Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Getting in Front of Your Target Market: How to Integrate Social Media in Your Blog Redesign

Social media is hot, hot, hot right now! It pretty much doesn't matter who you are or what business you’re in, you can't get away from the different social sites out there. That means you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to integrate it into your blog. And more than likely, you probably already have accounts set up and are active on them so it only makes sense you would 'advertise' it to your blog visitors by adding the different icons to your blog.

Your blog will very likely have two types of social media buttons: Those that drive traffic to your various accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and those that enable readers to share the content they find on your site.

The first type – those that link directly to your social media pages – typically appear in the header, the footer, or somewhere in the sidebar. I need to add these to my blog! The second type generally appear at the top or bottom (or both) of each individual page or post. You can easily tell the difference because the fist type will be just a button, while the second may have a counting feature that lets readers know how many times an article has been shared.  

This part of the blog makeover is a win/win situation. Not only are you giving your readers the opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level through your social media channels. But, this is also a way for you to show those around you that you're an expert at what you do.  

Adding social media buttons in your header or sidebar is as simple as making a clickable image out of a button. You can find hundreds of free buttons available on the web, and some themes come with matching buttons for you to use. You could even hire a designer to create custom buttons for you.

Sharing buttons are added via a plugin or a widget, and again, there are many to choose from. Some offer dozens of social icons to choose from, while some specialize in only Twitter or only Facebook. A search through the WordPress or Blogger plugin/gadget directory will help you find the right one to meet your needs.
There are a few things that are worth noting when it comes to social media engagement. First, make sure that you're actually interacting with people who take the time to connect with you on these different channels. Second, don't always be pushing promotional things down their throats - make sure you're sharing more of other content than promo type things. And lastly, don't make the mistake of being active, then inactive for a while and then active again. Stay consistent!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Simple Sidebar Offers More Options to Keep Readers Engaged

While sidebars aren't as important as navigation, they still take careful consideration and need to be set up in a way that will be easy for your readers to use. Done right, your sidebar can draw your reader deeper into your website. Done wrong, and it could be a big turn off.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your sidebar as simple as possible and clear of clutter. It should not be a virtual junk drawer! Don't add anything and everything to it just because there's space to do so. Just like mentioned above, if your sidebar is busy and confuses the reader, they'll more than likely end up leaving your site. A confused mind can't take action. And once you have someone on your site, you want them to take action!

Not sure what to put in your sidebar? Here are some of the most common items:

  • Mailing list opt-in box - collecting names and email addresses of people that visit your site can be one of the most important things you do. Utilizing the space on your sidebar, above the fold, for an opt-in box is one of the first things you should set up on a sidebar.
  • Category navigation - be sure to let your readers know what they'll find on your blog. You can do this by including your blog categories (or even tags) in the sidebar.
  • Recent posts - when people come to your blog, they want to see recent content you've published. Use the sidebar to display recent posts. This will allow your reader to quickly and easily see what they may not have read yet.
  • Ads - be careful if you're going to include advertisements. Make sure they are relevant to what your readers are interested in and don't get carried away. Keep it to 1-2 at a time.
  • Archives - use a dropdown option to include your blog archives if you like, although in a typical WordPress blog, the date archives aren’t very reader friendly.
  • Bio - you've probably seen the blogs where the sidebar has a little 'about the owner' box with an image. You can do this or you can reserve this information for the about page.
  • Search bar – If readers can’t find what they want in your navigation, or your category or tag structure, a search box will do the trick.

You'll more than likely be making all these side bar changes by using widgets so you'll need to make sure that during your theme selection process, you choose one that is widget ready. Also note that when you change themes, you may lose some widgets you already had in place. If you find some of them missing, check the “Inactive Widgets” section on the widget dashboard.

Sidebars are an important part of your blog makeover and it's important that you take the time to make sure they are set up in a way that is appealing to your visitors. Make content stand out by using bold, italic, different colored font, etc. If done properly, your sidebar will encourage your readers/visitors to engage with you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Getting Around: Creating an Intuitive, Meaningful Navigation Structure

Want to know how to make visitors crazy and drive them away from your blog? Make your navigation confusing! We’ve all landed on a website only to be greeted by some weird navigation structure that not only doesn’t tell us what is available, but doesn’t let us return to the page we were on easily. Want some advice? Don’t do this to your readers!!!

