Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Gift to Share with You This Season - Your Own Prosperity

(photo credit: brungrrl)

Here's my gift to you this season -
Don't underestimate your own prosperity; share it.

There's a lot I could say here about how the current economic scene might be affecting us. In any season of the year, there are those who have no job, whose future doesn't seem very bright. And around those people you may find others who are spreading gloom and disaster instead of cheerful optimism.

Why would someone be optimistic when they have no job, bills are coming due, their responsibilities are mounting up?

Here's a surprising answer - at least to some:

You are more prosperous than you give yourself credit.

Earl Nightingale used to say often that the most expensive items you own are those which were given to you for free. Expensive, because no amount of money could replace them:
  • Your health,
  • Your intelligence,
  • Your attitudes and abilities.
And that's just a partial list.

Sure, we could all want to improve these - if you are completely healthy, then are you as physically fit as you could be? Everyone is smart - but do we have all the answers we need to life's many problems we encounter?

Then there are native abilities - some of us are genuinely talented in certain areas. And others seem lacking in the above, but they might have other attitudes which make them rich in comparison:
  • Love
  • Charity
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
In this season, this is what I would give to you - your own ability to share. Possibly the most important asset you have - and one which will bring you anything you could possibly want.


The way this works is simple: In every religion and philosophy, there is some version or recognition of the phrase which means "As you give, you will receive."

This is such a powerful statement that it has been recognized globally as vital to daily living. You probably have heard modern variations of it, such as "What goes around, comes around," among others...

But the most interesting application of it is how this phrase got it's name "The Golden Rule". And simply, it goes like this:

When you share the prosperity you have, you become more prosperous.

Some of you might be worried about your bills and the money you don't have right now. But let's start over - you are rich in things right now which you could never hope to afford. Your life, your ability to enjoy things around you, your own ability to think.

So you are in fact very, very rich. And those around us who are constantly negative don't appreciate that fact.

While being "broke" is a temporary affair, and being "poor" is only a state of mind, in order to change either of these situations, a person is going to have to take some action in their lives - to change some attitudes and habitual ways of thinking.

Right now, no matter how much you feel you need, or how much feel you don't have - let's do this:

Share what you do have.

For some of us, it might only be a smile. For others, we can invite people over or go to their house and visit with them (if they can't get out.) There is nothing like cheerful companionship that takes the chill off and brightens the day.

That gift - a cheering up - is priceless beyond measure. And, like a smile, it's contagious. But as I said above, you will get something just as valuable - if not more - so in return.

If you are yourself housebound, and can't get out to visit someone else - then sit quietly and think about the people you know and love and appreciate. Recall the nice times you had and send these thoughts out any way you can. Maybe a phone call, maybe just write a letter to the last address you had for them. Or send out cheery emails to everyone you care about.

Because all this wealth and prosperity you are sending out will come back to you - priceless gifts being shared all around.

And while I can't be with you today, or though this season - and we more than likely have never even met - I wanted to give this priceless gift to you and ask only one favor in return:

Pass it on. Share it with as many people as you can.

- - - -

And many blessings to you, and all you care about, and everyone you know.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Selling ideas to someone who will buy them.

(photo credit: Thirteenstrings)
How ideas can be sold - wait-a-minute, aren't these free to begin with?

Yes, but not everyone gets them. And your ideas are peculiarly yours - unless you are like Edison, who invented the light bulb at the exact same time as some Russian (almost to the day).
Seth's Blog: Selling ideas to a big company: "So... if you want to be in the business of selling ideas to industry (as opposed to getting that once-in-a-lifetime idea off your chest and cashing out), the thing to do is find an industry, one where you are likely to be trusted, one where you have a sense that they understand how to buy ideas. Invest in that industry, spend time, speak at trade shows, earn your right to credibility. Then, over time, day by day, you'll have the ability to bring them profitable ideas.

Side note: the more complicated your idea is, the better off you are patenting it. Dean Kamen made his fortune patenting wheelchairs and other devices that you and I could never hope to build. On the other hand, if your idea is simple enough to dream up in a week, the only way you're going to protect it is to build it, fast and well"

The other approach is to retrain your mind so that you can get so many ideas you can give away most of them and still make a profit.

