Successful Business Model — Recurring Revenue

If you’re a service provider you probably wonder how you can earn some income without trading hours for dollars. Well, the best way to do that is to add some kind of recurring income to your business model. Recurring revenue is the key to taking your business to the next level and ensuring your survival during times when you can’t work. The great thing is, the work you do today toward making recurring revenue a goal, is going to pay off for years to come.

In order to add a recurring revenue model make a list of all the things you now do for your clients that are regular and recurring. Brainstorm ways in which you can offer a monthly deal to your clients where you automatically do said tasks without them reminding you, and set them up on auto-pay or auto-billing via Freshbooks.com and PayPal. The beauty of this is you create a recurring revenue stream from things you already do, but maybe don’t do often enough or only do when the client thinks of telling you. This way it keeps tasks up to date and likely won’t take as long.

One idea behind recurring revenue is to do less work for more money. Trading hours for dollars can only make so much money because there are only so many hours in the day. So the next recurring revenue model you can add to your business involves your expertise. If you’re an expert in something, and if you do something every day for others you can classify yourself as an expert. As an expert there are various recurring income ideas that can be borne of your expertise such as:

eBooks — Write an eBook and sell it in a variety of ways from your own sales page, to selling it on Amazon via Kindle.

eCourses — Rewrite the eBook to be delivered in short bursts via an eCourse. You can make it a three month, six month, or any length you want and bill your members monthly to keep getting the new course.

Membership Sites — Turn your eCourses and eBooks and other lessons and tutorials into a membership website. It can include a message board, and other opportunities for paying members. If you could attract just 100 paying members and only charged $19.95 per month (and many membership sites are more than that) you can make almost $2000 a month just from this one website.

Group Coaching — Offer group coaching calls to your membership as an “up-sell”. For instance if regular membership is $19.95, offer the group coaching calls for an upgrade at $49.95 a month. Have the group coaching call via a system like Adobe Connect or even Skype.

Affiliate Sales — Make all this work automatically by allowing members only to become affiliates of your membership site and other individual products. People like exclusivity. You can encourage sales via the membership site and give them the tools to be successful creating their own recurring revenue model.

No matter what your normal business is, you can create any of the above, or all of the above, as a recurring business revenue model. Start today creating your recurring revenue model and soon enough you’ll not have to rely only on trading hours for dollars.

Delegate Your Way to More Time

You can’t really get more time in a day. Time is one of those limited resources that you cannot create more of, or get back after you have wasted it. There are 8760 hours in a year, but we have to subtract out hours for sleeping, which we’ll make an average of 8 hours a night which leaves 5840 hours. Take out 48 hrs a week for family time, and you have 3344 hours left, take out a two week vacation and you have a total of 3004 hours remaining. Most yearly salaries are figured on working 2080 hours a year. We all know business owners tend to work double this at about 4160 hours a year. If you look at the numbers, it becomes clear something is suffering, and more than likely it’s you and your family and possibly even your business.

A great aspect of owning your own business is that you can always delegate tasks to others. Even if you don’t have employees it is possible to delegate some tasks virtually as well as delegate household tasks to other family members or hire some household help. If hiring someone, whether they come to your business, or whether they are virtual contractors, or whether they clean your house it automatically frees up your time.

One of the issues with delegating often ends up being an erroneous fear of the financial costs. But you have to look at this outside of the immediate financial cost and figure out how much your time is worth. Remember, you can’t get it back, and you need more of it because you need to be able to do all the things you dreamed of doing when you became a business owner. A good rule of thumb when outsourcing any type of task, is that if it costs less than you can earn in your core money making activity to outsource, then you’re better off outsourcing. If you can get it done free by family members, so much the better.

We all want to be a superhero, but if you try that route eventually something will end up not done, or not done well. This is not good for your business reputation, and when it comes to letting family fall through the cracks the consequences can be disastrous. Fortunately, one of the secret methods of time management that all kinds of business owners use is to outsource and delegate. Even if you can’t technically get more time in a day, you can feel like you have more time if you’re not doing everything alone.

Try making a list of some of the non-core business activities you do each day. Non-core activities are the tasks that you don’t make most of your money from. If you have a business store front, obviously you may need to be there, but do you need to be there from open to close, or can you hire someone to cover some of the less busy hours? If you work from home as a bookkeeper you don’t want to outsource the bookkeeping, but you may want to outsource some housework. Of course if you wanted to have an entire firm of bookkeepers, eventually you can hire other bookkeepers when your business is busy enough. Don’t forget to involve your family by delegating tasks at home. The sky is the limit when you start realizing how you can outsource and delegate.