Your navigation sets the pace for how visitors move through your site. And this is another important piece of your blog makeover puzzle. In fact, this element may be even more important than your header design.
You want to keep it as simple as possible so that it's user friendly and easy to understand. The worst thing is a busy navigation bar that leaves readers feeling confused and unsure of where to go. A confused reader doesn't end up doing anything but clicking away from your site, never to return. With that in mind, here are some navigation tips you should know about:

  • Make sure your header is linked to the homepage.
  • Keep it consistent across every page of your website – don’t move your navigation to another location or change the tabs from page to page.
  • Properly name each tab on the navigation bar so people know exactly where they’ll go if they click on it.
  • Keep it simple - in the case of the navigation bar, less is more. You don't want to give your readers too many options.
  • Easy to find - your site visitors should be able to find what they're looking for within a few seconds of being on your site.

Another thing to consider is whether you'll use a single layer navigation bar or a drop down one. The drop down option may seem like a good idea because you can combine things into one tab and have them show up when someone hovers. For example: your main navigation tab 'about' can drop down and give a visitor the option to 'contact' you. However, if you can avoid a drop down navigation bar, then don't use it. It’s far better to have all the important pages visible than to hide them below something else. Remember, simple is almost always better.
One last thing to keep in mind when setting up the navigation of your site: make sure that your readers always know where they are on your blog. Do this by making a ‘Home’ link in your navigation, or by using ‘breadcrumbs’ to give the reader a way to backtrack.  

Once you have the navigation menu set up, ask someone to test it for you. Have them spend a few minutes on your blog to see if it's easy to navigate. You built it, so you may find that you simply don’t notice things that are out of place or not clear. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can see things you didn't.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Take it From the Top: Redesigning Your Blog Header

It’s the first thing people see when they land on any page of your website. Just as you make a first impression when people meet you in person, your header is also the first impression people have of your blog. Ideally, you want people to look at it and immediately know what your site is about. It should build a connection with your reader by ‘telling a story,’ and that story will depend on the type of blog you have.

If it's a business blog, your story will probably be more on the serious side so your header should reflect that. But if it's a personal blog and your personality is fun and creative, then let your header show that.

Regardless of the type of blog you have, there are several things to consider when redesigning your header:

Size - shoot for a header image that isn't more than 250 pixels high. The header is important but you don't want it so big that it's taking up valuable above-the-fold real estate. In fact, many modern blogs and websites are using smaller headers than that, some as small as 150 pixels or less. If a small header will work for your blog, then go for it, because a small header leaves more room for content.

Image - if you're going to use any sort of picture in your header, it's really important that the quality of the image is the best possible. One of the quickest ways to ruin a great looking header is by using poor quality images in it. 

Text - decide what text you're going to include in your header. Make sure your site name is in the header. If you have a tagline that goes with your site, then put that in the header too. Just don’t get carried away with fonts. You want them to be readable, and use no more than two to avoid confusion.

Visually appealing - we're all visual creatures so we're drawn to things that are attractive to us. Make sure your colors go together, that your fonts are clear, that the text is readable, and that the images convey the message you are trying to send. Remember, your header will set the tone for the rest of your site.

Keep in mind that you can always outsource this part of the process. If you don't have enough time or experience to mess around with creating a header, then it would make more sense to let someone who knows what they're doing handle it so you can focus on other aspects of the makeover. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Time for a Makeover?

It's that time of year again.  Time to take a look at your business and prepare for the coming year.  Time to review the previous year's successes - and failures.  The start of a new year is a good time to make some changes!  Is it time for a makeover?

Lately I've been looking a my blog, for a couple of reasons.  I love writing it, but sometimes it doesn't seem to resonate the way I would like.  I get views, but not much interaction.  Plus I now have access to MLSP Sites, which is a great WordPress tool.  So is it time to move to another platform?  Lots to think about!