Auto-blogging - care of wordpress

How to get other people to write your post pages - without server strain.

After being shut out of my hosting for a domain (because cheap hosting is cheap hosting) when my WordPress installation twice bogged their server, I've become more careful.

The idea hit me (and their are several good plugins for this) is to use this blog as an aggregator, so that it goes:
  1. RSS feed is collected,
  2. Is brought to blog
  3. converted to posts
  4. new RSS feed created

And then I thought - no, that would make this server have to work, with cron jobs and whatnot - the database work on top of that might be too much and I'd be off my new server (same cheap webhost) for good.

But, as the mind churns, I then thought that I could get Google to do my work for me. Google Alerts sends you email and WordPress allows you to post by email (as does Blogger), so:

  1. Google Alert scours and finds data from various posts.
  2. Sends email to blog
  3. Blog converts these to posts.
  4. New RSS feed created from the aggregate.

Of course this needs testing.

But think of the applications. Create a free blogger host and then have Google Alerts populate it with posts. You can then collect these posts' RSS feed and funnel this to Friendfeed or Google Reader as an aggregator, by type, author, subject - whatever you feel you need to organize the data.

Needs a test. But should be doable.

Sub text of this is that for a regular blog, you will build up posts and so content. If these then post directly to categories and not your front page, and if you also have Google sitemaps installed, it becomes an auto-content generator. Probably won't ever rank high on SEO, but on the other hand, it might at least send your links some link love.

Best reason is to have computers do your aggregating and digesting for you. Especially if you can get free blog platforms to do this. Have to try this out with some older blogs... nice way to revive them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Online Profits: Make money the short, simple way...

(photo credit: Sense Toys)

The short, simple way to making money online - but don't say it was easy finding it...

Bear with me here, because this will probably be refined on the fly.

Right now, this is the probable sequence to getting started in making money online:
  1. This assumes you have an Internet connection you can use.
  2. Get a PayPal account and link it to your bank account.
  3. Find or make something that you know helps people improve their lives.
  4. Get a domain name - something you think people can remember easily, preferably a ".com" ending.
  5. Get some web hosting with cPanel.
  6. Transfer your domain name to that webhost.
  7. Set up a WordPress blog at root (/public_html). Install the minimal plug-ins to keep it safe. (You'll be tweeking it later, right now, let's just get it running.)
  8. Set up OSCommerce in a subdirectory to that blog.
  9. Get these linked with Google Analytics, and
  10. Get your product listed that ecommerce engine. (Yeah, I know out of the box OSC's not something to rave about, but again - you'll be tweaking it later.)
  11. Start blogging useful stuff about your product. Like a review, or a guide, or "10 things you didn't know about..."
  12. Get out into the social media world and find out what people are saying about the problem you have that solution for. Help them out without mentioning (except subtly) that you have the solution. Just open-handed help. Leave your easy-to-remember domain name everywhere you comment (as part of the sign-up, not ever "Visit my site: ______" which never works.)
  13. Make sure that all your social profiles are listed at your domain name, so everyone can find everywhere else you visit.
  14. Keep blogging, keep helping people out - get yourself known for being a trusted authority for that particular solution.
  15. Check your Analytics to see who is coming where and how. Check to find out everything about them.
  16. Now tweak your site to make it easier for people to find your solution. Make it look nicer while you're at it.
  17. Go back to blogging and helping people with your comments.
  18. Check your analytics once a week, tweak, rinse, repeat. (Your mileage may vary.)
There's the simplicity of making money online through social marketing. Oh, there's a lot of great alternative approaches to this. But this is the simplest I've been able to boil it down to so far.

And, yes, you could do this with free sites - host your products on Lulu or CafePress - or just sell affiliate products through ClickBank or Commission Junction. In that case, you could use a free blog (like Blogger) and a computer at the local library. (This has been named "Bum Marketing" - as even a homeless person could do it. --Just have the commission checks sent to the library while you're at it...)

