Tools any business can use to manage time

Managing time is more about learning to manage yourself around the time that you have. There are many ways to go about finding ways to self-manage in a way that saves the most time for money making activities, as opposed to time wasting activities. You already know what a money making activity is, and you probably know deep down what a time waster is, but you feel powerless to get it together.

Fortunately, there are tools to help you get a handle on your time, forcing you to focus business activities toward money making (billable) activities. A few ideas are:

Dovico Software — A really good software that helps you manage not just time, but projects is Dovico Software. You can use it on your computer and via your iPhone, which enables you to take it with you on the road. This can be invaluable to the on the go business person.

Google Calendar — Most mobile phones will integrate with Google Calendar, and it can obviously be used on your computer or tablet device. Another really great feature is that you can invite as many people as you want to view the Google Calendar and add to the calendar.

Easy Time Tracking Software — Another really good software product is called Easy Time Tracking. Easy time tracking software has a free version you can try. This software allows you to track time, handle expense reports, and even invoice your clients and has multiple user support.

Freshbooks — This is a web based solution which enables you to track time, expenses, your entire staff, accounting and offers personal branding. With Freshbooks, you can get quite a large free version in which you can use to track your own time if you set up dummy accounts to track time you’re spending on non money making tasks.

Paper Planners — If you don’t want to use software, stick to your paper day planner, but actually use it for what it’s meant to be used for. Before you put something in it, make sure you know it’s a business essential money-making task. It helps to have a special planner for personal time which you keep totally separate from business time, and vice versa. Some name brands for these are WeekDate, Planner Pad Organizer, and the well known, Day Runner brand.

A really awesome time management tool will help you prioritize, schedule, and focus on the goals you’ve set for your business. It’s individual preference that will determine what type of tools you use to organize yourself and manage your time. Your choice will also depend on what kind of business you have, how many employees or contractors you have, and on what goals you’ve chosen to focus.

The important factor is that a plan is implemented that discovers and redirects time wasters, putting the focus back on accomplishing money making tasks in your business. Either software or traditional methods can work, but they will only work well if you actually implement them. While setting your system up can take some time, it will be more than worth it once it’s done.

Top 5 items not to skimp on when self-publishing

Cutting corners is often done when a business wants to cut costs, but make a larger profit. But, when you are self publishing anything, it’s important to avoid skimping on certain aspects of your project if you want it to be successful. Here are five things that you do not want to skimp on when self-publishing. If you do, you won’t see as high of sales as you could have. If you’re going to self-publish, take it seriously and pull out all the stops to do it right.

1. Cover Art — If you aren’t a designer, it’s important to hire someone, or at least train yourself in what constitutes a good cover design for your book. It does matter whether your book will be printed or is solely an eBook. The printed book requires a higher quality graphic than an eBook, however the design of both should be top quality. Your cover art should adequately give possible readers an idea of what is in the book. Along with the cover art goes a good title that describes or puts a picture in the readers mind to go along with the book’s contents.

2. Jacket Copy — Ask other experts for blubs, and comments about your book, then write copy that will entice a reader to read your book. Pay attention to word count for digital books on some of the copy. You may need jacket copy, and other copy based on each medium you will present your book for sale. If you’re not well versed in writing copy, which is different from other types of writing, teach yourself about copywriting by reading other descriptions of books both digital and jacket copy. Additionally, you can hire an expert to get this done for you.

3. Layout — Each type of publishing requires a different type of layout, and may require a different expert to perform each layout. However, more and more experts are popping up who can do all layouts for you and even specialty layouts based on your instructions. It is important to hire someone who understands the types of layouts you need. It is not unusual to hire more than one expert depending on the types of layouts you want.

4. Proof Reading & Editing — While most people are going to buy your book based on the cover art, and the jacket copy, if you want your readers to be happy and satisfied as well as buy other products you put out, ensure that your writing is top notch by paying attention to the editing process. If you can’t edit your own writing by all means hire an expert to do it for you. It can be difficult to keep a clear head during the editing process, but it’s a very important aspect to self-publishing that some people wrongly over look.

