What Do You Really Want To Do In Life?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 8:00am by Site Administrator

Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey, whom I often quote/ refer to here, asks what would you do if money did not matter? Have you thought about that, especially in terms of business/ career? Yaro also asks what you’d do if money was all you cared about, and goes on to say that blogging is then a poor choice.

My experience is that a large percentage of people would indicate wanting to do something other than what they’re currently doing. As Yaro points out, some people would say they’d take lots of holidays. Others actually say “nothing.” These are often the people that either haven’t thought about it or are afraid to pursue their dreams.

A lot of people talk about procrastination and GTD (Get Things Done), but I always find I have problems with GTS (Getting Things Started). Something I learned very early in my writing career is that writing about something not only helps you to learn about it but often motivates you to learn even more, sparks a career passion.

That said, if you are in an inbetween stage where you are thinking about a career change and know what you’d like to, blogging can still help you. It might or might not earn you enough to bootstrap your startup business, but it will help you towards becoming an authority in your chosen niche. That in turn might lead to the opportunities you need to launch your startup. With or without revenue, blogging can bootstrap your career.

Entrepreneur and Productivity Roundup – Mon Nov 19, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007 at 8:00pm by Site Administrator

Social Networking for Entrepreneurs
If you have a website where you publish regular fresh content (articles, videos, etc.), such as a blog for your business, social networking is a must. However, with hundreds of social networking/ social media sites out there, you have to pick the right ones for your niche. To that end, check out BootstrapMe’s social networking toolbox and Tropical SEO’s list of niche social sites that send traffic.

Never Too Old For Business Success?
Freya Bletsoe (Sykes?) at Small Business Branding asks what’s the right age to start a business. She offers some of the benefits and advantages of both young and old age groups.

But if you’re one of those over-30 entrepreneurs that always feels that time is ticking away for your business success, seeing “Top 20 Under 30 Entrepreneur” type lists probably don’t help. Don’t fret. Successful entrepreneurs are typically older – in their 50s and 60s. But even that might put some of you in a fret, worrying that you don’t have time to “make it”, depending on how old you are.

Well then check out this gallery of 8 entrepreneurs over 80, involved in several different markets. If this doesn’t ease your stress over an imaginary ticking “success” clock, probably nothing will.

Downloadable Shopping Maps
With Google’s current bids for wireless spectrum and indications that mobile marketing will be heating up in the next few years, consumers will have a lot of useful mobile applications to look forwards to. But until they’re commonplace, you have things like downloadable shopping maps [via Business Opportunities]. Currently they’re only for Sydney, Australia, but what do you want a bet more cities will follow suit?

25 Ways to Approach A Woman At Work And Not Get Sued

Monday, November 19, 2007 at 4:43pm by Site Administrator

It isn’t any surprise that coworkers often find themselves attracted to one another. After all, you’re working in close proximity, seeing each other regularly, and usually dressed more attractively than you would be in a more casual situation. Yet work romances can create a troubling dilemma. Many businesses  have strict rules about what is acceptable when pursuing a romance with a coworker, and for a good reason. Often, there is a fine line between what is harmless flirting and sexual harassment, and underestimating it can cost you your career. So if you want to ask out that cute girl from marketing, follow these tips to avoid landing yourself in hot water.

  1. Ask her to lunch. Lunch is a relatively harmless request, as business associates often get together for lunch to discuss work related issues. If you’re nervous or want to be extra careful, invite along a few other coworkers.
  2. Send her emails. Sometimes emails can be a low-pressure way to ask out the object of your affection at work, and she won’t feel like she has to give you an immediate response. Just be careful what you write–emails are often monitored, and any inappropriate emails will likely be saved for your dismissal interview.
  3. Include other coworkers. If you’re afraid to risk it all and ask her out one-on-one, try inviting her out with a group of coworkers. You’ll still get to spend some time with her away from work, but there will be other people around to ease any potential awkwardness.
  4. Only ask once. If you’ve asked her out and she said no, don’t press the issue. Repeated attempts at getting her to go out with you will make her uncomfortable and definitely cross the line to harassment.
  5. Give non-threatening compliments. One way to show your interest in a female coworker is to pay her compliments. You just have to be careful about what you say, as there are many things that could be taken in the wrong way and could sound inappropriate. One way to do this is by giving a compliment accompanied by a question such as "That’s a nice University of Whatever scarf. Did you go to school there?" That way, she won’t feel pressured to respond to your compliment, and you’ll get to know a little more about her.
  6. Walk with her to meetings or out of the building. Make the most of your travel time through the building to spend time with the woman you’re interested in asking out. It’s an easy way to approach her and it’s unlikely to make her feel uncomfortable because your walk has a terminal point.
  7. Arrange outside of work outings. You won’t seem like a creep if you ask her to come along on company outings outside of work, and in fact, if she’s new you might even score some points with her for making her feel included in the group.
  8. Keep your distance. While you might get away with getting touchy feely when approaching a woman at a bar, at work you should keep your distance. Don’t invade her personal space. Instead, express your interest through your face and body language.
  9. Tell her jokes. Jokes can be a great way to get her to let down her guard and think of you as a person, not just her coworker. Just be careful to keep the jokes clean to avoid upsetting her or any other coworkers within earshot.
  10. Bring her coffee. Provided she likes coffee, this will be seen as a sweet, non-aggressive gesture. If you’re lucky, you could turn a one time gesture into a daily coffee date.
  11. Only approach those who are not your subordinates. It doesn’t matter how attractive your subordinates might be, they should be off limits if you want to avoid future trouble. Even if you spark a long-term relationship, if it goes sour you could become subject to complaints that you used your status as leverage.
  12. Make excuses to stop by her desk. Walking by her desk every once in awhile or bringing some papers over to her can be a good way to break the ice and give you an opportunity to ask her out.
  13. Keep it casual. If you do ask her to go out, make sure it’s something that isn’t too intimidating. Try asking her to get coffee or dinner before asking her out to come over to watch a movie.
  14. Be her friend first. Before you take the leap to asking out a coworker, get to know her first. You may find out that while you thought she was cute, you two don’t really have much to talk about. Of course, if you do, you’ll have a much easier time asking out someone you’re already friendly with.
  15. Send her a meeting invitation. Why not get cute about it and send her a meeting invitation through her email? You can keep things casual with a simple catch-up lunch meeting if you want to see how interested she is.
  16. Ask for her help on a project. You can often approach a coworker you don’t know particularly well by asking for her help on a project. You’ll get her help and a chance to talk with her that you might not have otherwise had.
  17. Take breaks together. Invite her along on your afternoon snack run or trip to the water cooler. If she says yes, who knows, she might say yes to dinner and movie.
  18. Use work as a conversation starter. An easy way to break the ice with a coworker is to joke around or talk about work. You can share a laugh about how sweaty your boss was at the meeting or how awful the coffee is in the break room. You’ll be bonding, but in a way that’s appropriate for the office.
  19. Leave her outs. If you want to ask out someone from work but you aren’t sure of her interest in you, make sure you leave her an out when you invite her on a date so that she doesn’t feel trapped or made uncomfortable by your request.
  20. Get her opinion. If you work closely with the coworker you’re interested in, try asking her opinion on something you’re working on. It’ll let her know you value what she thinks and later on, you can ask her opinion on more personal matters as well.
  21. Gauge her interest. Whether you ask around the office to see if she might be interested or just read her signals, don’t pursue a woman that doesn’t seem to be into you. While this is a good rule to follow in general, it’s especially true for the office.
  22. Save her a seat. One way you can show interest in a woman at work without being too pushy about it is to save her a seat at your next meeting or conference. It’s a nice gesture and you’ll get to sit by her the whole time.
  23. Ask her questions. You’re unlikely to face any lawsuits for trying to get to know a coworker better, unless of course you start quizzing her about her personal life or dress sizes, so take the opportunity to ask her questions and get to know what makes her tick. It will make it easier to ask her out later.
  24. Maintain eye contact. This is a good approach to dealing with women at work, as it shows that you are interested in what they are saying. It also makes it clear that your eyes aren’t wandering to places that are inappropriate.
  25. Just ask. Sometimes the best way to approach a woman at work is to just do it. That way, you’ll know right off the bat if she’s interested or not, and you won’t be tempted to say or do things that she might find harassing if she’s not interested.

