Top 10 People for 2011

I’ve been fighting my perfectionistic tendencies for a month writing this up “right” and today I got two promptings to just get it out there. (Perfectionism in my writing does not play well with taking care of the family, finishing my dissertation, and finishing jobs for my clients. Here’s one small step for [this] man, and a giant leap for writing-productivity-kind.)

This year I’m fending off my own S.O.S. (shiny object syndrome) and concentrating on one business area at a time. While feeling the psiren’s call of the shiny product/course/software, I had a moment of clarity and committed to following through with the materials I’ve already got from people I resonate most with. Here’s the short list of my top 10 folks, in no particular order.

  1. Dr.Mani – passion, double bottom line, solo infopreneuring
  2. Paul Myers – writing, mental shifts, meta-basics
  3. Marlon Sanders – produce+promote, copywriting, high-level strategy
  4. Tinu Abayomi-Paul – traffic generation via twitter, facebook, blogs
  5. Dr. Letitia Wright, D.C. – real world media and publicity, contrarian online business
  6. John Childers – selling from the stage
  7. Rick Butts – keynote speaking
  8. Mark Joyner – big ideas, Simple·ology
  9. Brian McElroy – email marketing, webinars, generating high-end clients
  10. Jason Fladlien – “good enough” copy, webinars, prolific product and content creation

Of course, after making the list a bunch of other influential names came to mind including Willie Crawford, Mark Austin, Dave Lakhani, Lee Collins, Tellman Knudson, Paul Evans, Nicola Cairncross, Lynn Terry, Terry Dean, Stephen Dean, Ryan Healy, Stever Robbins, Jonathan Altfeld, T.Falcon Napier, Mike Jay, and many other friends and mentors.

The more “perfect” version of the list was quickly becoming a full blown report as I gave a little background on each person and further resources on what I find most influential from each of them. I’ll certainly release that stuff as I get it produced.

In the meantime, there’s my list (and if you can’t figure out my story-arc for the year, sorry, it’s all there between the two lists!). The interesting thing to note is that I have interacted directly with almost all of these folks in one way or another — most on the phone or gasp in real life! A couple of them are on my lists in spite of the fact that I don’t really like interacting with them — their info and example is so good that I set aside my random emotional reaction and study what makes me come back in spite of that emotional reaction. Yeah, they are that good at what they do.

Special thanks go out to Dr.Mani for the example of his Top 10 IM Ezines post and Nicola Cairncross for her article about her Top 10 Business Influences so far.

The HEART of the season…

Now that we’ve made it through the gift buying holidays, I invite you to take a moment and reflect on your year.
No, we will not be making any resolutions, but we may be saving some lives.

Set aside the things you did or did not get this past year and think about what you have to be thankful for…

This year, more than ever, I am thankful for a strong, healthy heart — something I often take for granted.

http://CHDinfo.com/2010

2010 has definitely been a year of heart awareness for me: my father-in-law having a heart attack a couple months ago, my friend Jon Benson collapsing due to some genetic heart issues, and my friend Dr.Mani saving more kids born with congenital heart defects.

My father-in-law seems to be doing well and Jon is back to gallivanting around the globe while teaching more people how to “beat their genes” like he has — through solid diet and exercise.

Now, Dr.Mani always has room to improve. Even though he has had a record year performing surgeries for his “heart kids” he has so many other kids that could be helped if the funds were there to subsidize the medical expenses.

Here’s where you get to help.

http://CHDinfo.com/2010

Think back on all those things you are thankful for this year and dig deep to “donate” to these kids. Dr.Mani is one of my top 10 people to follow in my information marketing business and the fact that he knows his passion in business — to support these kids — is only one reason I follow him.

The other main reason he’s in my top 10 is that he knows how to make online business work as a busy person without a team of employees, VAs, or outsourcers — just his own efforts in between the many tasks of a professional surgeon. If having a “solo-preneur” business is one of your goals, now is the time to act.

Dr.Mani has offered the chance to help the kids while helping yourself. He has put together a bundle of some of his best products for you while all of the profits go straight to fund more heart surgeries. Oh, and he’s set a goal of raising $10,000 by the new year, so he’s only offering this particular bundle until then.

http://CHDinfo.com/2010

No new year’s resolutions here, just positive changes — in your business, in the hearts of these children, and hopefully your own heart too.