But the analytics for that are trickier, and people respect a real domain name - plus you'll be able to expand it.

- - - -

Anyone have a simpler way than the two above?

Friday, December 12, 2008

How telemarketer scams get traction - ripoff report - preying on the naive...

(photo credit:
Who Internet Scams Prey on and how... Ripoff Report

I was looking up a triage of messy telemarketer scammers I had run into:,, and

Looking these up on various SEO tools gave an interesting result. The first two weren't optimized even slightly for any niche and didn't even utilize basic SEO tactics. Yet they sold "Internet training" - specifically, "Ebay business starter" (which according to WordTracker, no one searches for).

BrightBuilders was the best of the lot in this regard.

However, when I looked for incoming links, they had between 0 and 4. I've got a single page with nothing on it, but it's linked over 768 times within a couple of months of getting the domain!

Now - it gets thicker. Looking these up on, the other shoe drops.

The people who go to there site are 1) Decent income, no education. 2) Are continually returning visitors - meaning they were sold a subscription.

So despite how bad they are in terms of reputation (there are ripoff reports and scam alerts in the top five for all three) - the people who buy their stuff don't know enough to look them up first. (Or, in my case, fell for the sales pitch and didn't bother to google them.)

And there you have it. Not everyone who is on the Internet even cares if someone does more than look over their site casually. That site isn't designed to sell anyone anything They aren't there to get visitors. In two of the three examples, they are simply there as a login site for other traffic.

If you do research these guys, you'll find that they are really some extremely bad-intentioned telemarketers who prey on the naive - and cover their tracks pretty well. But if they were really in business for real, they'd "eat their own dog food", meaning apply what they teach.

Caveat Emptor.

PS. Why do I link to them with these keywords? Because maybe if we all link to them with terms like "Internet Scam" and "Ripoff Report", they'll start getting that link reputation. Certainly they have no defense against it. At least its something.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winning Elections, Social Media Style

How Obama Won - A lesson in personal branding

Obama sold trust. Where McCain got any inroads during the campaign, it was in sowing doubt about Obama. And where Obama jumped ahead, it was when people got scary economic news and needed to trust someone - and they couldn't trust the sitting president.

Could Hillary be trusted? Well, not as much as Obama. Could McCain be trusted? Not as much.

Obama used social media to get his brand out. And it worked.

Will it ever work like this again? Probably not. He had too many factors going in his favor:
  • Relatively unknown - no real political baggage
  • Young, dark, handsome
  • First Person of Color
  • Perfect Storm of economic meltdown
When he wants to run again, he'll have had four years of scrutiny - also called baggage. That economic meltdown will either still be there, or we'll simply be recovering from it. Those other two points won't change much.

Was it a landslide due to social media effect? No - wasn't a landslide. Only in the Electoral College. Popular vote still close (53/47%) - and mostly heavy population areas. Analysts mostly talk about that independent center which moved left, as the politicians moved center. The country is still evenly divided between left, right, and center. Just the way we like it.

But how we campaign now is changed forever. Just like marketing is. If you can't be trusted (like that Chicago governor) you can't get elected.

People still vote the way they always have - someone most representing their values. And now we can share our values many new ways.

While this may be flying a kite in a lightning storm, there's my two bits.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Create a Micromovement - Seth Godin

(photo credit: Dallas Dance Music)
Creating a MicroMovement in several easy steps.

From Seth Godin's "Tribes":

1. Publish a manifesto.
Give it away and makeit easy for the manifesto to spread far and wide. It doesn't have to be printed or even written. But it's a mantra and a morto and a way of looking at the world. It unites your tribe members and give them a structure.

2. Make it easy for your followers to connect with with you.
It could be as simple as visiting you or e-mailing you or watching you on television. Or it could be as rich and complex as interacting with you on Facebook or joining your social network on Ning.

3. Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another.
There's that little nod that one restaurant regular gives to another recognized regular. Or the shared drink in an airport lounge. Even better is the camaraderie developed by volunteers on a political campaign or insiders involved in a new product launch. Great leaders figure out how to make these interactions happen.