Since I am going to seriously look at my blog and consider what moves or changes I need to make, I thought perhaps you would like to join me.  And so I am going to be doing several posts on giving your blog a makeover. 

The first thing you should do before you begin your blog makeover is to sit down and plan things out. Take some time to think about the 'why' behind the makeover. Once you’re clear on why you want to make a change, it will be much easier to plan.

When you’re still in the planning stage, take time to consider:

SEO - you probably already had SEO in place on the old design of your site but now is the chance to reevaluate and step things up a notch. Or, if you hadn't done any - or very little - optimization with the 'old' blog, this is the perfect opportunity to start and do it right. You're going to have to spend some time researching keywords and phrases to find ones that will be a good fit for the audience you reach and the purpose of your blog.  I just attended a fabulous webinar on SEO so now's the time to put all that knowledge to work! 

Layout - think about how you want your site to look. Get a piece of paper and a pen and literally 'map' out how you want things to look. Draw (make note of) what you want to be above the fold and below the fold. How many sidebars do you want. Do you want them all on the same side or a sidebar on the left and then one on the right?

Opt-in - don't forget to think about your opt-in box and where you're going to put this. Are you going to create a landing page for it, put it on the sidebar of every page, or both? A good rule of thumb for an opt-in box on the main page of your blog is to have it above the fold on the right hand sidebar.  I have never had one on my blog so perhaps it is time. 

Research - take some time to look at several other blogs. Jot down notes of the things that you like, as well as the things you don't like. A little 'cheat' trick - if you notice something you like but aren't sure what it is or how they did it - is to view the page source and more than likely with a little sleuthing on your part, you will find the info you're looking for.  Once you have a list of things you like, try to incorporate them into your blog makeover.  I've been doing a lot of research and studying lately! 

Color - think about the color scheme you want to go with during your blog makeover. One thing to keep in mind is to stay away from dark backgrounds (like black) with light font colors (such as white). It's hard on the eyes, and won’t work for most audiences. The exception to this is if your market is young men in the music or gaming industries. Then a dark background is fine. For most other markets, your best bet is to go with white background and black or dark gray text. Then pull colors into your site in the header, sidebar, headings, and graphics.  All the research I have done lately says this is true.  So this is one thing I may change even if I don't switch platforms. 

If you take the time to plan things out first, your blog makeover with go more smoothly and it will be easier to stick to the goal(s) of the site and what you want the makeover to accomplish.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Advantages of Network Marketing on the Internet

Do you know how many thousands of people are making money in network marketing on the internet today?

Not only are they staying at home and avoiding the company rate race, they're working the hours they would like to and making thousands of dollars each month - living better than they ever did working a job.

Network Marketing on the Internet

The internet doesn't discriminate.   It doesn't matter how old you are.  Many seniors are
supplementing their retirement savings by network marketing on the internet.  I should know.  I'm one of them!  

There are also students who are making a living while attending school, and finding it much more rewarding than flipping burgers.  In fact, many are able to paying their college tuition instead of racking up thousands of dollars in student loans.  Stay at home moms.  Single parents.  Individuals who just want more time freedom.  Anyone can learn to build their network marketing business on the internet.   

Network marketing on the internet requires only a few things to get started. You need a basic
understanding of how effective online marketing works.  You also need to know why successful
online marketers are successful.  Both of these come with training and experience.

But if anybody tells you it is easy, they're not quite telling you the whole truth..

Network marketing CAN be simple - if you follow some very essential guidelines and do all the right things. But it can be difficult at the start.  But then again, isn't any new job while you are learning the necessary skills?   And after laying a solid foundation and gaining a comprehensive understanding of network marketing and attraction marketing, you will be able to kick back and enjoy passive monthly earnings with just a little effort on your part.

There isn't anything more thrilling than finding deposits in your PayPal account when you wake up in the morning, or checks in the mail.  I often joke about how I love the smell of money in the morning.  But I have to admit - even after all this time, it is still exhilarating to wake up to find commission notifications in your inbox.  