Remember that none of these tips are foolproof–every person has their own comfort threshold and some might take offense at things of which others would think nothing. Stay smart, and who knows? Your office romance might blossom into something more.

10 Magazine-Style Website Themes for Entrepreneurial Online Publishers

Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 9:00pm by Site Administrator

If you’ve decided to start an online publishing business, you have many choices, including static niche-focused sites, subscription content, and blogs, all of which we’ve discussed here. Another option is to build an online magazine, preferably one related to your startup market.

The problem is that, until recently, the type of CMS (Content Management System) needed to produce an impressive online magazine would set you back at least $100,000, if not literally a million. And then you have to factor in “seat licenses” for every person who would be using the software. That’s way too much for most online publishers, aspiring or otherwise.

Enter WordPress (aka WP), reputedly the most used platform blogs. Despite that, WordPress is nearly as powerful as most of the high-end CMSes that I assessed in the late 90s for large companies. And it’s free, Open Source software. (At least for the present.) It’s also quite capable of present a magazine-like website, as the sudden explosion of magazine-like WP themes will attest to.

If you do have designs on an online magazine, you need a good layout to match. There are actually quite a number to choose from, and some of them are discussed briefly below, with snapshots. Please note that some of these themes require WP 2.3+ versions, which to me is a huge disappointment due to serious changes in the database schema that are incompatible with earlier versions of WordPress.

The Shortlist
Being included here is not an endorsement of any particular theme and not a snub of others. I’m including those that I’ve either tried, read about a fair bit, or simply caught my eye.

Revolution magazine theme for wordpress1. Revolution. The original Revolution theme is one of my early favorites and I had no trouble shelling out a few dollars for a licensed copy that I could install multiple times – and tweak to my heart’s content. The theme is by Brian Gardner, whose free WP themes you can find at Performancing.

The main Revolution site has a wealth of tutorials on how to use the theme and customize it. It’s robust enough to show several variations. Check out Hot Togs and Curry Elvis for a couple of examples. As with most of the themes in this list, you can take Revolution and make it yours by tweaking.

There are a number of different licensing options, so check out what’s most appropriate for your needs.

Revolution Magazine theme for WordPress2. Revolution News, Magazine, Sports. Shortly after the success of Revolution, Brian released his Revolution News, Magazine and Sports themes, which are essentially variations on the same idea, but do have distinct layouts. While I purchased a copy of the Magazine theme, I haven’t yet implemented it. These are much more magazine-y than the original Revolution, and the Magazine variation has a space set out for a “featured video”.

The licensing options for these three themes are different than for the original theme. If you want any of these for multiple use, it’ll cost you more.

The only drawback I’ve found with the four Revolution themes is that the default mode uses their logos, which you will not want for your sites. Most of the other themes here instead use the name of your WordPress blog automatically.

The Morning After (TMA) WordPress magazine theme3. TMA – The Morning After. TMA , by Arun Kale, is another of my favorite WP magazine themes, which you can see implemented with slight layout variations at CallStyle and PopSofa. Details on customizing this free theme are available on the main page. Besides the general layout, it has a very “online magazine” feel to it, with well-integrated layout components.

What I really like about it is the Feature and Asides components. It’s also relatively easy to move the chunks around, if you are familiar enough with the PHP coding used by WordPress. I’ve also taken the Asides code from here and implemented it in another magazine theme, Mimbo, discussed below. The only thing I don’t like about this is how blockquotes appear out of the box. However, of all the free themes, it’s my favorite.

Mimbo magazine theme for WordPress4. Mimbo. I really love Mimbo, by Darren Hoyt, for sites with lots of images. But there are a few kinks I found while customizing an implementation, including category archive pages showing as the home page instead. (But in all fairness, they work on the demo site; just not for me.)

Note that the name Mimbo means “male bimbo”, and that this theme is ideal for a fashion mag or something in the entertainment or pop culture vein. On the other hand, a very attractive implementation can be found at Cycling Challenge (which I have nothing to do with). I have taken the “Asides” section of TMA (above) and replicated it – something I intend to do with on some Revolution installs.

Your Revolution magazine theme for WordPress5. Your Revolution. Adii (Adriian Pienaar) released three magazine-style themes, though I’m not sure if Your Revolution is first or second. This one has a slight resemblance to Brian Gardner’s Revolution News theme in terms of layout, but uses a completely different color theme out of the box.

The list price is $79, but since I don’t own a copy, I can’t say how easy it is to customize. It’s not one of my favorites, though color themes are always a personal choice. I’ll take a guess that

Blockmag magazine theme for WordPress6. Blockmag. The Blockmag theme is also by Adii, and I prefer this one over his Your Revolution, especially in terms of layout. Both are available for sale, along with a number of other themes by Adii.

Maybe it’s the demo and the demo colors, but I find that this theme might be more suitable to something in the art vein – possibly for selling art online, if  you have an arts magazine to go with it.

Premimum News/ magazine theme for WordPress7. Premium News Theme. The Premium News Theme is the third of Adii’s magazine themes. I find this one to be the most attractive of the three, very professional, and ideal for sites with lots of photos and videos. In fact, there’s a built-in video player.