5. Marketing — You’ll need marketing materials, social media, blogs, interviews and more to market your publication properly. Cover all sides of the marketing process using every channel that you can to get the word out about your product. If needed, hire a marketing expert to help you. This can be overwhelming to many, but if you’re already well-versed in Internet marketing you will have a leg up on marketing your book. It’s not unusual to hire a marketing firm to help with offline marketing efforts when this is not your expertise.

Whenever you want to outsource consider how many books you’ll need to sell to break even on the deal. If it seems impossible, renegotiate a new price, or find another way to do it. But, don’t skimp on these five items if you want to have a successful self-publishing experience.

Why Membership?

People often ask me, why is membership marketing so important? To me, it’s simple. It makes so much sense and yet, it is often a missed opportunity by so many internet marketers and online business owners.

The real question, in my opinion, should be… Why not?

At the very foundation of membership marketing is the idea of loyalty. You gain loyalty by building loyalty. In other words, you will attract loyal customers, and ultimately gain revenue, by offering a loyal – or reliable – product.

Membership marketing is merely a natural extension of your business. Or should be at least. It shouldn’t be hard or complicated. It should be easy to build, easy to manage and easy to succeed.

Yes, of course you are already busy managing your business. But think of how great it would be to secure customers for months, if not years at a time. Think of how wonderfully confident you would be if you knew you did not have to worry about where your next sale will come from or how much time and money you have to spend to find your next customer. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Membership marketing is like job security. You secure your customers, therefore you secure revenue and hopefully, if you do it right, you will secure the future success of your business.

Membership marketing is so important because it can and will help your business grow in such a way that allows you to focus on providing quality products and service.

A Dead Simple Follow-Up Idea!

I just thought about something concerning my last post.

I’m going to give you a ‘nudge’ in the right direction that could easily bring in an extra $500 to $5000 per month, if you don’t mind some old fashioned hustling.

Let’s say you purchase the “Developers” license (available as an upsell) for something like this software I mentioned.

Here’s a quick way to make that investment pay for itself in spades…

Pick a popular offline niche. let’s say something like “dentists” or even “realtors”.

Now you setup a WordPress blog, install the plugin and add some related content.

You don’t even need to write it yourself. This is where you just pick up some PLR or special reports with resale rights to use as content & incentives.

Then you turn around and call on 10 businesses in the phone book or just take a walk around your local business district and show them what you’ve got.

It’s easy, you don’t have to explain the whole thing…

Just get them to visit the site, enter their name and email address and click the “submit” button that will give them the free referral link.

On that same page, you’ll see a couple of social media buttons.

Just tell the guy with the credit card/check book to share it to his Facebook page or Twitter/LinkedIn account and let him watch how the message spread virally when he checks his stats the next day**.

(**This gives you an excuse to follow-up)

Then offer to turn the site over to him for “$xxx,xx”.

(Don’t forget to offer upsells like personalizing the site, signing them up for an autoresponder account or whatever else they might need to get the most out of their new viral referral system.)

How much do you think you could make by setting up viral lead-generation sites like these for offline niche businesses?

Businesses in the offline world live or die by referrals.  You can be their hero and make some stress-free cash with just a couple of hours setting this up.

PS — Don’t forget about the power of simply hiring some college kids to actually run this thing for you like a business.  It’s ridiculously simple to setup these sites and kids are more than willing to go calling door to door for some spending cash.

Who to Follow on Twitter

Knowing who to follow on Twitter is important in your marketing efforts. You want to follow those who are of interest to you. You want to follow those who are of use to you and your business. Your hope is that they will in turn follow you back, if they aren’t already following you, thus opening up the lines of communication between your business and your audience.

There are several tools that can be used to make these efforts easier and more streamlined.

