How To Stay Focused On Work: 6 Simple Tips

For most of us, staying focused while working is pretty difficult, even at the best of times. In today’s workplace, it’s even harder than ever — with so much information coming at us constantly, and easy access to the internet, staying focused on tasks can seem like asking the impossible.

Fortunately, there are ways to make things easier. Some of them are obvious, others less so. Either way, if you try and put the following suggestions into practice, you should find staying focused easier and be able to get more done.

Remove Distractions From Your Computer: If you have lots of games on your computer, or lots of photos and videos, get rid of them. This removes the temptation to “take a quick break” and entertain yourself for a few minutes — which often leads to hours! Another way to control distraction is to close the programs that you aren’t using for the task at hand. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll distract yourself with other tasks of less importance.

Make Lists: One simple way of staying focused is to start your day by making a list of things you have to do. This helps you to keep track of tasks and reminds you that spending too much time doing other things could result in you not finishing all the tasks on the list.

It’s also helpful to update the list as the day goes on. Cross off the tasks you’ve completed, and add new tasks which come up during the day. This can help you to keep on top of your work.

Keep Drinks At Your Workspace: One of the most common ways of distracting ourselves when we should be working is by going for a coffee or snack break. By keeping a bottle of water by your desk, or a flask of coffee, you can avoid the temptation to get up from the desk when you should really be working.

It’s also possible to use coffee and snack breaks to your advantage, though. After a long and productive session of work, moving away from your workspace for a few minutes to refresh helps you maintain focus on the rest of the tasks ahead.

Get A Good Desk And Chair: If you aren’t sitting comfortably, then the chances are you’re not going to be able to stay focused. Not only that, but your health could be at risk. Make sure you get a good chair and a desk at the right height for you. Your back should be straight, not slouched, while you sit at your desk.

Music: If you like listening to music while you work, make sure you pick the tunes that don’t get you over-excited. If you’re listening to music that just makes you want to get up and dance or sing along, then you’re not going to be able to stay focused very easily. Pick music that you enjoy having in the background. Save the rest for your free time!

Start The Working Day Right: When you get to your desk at the start of the working day, don’t make your first task checking the news on the internet, or looking for updates on your favorite blogs. Once you get in the mood for entertainment like that, it’s hard to return to a working mindset.

Comparing Membership Site Software

With so many products available, it can be difficult to select the membership site software that is right for you. There are many things to consider, but here are some of the most important things to consider when making your decision:

1. Price – Membership site software can range anywhere from $50 to $15,000. It all depends on the functionality you are looking for and how large your expected user base will be. Keep in mind that price tag often has little to do with quality. You will have to dig a bit deeper to find out the quality of each product.

2. Guarantee – Some (not all) membership site software programs offer a guarantee. Whether they offer a 30-day money back guarantee, or lifetime replacement program, a guarantee is a valuable characteristic to consider when purchasing membership site software.

3. Installation – If the software you are considering requires self installation, be sure it also offers video tutorials or some form of guidance to help you along the way. It is important to know the software provides help, whether you need it or not.

4. Trial Version – Trial versions, or demos, are a great way to quickly find out how the membership site software works. While you may or may not discover how to use all of the functionality of the software through a short demo, it is often helpful to see just how it may work.

5. Support – Whether its online support, a help desk telephone number or personal representatives who will help you should you need support with your membership site software, be sure the product you choose provides you with support.

6. Required Software – Some membership site software is hosted and therefore does not require any software, but others have requirements like PHP, mysql, zend or others. Be sure to find out which software the product requires.

Setting your niche marketing goals

Every successful business venture starts with a plan. Without one, how will you know where you are going and how you will get there? Take the time to not only become familiar with your niche and target market, but set goals for yourself.

Time Goals
Set a date for when you would like to launch your niche marketing website and business and do everything in your power to meet that deadline. As you move forward, continue to set goals and timelines to follow as a way of keeping yourself on task and on schedule.

Budgetary Goals
Be sure to set a budget and stick to it. If your plan is to invest $100 or even $1000, set up a budget that allows for expenses that stay within your means. Sticking to your budget will be a large deciding factor as to whether or not your business becomes a success.