4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement.
Money exists merely to enable it. The moment you try to cash out is the moment you stunt the growth of your movement.

5. Track your progress.
Do it publicly and create pathways for your followers to contribute to that progress.


1. Transparency really is your only option.
Every failed televangelist has learned this the hard way. The people who follow you aren't stupid. You might go down in scandal or, more likely, from ennui. People can smell subterfuge from a mile away.

2. Your movement needs to be bigger than you.
An author and his book, for example, don't constitute a movement. Changing the way people apply to college does.

3. Movements that grow, thrive.
Every day they get better and more powerful. You'll get there soon enough. Don't mortgage today just because you're in a hurry.

4. Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push the other direction.
Movements do less well when compared to other movements with similar goals. Instead of beating them, join them.

5. Exclude members.
Exclusion is an extremely powerful force for loyalty and attention. Who isn't part of your movement matters almost as much as who is.

6. Tearing others down is never so helpful to a movement as building your followers up.


"Tribes" from Amazon

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Strategies and Clunky Metaphors for Social Media Success

(photo credit: CubeKing)

Strategies and Clunky Metaphors for Social Media Success

Why does strategy always have a military bent? (Sigh)

OK, here's the whole approach to making yourself a success - at least the theory of what you need to start with:

  1. The whole name of the game is getting and keeping subscribers. (Means delivering high-quality, consistently wanted content.)
  2. Beyond that, it's making them in to consistently paying clients (if you want to make a living at this).
  • Social Media Marketing is different from regular marketing, as it's based on trust - not bullhorn broadcasting in great locations (classic Madison Avenue).
  • You have to give in order to get. The better quality, more valuable stuff you give away will get you better clients and they reward you for your efforts.
What you need (minimally):
  1. Blog/CMS to consistently add fresh, high-quality content
  2. ecommerce site to allow people to pay you for your efforts
  3. autoresponder so you can send emails to people who want them
  4. solutions to offer, which people will donate to your cause/pay you for.
  5. Everything above plugged into Google Analytics so you can tune what you do.

- - - -

Later, I'll flesh these out with more details, but this is the core of it. Study some other bloggers and see if you don't agree...

How to pull yourself out of a social black hole

(photo credit: Julie Luongo)

Climbing out of the social black hole isn't so hard...

But it has to be done.

Because your survival depends on it. Doesn't mean anyone is forcing you to survive well, or poorly. That's up entirely to you...

OK, all this mini-rant is because I've been "dark" on the social lines for awhile, getting some other work done. And meanwhile, people have continued to subscribe to my Twitter feed. So I figure I owe at least them - to give them some new content.

But I've been "dark" also because I've been doing some research and some thinking. They'll be another couple books out of this, not so heavy - but I've been doing some of that "philosophical" thinking again, so there's no guarantee.

Now, you climb out of a black hole by doing Archimedes one better and creating a place to stand where you can move the world:
  1. Get a blog or a Content Management System. Best recommended for both - WordPress.
  2. Find or create some stuff to give away or sell. Best is the solutions you've found to the problems you've had to face and solve.
  3. Set up an ecommerce site. OSCommerce is recommended. (Because money is a necessary evil for paying your Internet access, among other things.)
  4. Get everything above and from here on out onto Google Analytics - you're going to need it.
  5. Connect up and study the social networks, social media, and their aggregators. Minimal recommended: Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook. (Everyone has their own favorites, but these three are leaders or will be. Google Connect would be the fourth.)
  6. Make sure your blog/CMS has an RSS feed.
  7. Set up an autoresponder (get a service, don't roll your own) as some people like to keep up to date by email.
  8. Schedule posting everything which interests you several times per week. Don't worry, you'll get better at this.
  9. Pour your heart into it.
  10. Listen for the feedback - better yet, use Google Alerts to bring you everything you're interested in. If someone else is blogging about it, comment (helpfully) on their posts. And link everything of interest to Friendfeed, etc.
  11. Go live your life - but this time, share it with everyone you can.
There's the simplicity of it.

Needs a book to explain all the steps. But for now, just follow Chris Brogan - he'll get you up to speed shortly.