So where do you learn the necessary skills?  The first step is to find a good coach or mentor .  But be careful.  When hunting for info regarding network marketing on the internet, you'll come across many people making an attempt to sell you information.  Often, these "gurus" don't even practice the sales systems they preach.  You are driven through to a capture page immediately which bombards you with other "one-time" offers that may "never be offered again".  Been there?  I have!  And you know what?  It's all a bunch of crap!  Do not even go there!  Yes, many of these people do earn great incomes.  Unfortunately, the majority of their money comes from people who want to do things the simplest way possible and magically earn a six-figure income overnight. 

I'm not saying all these people are lying.  But it's tough to find the very few honest people that are going to show the right way to do things.  Fortunately, there is a community where it seems most of them have chosen to plant their flag.

What should you look for in a coach or mentor?  A good mentor is someone who is already successful at network marketing, achieving the results that you would like to achieve.  They can also tell you that internet marketing is all about building relationships, and that this takes time and effort. This is a genuine business.

This is unquestionably NOT a "get-rich-quick" opportunity.  If you really are looking for the "make thousands overnight while you sleep with no effort in 6 months" type of business, this isn't it! 

And although it has everything to do with becoming skilled at sales and marketing, it's not a matter of selling... It is a matter of training and presentation.

Show and tell. Not sell, sell, sell.

Oh, and that community I can find it here!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My To-Do List For Today

Yup!  I'm sharing my to-do list.  We all have one I'm sure.  That list of all the tasks and chores we need to accomplish each day so we can check them off, one-by-one, and end the day feeling satisfied that we had a day well spent.

I do have one of those.  But that's not the list I'm going to share.  Because too often we get so caught up in checking off those daily activities, that we forget what's really important.  This is true whether you are an entrepreneur or whether you work for someone else.  Whether you go to an office all day, work on a production line, or are a stay-at-home mom (or dad!). No, the list I'm talking about is one I learned about in a workshop on gratitude.  It's where I learned to journal about my day.  Many of those journal entries become the basis of future blog posts.  And though they may not seem important to my business, I promise you - I would not be successful without this to-do list.  So here we go!

1.  Count my blessings!  I do this every evening.  Just before bed, I list 5 things that I am thankful for today.  It can be something as wonderful as a #1 bestselling book.  Or it can be as simple as a phone call from a friend or a walk with my husband.  But I never go to bed without remembering how blessed I am.

Why is this important for my business?  Lots of reasons.  There is so much negativity in the world, especially now, that sometimes it's hard to keep positive.  And when that happens it impacts everything you do.  When you let that negativity become so strong, it begins to show up in your relationships with others, that's when you're going to see its impact on your business.  No one wants to hang around or do business with negative people. 

A positive attitude will also help you when you do hit a stumbling block.  Life is not always easy.  But facing obstacles with a positive attitude, knowing that this is merely a temporary hiccup, will help you face and deal with your challenges more effectively and efficiently.

And it's good for you health!  Negative people suffer from much higher levels of stress.  And stress can cause all kinds of health issues. 

2.  Be kind!  You wouldn't think I would have to add that to a list of things to do.  But sometimes when someone or something is pushing you to your absolute limit of patience, it's hard to remember.  So yes, it's on my list - especially since patience is not exactly one of my strongest virtues. 

How does being kind help my business?  That's easy!  There's a saying you probably have seen posted on several social media sites.  "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  I've seen it attributed to several people, most notably Theodore Roosevelt and John Maxwell.  I don't know which one actually said it - maybe neither!  I do know that it's true.  People will remember the kindness you have shown much more readily than they will all the facts about why they should join your business or buy your product.  Do you do business with particular people just because you like them?  I know I do!  All other things being fairly equal, I will frequently make my choice just because I like the salesperson or owner or waitperson or whoever I have been interacting with.  And the opposite is just as true.  I have often walked away just because of how another person was behaving towards me or someone else.