Happy New Year!

Blog Talk (Radio) Resources

Thank you Cory, for allowing me to share on your show today. I hope that the audio I put together can help your listeners as much as it has helped my readers.

Click here for the free audio.

And for my folks, you can certainly pick up the audio above, as well as checking out the call on Overcoming Adversity with Dr. Letitia Wright, D.C. and Cory’s other archived shows at blogtalkradio.com/richideas

Five Guys Reframe

Last night I ate at Five Guys Burgers and Fries for the first time. The guy behind the counter watched us eyeball the menu for an inordinate amount of time and asked if we’d been there before. Shaking our heads he explains “the regular is two patties, the ‘little’ is one — otherwise they’re pretty much the same.”

This is an interesting reframe for encouraging over consumption (along with the name of the restaurant encouraging me to add on an order of “regular” fries that filled half the bag!). The concept that only one burger patty was for eating “light” or for a “little” kid is the first part of the reframe. The second part, that I fell for hook-line-and-sinker, was the (slightly macho) “well, if it’s regular to get the double then I don’t want to be a ‘light weight’ ” along with the “oh, and for just 10% more I get twice as much burger!

Now, here’s your challenge: reframe your product/service offering so that the choice that will serve your clients best is the “regular” — the obvious choice — and that any alternatives you give them are not as emotionally appealing. And make sure it’s win-win and ecological for everyone involved!

(And when that challenge adds a nice bump to your profits, you can treat me to a healthier over consumption at Noodles and Company or Mongolian Barbeque! ;) )

The greatest of these …

As we are full in the swing of the holi-daze, it’s good to remember what the season is all about. It isn’t shopping, spending, buying — it *is* about giving and love.

I was coming here to share about a particular book that an associate asked me to promote. I changed my mind after seeing the “trippy” gifts being submitted for that launch.

Instead, I’m going to recommend the book Allowing by Holly Riley. I have heard nothing but good things about Holly and her book from our mutual friend Don McKinnon (make sure you grab a copy of his gift among those available by registering your book purchase at http://hollyriley.com/allowing/).

The lesson here: I could have just blindly mentioned the other book because I was asked to promote it. I did not because it is not congruent with my beliefs and therefore would have been a poor choice all around. (Maybe I’ll go into some of the consequences of acting against your beliefs in another post, but I’m sure you can come up with quite a list yourself!)

So, rather than pimping a book I didn’t believe in but had been asked to share, I shared a book I could believe in because a friend I respect loves the book and enjoys the author as a person. Relationships trump pretty much everything else.

As you head over to Amazon and pick up Holly’s book, ponder how your business can build on and build up those relationships that matter and where you may need to eliminate or minimize other relationships that don’t fit with your mission (which is hopefully more than just strip mining cash and disappearing — which it must be, or else you wouldn’t still be here reading my stuff!).

In the meantime, remember ”the greatest of these is Love”!

More Business = EAT during the holidays

Doing business on the Internet is “easy” — you just put up a web site and collect the moola, right?
Um, no.

Or at least not any more than doing business offline is as simple as setting up an office and getting paid.

So, what’s missing from this overly simplistic idea of business?
People for one. Interacting with those people for another.
An exchange of value for a third.
And online there is the small issue of wrestling with technology.

I think a better model of business than thinking in terms of location (web site/office) is to think in terms of the actions required for business to occur. I’ve got it down to 3 actions.
Business is about being able to EAT.

Exposure -> Action -> Trade

Your business needs to expose the right people to its message, that message needs to generate some action from those prospects, and they become leads or actual clients when they trade value with you.

This same model works for online or offline, first time buyers or repeat customers, and across industries.


How does each of the pieces of this EAT model play out in an online business?

Exposure

Getting your message in front of the right people is the first step.

Don’t mistake “message” to just mean the words you use. Non-verbals often count for more than the “verbal” content of the words. I’m not discounting the power of well structured verbal patterns using the “right” words, just accentuating the often neglected non-verbal component.