It’s very sexy and crisp, and the homepage layout makes me think of a print magazine masthead, with large snippets of photos. I might just have to shell out the $99 for it – but that only covers a single use. Like some of the other paid themes, if you want to use it on multiple sites, there’s an extra flat cost.

Grid Focus magazine theme for WordPress8. Grid Focus. Grid Focus is very minimalist, with a strong black and white, 3-column theme, tempered with a bit of gray. It leaves a fair bit of room for customization.

What’s interesting is that the navigation bar is duplicated at the bottom of the page. Given the demo layout, this theme is probably ideal for a text-heavy site. However, it’s likely that it wouldn’t be too much work to incorporate images. And color.

Upstart Blogger magazine theme for WordPress9. Futurosity. Futurosity takes a vertical approach to the magazine theme, in a minimalist sense. The demo page suggests a theme ideal for text-heavy sites, though i’m sure you could add images. (It’s not evident from the snapshot at right.)

The individual post page template is very clean, with tons of white space, and space for large images (scroll to bottom of page). Overall, this a simple but bold theme, and potentially has a lot of uses.

Jello Wala Mello magazine theme for WordPress10. Jello Wala Mello. Designer Small Potato has released what he calls a “free premium” magazine theme called Jello Wala Mello. I’m not big on yellow (my least fave color in the spectrum), but I do like the general layout.

It’s influenced by CNN and Kineda layouts, which Small Potato mentions. He also goes through the influences and the process he used, including previously hiring someone to come up with what is now an earlier incarnation of this theme. (Which is less yellow and laid out differently.)

Other magazine themes.
Theme Playground also reviews several other magazine-style themes that I didnt’ know about and thus haven’t explored yet. Design Adapations also talks about creating a magazine style theme by example, reviewing some of themes listed here. (Note: Theme Playground uses the TMA theme.)

Few of these themes “work” out of the box. After you install and activate one of them in your WordPress control panel, you likely do have to do some work, adding one or more sizes of images for the home page, and what WordPress calls custom fields. In fact, unless you don’t care about homepage images, you also have to do some photo editing work each time you post a new article.

If you want something original, an area of site design that you might be interested in is grid-based design, which makes up the core of these magazine themes. The Blueprint framework is a good place to start, for producing grid-based layouts from scratch.

It’s true that not all of the themes above are ideal for a professional online magazine, though many of them show a great deal of promise, and some of the licenses allow tweaking and/or reuse.

Just Do It: 67 Ways to Tame the Procrastination Beast

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 11:57pm by Site Administrator

Let’s face it: even the most diligent of entrepreneurs can fall victim to the lure of procrastination now and then. It’s hard to blame them: sometimes a TV show, the Internet, or even just staring out the window is more fun than doing the tasks that really need to get done. But being a serial procrastinator is a sure way to direct your business into some pretty dire straits if you’re not careful. How can you learn to tame your short attention span when you really need to get things done? While everyone has their own little tricks, here are 67 ways we’ve come up with to help you concentrate when it counts.