This doesn't need to be some huge act of charity.  It can be, by all means!  But it can be as simple as calling a team member to see how they are doing, providing a testimonial for a friend whose business you trust, writing a thank you note to a mentor, or reaching out to a business newbie and sharing some of what you have learned along the way. I promise it will come back to you a hundredfold!

3.  Let go of what I can't control!  This is a hard one for me as I am controlling by nature.  Years ago, my mom gave me a wall hanging with the Serenity Prayer on it.  You know - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  I sometimes have problems with that "wisdom" part!  So this is on my list as a reminder.

Why is this important?  How often have you spent your time worrying over some perceived obstacle, or chasing some impossible goal when you could have spent your time much more profitably?  Let go and go do something you can accomplish.  No internet?  Been there!  Read a business book.  Or start writing one of your own.  Spend time with family.  Relax!  Upline not being supportive?  Forget them!  Go learn what you need to know on your own.  Find another mentor or coach.  Downline not performing like you hoped?  Don't spend your time on those who aren't willing to do the work.  Focus on the ones who are.  Dogs barking in the background during the recording of your podcast, husband's hoard of papers visible during your Hangout, Tshirt showing reversed on your Facebook Live?  Hey!  This is LIVE people and I am a real, genuine person. You want perfect?  Look elsewhere.  It's been a hard lesson to learn but I have accomplished much more since I have learned not to worry about all those things beyond my control and just focus on doing what I know how to do.

4. Listen to my gut.  Have you ever been going to do something and you're about to make a decision?  Your head says this is the right choice.  Go for it.  But there's this little nagging voice in your gut that says walk away.  Listen to your gut.  It's almost never wrong.  And yes, this is on my list.  My husband is a very logical man.  He will research something absolutely to death before he makes a final decision.  And yet we often find ourselves on opposite sides of a decision because my gut is telling me he's wrong.  And because there has been a time or two when I didn't speak up because all of his facts and figures looked so good, how could I be right about what I was feeling, that I keep it on my list as a reminder.  Because he was wrong and it cost us, sometimes dearly.  (P.S.  He has learned to trust my instincts.  He hates admitting that sometimes it's not logical, but he listens!)

The same is true in your business.  You have a chance to work with what appears to be a great new client.  Or join a fabulous new business opportunity.  Or buy some wonderful new marketing tool.  It all looks amazing.  What could go wrong?  But your gut says no.  Listen to your gut!

5.  Be still and just breathe.  In our hustle and bustle busy lives, this can be difficult.  Especially when you are trying to build a business.  And there are those out there that will tell you to do whatever it takes.  Work non-stop.  You can sleep after you are successful.  I am here to tell you just the opposite.  You know what you get when you do that?  Burn out!  Poor health.  Damaged relationships. Yes, you need to work.  So when it's time to work, get to it.  But set some time aside everyday to take a break and just breathe.  Spend time with your family.  Go for a walk.  Read.  Go to church.  Take a nap. Meditate.  Whatever it is that helps you recharge, find time everyday to do it.

Oh by the way - my other to-do list?  Write a blog post.  Write my list.  Post in Facebook groups.  Finish laundry.  Meet 10 new people.  Work on new sales funnel.

What's on your to-do list?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Video Blogging With the Quick and Simple Tools You Already Have

Congratulations on making the decision to start video blogging, also known as vlogging. It's an excellent way for you to share your expertise in your niche and to provide your audience with a new way to consume your information as well as a way for them to connect with you on a more personal level.

With the advance of technology and all the different geeky gadgets out there including webcams, vlogging is easier than ever. This article is going to give you some tips on how to use your webcam to create some video blog content.
If you're using a laptop, it probably already has a webcam built right into it. Be sure to check that out first before going out and purchasing one. If you do need to buy one, you don't have to spend a lot of money. You can pick up an inexpensive one for around $20.

