with one person. The possibilities are endless when it comes to outsourcing in your online business. Only your budget and your imagination can stand in your way.

The trick is knowing where to start when you begin outsourcing. If your budget is small, then you will need to start small. Pick the task that you dislike doing the most and outsource that one task. The time you free up, and the relief you’ll feel when someone else is doing the task you can’t stand to do will be more than worth whatever you can afford to pay someone. You’ll free yourself up to be more innovative, and get rid of a huge load of stress in your life by giving up doing tasks you can’t stand doing.

The other trick to outsourcing is knowing how to let go of the process and focus on the results. If you try to micromanage those you outsource to you will lose people really fast. Remember that contractors are not employees; they are business owners, just like you. The difference is they are earning money doing the tasks you dislike doing. You are earning your living doing tasks you enjoy doing or are good at doing. In a perfect world you’ll find people to do all the things you dislike doing so that you can concentrate on the money makers you like doing.

In business, this is called maximizing your efficiencies. You do the things you’re really good at doing, and you’ll get better and better at doing them. Let others do the things they’re really good at doing, and they’ll get better and better at doing them! Your online business, with the right people to outsource to, can become a very well running and well-oiled machine that makes you and your entire team a lot of money.

Many businesses, both bricks and mortar and online businesses use various forms of outsourcing. Businesses outsource to call centers because it is an efficient way to provide customer service. Businesses outsource web design so that they do not need to have a web designer on staff. Businesses outsource to a Virtual Assistant to do administrative work and other tasks so that they do not need someone on staff and only need to pay for the actual time needed to complete tasks. What would you outsource right now?

Is Linkbait Bad or Good?

Many marketers subscribe to a vague idea that “linkbait” is something to be avoided. Said the young male owner of a wildly popular blog recently: “What’s `linkbai’t? I always get it mixed up with `jailbait’. I end up imagining a hottie in a skimpy tank top.”

But even though he was being facetious during the course of an admittedly lively discussion, there is a disreputable air about the term `linkbait’. And no wonder… What it actually refers to is the practice placing a piece of writing on your blog specifically designed to attract a furor of comments and backlinks.

But hold on… Isn’t that every blogger’s dream?

Yes… but it all boils down to that not-so-small matter of relevancy – the intangible but very real hallmark of “good” blog, with a solid reputation.

Just as there are many shades of grey in between black and white, however, so it is with linkbait. Some documents and posts blogs feature are akin to the Toronto Sun’s skimpily-clad “Sunshine Girl” – strictly there to make the Sun’s predominantly male demographic buy the paper.

Shady or Perfectly Legal?

Linkbait is nothing more or less than written content that attracts a buzz, comments and, above all, links. Whether or not linkbait is good or bad, shady or perfectly ethical depends on two things:

1. The blog’s main purpose and intent

2. The linkbait post or product’s target and the poster’s intent

Types of posts or content that seem to attract much linking:

– Definitive guides with high value content
– Controversial opinion pieces (often taking the opposite of a popular, universal view
– “Exposure” type pieces
– Inflammatory pieces designed to scar someone’s (or some organization’s) good name
– Blatantly dishonest pieces, designed strictly to titillate and grab links
– Provocative or crude sexual content

As you can instantly see, the first two types of what some call “linkbait” aren’t on the shady side at all. A definitive guide with high value content is worthy of reward (in the form of links): And as for controversial viewpoints, not only do we have freedom of speech in North America, but intelligent, reasoned controversy stops people growing complacent and stale.

If the controversy is offered with dishonest motives, strictly to create links, it becomes less praiseworthy and its motives highly suspect; but still, only the poster himself knows his original intent.

The Downright Ugly

“Exposure” type pieces are sure-fire “bait”, as well as negative in focus. While this usually attracts passionate reader interest, both pro and con, it’s a risky maneuver; one which can result in a sharp loss of subscribers after the initial reader obsession… Or, possibly, a lawsuit.