Your content and the non-verbal “framing” of its appearance is one of the biggest ways to expose people to your message online. Whether through your website, your facebook profile/fan page/group, your twitter page, your squeeze pages, or your sales pages you want to expose people to the message in such a way that it generates the desired action — not that just looks cool or pretty!

There are many courses out there teaching “traffic generation” but few address the idea of exposure driving action. Not to mention the fact that every exposure to your message should be congruent and consistent.

And then the (often unasked) question becomes:
“What am I supposed to be congruent and consistent with, their frame of mind or my message?”
(Hint: you need to do both at once!)

However you get people there, you’ll have done some promoting, connecting, and “pre” exposing (even though it’s all exposure — good, bad, or ugly).

Hopefully that exposure is driving our next component — action!

Action

There are countless actions your web site can generate. Some of those actions, when taken by your visitors, get you closer to your goals. Others take you further from those goals. Knowing the difference leads to focusing on new actions (or new goals).

There are many more actions when people hit your web site than “buy” or “leave”. One exercise I use to get clients clear on this step is to list 50 to 100 actions people could take when exposed to their message (primarily on their web site, but also extending to all other exposure channels they are planning to use). If they don’t automatically get the bonus points by doing it themselves, I’ll often help walk them through the sorting of resulting list by type of visitor or traffic source.

(I wonder how you could use that info to create high converting landing pages, promotions, and content. Hmm…)

What’s that you’re thinking so loudly: “Why list 50-100 actions? I just want them to buy my product or service!”

Every time I run this exercise we come up with smaller actions than the huge the initial exposure direct to sale jump that many people expect from their site. It can be as simple as “continue reading”, or “click on a link to learn more”, or “call for a consult” — but going for the sale straight away is the equivalent of asking for a pre-nup on the first date. “Courting” your prospects with smaller commitments and smaller actions that lead to your larger actions is part of the dance.

Whatever the scale of the commitment, you need exposure to your message to generate some action on the part of the hearer. That leads into our final step — trading.

Trade

Like the action step, trading is more than just collecting money and delivering a product or service — it is about trading value in whatever form.

You may want to start by trading some of your valuable content for their valuable time. Or trading a report for an email address/facebook like/retweet/blog post.

Again, it is valuable to brainstorm what sources of value you have to offer and what value your perfect client would have to offer. When you have that info and your sales stats like the value of an email subscriber and lifetime value of clients, then you can decide how much you are willing to give in return for what it is you want.

Keep in mind, that a “fair” or “even” trade is not a “good” trade in the long run. If the client doesn’t feel like they’ve gotten back 10 to 100 times their “money”, then you are almost certainly hurting future sales and therefore lifetime value of a client.

The easiest sale is the repeat sale, and the easiest repeat sale is to a customer that knows/likes/trusts you, and the easiest way to know/like/trust you is by having such a spectacular return on investment that spending more time/money/resources with you is a no brainer.

So, what happens after you’ve exposed a new prospect to your message, generated an action on their part, and traded value with them — are we done?

Of course not.

Hopefully, as part of that trade, you got contact info so that you can follow up with your new lead/fan/follower/client.
Oh, look — follow up is another exposure and another chance to generate an action leading to a trade.

And the cycle continues!


Now, this post was an exposure in and of itself.
The actions that you must have taken to get here include clicking a link and continuing to read.
And I’ve traded a model that can generate significant ROI in return for your attention.

Let me expose another opportunity for you to take action and get a 10-100x return on your next trade with me.

While many non-retail businesses slow down this time of year, I’m among those who are ramping up and gaining momentum to drive next year into being a spectacular year. If that sounds good to you too, keep reading — you’re in for a treat!

Initially, I was going to offer you my services as contractor — things like building custom WordPress themes, setting up web sites and facebook fan pages, or establishing affiliate programs for a few lucky clients. But I didn’t want to limit people to just the likely tech tasks.

Then I realized that before I did any of those sort of jobs I’d have an initial consult (to establish how best to serve you in exposing your message, generating actions, and facilitating trades). Rather than offering the technical work directly, I’m offering the consult.

Click to reserve your Lightning Coaching/consult session

The more I thought about it the more excited I became — I’m continually amazed at the breakthroughs and clarity that I get in short consults with my existing clients! And that meant I will be able to assist you in unlimited ways — more than just the technical tasks I could generate off the top of my head.