Making Video Marketing Work for You

You’ve decided to make a video this time, to help sell your product. If you’re nodding you’re head in agreement, I’ve got three words of advice: “Just do it!”

It doesn’t matter if you have the latest software or a top-of-the-line camcorder. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve made a video before. The truth is, teens and pre-teens are uploading home-made videos to YouTube every day – and getting views that would make many marketers drool with envy! There are 3 main keys to making a video that gets views:

1. Keep it real. Your honesty and enthusiasm are what will help sell your product – not whether or not you can out-direct Quentin Tarantino
2. Promote it. Create a buzz. You can bet that’s what the “kids” are doing – telling all their friends, announcing the video using YouTube’s “Share” feature, talking about it on Facebook, leaving comments on other similar or related videos in their YouTube group…
3. Make it interesting. It can be as flawed as all get out, production wise, but if it’s interesting – even if you have to stand on your head and juggle with your feet – it will get views.

(And if it’s interesting enough, it may go viral!)

Here are some solid tips to help you get started…

The Most Importing Tip For Making a Successful Video – First Time

1. Use a storyboard or rough script. If you’ve never made a video before, chances are, you’re going to either ramble on, using up precious seconds – and rambling will tip your video firmly over into the “boring” camp – or miss out vital information. Using a storyboard or rough script will help you:

• Stick to the point

• Include everything you need included

If you are a “visual” learner, use a story board – quick, scribbled thumbnail sketches (“stick people” are fine) showing each point in “frames” (think of it as a comic book page).

If you do better with lists, use a rough script. This is not the sort of script you read word for word – doing that would ensure you ended up with a “wooden”, deadly dull video. Rather, just a reminder of the key points you need to include (such as your call to action, and website URL).

Shoot your video, edit, upload to YouTube – and promote.

The important thing to remember in all of this is… yup, you got it: “Just do it.”

Your Target Market Doesn’t Need to Know Your Personal Business

When it comes to social media most of us have either purposely or accidentally combined our personal and business on one social media account. Sometimes it can be a good idea to combine the two but only for very specific types of businesses. With the newer technology and the ability to block, segment, and differentiate what our followers and friends see of our activity on social media it’s easier than ever to keep your personal business private.

You may not realize that you have a right to keep your personal life separate from your business. But you do. It can be awkward when a business associate tracks down your personal Facebook page and asks to “friend” you but you know that you probably disagree on at least one of the three items that shouldn’t be discussed in mixed company: Religion, Politics, and Baby Poop. But you’ll be doing yourself and your business a huge favor.

Simply tell your business associates, when and if it comes up, that you like to keep personal and business separate, and that they won’t get important business updates without following or “liking” your business account. Then give them the link to your business account profile. It’s more than likely they will completely understand and even praise your decision. They’ll see how important business is to you.

Having separate accounts or using the technology to segment your audience can give you amazing freedom. You’ll be able to be yourself on your personal social media accounts, and you’ll be able to better focus on business with your separate business social media accounts. No worries about differences of opinions or accidentally offending someone.

Having separate accounts will give you the option to outsource some of the social media interaction and updates that you need to engage in as a business. It’s also good to take time off from work and if your accounts are intermingled when you’re trying to take time off work it will be difficult when everything is together.

Keeping your accounts separate will allow you to honor your own privacy as well as that of your friends and family too. Often people do not set up their social media correctly and do not realize that “friends of friends” can often see their private information to include telephone numbers, birthdays, and more. Plus sometimes your family and friends will tag you in something they think is funny that your business partners don’t find quite as funny.

Aside from the obvious personal issues above, another reason why you want to keep your personal business separated is that if you build a brand for your business separate from yourself and your name, you can build it bigger outside of yourself and even sell the business easier later, when and if you decide to retire or move on. Selling a business that is a separate entity from your personality is a lot more lucrative. A business named after yourself, or that completely relies on your name isn’t a very salable business and you wouldn’t want to transfer over your personal accounts to someone anyway.

Just remember, you have every right to keep your personal life separate from your business life. Anyone who is offended that you don’t want to “friend” them on your personal social media accounts needs a lesson in online business etiquette.