Inflammatory pieces are the baser end of the “controversy” scale. Blatantly dishonest pieces can be likened to tabloid headlines (and there’s a lesson or two to be learned there, no matter how much one may dislike them). And as for provocative sexual content, well, only Google seems to be allowed to put it on the web and not have their page rank plummet, from what I saw recently of a Google ad that appeared on my friend’s 16-year-old daughter’s totally innocent but Adsense-optimized blog.

The point is, you’re playing with fire if you yield to the temptations of the shady side of linkbait. Amid all that is changing in the online world these days – and it’s changing fast and furiously – there is still one component that can draw a steady stream of backlinks more reliably, in the long run, than any other strategy…

Highly original, valuable, personally-written content.

Effective Time Management for Small Business Owners

Effective time management secrets for small business are only secrets because most business owners start out with the idea that their business is so unique, so different, and so special that they are going to break the mold. They’re not going to do things the way everyone else does, they’re going to just do what feels right at the time. Many businesses function fine with this method of operation for a while. But, either success is never achieved, or accidental success happens, and the business owner is unprepared for success, and thus fails.

For a business to enjoy long-term success, it’s important to practice effective time management skills. If you don’t have time management skills, it’s important to develop them because without the right skills everything can get out of hand. But, as you learn the secrets to time management you’ll also learn that you can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself. After all, ultimately, you are the one who chooses what to do with your time.

Create a Goal — Write down your plans in concrete terms. What is your ultimate goal this year, or month or week? What do you want to accomplish? Write it all down in very specific detail. One really good method for writing down goals is to use a flow chart. Starting with the end-result, and work your way backwards to today.
Make a Schedule — From the flow chart fill in your calendar with a daily schedule of tasks that will enable you to reach your goal. Each day simply by looking at your calendar you’ll know the “must do” tasks of the day that will help you reach each and every goal.
Use the Tools — There are many tools available to you for time and task management such as Google Documents, Dropbox, Central Desktop, Basecamp and other project and file management systems. No matter what kind of business you own there are tools that can make your life easier and help your business run smoother.
Delegate — Even if you do not have a single employee you can delegate tasks to family members or consider hiring someone or retaining a contractor to help when you get really busy and need the extra help. In addition, don’t forget that outsourcing household tasks is just as helpful as outsourcing tasks that are directly business related.

Managing your time as a small business owner can be challenging but it is not impossible. You can create more free time for yourself, as well as more organization during working hours if you take the time to do it. Try keeping notes for an entire month of each daily task that you do, writing down how you do it, what tools you use, how long it takes, and whether it is an income producing or non income producing task. Once you’ve separated out non income producing task from income producing tasks it’ll be easier to find items that are easily delegated, outsourced, or automated. If you’ve kept good notes about the tasks, you’ll be able to hand it off to someone else easier.

Can the Benefits of Partnerships Outweigh the Risks?

Partnerships are risky business but for those who are brave enough to step up to the plate and hit a home run they can be very rewarding. Joint ventures by definition are risky. On the other hand they can be very rewarding for your business if done successfully. Below are five benefits of a successful partnership.

1. Workload is shared
Everyone knows that working together as a team is far more productive than working alone. You complement each other’s gifts and talents. Let’s say you are a great website designer and graphic artist but have problems creating copy for your sites. You can partner up with someone who is gifted at copywriting and together you can create websites and copy twice as fast than doing it solo.

2. Your credibility is increased
Joining another person in a partnership builds your credibility in the eyes of your readers, customers and clients. Knowing that someone has your back is comforting because your client knows that if anything unexpected should occur, like an illness, your partner can take over and fulfill the job.

If you partner with someone who has been in your niche longer than you, yes this would be your competition, you will gain credibility faster. You have the benefit of your partner’s experience and their referral to their dedicated mailing list of fans and customers.