  • Mr. Tweet – Show the influencers and followers you should follow and suggests you to enthusiastic users relevant to you.
  • Just Tweet It – A user directory for Twitter organized by genre to allow for users to easily find other Twitter users to connect with.
  • Retweet Rank – Retweetrank lets you find rank of any twitter user. With the rank, latest retweets of the user are shown and an RSS feed can also be grabbed for the same.
  • Twellow – A directory of public Twitter accounts, with hundreds of categories and search features to help you find people who matter to you.
  • TwitteRel – By using you can make your life a lot more interesting, we thought of a way to connect to other twitter users who share the same interests as you do.
  • Friend or Follow – Who are you following that’s not following you back? Who’s following you that you’re not following back?
  • Twitoria – Twitoria is a web app that tidies up your Twitter friends list by revealing inactive friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time so you can unfollow them.
  • Topify – Twitter application that improves Twitter’s email notification and allows to follow and reply to direct messages by email.
  • Tweepler – A Twitter application that allows you to organize followers.
  • Twimailer – Tired of shallow e-mails from Twitter when someone follows you? Want to know more about the people who are following you? Twimailer is a free service that delivers that information right to your inbox!
  • TweeterTags – Get the most out of Twitter by finding the right people to share the conversation: Tweeter Tags makes it easy to declare your interests and find new, like-minded friends. Have a question you need answering? Find relevant people on Twitter to ask.

Free Advertising Using 5 Social Media Sites

You’ve been realizing lately that you really need to spread the word about your business, website, event or product. But you don’t have
the largest budget on the planet. If you’re looking for ways to advertise for free, you might want to consider making full use of social

Most social media platforms offer paid advertising – and if you have the budget, it’s always better to cover all the bases. But there are
some free methods and techniques utilizing social media that can really increase your exposure (and even your personal brand).

Here are suggestions that have worked well for many internet marketers and entrepreneurs on these 5 social media sites…

1. It’s not enough just spread the word by blogging: You have to also promote your blog. Do it by using Delicious or Digg. Link to your
blog from your Facebook news feed. Send people to your blog by tweeting on Twitter about your latest post; shorten the URL with –
and then check your stats on the number of clicks.

2. Upload a video to YouTube, and make sure links to your business are placed in the first and last frame of your video (appearing long
enough for people to quickly make a note of the link). Have the same URL in as many places on your YouTube channel page as you
can manage.

Make sure it either (a) is extremely helpful about one tricky subject for the niche you’re targeting or (b) contains all the elements of a viral
video: Memorable, entertaining, personal, unique – if appropriate, perhaps even funny. (A Singing Parrot is far more likely to engage
people’s attention than a dry “talking head” video where you earnestly explain your automobile part numbering system.)

You do have to be careful not to be so irrelevant with your amusing video that you don’t attract your target audience at all. (Perhaps have
your Singing Parrot humorously interrupt your earnest explanation of your automobile part numbering system.)

Get creative. One marketing mom was having a particularly hard time with her 3-year-old twins “ruining” every attempt at making a video. Rather than lose her cool and fight the situation, she edited the clip in Windows Movie Maker to leave in only one interruption – one that was particularly funny. Her mostly female work-at-home-mom audience loved the video, and she reported a 50% increase within 2 weeks in her opt-ins.

There are many other social media sites that offer free features, apps, widgets and opportunities. Check them out to see which ones are the best fit for your business!

Creating Boards That Get Attention

Business owners are getting on Pinterest in order to get attention, add interest and build their brands. But, you can’t just do whatever you want without direction and expect to get great results from your Pinterest marketing efforts. Like with any marketing endeavor, it’s important to come up with a real Pinterest marketing plan. Truly give some thought to each board you create, and each pin you put in a specific board.

Like with blogging content, or article marketing, each board should have it’s on purpose. For instance, just like you create “how to” articles, you can create “how to” boards. Just like you create educational articles and blog posts, you can create a board to educate viewers about your brand. Want answers from your target audience, you usually create a blog post or a survey to ask questions. You can do all this and more with Pinterest boards that each have their own direction and theme.

As people jump on the Pinterest bandwagon some brands are getting lost because they rush in without a thought-out plan. By creating a plan in advance, you’ll be able to create more effective boards that truly command attention. The truth is, right now nothing matches the possibilities for increasing your brand’s awareness. Pinterest is growing fast, and with the advent of Pinterest business accounts, more tools and uses will soon become available.

To create boards that get attention follow these tips:

Like goes with like — This is something you teach children at very young ages when you teach them to put away their toys. Blocks go with blocks, dolls with dolls, trucks with trucks and so forth. Same idea with Pinterest boards. Each board should have a common theme.

Caption boards with keywords — Consider the words your audience might use to search for the board you’re going to create and caption it with these keywords. Using keywords will make it easier for your audience to find the important information you will be putting on your Pinterest boards.