Profit Goals
Of course, the purpose is to make money, but you must set realistic financial goals in order to meet them. In other words, say your ultimate goal is to make $5,000 a month. Well, that is a great goal. But is it realistic for your particular niche?

Your potential for revenue will directly depend on what you are selling and whom you are selling it to. Some niche markets lend themselves to higher profit because of the value of the product being sold (like limited edition watches), while others require more volume in order to meet high revenue goals. Neither one is better than the other, it just depends on your individual business scenario.

No matter what your goals or how extensive they are, the most important thing to remember is to be realistic with yourself first. If you are, and you know and understand your boundaries and limitations, then the rest will follow and your goals will be that much easier to achieve.

Five warnings about offering online services

If your main business is an Internet marketing business that’s goal is to earn passive income tomorrow, through the work you’ve done today, offering services to others can be a great way to generate income that you can use for your business. However, trading hours for dollars, while easy and convenient due to the fast pay off, is very limited. By its very nature, hourly work is limited due to the fact that time is limited. There are only so many hours in the day. In order not to get sidetracked away from your main business heed these warnings.

1. Charge Enough — If you decide to offer services to others while you build your actual Internet business, it is important that you know how much to charge. Charge enough that you won’t feel resentful about doing the tasks, and enough that the money will make a difference for your life and business. Remember that you really don’t have 40 hours a week to bill. You are probably lucky to have five billable hours a week because you’re trying to build your real business too.

2. Be Dependable — If you’re going to offer a service, by all means, stick by your word and give the people what they are paying for. They don’t care, or need to know, that you care more about building your passive income than providing this service to them. All they need to know is that you are dependable, and that you provide a good service for a fair price.

3. Limit Offerings — Don’t compete against yourself by offering clients services that put them in a position to compete with you. Offer services to those who offer complementary information and products to yours. For instance, if your expertise online is offering information products to Child Care Providers the last thing you should do is offer ghostwriting to those who are offering the same type of products. Save your talent for your niche for yourself. In addition to limiting the subject matter, limit the actual amount of time you offer services. Leave time for your own business.

4. Take Breaks — When providing services, it can get very hard to take a break. Time is money, and therefore you must force yourself to take breaks during the day. Get off the computer and walk around. Ideally, you should get off the computer every hour for at least ten minutes to do some sort of exercise. If you don’t, you will get burned out and have nothing left for your own business. If you need to set a timer. One tip from a work-at home-mom is to get up every hour and do house work really fast, for ten minutes. You’ll be healthier, and you’ll have a cleaner house!

5. Remember Why — Never forget why you decided to provide a service! You want to provide this service in the short term so that you can generate cash for your real online business endeavor. It’s very easy to get turned on by the money you can make as a service provider to the point that you forget that you were building a passive income empire before you started. Leave time for yourself and remember why you must!

How to use social media to monitor buzz

Monitoring your buzz via social media can be a real time sucker. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and it’s a great tool to use for automatically managing your social media and finding out what people are saying about you. There are a lot of ways you can use RSS to your benefit when it comes to social media and creating automation to avoid time wasters.

Here are the step by step instructions to setting up your RSS reader to monitor your social media buzz.

Set up Google Reader Account

Set up Google Alerts

By setting up RSS feeds to monitor the social buzz about you, your niche and business you can then check it all on one page in one glance a couple of times a day. Better you can have your virtual assistant to set it up, and check it once a day and send you a report if something exciting happens, or is otherwise important that needs to be dealt with.

Twitter Search

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.

Online Contests Create Buzz for Your Business

One of the most important components of your online marketing arsenal is to have a healthy email list. One of the best ways to accumulate targeted email addresses for your email list is to get lots of traffic. One of the best ways to get lots of traffic is to create buzz. Finally, one of the best ways to create buzz is to have an online contest.

Online contests are a fun and easy way to attract a lot of attention. If you plan carefully, you might even “go viral.” Businesses, large and small are doing it. You’ve likely seen some contests yourself. Maybe you even wondered whether or not you could conduct such a contents for your business. Well, the answer is, yes you can! It’s not hard if you plan for it, and give it the time and attention it deserves.