3. Your reach is increased
You can reach more people when two or more email lists are joined than on your own. Earlier this year a friend took part in a joint giveaway in which she offered a great product in exchange for signing up for her mailing list. She partnered with other business owners who were trying to reach the same audience and they each sent out emails to their lists cross promoting the partners’ products.

Even though she was giving away a $27 product to each email subscriber, she partnered with a number of people in her same field or niche and grew her list considerably. This practice also benefitted all of her partners.

Sure, some may unsubscribe as soon as they receive the gift but some do stay and potentially become regular customers.

4. Shared Profits
Once you develop a strong relationship with one or two partners you can start developing financially rewarding partnerships. You can both promote each other’s products to your mailing list or readers. You might also develop additional products jointly that increase the value of your individual product thus making more money for your partner and yourself.

5. Reach your Business goals quicker
Your business goals are set and you have a goal of earning your first $25,000 dollars within the first year of business. This is a lofty goal but you can do it with the right partnerships. If you connect with someone or a group of business men and women who share your same goal you can work together to meet it quicker. Having your partners work toward your success alongside you will get you to your desired result sooner than working alone.

Whether you are just starting out or been in business for years, partnerships, when done right, with trusted business associates, can prove to be very beneficial. It is a risk but if you are willing to take the risk, jump head long into the unknown, you will reap great benefits and success.

How to Become a StumbleUpon Superstar

When you’re first starting out on StumbleUpon, you might find yourself wondering how StumbleUpon Superstars end up with so many stumble buddies and fans. I asked one Superstumbler who defies all the established rules with his screaming neon web background and too-small, eye-straining text.

His answer was unexpected, to say the least: “I don’t have a secret. I just say what I want, and ignore all those ‘vote for my site’, ‘please stumble me’ messages I keep getting.”

In going through his site, however, it’s possible to glean the following things:

– His blog deals with a “hot” topic

– It’s been open for business since 2002, making him an authority veteran in this present day and age

– His blog titles are short, punchy and intriguing

– He never, ever sounds like he’s writing what he “should” be writing

– He finishes each post with a “call to action” (even if it’s not always an obvious one)

– He has a strong, individual “voice” with palpable authenticity

In other words, he’s no “extra” in the movie, trying to blend in with all the others. He’s the quirky, memorable character who catches your attention.

Now you may not feel up to sporting a pink Mohawk or riding around on a Harley with a pot-bellied pig, but there are definitely things you can do to avoid coming off as generic, bland or just plain annoying.

1. Never, ever post a stumble for the sake of posting something

2. Don’t post a blitz of stumbles at the same time every single day. (If you do have a rigid stumbling schedule, use to set your posts to be published spread out at different times).

3. Don’t friend people just for the sake of racking up followers. Make sure they’re really people you would consider hanging out with in real life.

4. Don’t even think of your blog or website as “a marketing tool” – even if marketing is your lifeblood. Think of it as your unique voice in the wilderness.

5. Don’t spam. If you churn out links to your new post every single day, only the fans you already have will check them out. The rest will quickly learn to tune out.

6. Don’t use profanity, pontificate or treat people impatiently when they comment.

Of course, my Superstumbling friend sums all this succinctly up with: “Don’t be an arrogant jerk”. He also points out: “Adding someone doesn’t mean you’re friends with them. It’s like being the new kid at a new school: If you try too hard, nobody likes you. If you just be yourself, there are those who’ll hate you and those who love you. If you’re not being an arrogant jerk and you pay attention to them, most people like you.”

I think he’s just about summed it up. To this I would perhaps: Don’t be shy to rate content you don’t find interesting with the “thumbs down” button. It’s an important part of refining your stumbles, so don’t rely solely on clicking your “thumbs up” button to make contact with relevant stumblers.

Always end your posts with a reminder for your reader to stumble your content, if he or she likes it. Don’t be shy!

And speaking of paying attention, you can glean the biggest tip of all from our Superstar’s Tagline…

“Artists are leaders, never followers.”