Three Steps to Write SEO Content and Still Sound Natural

When it comes to tactics and strategies to improve search engine results, there’s really nothing more important than the content on your website. Content, after all, is what the search engines analyze to determine the validity of a webpage and website. For this very reason, many webmasters focus their content efforts with the search engines in mind.

However focusing entirely on your search engine results is a mistake because search engines don’t buy your products or services, they don’t click on your ads and affiliate links and they don’t contribute directly to your bottom line – customers do.

This is why it’s essential that you write your content for your audience first and the search engines second. This, however, presents a conundrum because sometimes it’s difficult to combine the two. Keywords don’t always fit into an article or blog post naturally.

Here are three steps to write your SEO content and still sound natural.

Step One

Research your keywords and keyword phrases. Choose one to focus on in your article and then set it aside.

Step Two

Write your content, keeping your main keyword topic in mind, without even thinking about keywords and keyword phrases. For example, if your keyword phrase is, “How to housetrain a puppy,” then you’ll write an article about how to housetrain a puppy however as you’re writing it, you’re not worrying about if you’re using the keyword phrase or not. Your entire focus is on writing a quality article for your audience.

Step Three

Working in your keywords. Once your article or blog post has been written, then it’s time to go back with your keyword at the ready. Read through your article and insert this keyword or keyword phrase where it seems to fit naturally. Keep in mind the fact that search engines are also looking for relevant words so if you’re writing about puppy housebreaking, you can also use housetraining and potty training occasionally to break up the monotony and help the search engines recognize the relevance of your article.

When inserting your primary keyword or keyword phrase keep in mind the places the search engine spiders are going to look.

* Your headline

* Your subheadings

* Your first paragraph

* Your last paragraph

* In the body of the article

When using your keywords aim for a density of about three to seven percent. Anymore and search engines might recognize your content as being keyword stuffed. To determine percentage simply take the number of times you use your keyword and divide it by the total words. Therefore, if you have a 450 word article and you use your keyword 18 times you have a keyword density of four percent.

Once you’ve completed your article, read it aloud to see if it sounds natural. This is one of the best ways to evaluate it. Remember to keep your audience in mind first and the search engines second – this strategy will always pay off.

Be Your Own Expert

If you’re launching a new information product, obviously you need to be your own expert in whatever topic you’re writing about. This is crucial to your sales success. Whose product would you rather read: the pseudo expert who doesn’t offer any new information or the true expert who practices what he preaches and has success doing so?

To become an expert, do your studying. Conduct market research and really pinpoint EXACTLY who will be your customers. Learn everything there is to know about your customers and how your info product will help them.

Check out your competitors’ websites and online stores. How will YOUR info product be different from theirs? Offering a different point of view or a unique solution to a problem will set your info product apart from the competitors.

Share your message with others. You want to build a buzz around the launch of your info product and the best way to do that is to become active in social media groups and forums which reach your target market. Being a guest on some targeted podcasts will also allow your message to be heard.

What makes you so special? If other people already know about your expertise prior to launching your product, then ask for their testimonials to add to your sales page. Ask their opinions about what makes you and your info product unique and how it can help others. Offering people a free copy of your product to review will get you many volunteers.

To become an expert in your field means studying your market, staying up to date with your market’s needs, and offering innovative solutions to their problems. If you have a genuine interest in solving these needs, then your market will embrace you as an expert and your product sales will likely increase as a result.

3 Ways to Make a Backend Sale

Here are five effective backend sales strategies that you can apply to your business and watch the money roll in!

Backend Sales Strategy #1 – The Confirmation Sale

Every time a customer makes and completes a purchase on your site, they should be brought to a confirmation page, which provides them with a confirmation number for their purchase as well as a brief ‘thank you’ from you for their business.

This page is more than a mere illustration of your gratitude. It is a great place to continue the sale. Have you ever bought a product on a site that shows you what others who have purchased a particular product also like?

Well, they didn’t ask their customers what other products they like. They are making a sales pitch! They are most often showing you products that compliment the one you are currently viewing. The same idea should be applied to your confirmation page on your website.

When a customer makes a purchase, place products in your shopping cart that they might also be interested in.

Backend Sales Strategy #2 – The Follow-Up Email

While less immediate than the confirmation sale, a follow-up email can work wonders for your customer relationships and your business. People like to feel appreciated and if you send them a follow-up email thanking them for their purchase, they will respect you for it.