  1. Take it one step at a time. A huge project can feel overwhelming and make it hard to figure out a place to start, encouraging you to put it off. Instead of trying to tackle all of it at once, break it into smaller, more manageable parts.
  2. Set time limits. Projects have a way of expanding to fill the time allotted, so set a time limit for yourself to finish a project. By focusing your time, you’ll get more done and maybe even end up with a few free minutes for yourself.
  3. Listen to yourself. Do you find yourself often saying that you "must", "have to" or "should" do something? This kind of talk is a recipe for procrastination. Instead, tell yourself that you "choose to" do the things you do. Changing your mind set can have a big impact on your productivity.
  4. Tackle your worst tasks early in the day. Often procrastination at work is due to avoidance of a particularly unpleasant task. If you make it a habit to get your least favorite tasks out of the way in the morning, the rest of your day will be a breeze.
  5. Stay organized. Clutter and disorganization can be big contributors to procrastination. It can seem overwhelming just to sort through all the papers and emails you have, let alone take care of what they discuss, so create a system for yourself to handle any incoming files, emails, and anything else so that it will stay neat and less intimidating when you have time to work on them.
  6. Plan your time. While this may sound a bit authoritarian, planning every hour of your workday can help you get a handle on the tasks you need to get done. Make sure to schedule in time for breaks and less stressful tasks as well.
  7. Prepare for tomorrow. Start your day off right by spending a few minutes at the end of each day planning what you want to get done the next day. This way, you can start working immediately when you get to work rather than spending time gathering your thoughts.
  8. Work around your most productive times of the day. Whether you’re dragging first thing in the morning or have a post lunch slump, don’t schedule important meetings or tasks around these times of day. Work with your natural rhythms to figure out your most productive times to get things done.
  9. Prevent interruptions. Your day shouldn’t be completely without relief, nor can you plan for all interruptions, but do your best to scale back on the number of things that can disrupt you. Shut your door, close your email, and send your calls to voicemail for a few hours to get some things done.
  10. Reward yourself. Give yourself little rewards for getting work done as motivation. After a few hours of uninterrupted work, allow yourself some time to surf the net or take a walk outside to break up your workday.
  11. Arrange for follow-ups. If you can’t keep yourself on task or just want a little outside support, arrange for a work buddy to check in on you periodically to make sure you’re not slacking.
  12. Stick to a routine. Following a routine can help you to get into the habit of not procrastinating. Doing the same activities each day might sound boring, but a routine can help you to prepare your body and mind for concentrating instead of running wild.
  13. Turn on music. While music can be a distraction for some, it can also be a great motivator. Pick out songs that pep you up and get you motivated to work, and you might get more done.
  14. Stop trying to make everything perfect. Procrastinators often feel that if they can’t do something perfectly, then they shouldn’t do it at all. The reality is that perfection is a subjective quality, and what you might consider imperfect might be just fine in reality. So, give yourself a break, do your best, and get done what you can.
  15. Don’t view work as eating up your leisure time. You’re less likely to tackle a large project if you view it as something that will eat up all your personal time, require you to work long hours, and ruin your social life. Instead, schedule time for everything, including fun, and simply don’t allow work to take up time you allot for relaxation. Studies have shown that working like this will actually help you get more done in less time.
  16. Allow some positive procrastination. Not all procrastination is bad. Sometimes we put off tasks by doing other smaller and easier tasks which need to get done as well. So long as you’re not missing deadlines or hurting your bottom line, this kind of procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.
  17. Set a timer. One way to help reel in a wandering mind is to set a timer for a particular amount of time, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour. When the timer goes off, stop and take a look at what you’re doing. If you’re off task, the timer can serve as a reminder to get back to what you should be doing. You can also use it to measure out intervals of time in which you’ll work, and when the timer goes off you can reward yourself for a job well done.
  18. Don’t multitask. If you have trouble sticking to one task, chances are you won’t have any easier of a time trying to do several tasks simultaneously. Instead, concentrate on one thing at a time so you won’t become distracted or overwhelmed.
  19. Modify your environment. You don’t have to turn your office into a sterile, unfriendly place to be, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors if you are surrounded by tons of distractions in your work area. Keep your desk and computer desktop simple, organized, and clean, and put away things that could serve as distractions from your work.
  20. Prioritize your activities. It’s very tempting to put off tasks that may not seem particularly important, so set up a priority system for completing tasks. Things with impending deadlines or of great importance should of course take precedence, but don’t let little things go completely by the wayside.
  21. Estimate your time. Before you begin a task, estimate how much time it will take you to complete it. This will help you to more effectively schedule your time throughout your day and keep you from feeling too stressed out or bored.
  22. Keep your mind and body fit. Stress, depression and illness can all play a big part in the decision to procrastinate, so do your best to keep your mind and body as healthy as you can by working out, eating right, and practicing relaxation methods that work for you.
  23. Don’t overdo it. It can be tempting to create a huge to-do list for yourself and overestimate your abilities, but don’t do it. You’ll be discouraged if you don’t finish everything you planned, so create short, manageable to-do lists that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and a desire to feel just as productive tomorrow.
  24. Limit Internet usage. While the Internet can be a great productivity tool, it can also be a great productivity thief, stealing hours that you could have spent doing much more productive things. If you can’t manage your net time on your own try a program that will help you or simply disconnect your computer for short amounts of time so you can get to work.
  25. Create non-negotiable rules. Battle your procrastination with rules that you must absolutely follow, whether they stipulate that you will respond to emails for only one hour each morning or that you won’t ever leave unfiled papers on your desk. Share them with others and make sure you stick to them without exception.
  26. Consider what it means to do nothing. Have you ever really thought about what it means not to do a particular task? Could it cost you your business or your reputation? Often just thinking about the potentially serious consequences of inaction will be enough to get you up and running.
  27. Make a conscious effort to avoid excuses. Procrastinators are experts at making excuses both for themselves and others as to why they aren’t working. Anytime you hear yourself starting to make an excuse for not staying on task, stop and take a minute to think if you’re really justified in putting tasks off until later.
  28. Make your commitments public. One sure way to get yourself motivated is through fear of letting others down or embarrassing yourself. It sounds terrible, but it works. You’ll be much less likely to put off starting things if you know others are counting on you to come through.
  29. Put money on it. Depending on your level of commitment to procrastination, this could be a foolhardy mistake, but for most of us, the thought of wasting or losing money is motivation enough to step up. For entrepreneurs, many of the things you’re putting off doing are actually costing you money. Thinking about it like that can put things in a whole new perspective and give you motivation you didn’t know you had.
  30. Realize that easy isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes we choose to do things the easy way because it’s faster in the short term and we forget about the long term ramifications. While it might be against your procrastinator’s nature, sometimes putting in a little extra effort in at the front end can save you hours of work later on.
  31. Think less. Don’t over think tasks to the point of mental paralysis. Many people get stuck in the initial phases and fail to move on, but ideally you should be working as much as you are thinking or planning a project.
  32. Commit to five minutes. There are certain tasks that we just can’t avoid but that really are unpleasant. Tackle these by promising yourself that you’ll do at least five minutes of uninterrupted work. If you make it through the five minutes commit to five more until the project is finally completed.
  33. Balance your day. Don’t make your workday all work and no play. Make sure you take breaks and time to get away from your desk and relax.
  34. Decide if something is worth keeping right away. It’s easy to let mail clutter up your workspaces, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you decide whether or not something is important enough to keep immediately, then put it in a place where you’ll work on it or file it right then. This keeps stuff from piling up on your desk and keeps you from procrastinating in taking care of it.
  35. Use free time wisely. Have a few minutes waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave? Use that time to catch up on an email or file a few papers instead of just standing around. Those few minutes will add up over the course of the day.
  36. Take responsibility. You’ll never stop procrastinating until you can stand up to yourself and say that you don’t want to procrastinate anymore and mean it. Demonstrate your dedication to ending procrastination through daily action and eventually you’ll start to see a long term change.
  37. Identify where you procrastinate. Sometimes the key to beating your habit of putting things off is simply to figure out what it is you’re putting off. Maybe there are certain small tasks you hate or big projects you’re nervous about. Once you know what you’re avoiding you can start figuring out ways to make doing those tasks easier and more pleasant for you.
  38. Don’t get discouraged. Everyone has days when they’re simply more productive than others, due to lack of sleep, emotional issues or even just natural rhythms, so if you have an off day don’t feel like you’ve ruined your whole week and give up. Just start over tomorrow!
  39. Keep it simple. Don’t make getting things done more complicated than it needs to be. Clear off your desk, pare down the steps it takes to do tasks, and do whatever it takes to make accomplishing things as easy as possible.
  40. Do it now. It might seem overly simplistic, but the easiest way to keep from putting off tasks is just to do them as soon as you think of them. If you know you need to send an email to a client, don’t wait, just get it done. You’ll feel better about accomplishing it and you won’t have to worry about it later.
  41. Don’t put to-dos on your list that take longer than 30 minutes. This doesn’t mean that all your tasks should be quick, but if you have an item on your list that will take longer then you should try breaking it up into smaller chunks. This will keep you from feeling bogged down by one particular project.
  42. Determine your limits. Everyone has a breaking point or limits of what they can or are willing to do. Figure out where yours lie and don’t try to exceed them just to squeeze more into a day. You’ll end up tired and cranky and with less done than if you had respected your working limits.
  43. Alternate the pleasant with the unpleasant. It can be easier to jump into an unpleasant task if you know it will be followed by something you find pleasant. Almost everyone can muddle through an hour or two of more tedious work if they know there will be a period of relief or a reward afterwards.
  44. Make it fun. Something is only a chore if you think about it as a chore. Make your tasks as enjoyable as you can and they’ll be easier to stomach getting through.
  45. Be your own coach. Give yourself a little pep-rally before starting a big task. It might sound cheesy, but a little motivational thought can go a long way.
  46. Maintain perspective. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day trivialities of our jobs that we forget to think about the big picture. Consider how getting smaller tasks done will affect your long term goals both for yourself and your business.
  47. Remove uncertainty. Are you hesitating to start a task because you are uncertain of how to approach it or you just don’t know where to begin? Start figuring out where to begin as a separate task altogether and one that must be completed before you can move on. Do your research, ask questions, or just sit and think, whatever it takes to get you working.
  48. Give yourself positive feedback. Make a big deal out of checking things off of your to-do list and rewarding yourself for a job well-done. After all, you not only completed the task but conquered your procrastination as well.
  49. Work with others. Sometimes it can be helpful to seek the guidance and support of others to get motivated to work on a task. Use your coworkers and colleagues as inspiration and partners in getting your work accomplished successfully.
  50. Join a support group. For the serious procrastinator, it might be helpful to find a group of like-minded individuals to discuss your problems with motivation with. Often, others can be a great source of ideas and support and can help you get started on the right track.
  51. Stay in your space. If you’re like many people, you have a hard time staying at your desk and you tend to want to wander around to get a drink of water or talk with coworkers or employees. While this is acceptable some of the time, try to keep yourself firmly planted in your seat, as even small departures can send you way off track if you’re not careful.
  52. Let others know when you’re working. Help yourself to limit distractions by letting others know when you don’t want to be disturbed. It might sound rude, but sometimes you really just need to get things done without any interruptions. Put up an away message or hang a sign on your door if you need to.
  53. Create an incentive plan. Create a plan for yourself where certain intervals of work elicit certain rewards. The bigger the task accomplished, the bigger the reward so you have a reason to work hard.
  54. Learn to say no. One form of procrastination is taking on other tasks to avoid doing the ones you already have. Learn to say no when you have work to do.
  55. Be honest with yourself. Do you really need to spend half an hour looking for the perfect font for your presentation? Chances are, unless designing presentations is your only job, you’re simply wasting time. Learn to be honest with yourself about what’s really necessary and you’ll get a lot more done.
  56. Decide what doesn’t need to get done. Sometimes we procrastinate because the things we have on our to-do list aren’t really things that need to get done or are things that someone else could do. Delegate or eliminate these tasks from your to-dos and free up time and energy for more important tasks.
  57. Identify your biggest time eaters. For most people, this is the Internet, but for you it might be daydreaming, taking coffee breaks or talking on the telephone. Whatever it is, create a strategy to manage it so it doesn’t eat up your whole day.
  58. Change your thinking. Stop thinking "How will I finish this?" and start thinking "How can I start this?" After all, starting a project is the hardest part.
  59. Think about how procrastination makes you feel. Chances are pretty good that when you procrastinate you don’t feel good about it nor about yourself. There’s no reason to put yourself through this kind of damaging cycle. When you’re tempted to procrastinate, try imagining how you’ll feel later if you’ve gotten nothing done.
  60. Surround yourself with productive people. No one wants to be the office slacker, so surround yourself with others whose different attitudes towards work might rub off on you.
  61. Get started early. For most people, even those who aren’t great with mornings, accomplishing a lot in the morning can be a great feeling and will help you feel much better about the rest of the day. Remember, once you’ve gotten your work out of the way you can take a nap if you need to.
  62. Take care not to redo work. You can add hours onto your work time by going through files you have already handled or mail you didn’t bother to throw away. Take care of things once and do it well so you won’t have to come back later.
  63. Stop being so hard on yourself. You can work yourself into a rut by beating yourself up for not getting enough done. While it is important to be strict with yourself about time management and getting things done, in reality there is only so much you can get done in one day.
  64. Get some rest. One of the biggest obstacles to productivity is lack of sleep. How can you be expected to concentrate when you’ve only had a few hours of sleep? Whenever possible, try to get a full night’s sleep so you won’t be nodding off at your desk during the day or glued to the coffeepot.
  65. Don’t do the same task for too long. Unless you’re really wrapped up in what you’re working on, try to take breaks or chop up your projects into smaller parts. Doing the same task for too long can lead to feelings of tedium, and you’ll get bored or lose your motivation.
  66. Think of yourself in a positive manner. Keep a small list of things you’ve accomplished throughout the day or the week to help you think about yourself in a positive way. Thinking about all the hard work you’ve already done can help you feel more motivated to complete the rest of the work that you have to do.
  67. Keep it last minute. You can’t procrastinate if there isn’t time to procrastinate in. While you should allow a little cushion time in case of emergencies and unforeseen circumstances, sometimes the best thing a procrastinator can do is force him or herself to work under the gun so there will be no room for excuses.