Create multiple boards — Each board should be focused but create many. You can have boards for many different categories. You might consider have a board for each category you have on your blog, for instance. Shoot for 20 to 30 focused boards with 10 to 15 relevant pins on each one.

Stay within your niche — If you’re a dentist, don’t create boards for podiatry. Stay within your own niche. Yes, it’s okay to share information with your audience that they’d be interested in outside of your area, however make sure it is compatible. For instance, going back to the dentist idea, you might share information about the dangers of tooth lightening or the issues with high alcohol mouth washes and the connection to cancer.

Optimize your boards — You can move around your boards so that relevant boards show during different seasons. Remember to pay attention to how the eye sees your Pinterest. Put the most relevant toward the top, the most beautiful and visual in the center, and the rest just put in order of importance. You can change this around as seasons change and to bring focus to other boards.

Be social with others — Don’t forget that at its core Pinterest is social media. By definition that means that you should interact with others by sharing your content. Search for and follow people whom you believe are your target audience. Being strategic with whom you follow and with whom you share is a very important aspect of using Pinterest in the most optimal way to promote your business.

Now that you know how to create boards that get attention you can use Pinterest in the most strategic way possible to increase brand awareness for your business. And while it goes without saying, I’m going to say it anyway, create a business Pinterest account and don’t just use your personal one for this purpose.

Using YouTube for Video Marketing Research

You’ve invested a lot of time in learning how to perform video marketing successfully: However, there’s one area many marketers don’t fully explore – and that is using YouTube to conduct your own video marketing research. Properly done, YouTube video marketing research can help you decide in advance whether or not a product is worth creating – before you ever invest a dime!

Do some keyword research to find out what people are looking for, then make a short “throwaway” video on one element of your proposed product subject, just to see how much response you’re going to get – and which market segment you need to narrow and focus that product towards, in order to actually get customers that want to pay cash.

And this is where WordTracker’s free keyword research tool really comes into its own…

You see, normally, when marketers do keyword research, they have a solid idea of which long-tailed keywords to use. (For those new to marketing, a “long-tailed keyword” is actually a phrase: e.g. “training your Siamese cat”, rather than an actual keyword such as “cat”.)

However, WordTracker’s free keyword research tool is great if you’re starting off with a simple, generic keyword like “cat”, because it can suggest actual long-tailed phrases for you to work with. (No pun intended!)

For example, let’s take “cat”, since we’ve already used that example. (Note: you’ll want long-tailed phrases of at least three words or more!)

Here’s just a sampling of what we’ve come up with in WordTracker today…

Cats illness symptoms
Biggest cat in the world
Homemade cat repellent
Funny cat pictures
How to draw a cat
Homemade cat food recipes
Make your own natural cat repellent
What is wrong with my cat
Make your own cat food
Fattest cat in the world
How to make a cat scratcher

What you would then do is try out some of these phrases in Google as a search parameter, in quotes. You want more than 5,000 searches and less than 150,000, in order to find a viable phrase to work with.

In our example, “Make your own Natural Cat Repellent” garnered 6,260 searches – with most of these results dealing equally with (a) keeping cats out of unwanted areas of your home or yard (b) discouraging other peoples’ cats from visiting yours.

Let’s say you’ve searched for “cats” because you’re a breeder or veterinary assistant. (In other words, you have expertise in the area searched for.)

You can then quickly make a short video, using the key phrase above, to perform market research, in order to find out exactly what is the “hot” button, when it comes to cat repellents. Is it keeping cats safe? Solving behavioral issues? Cutting down on destructive habits?

What is the one aspect of cat repellent products that people are desperate for?

Ask your viewers, right in your video. Invite them to leave comments. And don’t forget to send others to your video from social marketing sites (and your own lists and forums).

By the time you create your final product – your Super Powered Cat Repellent or Keep Kitty Safe Cat Repellent or whatever was indicated by your research results – you’ve set yourself up to sell a winner!

Getting Excellent Search Results on Pinterest

You already understand the difference between following a pins versus following a boards or following people. You also know how to set up Pinterest to use for your business. But, do you know the top ways to get the best search results for your pins, boards, and yourself on Pinterest?

Here are the top 10 ways to ensure you’ll get excellent search results using Pinterest.