Get Your Website Ready — If you run a contest and your website is not ready for the new traffic it will be a wasted effort. Ensure that your host can handle the influx of new traffic, and make sure all the technical aspects are taken care of. But, it is also important to ensure that new visitors feel welcomed to your website and know what to do. Make it special for them in terms of a special landing page, and special call to action.

Make the Contest Relevant — Your contest should be relevant to your target audience and mean something to them. The worst contest will leave people not understanding the point of the contest or what brand is being promoted. Make sure your brand is promoted, and that no one is left scratching their head.

Have a Call to Action — You’ll be collecting email addresses during the contest, but ensure that you have a clear call to action. They should know that by entering their email, they’re entering the contest, but that they’re also going to get something from you such as a newsletter, updates, further advertisements, whatever it is you’re going to use that email for, let them know. Then do it.

Promote the Contest — That’s right, the contest will not promote itself, at least not at the beginning. Promote it the same way you do any other product. Blog about it before hand, get the excitement up, talk about it on social media. Then, launch it, blog about it, and promote it on social media. You can even get your affiliates to promote it, and set up a way for those who enter the contest to also promote it easily. The important thing is, you need to make a big deal about it so that it is taken as a big deal.

By having a contest you’ll create a huge buzz that, if you play your cards right, can create a huge windfall for your business in terms of website traffic, and if you have a bricks and mortar store, an influx of new feet in the door ready to spend money with you. Contests do so much more than spread brand awareness, they also spread goodwill, and great feelings about your business, products and services.

Backend Sales Strategies are Like Riding a Bike Once You Learn, You Never Look Back

Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Remember the many fears you faced? Falling off… Crashing into something… Failing. But, I bet what you remember in even greater detail is the incredible feeling of success that you felt when your parent finally let go. You were free! No more training wheels and no more fear. You were on your way.

Backend sales can be described in a similar way. Oftentimes, internet marketers and online business owners are fearful of the follow-up. They do not want to seem overbearing or pushy. So, rather than capitalize on opportunity, they fall flat on their face with fear. They lose a potential additional sale, and revenue, because of their fear to offend.

But what if you could eliminate that fear rather than become a victim of it? What if you could sell to your customers without actually appearing to do so? And what if they actually liked it?

With backend sales, you have to take off the training wheels. You know your business, you know your product, and you know your customer base. Now its time to put all of that knowledge to use, because once you do, you won’t ever look back.

There are many options to explore when deciding which backend sales strategies you will employ.

For instance, you can populate your shopping cart with items of interest. Or, you can send a follow-up communication to all of your customers each time they make a purchase.

But what’s most important is that you are doing something to take advantage of this opportunity.

Backend sales are quite possibly some of the most lucrative, most reliable sales you will ever make because they are sales you are making to customers who already know you.

These customers are already your bread and butter, so why not expand on that? Sure, new customers are great. In fact, new customers are essential to the growth of your business.

But you will never get anywhere if you don’t take care of the customers you already have. Customers like to feel appreciated, valued and everyone always likes a good deal.

So, if you incentivize your offerings, they are most likely to take the bait.

After you have taken the training wheels off and decide to ride into success, your backend sales strategy will basically run itself.

You see, once its in place, you will have to simply manage the data, not babysit each client. That is why it is so important to invest in a quality e-commerce solution that will provide you with a reliable auto responder and robust database system.

So, take that leap of faith. Trust in the quality of your products. Help your business succeed and focus on selling on the backend. Once you do, you won’t ever look back.

Making your Design Work for StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon tends to be a visual site, whether we like it or not. On many sites, you’re taught as an entrepreneur not to fall into the trap of gorgeous graphics, with your message and site function taking a back seat: In StumbleUpon, this is definitely not the case.

People who are busy stumbling are always looking for that one site to really grab them by the eyeballs. You don’t do that by having a page of plain text (it makes you look cheap and cheesy).

Fortunately, there are ways to have strong, eye-catching graphic design without making your site slow and cumbersome. (Slow sites do get skipped or – worse – the “thumbs down”, in StumbleUpon.)