Entrepreneur and Productivity Roundup – Wed Nov 14, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 10:30pm by Site Administrator

Affiliate Marketing Secrets
As he often tends to do, Yaro Starak has a very detailed account of his experience with affiliate marketing online. He reveals some secrets, as well as some of the challenges in crowded niches. I know that I haven’t had much success in this area (grand total of about $50 commissions in two years), so this is a very welcome article with lots of information. Affiliate marketing can be an ideal opportunity for bootstrappers, if you don’t want to go with regular online publishing or a subscription site.

Productivity Toolbox
SmallFuel Marketing has a handy productivity toolbox article that lists nearly 40 tools for getting things done. The list is split up into the following categories:

  1. Project and task management tools.
  2. Productivity blogs and websites.
  3. Productivity and execution books.
  4. Getting things done (GTD) software.
  5. To-do and task list software.
  6. Time tracking and management.
  7. Calendars and scheduling.
  8. Planning and goal setting.
  9. Motivation/ inspiration.

Lies an Entrepreneur Told Me?
Shawn Hessinger has a great post over at BootstrapMe about seven business lies that would-be entrepreneurs say, and which become barriers for themselves. These lies are actually the stumble blocks that stop would-be entrepreneurs from getting things started. The article certainly opened my eyes, made me realize how many of these lies I’ve told myself.

Comments (0) | Filed under: Productivity

Bootstrapper’s Cascading Cashflow Case Study

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 11:45pm by Site Administrator

Bootstrapping - cascading cashflow engines

It’s true that some niches are more monetizable online than others. But what if you are not an authority in one of the more lucrative niches and can’t afford to hire someone? Being a generalist, I tend to fool myself into believing I can write about anything, but there are only a few niches that I can write about with a level of passion – which is key for a successful blog, but not necessarily a static site.

Now if you’re in the position that you feel your knowledge is not that monetizable, you still have a few options. I’ve been exploring a business model I like to call “cascading cashflow engines”. It is all theoretical, but applicable both online and offline. The gist of the whole exercise is to leverage what you do know into distributed projects that will collectively raise enough capital for your true startup goal. Applied to online publishing, this is an alternate financing method than blogging for startup money.

Cascading Cashflow Business Model:
Basically, I start with a few small projects that I can manage or can find volunteers for. The revenue for these projects (whether websites or something else) is used to fund the next level of projects. These second-level projects usually have some hired help – freelancers. Part of the revenue from the second-level projects is recycled, in hopes of producing more paid work for other people. The rest of the revenue is used to fund some third-level projects, which might have half-time or full-time people.

The revenues keep cascading down the project levels until there’s enough capital generated to launch the real startup goal.