The biggest challenge you're going to have to deal with using a webcam is finding a way to make yourself look good. If you don't have it angled properly, or it's too high/too low, you're not going to look your best. If you're using a laptop webcam, you may need to put a few books underneath it so that you can raise it up and be eye level with your camera. If it's too low and you have to look down, or it's too high and you have to look up, you’re not going to be happy with the quality.
Another tip for vlogging with your webcam is to use a headset if possible. This will help keep out any background noise that your computer’s built-in microphone will pick up.
You'll also want to take into consideration anything in the background that may show up when you start recording. If you have a busy background (such as your kitchen or living room) it's going to distract your viewers and they'll lose focus on what you're saying. Besides, do you really want people to see piles of laundry or kid’s toys in the background?

Try to find the 'perfect' spot in your home or office for creating videos. Set up a background (something as simple as hanging a sheet up will suffice) and add any additional lighting elements you'll need. Keep this space specifically for videos so that there isn't a lot of preparation you'll have to do the next time you want to create a one.

Once you have all the preparation done and you're ready to start recording, it's best to make a trial run. This will help you figure out if the lighting is right, the angle is right, etc. After your trial run, you can then record the real thing.
Remember to keep your video as short as possible so you don't lose the interest of your viewer. Don't get discouraged if you find yourself stumbling over your words - this is normal especially if you're a newbie. It takes time to get used to seeing yourself on camera. To help prevent stumbling over words or forgetting what you want to share, make a short outline that you can glance at during the recording process to help stay on track.
Remember, too, that all those glaring mistakes will likely not even be noticed by your viewers. We are, after all, our own worst critic!

Once you have your content all recorded it's just a matter of editing it and publishing. There are plenty of video editing options out there. It's just a matter of finding one that you can work with easily. Or, if you aren't comfortable with doing it, you can always outsource it. After it's edited and ready to go, you just have to upload the file to YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
And there you go, the quick and easy way to use your webcam to
create video blogs. It doesn't have to be overly difficult and once
you get the hang of it, it'll get quicker and easier.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Network Marketing Business Opportunities

Most people spend 50 or more hours a week making other people wealthy. That's just a fact. It's very likely that you are one of them. It's also likely you may be doing something that you don't love doing. So why continue to do it? There are so many different opportunities in the network marketing business today, you can always find something that you will like promoting.  There are network marketing businesses in health, technology, energy, gold, travel, weight loss and even dark chocolate!  

Can you imagine working for yourself and doing something you are passionate about and doing it all for yourself?

But I NEED My Job - Don't I?   

For some losing their job has been a blessing. These are doers and not dreamers. They have used their knowledge from prior jobs, their education, and their relationships to build thriving businesses. Some have simply run with a business opportunity in a field that they know they're going to enjoy.

How many of us have sat at work wishing that we could work for ourselves? Network marketing is for entrepreneurs who are doers not dreamers. Too many people sit around saying "I wish" while others are doing everything feasible to make their dreams a fact. If it's time for you to stop wishing and start doing, network marketing may be the answer.   

Network marketing gives you the chance to leverage other people's time, and their time is spent making you money as well as themselves.

But I Don't Know That Many People

That's where the power of the internet comes in.  By learning to market your business and build your team online, you can reach the world with the click of a mouse. 

 A Business Means Work!

It's no good getting into ANY business opportunity without the attitude of an entrepreneur and a great work ethic. If you spend fifty hours a week at work, and 10 hours each week traveling time, you should be prepared to dedicate that many hours at least every week to your new network marketing business. I know this may not be possible while you are just starting out. Most of you will need to keep your jobs while you build your business part time. But you do need to devote as much time as possible to your business. The biggest motivation will be knowing that you won't ever have to work for someone else ever again . 

Any network marketing business should be reviewed thoroughly prior to signing up. The company should be completely clear and truthful with you about the product, training, and the compensation schedule. Do your due diligence. This is going to be your business. You're investing your time and energy and money in it. You want it to be successful. And you want it to be something you are proud to promote.

If you are prepared to work hard and be dedicated to your business, you WILL be rewarded. Network marketing can provide you with massive income and the chance to do precisely what you want to do.