In addition to thanking them, this email can also serve as an effective backend sales tool. For instance, in this email, you can also offer a special discount on their next purchase if they act within a certain amount of time – as a token of your appreciation of course.

Remember, don’t make this message too salesy. It’s about following up strategically but with class.

Backend Sales Strategy #3 – The Triple Threat

Why stop at just one approach? Why not apply a number of backend sales strategies all at once? Hit your customers up (in a respectful and strategic way of course) three different times to ensure your best chances at making a backend sale.

1. While they are shopping, include products similar in topic on the same pages. As a customer clicks to review one product, they should also see products that compliment that particular item. This is not only helpful when grouping and organizing your products on your site, but it is also a great way to make additional sales.

2. Show your customer additional products they may be interested in on their confirmation page (directly following their initial sale). This is what we previously referred to as the Confirmation Sale.

3. Send a follow-up email to once again thank them for their purchase and also make them a special offer.

If you apply these backend sales strategies, you will be sure to gain additional sales and increase your revenue stream while concurrently pleasing your valued customers.

Remember, the more valued and appreciated your customers feel, the more likely they will be to bring you repeat business, and recommendations.

Advertising on Social Media to Reach Women

You are one of the online entrepreneurs whose niche members are mostly women in the 17-34 age range. There are many other highly unique factors about this group, but although everyone will tell you it’s too broad and generic a metric to matter, gender is an important piece of your marketing puzzle – especially when it comes to psychometrics (measuring how people think and perceive).

You’ve heard, here and there, that one has to copywrite differently to reach women. Well, the same goes with advertising. That’s why social media should be one of the first venues you think about, if the female gender makes up the majority of your subscribers or target market.

Social media is the perfect vehicle for communicating with this particular demographic. Women are the largest demographic on social media generally – especially on Facebook. To a majority of women, even business communication is relationship-driven at the core. If a female subscriber or viewer trusts you, they’re more likely to listen – and buy. And one way to build trust is to concentrate on that personal, one-on-one, real-time connection provided by social media platforms.

Of course, the problem is that you can’t really write long letters to each one – there just isn’t the time, and you’d end up working for free! But you can immediately connect on an emotional level by answering their tweets on Twitter, interacting with them on forums and hanging out with them on social networks. And you don’t have to spend hours at it either (though that is easy enough to do!) Just a little interaction a day… and then, once you’ve established the connection (or built your cleverly optimized Facebook Page) you can let your social media advertising take over some of that time load.

It’s particularly important to think sympathetically, in order to engage your female readers with your social network ads. If you can make them identify, feel or laugh… and if you can entertain and amuse them enough to click on your ad… you’ll have, in one go, vaulted past the multitude of slick, high-powered ads produced by professionals who have forgotten that important “relationship and connection” factor.

One tip to help you write your social media ads: Men are more likely to be attract to left-brain “logic” words relating to statistics, measurements and of course the competitive macho factor. While lots of women are also quite capable of being macho and competitive, results seem to indicate that they prefer more intuitive communication, in words that relate to “feeling”. A man is more likely to perk up his ears at: “Does your car impress your friends?”: A woman is more likely to respond on an empathetic level to: “Do you feel tired?”

Connect strongly enough, and if you’re also hoping to brand yourself, your event or your business, you’ll easily succeed. (A case in point: Canada’s Lilith Fair, started by musician Sarah McLachlan and friends, and once regarded as a quirky chick thing. It’s now acknowledged as a major cultural annual event, and most women on Canadian Facebook who see Lilith Fair’s plain ad know instantly what it’s about, just from the word “Lilith” alone.)

Of course, everyone is unique – but statistics do seem to side with the “relationship/intuitive/feeling” approach, when it comes to women. The real moral is: Be sensitive to your readers’ preferred communication styles and your social media ads will help your business grow much more rapidly.

JV Partnerships Boost Contest Results

When planning your online contest consider bringing in partners. This is usually called a Joint Venture Partnership or “JV” for short. You do not need to form an entirely new business, you just work on the project together to completion. You can bring in one or more people to do the contest with you. It is usually better not to choose people who are in direct competition with you, but rather choose people who promote complementary products and services to your target audience.

Each JV partner should contribute a prize to the winner. This will make your contest much more lucrative. You’ll have more prizes and be promoted via more venues including to their market, and vice versa. There is something in it for everyone. There are many ideas of how you can promote your contests such as hosting a webinar, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, guest interviewing, article marketing, social media and more. In fact, you should probably use an all of the above approach.