Previous Entrepreneurial Mistakes:
Again, I’ll emphasize that this is a theoretical business model. I’ve been exploring it for years, but I made some serious mistakes before:

  1. Didn’t focus on a few areas of interest.
  2. Overcommitted resources and had to stop short, making collaborators angry.
  3. Bought too much equipment too soon. That is, I didn’t really bootstrap and suffered stunning financial losses as a result.
  4. Didn’t consistently apply kaizen.
  5. Didn’t take on partners (couldn’t find suitable ones).
  6. Over-relied on credit cards, and not even business cards with good rates.
  7. Didn’t plan to pay contributors/ hires a share of net monthly revenue.

I’ve rectified these problems on what might be termed my third phase of entrepreneuring, which is currently purely online, as a digital entrepreneur. I’m also replicating the successful online business models of some of my colleagues/ partners who are earning between $5-50K/month. I’m also exploring, with partners, web mashup tools and subscription sites.

While all this doesn’t guarantee success, early indications are that the success will come over time, now that I’ve learned from previous mistakes. My cascading cashflow engines will be harnessed over the next three years, in hopes of producing enough capital to bootstrap a film production company (complete with funding of my entry into film school). I know. I don’t like doing things the easy way.

Top 100 Entrepreneur Podcasts

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 11:35pm by Site Administrator

If you’re a busy entrepreneur, chances are you barely have time to brush your teeth, let alone brush up on all of the blogs, business news, and books out there. If you’re too busy to read, podcasts are a great alternative. Try listening to these podcasts for entrepreneurs while you’re on the go.


Hear about strategies for up and comers in these podcasts.

  1. FlyingStartups: Get monthly updates of interviews with well known startup entrepreneurs on FlyingStartups.
  2. Startup Nation Radio: The Sloan Brothers take you on their adventure of starting a dream business.
  3. Loic Le Meur: This serial startup entrepreneur creates podcasts with interviews, news and more.
  4. Andrew Allgaier: Andrew Allgaier’s on the brink of launching his business.
  5. Cubicle Divas: Leesa Barnes shares secrets on how women can start a new business on a shoestring.
  6. StartupBizCast: Steve Mullen’s Startup BizCast has loads of business advice and tips for startups.


Keep your mind on your money by checking out these podcasts that center on finance and investment.

  1. Business With Cents: This podcast is all about starting a successful business without a lot of cash.
  2. Best Accounting Practices: Listen to Best Accounting Practices for insight from CPA Jack Boyer.
  3. Venture Voice: These podcasts offer infomation on venture capital, entrepreneurship, and other topics in business.
  4. Entrepreneur Magazine Radio-Money/Jobs and Economy: This podcast covers news and interviews in money and economy.
  5. Kiplinger Personal Finance: Entrepreneurs need to keep a close eye on their personal finances. Learn how to do that with Kiplinger’s podcast.
  6. Entrepreneur and Investor Corner: This podcast is designed to help entrepreneurs get their feet wet in finance and investing.
  7. Joseph Associates: This podcast from Joseph Associates covers the merger and acquisition marketplace.
  8. QuickBooks Small Business Podcast: Get small business seminars in this podcast from QuickBooks.
  9. TaxQuips: If you’ve got a small business tax question, tune in to TaxQuips.
  10. Accounting Best Practices: Steve Bragg discusses a number of accounting topics in this podcast.


Use these podcasts to spark ideas and inspiration for your business.

  1. 60 Second Ideas: Get inspiration from these quick idea podcasts.
  2. Daily Thoughts for Business: These inspirational thoughts will brighten any entrepreneur’s day.
  3. Teen Biz: On this podcast, you’ll find business ideas for teens and young adults.
  4. Biz Op Radio: Chris Murch stays on top of business opportunities in this podcast.
  5. HBR Ideacast: This ideacast from Harvard Business Review offers loads of management ideas and commentary.
  6. Entrepreneur Cast: Learn how to take your inspiration beyond the concept with Entrepreneur Cast.
  7. Tweak!: Tweak! teaches entrepreneurs to make small changes in their business.
  8. Escape From Cubicle Nation: Pamela Slim’s podcast is all about getting out of the cubicle and into a life you can enjoy.
  9. iinnovate: Learn about innovation and entrepreneurship with this podcast.
  10. Killer Innovations: Phil McKinney shares his knowledge about creativity and innovation.


Listen to these podcasts for strategies and help for staying on top of everything.

  1. Gain Control of Your Day: Use these tools and techniques to stay on top of your productivity.
  2. A Motivated Entrepreneur: Get motivated with this podcast.
  3. Smarter By The Minute: Work smarter and live happier by checking out Smarter By The Minute.


These podcasts provide loads of ideas for getting the word out about your business.

  1. Aggressive Marketing & Entrepreneurship Podcast: Tune into Michael Cage’s podcast to learn about strategies and news for marketing your business.
  2. The Cold Calling Podcast: Listen to the Cold Calling Podcast for tips, insight, and tricks on telephone prospecting and lead generation.
  3. Guerilla Marketing: Find out what people want online and how to be an exceptional guerilla marketer with this podcast.
  4. Recognized Expert Marketing: Listen in to this podcast to learn how becoming a recognized expert can help you with marketing.
  5. Biz III: Listen to this small business podcast for loads of tech-savvy marketing tips.
  6. Personal Brand Marketing: Check out Vikarm Rajan’s podcast for marketing tips you can use.
  7. Duct Tape Marketing: John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing podcast delivers loads of marketing tips and offers lots of big-name guests.
  8. Marketing Edge: Check out Marketing Edge for insight on public relations, marketing, and more.
  9. Marketing Voices: Listen to Marketing Voices for perspectives on social media marketing.

Business Building

Build your business with these podcasts.

  1. Build a Private Practice: Learn how to build a private practice from therapists and experts who have been there before.
  2. Struggling Entrepreneur: Find out what this entrepreneur has learned along the way.
  3. Building a Home Business That Doesn’t Suck: Listen to this podcast to learn how to build a real home-based business.


Check out these podcasts for business outside of the US.

  1. Business Coach Podcast-Canadian Small Business: This business coach has lots of advice for Canadian entrepreneurs.
  2. The China Business Show: Find out how business leaders do business in China.
  3. I’m Boss TV: Get small business information from Australians here.
  4. The Engaging Brand: Anna Farmery’s The Engaging Brand is all about a consultancy in the UK.
  5. China Business Podcast: Find out about growth and opportunities in China by listening to this podcast.
  6. Entrepreneur’s Journey: Check out Yaro Starak’s podcast to hear about the Australian’s journey as an entrepreneur.
  7. Small Biz Pod: Check out this podcast for UK entrepreneurs.
  8. InsidePR Podcast: This weekly Canadian podcast is all about public relations.


In these podcasts, you’ll hear interviews with lots of successful entrepreneurs.