Make Money Coming & Going With Events

Events are a great way to add new revenue streams to your business model. If you have anything to promote, or teach to your audience events are the best way to do it. Your event can be either online or offline. Both types of events have the potential to boost your income exponentially. What type of event you choose to have depends a lot on your budget and your audience.

Webinars are given online using technology that allows the host, along with other speakers to give presentations online to other people who access the event from their own location. A service like, or Adobe Connect are good choices for your webinar. You can sell tickets or give the event free and still earn money.

Live events are usually given at a location such as a hotel with rooms that offer a podium, presentation technology for sharing visuals, as well as comfortable places for the attendees to sit and usually food is offered too. These types of events cost more money to host but you can also give these events free or charge for them.

To make money with your event, whether online or offline, you need a product and/ or service to promote, or the event can be the product. However, it’s usually more productive to have several ways to earn money from your event.

Sell an eReport — Create an eReport about a topic that has the potential to carry over to an event. Usually a “how to” works very well and can translate into a webinar, a book, a service and personal coaching. The more products and services you can offer from one idea the better.

Charge a Fee — Make the event a direct money maker by charging a fee for the event. There is no reason you have to give away your time for free. If you give the event free there is a possibility that people will sign up and not even show up. By charging you are setting the tone and expectations for your event.

Promote a Book — Turn the information that you created in the eReport into either a physical book, an eBook, or both. People who attend your event will enjoy buying it after they’ve heard you speak at your event. If you have a physical book, and a live event it’s a great opportunity to have a book signing for sales after the event is over.

Offer a Service — If you’re teaching people “how to” do anything, you can also offer to do it for them. A lot of people enjoy learning how to do something but then would rather hire someone to just go ahead and do it for them. Why not teach them, but offer to do it for them too, as an extra way to boost revenue.

Get them On Your List — Always take every opportunity to get interested parties on your email list. This is the best way, even today with social media, to market to your audience. Once someone expresses interest and gives you permission to contact them, take it seriously and give your audience what they want.

Finally, repackage the event by recording the event. Then you can sell the recording of the event to people who didn’t come to it. You can break it down into single talks if you had other guests speaking. The income opportunities are truly endless with events.

Outsourcing your online business – The value of investment

In today’s world of remote technology and fast broadband, a business owner can actually outsource an entire business. To some this idea may be frightening, but to others it has been the ticket to freedom from a boss or a job. Internet marketers and online business owners who leverage technology to their advantage are the ones who understand that for every contractor they bring into their team, they are investing in their business. Every task that can be successfully outsourced to an expert can bring a huge return on investment (ROI) in terms of time gained for yourself and your family. In addition, there will be a monetary ROI for each and every service provider with whom you contract.

Think of it this way. If you can earn 160.00 per hour, doing what it is you do that brings in money to your business, but you’re spending time doing tasks that can be accomplished for $25.00 or even $100 dollars an hour, you’re not investing your money or your time wisely. Why not spend more time doing whatever it is that you do that earns $160.00 per hour, and less time doing what can be done less expensively by someone else. Not to mention that when you outsource to someone who is an expert the job will be done faster and better without you!

In business, this is called — maximizing your efficiencies. If you’re a fabulous life coach imagine how many more clients you can take on if you’re not entering data, editing websites or sales pages, or editing content for article marketing. If you run a successful online business of any kind, you can probably make a list of activities that you could outsource to others that will cost less than your hourly rate. If so, you can use the time more efficiently by doing more of whatever it is that you do best and let others do what they do best. You’ll create a more powerful and profitable business if you view bring on contractors as an investment in your business rather than an expense.

For example, your hourly rate is $160.00 for doing what you do. You hire a Virtual Assistant to take care of posting all blog posts and article marketing articles for you for 10 hours a month. Now this is off your plate. Now you have 10 more hours a month to earn $160.00 – $25.00 per hour, this is a net increase of $135.00 per hour for 10 hours, which can increase your monthly gross income by $1350.00.