My current price for a single 20 minute “Lightning Coaching” session is $75. I’m not just giving away my time (I have plenty of my own projects to work on), but I know that it’ll feel like it was a “no brainer” once you’ve had your session and start receiving the returns on your time invested.

The best part — we can talk about whatever actions you need to generate in your business. (And since your “personal” life impacts your business we can work on that stuff too — typically without me knowing the details.)

NLP is some powerfully quick “medicine” for mindset and marketing ailments, and 20 minutes is plenty of time to talk through and plan solutions for nearly any technical issue you may have. In either case, if you need further work done outside the 30 minutes, I’ll credit your initial investment in the quote.

Reserve your Lightning Coaching session here

Whatever your technical/mindset needs, I’m here to help.

Updated CookieMonster-plus to 1.3.4

Just a quick note to let you know that CookieMonster-plus has been updated to allow use on all pages (even ones using a template that doesn’t include a call to get_header!) and I found and squashed the pesky foreach() bug I couldn’t seem to replicate until today.

Grab the CookieMonster-plus plugin directly or check out the main CookieMonster-plus post for more details.

BTW, the reason I found these bugs is because I was putting up a new freebie for a giveaway event. I’m also working on a report that explains more of what CM+ can do. If you’ve got questions, comments, or suggestions to share let me know!

quickie — $100 for $1 (anti-cyber Monday)

I’m in the middle of composing an epic post that simplifies the whole business world and applies it to your web site. In the meantime, I had to let you know about a time-sensitive deal. (It has nothing to do with ”black Friday”, ”cyber Monday”, or ”arbitrary Tuesday” sales — but does have a deadline in a couple days!)

Marlon’s special video

One of the upstanding pillars of online business, Marlon Sanders, has just posted a video that I think you’ll find profitable. I was going to make something like this myself, but Marlon’s already done a great job and you can get started with it today.

(Even if you ”know” what he talks about, it’ll be a good check to make sure you’re still focusing on the right things.)

Click for Marlon’s special video

P.S. Yes, he’s selling something. If it makes sense, give him a dollar and he’ll give you almost $100 worth of content this week. But only do it if it makes sense for you to earn more right now.

And keep your eyes peeled for my epic post later this week!

Update: Marlon changed his video when he changed his offer. I just updated the link. He’s still got a $1 offer and some good content. Check it out.

Water, (charity: water) Everywhere. . .

Like so many other resources, we often take water for granted. It’s there from the tap, in the water cooler, at the drinking fountain. But most of the water in the world is not safe to just drink. And nasties like candida and giardia don’t care about age, race, class, income, or geography.

The funny thing is, conversation can ward off the sicknesses and diseases from unclean water in developing regions. I can hear you now “What can conversation do about dirty water?”

First off, no problems of this scale are solved by one person so conversation is needed to raise awareness.

Secondly, a bunch of us got together and wrote a book on conversation and it’s impact in our 21st century world. You may have heard of it: The Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time to Get Busy. All the profits from AoC3 are going to fund clean water in developing regions.

Here’s the scoop straight from the Age of Conversation blog:

The Age of Conversation Official Charity – charity: water

The first piece of news is to confirm that the charity that benefits from each and every sale of each and every book, is charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life!

So, here’s where you get to join the conversation, get busy, and clean up some water across the globe.

  1. Buy a copy of Age of Conversation 3 for each of your customers – they’ll love it and they’ll love you:
  2. Make an additional donation at our charity: water page
  3. Insert the Blog Action Day widget on your blog
  4. Tweet and retweet about the #aoc3 project.
  5. Share a link and “like” The Age of Conversation on Facebook.
Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

And, yes, those links to Amazon generate some affiliate commissions — they are going to charity: water too!

Pick up a few copies, drink a glass of clean water thankfully, and feel good about making a difference!

CookieMonster-plus

This started as a quick update to the CookieMonster WordPress plugin to allow default values.
It has morphed into a nearly complete re-write to add more functionality than the original.

CookieMonster-plus takes incoming parameters like http://mercs.net/cookiemonster-plus/?example=NotDefault and puts the values in a cookie so that WordPress can then replace [example] with the value passed (and cookied) within any page or post they may visit.
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