  1. Jenerous: Listen to the stories of entrepreneurs and marketers on Jenerous.
  2. Leader Network: On The Leader Network, you’ll listen to interviews on known and unknown leaders.
  3. Like Nobody’s Business: Lalita Amos’ podcast includes interviews and challenges to traditional business thinking.
  4. Startup Studio: With Startup Studio, you’ll enjoy interviews of entrepreneurs and learn how they did it.
  5. Biz Link Radio: On Biz Link Radio, you’ll get weekly interviews with entrepreneurs and executives.
  6. Entrepreneur Exclusive: Listen to exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs.
  7. Small Business Netcast: The panelists on this podcast discuss creating, developing, and managing small businesses.
  8. Round One: Listen to interviews of prominent entrepreneurs on Round One.
  9. Beermat Business Radio Show: Mike Southon, "Beermat Entrepreneur," interviews successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders.
  10. Meet The CEO: Listen to interviews of big-name CEOs on this podcast.
  11. DSM Buzz: This podcast interviews successful entrepreneurs and encourages consumers to buy local.
  12. Small Business Podcast: Listen to the Small Business Podcast for interviews with loads of business experts, entrepreneurs, and more.


Learn how to be a good manager and leader using these podcasts.

  1. Change Maker Minute: Get motivational messages for leaders from this podcast.
  2. The Good Manager Podcasts: Learn how to be a good manager in these podcasts.
  3. Fireside Chat with Lisa Haneberg: Learn about business management with these podcasts from Lisa Haneberg.
  4. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders: Check out these lectures from Stanford for thoughts from entrepreneurial leaders.
  5. Small Biz Survival: Becky McCray’s podcasts focus on business leadership and management advice.
  6. Manager Tools: Use Manager Tools to become a more effective manager and leader.


Get the latest in entrepreneurial tech news with these podcasts.

  1. eBiz Show: Learn about successful ebusinesses on this podcast.
  2. eCommerce RSS Radio Show: Listen in to this show for information about tracking topics online.
  3. The Podcast Brothers: Check out the Podcast Brothers for weekly infomation on the business side of audio and video new media.
  4. Managing The Gray: C.C. Chapman’s podcast discusses how entrepreneurs can use social media to their advantage.
  5. Internet Business Mastery: Listen to Sterling and Jay’s podcast for information on the art of internet marketing and online business.
  6. Calcanis: This CEO of Mahalo.com always has lots of special guests on his podcasts.
  7. The SBS Show: Manage your IT operations better by listening to the SBS Show.
  8. JoomlaJabber: Kathy and Tom discuss the Joomla open source content management service on this podcast.
  9. Podcasting for Business: This podcast will help you develop and create a podcast for your entrepreneurial venture.
  10. Midwest Business: Hear about business technology news that affects the midwest on this podcast.
  11. The Podcast Sisters: The Podcast Sisters is focused on small business and using the Internet to your advantage.
  12. CIO Podcast: Stay on top of the IT industry and learn how you can benefit from events.


For budding businesses, it’s all about focusing on sales. These podcasts do just that.

  1. Sales Roundup: Learn how to hire the right salespeople, keep communication with clients open, and more on Sales Roundup.
  2. Product Sourcing Podcast: Find out how you can find products to sell on this podcast.
  3. Copy That Sells Podcast: Learn how to write better copy with this podcast.


Get business news and commentary from these podcasts.

  1. New York Times: Stay on top of the latest news from all over the world with podcasts from The New York Times.
  2. On The Record: Listen to reporters from mainstream media discuss the future of the industry as well as marketing and business.
  3. Daily Review: Get an up to the minute briefing on daily news stories with this podcast.


For content that’s applicable to nearly every entrepreneur, check out these podcasts.

  1. Entrepreneur.com: Subscribe to Entrepreneur.com’s podcasts, and you’ll get access to loads of different topics for entrepreneurs.
  2. Mind Your Own Business Podcast: Listen to Mind Your Own Business for "the antidote to business advice."
  3. I’m There For You Baby: This "entrepreneur’s guide to the galaxy" covers a number of different topics for entrepreneurs.
  4. Business Week: On Business Week, you’ll hear about popular weekly features from Business Week magazine.
  5. SBA Podcast: Get access to loads of resources and help from the Small Business Administration with these podcasts.
  6. Small Business Radio: This podcast discusses recruiting, marketing, and more.
  7. Business Humor Podcast: See the humor in entrepreneurship with this podcast of Hesh Reinfeld’s columns.
  8. Microbusiness News Briefs: Dawn Rivers Baker covers everything of interest to microbusinesses and their entrepreneurs.
  9. The Trend Junkie: This junkie is addicted to both trends and entrepreneurship.
  10. Learn Small Business: Learn how to operate a solopreneur venture through this podcast.


For even more thought-provoking content, listen to these podcasts.

  1. Entrepreneur Mum: This mom runs a business and a family.
  2. GopherHaul Lawn Care Podcast: Listen to this show to learn how you can create and maintain a successful lawn care business.
  3. Ask the Guru: Check in with real estate guru Larry King on this podcast.
  4. MBA Working Girl: Learn about both business school theory and real-world business practices from MBA Working Girl.
  5. Business Intelligence Network Solution Spotlights: Get business industry insights from experts in this podcast.

7 Niches to Explore for an Online Information Business

Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 9:30pm by Site Administrator

Are you thinking of launching a startup business but you’re not quite sure what market to focus on? You’ve heard that it’s possible to have a successful business online, if everything aligns. So why not explore some online niches?

Below is a list of a few niches that are considered hot right now by my colleagues, especially for blogs. To turn them into the semblance of an online business, you need more than just a blog. Following the niche list are a few suggestions for site-building, based on my research over the past three calendar years, as well as informal conversations with successful online publishing colleagues.

Online Niches:
These are only a few of many niches that are currently considered “hot”.

  1. Productivity and personal development. These topics can actually be split up into two primary sub-niches, since productivity typically relates to work and personal development is usually, well, very personal. While there are many top blogs in this space, you can still stand out with the right premium content.