1. Complete Your Profile — It’s amazing, but many people forget to fully fill out their profile on Pinterest. Doing so is vital to anyone finding you at all, much less your target audience. Give a lot of thought and consideration to the small amount of space you get to create your profile. Use each word wisely.

2. Get Verified — Pinterest started a new feature last October which enables you to verify that your website is yours and you are who you say you are. So if your domain name is you can go to your settings page and click verify website to find out more about this awesome feature that will instantly increase your credibility.

3. Use Keywords — Every chance you get to use text on Pinterest it is important that you use keywords. Use keywords in titles, descriptions, captions, board names, pin names and of course in your profile. To figure out what keywords to use, you must study your target audience, and do keyword research.

4. Don’t Forget to Go Public — Just like with a WordPress blog, you can hide your Pinterest from search engines. If you want to be found, don’t’ forget to go into settings and check to ensure that you’re not hiding from the search engines!

5. Create Multiple Boards — Try to create at least 10 to 20 different boards in various categories within your niche with at least 10 pins on each board. Do ensure that these boards match with your target audience and provide value.

6. Organize Your Boards — Remember that Pinterest is visual, so it’s important to put your most important boards “above the fold” where they will be seen the most. Also, consider moving them around to test out which Boards get the best click-through rates.

7. Change File Names — If you take a picture with your camera or phone it will often assign it a random number or combination of numbers and letters as a file name. Always change the file name to keywords so that the search engines will index it appropriately.

8. Image Resolution Matters — Most cell phones take great pictures today, but, if you upload it to Facebook directly from your phone for instance the quality of the picture goes down exponentially. Instead, transfer the picture to your computer, edit it, enhance the resolution, and then upload it to Pinterest or your website/blog before you pin it.

9. Make Buying Easy — Using tags for the price of the items you’re promoting will make it a lot easier for your audience to choose to click through and buy from you because of the way Pinterest items show up in search engines. The tags will show up a banner on the pin.

10. Follow Your Followers — It’s important to follow people who follow you so that you can figure out what kind of pins they follow. Pinterest is an excellent way to research your target audience to find out how best to engage your audience.

An Introduction To Google Plus Pages For Businesses And Brands

Since Google first launched their social networking site Google Plus, millions of people have joined the website. Some potential members weren’t welcome, however: businesses and brands. Thankfully this has all changed with the launch of Google Plus Pages. But how do they work and what makes them stand out from a regular Google Plus profile?

How To Create Your Google Plus Page

Creating a Google Plus page is simple. To start, visit the Google Plus business page at and select the type of page you want to create from the following categories:

* Local business or place,

* Product or brand,

* Company, institution or organization,

* Arts, entertainment or sports,

* Other.

Depending on the category you select, you’ll need to enter some more information such as your business phone number, website URL and the name of your page. Once you’ve done so you can upload a photo, edit your “about” page and start promoting your Google Plus Page.

The Difference Between Google Plus Pages And Personal Profiles

As you can see, the setup process is extremely simple, and Google Plus Pages come with the same clean layout as a personal Google Plus profile. You can use your page in the same way, too: post updates to your page, share links on your about page, upload photos and showcase your videos. Google Plus Pages also carry a visible +1 button to help their fans and customers show public support.

There are a few key differences, however. With a personal account, you can circle anyone you want, regardless of whether they circle you first. On Pages, however, you can only circle those who have already circled your account. As with personal profiles, only those who circle your Page will receive updates (even if you don’t circle them back).

There are a few ways to get people to circle your new Google Plus Page:

1) Share your page with all your followers by posting the link on your Google Plus personal profile (if you have one).

2) Add a Google Plus page badge to your website (grab the badge code from the Google Plus Pages dashboard after you’ve created your page).

3) Share the link with your customers in emails, Tweet it, share it on Facebook or on forums.

Is It Worth Bothering With Google Plus Pages?

Google Plus Pages are still extremely new and are lacking a lot of features you may be used to on sites like Facebook. Only time will tell whether these Pages can have the same impact that Facebook Pages have, and whether your niche market will be interested in joining Google Plus at all.

The good news, however, is that Pages are extremely quick to create. Because of the simple features, you can create a pleasing Page in five minutes. It’s up to you to decide whether the ongoing upkeep is worth it.