That’s an excellent return on investment and can’t be beat in any other way. Even if it takes you an hour a month to communicate with your VA you’ll still be ahead by over $1000.00 per month. The truth is, the monetary increase will become greater the longer your VA works with you. When people do the same task over and over again they will become faster and faster at accomplishing the tasks, so over time that 10 hours of work that you contract with a VA can become worth more than you might imagine depending upon how good the VA is at their work.

Keeping your personal and professional life separate on Facebook

Pretty much everyone has a Facebook page. There are over 845 million users on Facebook. Naturally, with that large of an audience it’s important that your business be there. Marketing your business via Facebook is a great way to get new business as well as create free word of mouth marketing.

In addition, it’s easy to create Facebook advertisements, and more on Facebook. But, there are some serious roadblocks with social media that can cause problems for any business owner. You innocently click “like” on someone’s picture, article, or meme and before you know it someone you do business with us offended and fires you.

Dr. Phil says that perception is reality, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re within your rights to have your own opinions when it comes to social media. Of course, you do! However, so do your potential clients. There are some best practices for using social media when it comes to business. One of those best practices is to keep your business and personal life separate.

The way to keep your business and personal life separate is to:

Create separate accounts — Choose very carefully when business associates or acquaintances want to follow or friend you on your social media. It’s perfectly within your right to turn someone down to be your friend. Creating separate accounts can solve a lot of issues.

Think twice before doing — On social media where people can follow you without your permission, it’s important to consider the ramifications of the things that you choose to share. If you want to be controversial, think about it first.

Use privacy settings — On social media where you can set privacy features, and even block people; ensure that you take advantage of the technology. No one will know they are blocked or that your account is even there in most cases, if you set your privacy settings right. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping private things private.

Understand the technology – When you set up any social media accounts be sure to understand how it all works. For instance, consider the chain of events that occur when you “like” something. Who sees your “like”? Do you care who sees your “like”? Is it really private?

What will your Grandmother think? – A good test to see if something is appropriate to post, including pictures, memes, and thoughts — is to know whether you would want your Grandmother to see it or not. If the answer is no, don’t post it.

Stay focused on your audience – When using social media to promote your business stay focused on what your target audience wants to see from you. It’s okay to promote your business on private networks occasionally so that your family and friends know what you’re up to, but don’t share private matters unless necessary on your business social networks.

Your personal life is none of your clients’ business. It’s likely that they don’t want to know much about your private life either, especially super private information that covers the three topics that you should not discuss in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. Keep that in mind going forward and keep your personal and private lives separate on social media as much as possible.

How To Attract more Viewers for your Videos

One of the simplest ways to attract more viewers lies in not ignoring a small but larger-than-you-likely-realize segment of your potential market: Namely, those who are still on dial-up. While admittedly a small segment of the global population, their business can boost your sales more than you might think possible.

One of the strongest reasons? You’ll be providing a service 98% of all other video marketers ignore – making your videos much easier to load and view for those to whom a 5-minute video load can often equal over an hour of waiting time.

“Get over it. Get high speed”, is something you hear on forums, if those on dial-up dare to complain about load in times. But the simple truth is, there are those in rural areas all across North America for whom dial-up is still the only available service. Perhaps a tower has not yet been built, or geographic conditions just don’t facilitate signal.

It’s not always about these viewers being “stubborn” or “cheap” – most of them would kill for high speed!

How can you make your videos accessible to those on dial-up?

1. You’ll speed up dial-up viewers’ load in times considerably, if you provide a simple “low fidelity” option. And your high speed viewers can still access your high fidelity version

2. Keep your video segments short. It’s much easier to load in a 3-minute video than an 8.27 minute one. In fact, 3.46 minutes seems to be the cut-off time at which video views drop by half (as you’ll quickly discover, if you spend a day browsing view rates and marketing video lengths on YouTube)

3. Allow purchasers to download video series you are selling in individual zip files, rather than one huge one. It can easily take 6 hours to download a 78 mb zipped video file containing 12 “lessons” for someone on dial-up… and chances are, they’ll sit through that (on the rare occasions they’re dedicated – or foolish – enough to try, only to find that their rural phone line couldn’t sustain the download… leaving them with a corrupt, inaccessible file to show for all that effort. (Nothing is more frustrating!)