JV partnerships boost contests results by expanding your reach. You’ll have access to each partner’s market, and possibly established email lists. You can do this in a variety of ways and is up to each individual and how they want to set it up. However, you do it, more hands make for light work. It does help to find other individuals who have different skills from you. If you have someone good at project management, make them the lead. Someone who’s specialty is graphics they should be in charge of graphics and so on.

It is important to:

* Learn Online Contest Laws — Every state and country has different laws and regulations about online contests, it is imperative that you educate yourself and follow the laws to avoid any potential issues.
* Define Your Objectives — Your objective, in this case is to build your list. Ensure that all your actions reflect that goal.
* Create Strategy, Goals and Tactics — Create both short term and long term goals on a time line and the strategy and tactic that will enable you to meet those goals. Be very specific about who will do what, and when.
* Decide on the Contest Type — There are many contests types from photo contests, to brag in a video about my product contests. You decide what type of contest will best serve your target audience.
* Choose Prizes — The best prizes are your actual products and services. This will ensure that your sign ups are actually your target market. If you give away something that doesn’t actually serve your target audience you may obtain more list members, but they won’t be targeted, they’ll be freebie seekers.
* Create the Rules — Ensure that the rules are clear to your contest and ensure that all valid entries follow the rules. Keep good records of these actions.
* Develop the Collateral — Develop all the marketing collateral that you need including graphics, online copy, blogging content, article marketing content, and so forth. If you plan to have a webinar to launch the contest, preplan all aspects of the webinar so that you will be ready.
* Get your Websites Ready — With the larger influx of traffic that you’re garner from an online contest be sure that your technology is ready and works. Don’t forget to evaluate your hosting plan to avoid any crashes.
* Follow a Path to Launch — From these items create a timeline to launch day. Then create actions and tasks for each day after Launch. It’s not over once you launch. That is just the beginning.
* Measure Results — As you launch and go through the contest to completion measure the results against your goals and expectations. This is the only way to know if you’re successful or not or to figure out where you did well and where you can improve.

Once you’ve done one online contest to boost your email list, you’ll want to do more. Once a year is a great plan to consider. Most organizations have membership drives each year, why not you? Getting the fresh email list members will revitalize your business exponentially. Remember, the “money is still in the list”.

How To Launch and Manage a Successful Affiliate Program

Every successful affiliate program is connected to a successful product. Whether you are selling
a widget, a service or both, your business is the very foundation for your success and when that
foundation is strong, the sky truly is the limit. That is why you should take advantage of every
opportunity possible to let the world know about your business and just how great it is.
Launching your own affiliate program is the perfect way to do just that.

With a great business under your belt, you may have already considered the idea of launching
your own affiliate program. Well, the good news is you are already off to a great start. You have
a product that you believe in, that you know sells and that has the potential to be profitable. All
that is missing is more customers. How do you obtain more customers? Through that affiliate
program you have been waiting to launch!

No one knows your business better than you do, but you can quickly and easily employ a team of
affiliate marketers who can reach hundreds, even thousands more potential customers in a way
that is cost-effective, efficient and proven to work. All you have to do is provide the materials
and they bring in the sales. If it sounds easy, that’s because it is.

When launching your own affiliate program, it’s a good idea to start with high-quality software.
You will want to purchase affiliate management software that will allow you to create a one-
stop-shop for both you and your affiliate marketing team. You should be able to create and post
important information like your terms and conditions, your affiliate agreement, and any and all
creative marketing materials that you would like your affiliates to use when advertising your
business. This is how you will control your brand as well. In addition, you will want to purchase
software that offers a commission tracking functionality and other services like auto sign-up and
automated management of all affiliate work. Robust affiliate management software is the best
way to ensure your program will not only be successful, but easy to manage so that you can
focus on growing your business, not babysitting your marketing efforts.

Once you have created your program, you will want to attract affiliates who are familiar with
your line of work, who know and understand your product and who have access to your target
market. Having hundreds of affiliates is only beneficial if they are quality affiliates. In this case,
quality is more important than quantity. However, don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

In fact, a successful affiliate program inherently is a numbers game. The trick is to gain the most
valuable affiliates as possible so that they can reach as many customers as possible and therefore
maximize your profit. If you value your team and manage them well by paying them on time,
rewarding them with high commissions and offering incentives and bonuses on a continual basis,
you will reap the benefits of a successful affiliate program and your business will become an
even greater success.