  2. Personal finance. Personal finance is on the mind of pretty much every adult in North America, not to mention probably the rest of the world. Effective money management comes from learning BEFORE problems arise. Hence there’s also a potential for an audience in different age groups, especially for premium content. But it is a very competitive niche, with hundreds of good personal finance blogs (aka pfblogs).
  3. Health. If you believe popular media about the diabetes epidemic due to obesity, as well as all the other diseases we’re learning to cope with, then you know how much interest there is in health. It’s a huge, profitable niche, with many sub-niches – such as specific diseases – that are profitable on their own. But this niche requires a significant amount of knowledge. If you are interested in health but not qualified to write, hire someone who is, and act only as an editor, publisher and webmaster.
  4. Travel. Travel has always been a multi-billion dollar market, and the many thousands of travel-related blogs listed in Technorati suggests huge competition. Travel, like health, can be a good niche for setting up mini-sites for specific sub-topics. You can also stand out by catering to specific types of travellers on different sites: budget, post-college, honeymooners, luxury, adventure, geek travellers, business travellers.
  5. Style/ fashion. With the huge interest in celebrity lifestyle, there’s a sizable market for fashion. However, not everyone can afford high-end designer clothes. So you could focus on affordable but stylish fashions. Add affiliate links/ ads, or add an online shop.
  6. Home renovation. There are consumers out there who’ll take a second mortgage to improve their house, either with additions or renovations. If they’re going to spend the money anyway, why not help them? Offer how-to articles, sources of financing, where to save money without compromising quality, resources listing manufacturers, subcontractors, etc. This is an ideal niche for having a paid directory of relevant businesses.
  7. Sports. Pick the right sports and you could have a lucrative online business. Which sport? Why the one you love the most of course. Your passion will show through in your articles, and an online store could supplement advertising revenue.

General Advice:
In addition to blog posts, consider setting up an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), glossary of terms, resource list (sites, software). You can also setup very subject-focused mini-sites that link back to your main site. I feel that blogs are merely a way to build expertise and the web traffic that will potentially lead to conversions in terms of paid content or advertising. So provided that you can find the right means of monetization for your niche, you can give away content, even someof your premium content.

In addition to quality resource articles, you might want to participate in/ run a blog carnival for competitive niches – not to mention use the appropriate social media sites to promote your business and content.

Types of Content:
Don’t just rely on a blog and the static pages of mini-sites. Here are some other forms of content that can win you paying customers in the future. Some of the content below is premium. Premium content should be written by people with the appropriate knowledge. When your capital allows, hire qualified freelancers.

  1. Forum threads. If you have the time and inclination, consider adding a forum (if you are targeting some sub-niche of your topic). Just keep in mind that forums take a great deal of time, but after there is momentum, ask some of your regular members if they’d like to be volunteer moderators. If you think you’d like to pay them in the future, you can mention that – but don’t promise it.

  2. E-newsletters. Feedburner and other services will take your blog feed and produce an automated e-newsletter. You can configure the delivery frequency.
  3. Screencasts. Screencasting simply means to record a video of someone using a piece of software. Screencasts are an ideal way to teach specific software-related skills, and in the right niche, this could generate revenue.
  4. Podcasts. Podcasts, strictly speaking, refer to a piece of audio recording. It might be yourself reading and discussing niche news, or someone you’ve hired. The intent is to offer visitors a handy way to consume content, since MP3 files can be downloaded to an iPod or other media player. Podcasting is relatively easy to do.
  5. Video. If you have the capital to buy the video and editing gear, as well as the time and skills, producing video content can be a lucrative effort for the appropriate niche. Travel is an example that comes to mind. Offer video travel tips to premium subscription customers, as well as free teasers.
  6. Ebooks. Ebooks can be massaged collection of your blog posts, though adding some fresh content gives you more credibilty. Ebooks can be sold per copy or via monthly subscription access.
  7. Directories. As mentioned above, for the home renovation niche, you might want offer businesses the option of a paid listing. This listing could be merely contact info, or a website link, or even a mini-profile. Of course, you could do this for most niches listed here.
  8. Software. In some niches (e.g., personal finance), a suitable piece of software can bring your site many eyeballs. Even free software (whether for the desktop or web browser) can be monetized.

There are many ways to monetize your content, even if some or all of it is free.

  1. CPC ads. CPC, or Cost Per Click, ad networks give you a piece of code to include with your web pages and blog posts. Every time there is a legitimate click on an ad, you earn revenue. How much you earn depends both on the perceived authority of your site as well as as the niche.

  2. CPM ads. CPM, or Cost Per Mille (thousand), ads are based on # of impressions. You earn a prorated amount for the number of times a specific advertiser’s ad is displayed on your site in a given time period. CPM value varies with niche and, possibly, how much traffic your site gets. High-traffic authority sites can often sell such ads directly, thus eliminating ad networks as the middleman. Such ads are often in banner form.
  3. CPA ads. CPA, or Cost Per Action, ads typically earn more than CPC or CPM ads. However, they only earn when a visitor completes a specific action, such as signing up for something or even making a purchase. The latter, which pay either a flat fee or percentage of sale value, are typically for affiliate programs.
  4. Sales. Per-item sales of information or tangible products – such as ebooks, DVDs, etc., can be a significant source of revenue – provided you’ve established some sort of perceived authority in your chosen niche.
  5. Subscriptions. For the right type of premium content, on “authority” sites, you can charge for subscription access to premium content. Billing is made simpler by using PayPal and their developer API.
  6. Merchandise. In certain niches, you might sell t-shirts, mugs, etc., online. You can offer PayPal, Google Checkout, or other forms of online payment. It doesn’t work for all niches, of course.
  7. Consulting/ services. Some people have made a career of giving away all their online content simply to establish enough authority that they can later charge their high hourly rate for services, speaking tours, workshops or for leveraging book sales.

Finally, if you ever get to the point where you want out of your online business, another monetization option is selling your site(s). Even sites with free subscriptions can make “bank” with the right supporting conditions.

Career Choices: Follow Your Passion?

Friday, November 9, 2007 at 6:30pm by Site Administrator

For those of you with unfulfilled entrepreneurial dreams, there are a couple of blog posts I recommend reading. Jon over at OnMoneyMaking says don’t do what you love. He thinks that’s stupid. He obviously had a lot of foresight early in life because he started building his resume at around nine years of age. And the result was that despite a college degree in English, all his other activities scored him a six-figured salaried job upon graduation.

Ryan over at College Startup reflects on Jon’s article but disagrees with him about not doing what you love:

… in my honest opinion, the resources and infrastructure are now in place so that anyone, anywhere, with enough passion, can do exactly what they want and still hit 6 figures within a few years.

I’m a long-time freelancer but also raised “old-school” in the sense that you have to follow some career to be safe in life, to pay the bills, raise a family, have a mortgage, etc. After following the rules and being repeatedly thwarted in my career success (sometimes through self-sabotage), I figure that without a family or mortgage, I really have nothing to lose by following my passion. That is, my original passion, filmmaking – the one I forgot all about while trying to raise money for it the past sixteen years.

The conservative approach is to “do what you have to make a living.” The liberal approach is to follow your passion and make it work. My long-time thinking is to follow your passion, if possible. Just don’t be afraid to make detours if necessary, to survive, and don’t forget your passion, during the detour.

Fact is, the Internet has made it possible (but not necessarily probable) that you can make a living online, whether from blogging as a niche authority, having an online publishing business, software development, e-commerce or some other means. The question is whether you can find your passion, because that’s what I feel you need for online success.

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