4. Let them know your video files are “dial-up friendly”. Mention it in your sales pitch; on your web page; in your blog… or even in your signature! (What’s the use of creating short, low fidelity videos – if nobody knows you have them?)

Believe me, the sort of gratitude you’ll get may not propel you towards a six-figure income, but these dial-up viewers will get high speed eventually – and you’ll have earned their loyalty and dedication for life!

Top Five Benefits of Outsourcing For the Online Business Owner

If you’re an online business owner who never gets to rest, then it might be time to start looking for contractors to whom you can outsource various aspects of your business. There are many benefits to outsourcing for both you and the contractor, you may not have considered upon first glance. One reason is that, on the books, outsourcing looks like an expense, but in reality, outsourcing is a very lucrative investment.

Big business knows that outsourcing works, this is why they do it. It’s proved time and again that having an entire call center on site does not pay, therefore many businesses that take orders outsource their order processing to a firm that only handles order processing. In addition, some businesses also outsource order fulfillment and even their entire manufacturing process and focus only on marketing and product development. Other firms even outsource those items. With today’s advanced technology, it’s easy to outsource almost every aspect of your business even if you’re a solo entrepreneur running an online business from your kitchen table. The top five reasons that you should outsource are:

Maximize your efficiencies – This can be summed up by saying that you should do what you do best, that makes you the most money, and let others do what they do best and makes them the most money. If you are earning money as a Life Coach, why should you involve yourself in writing, bookkeeping, data entry, sales page creation, bookkeeping, affiliate management, and other positions that do not bring in as much money as your core product, in this case coaching? If you outsource the tasks that aren’t earning you the most money you’ll free up more time to make more money doing what you do best.

You lack the skill – In your business you’re not going to be able to do everything and know everything so sometimes you have to seek out an expert. If you’re not a web designer then learning web design might be outside the scope of your expertise, leave the web designing to the experts. Of course you should tell the web designer what you want the website to do, and look like, but outside of that, let it go and let the expert do what they do best and you go on your way and do your thing. You’ll both be a lot happier. By outsourcing something you lack skill in you’ve actually added that skill to your repertoire even if you’re not doing it yourself.

Grow your business – The fact is, as a solo online business owner, if you don’t outsource eventually your business will not be able to grow further. If you’re happy with working your fingers to the bone and never getting any sleep, and having your spouse angry at you for not spending enough time with the family every day, then that’s fine. However, if you want to have a good quality of life and grow your business you’ll outsource, at the very least the mundane everyday tasks that you dread doing the most. If you want to grow, you’ll let go and go for it.

Return on Investment (ROI) – While a contractor appears to be an expense on the books, hiring a good contractor is a real investment. Not only will you save time allowing other people to do things they’re good at while you do what you’re good at, you will see an increase in your over all income if you use the time saved wisely. Think of it this way: If you currently earn $75.00 performing your core work function for your business, and you pay a Virtual Assistant $25.00 an hour to perform a task that does not earn you money (data entry, calendar management or other tasks) that frees up another hour for you to earn $75.00. This is a net increase of $50.00 for your business every hour you free yourself up to perform your core money making function.

Create more joy – If you’re not getting enough sleep, and you’re working yourself to death, you are not enjoying life to the fullest. Think back to why you started your online business. Most people started their online business to have more time with family, more flexibility, and to earn more money. Via outsourcing, you truly can have it all. You can spend a day at the park on a beautiful day while your Virtual Assistant completes important tasks for you. What could be better than that?