1. Make Color your Friend – Not Your Enemy

Color can make or break your site. Pick the right combination of colors and remember that color is a language. It speaks to people. For example, a bright pink website with touches of hot orange promises to be either sumptuous and tropical, or flirty, female and fun. A website accented in sharp black with accents of red warns the reader it’s attempting to be “cutting edge”. A screaming neon yellow website is actually screaming, well, “Amateur!”.

How can you use color like a pro? By avoiding common “Amateur” mistakes.

– Don’t use dark backgrounds (unless you’re presenting technology or sound): Most people find light text on dark backgrounds very hard to read. No matter what other colors you have on your pages, try to have your text plain black on a white background.

– Don’t use colors that draw attention. They’ll overpower your message.

– Do look at other sites in your category, and get a feel of what “works” for you and what doesn’t, color wise, when you surf them.

– Think about your site colors: Ask your trusted buddies for feedback. Are your site colors reinforcing your message and personality… or turning it into a lie? What do you think about the issue? What do your trusted buddies think?

2. Avoid Huge File Sizes

Yes, it’s true that most people nowadays have high speed… but even so, many of that number have limited plans, and if you hit them with a massive graphic and a Flash intro when they’ve got a Bell Turbo stick or Rogers Rocket, they’re going to be hastily hitting the “Stumble” button without even looking, terrified of data overages and huge bills. (And people still out there on dialup may number way more than you think, thanks to rural areas and geographic conditions).

How can you avoid huge file sizes? First, if you’re saving an image in Adobe Photoshop, select the “Save for Web” feature, rather than “Save” or “Save as”. It will cut down the file size considerably.

Unless yours is a photography site, you probably don’t need full-page graphics. Resize them down to the smallest you feel you can get with – without losing impact.

Stay away from iFrames and Flash movies if you don’t absolutely have to have them.

Give people an option of watching in High Resolution or Low Resolution, if you’re presenting a video.

Of course, in the end, it’s all about balance: You need to weigh the reductions you can make in site loading time against the effectiveness of the message; and whether or not your message is visual. But these 2 tips and the specifics of implementing them should help you find the simplest place to start.

Needed Services You Can Offer

While working toward profitability in your Internet business, it can sometimes be beneficial to do services for others for a fast influx of cash. While creating an Internet business can be very lucrative, it can also take time before you see growth in your bank account. By adding a service, which can generate immediate cash, you eliminate the number one issue that plagues business startups — cash shortages. The trick is to pick the right type of service to offer, and not to forget your real motive in adding such a service.

The right type of service to add is something you already know how to do without having to get any type of training. It is also something that you need no new software or materials in order to get started. Ideally, you can market the service to your existing email list, and website visitors. This will eliminate the need to add more marketing efforts to your business. Also, the right service in no way competes with your own Internet business. You don’t want to build your competitors business, after all!

That brings us to the real motive for adding the service in the first place. The reason is to add cash to use in promoting your online business to the point of profitability. Making money from services is great, but ultimately you want to earn money from your main business. Therefore, try not to get too excited about the amount of money you can make by offering services. Trading hours for dollars is not sustainable over the long term, and it’s all too easy to get distracted by the quick cash if you don’t keep your eye on the prize.

So, after looking at these two factors what services can you offer. Take a look at these ideas and see if any of them match your skills.

Content Manager

As a content manager you will help create an editorial calendar, and either write, or assign writing to writers that your client has chosen. Then you may edit the content, and ensure that it gets posted where it needs to go through the entire content cycle. This is usually an hourly contract position. You can charge on average $30.00 per hour for these types of services.

Ghost Writer

As a ghostwriter, you will provide writing services to clients based on their title, keywords, and other criteria. Usually you can charge per word, or per page of writing. It is good to limit your offerings to those things outside your own niche, but topics you know enough about that little research is required to write. Prices range from $5 per page to more than $500 a page for a magazine quality article. More than likely, your services will be toward the lower end of the range with an average of $15.00 per page of writing.

Virtual Assistant Services

A virtual assistant provides secretarial type services from a distance for any type of business you can imagine. You can market to local businesses, and Internet businesses alike. If you are part of any type of online business community you can market this and any of the other services right there. Most people will be thrilled to have services from someone who has started and is establishing their online business. They will feel lucky to get to hire you.