Learn to become a leader. Study marketing techniques. Maximize your social networks. Be persistent and consistent. Soon you'll have a downline of people that will wish to match your success, and that is when you can relax and enjoy the rewards of your labor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Success Stories: Meet Amber Unger

I love doing these Success Story posts!  I meet such wonderful people in my businesses - both as a network marketer and as a business coach.  Sharing their stories with others is just a small way to pay back all the love and support I have received over the years. 

I met Amber Unger through Facebook.  We started to communicate and she eventually joined my 30 Day Marketing Intensive (sorry, no link.  This is about Amber not a plug for me).  As we began to talk every day or so during this time frame, I become more charmed with her and her story and I knew I had to share it.  I know you will love her as much as I have come to.  So without further ado - Meet Amber Unger!

1. Amber, tell us a little about yourself.  I am a mom and a business woman.  Mom first!  I am a very shy person, so trying to build a business was a challenge for me.  It pushed me way outside my comfort zone.  But it has also helped me develop more self confidence! 

2. Tell us about your business.  Like so many other women starting a business, I am in network marketing/direct sales.  I am with a company called Scentsy.  We market home fragrance products that are wickless, flameless and much safer than traditional scented candles. 

3. Why did you start your own business?  The same reason a most other women. More time with my kids and more freedom to do things with them and yet still be able to help support my family.

4. How did you choose this particular niche?  I've always used candles to release a fragrance into the air. I knew the wax from the candles were evaporating into my clothes , my lungs, and on my walls. I wanted a safer alternative to having that fragrance released into the air of my home without the dangers of a candle with flame. I've always heard about going wickless and flameless but I never knew about Scentsy.  I found out about Scentsy through my Hairdresser when Scentsy had Bricks on sale back in 2013. My first ever purchase was a Salted Caramel Brick. which I fell in love with  INSTANTLY!  Then one night an old friend from high school was challenged to host a party, so I said sure I'll help.  Well, the party was so successful that I realized I could make money at this and so I decided to become a rep. Since then it has been the best thing I have ever done.  It has earned me an income that helps support my family household bills. 

5. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?    I enjoy being my own boss for I can "work" aka chat and post pictures on social media even when I'm not well.  Some of you may know that I have been having some health issues lately.  But I can still take five minutes to make a post that will create engagement for my audience.
The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is finding  people to buy from you.  I admit I love my products but as I said, I am normally very shy so having to talk to people is difficult for me.  But I'm learning!
6. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?  Having People skills is the most important.  And this is coming from someone who isn't a bubbly talkative person!  Although put me in a room and get me talking about Scentsy and I cannot stop!  As I said, I'm learning!  I guess I just needed the right inspiration.

7. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?  The only difficult thing about my business is in my area there is a Scentsy Rep at every corner so I found to keep a customer base you have to have personal deals which then creates happy loyal customers who then spread the word about your deals.

8.  Do you have any resources that you have used to build your business that you would recommend?  A positive team is always very helpful. Using social media has been my number one resource for the majority of my sales. I am a part of a few Direct Sales Facebook groups that help and support each other.   

9. Do you have any tips to share on promoting yourself?  STAY true to your loyal customers. Spoil them. Use your host credits to get an extra bar to make bigger samples from. Get that laundry package and give slightly bigger samples than you would give to an average customer.  Loyalty needs to be rewarded.

10. What other advice would like to share with someone starting their own business?  Start small.  You don't need everything all at once. Once you've built a customer base then buy yourself a printer which can help make labels and flyers to help brand yourself.

11. How can we contact you to learn more about your products and services?    I love sharing Scentsy with others.  Please feel free to contact me to learn more about our products and services from my website or on Facebook.

12. Is there anything else you would like to share?  Join my  team :) 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Worth Waiting For

Patience is not my strongest virtue.  Waiting is hard.  It's especially hard when you have so much riding on an outcome.  When days, weeks, months, or sometimes even years go by, seemingly with not much progress, it's easy to feel like a failure.  Sure, you continue to struggle through the day.  If you don't you would have to admit to everyone that this just isn't for you.  That it's too hard and you are too old and too tired to keep pushing.  Better to keep up the charade then admit defeat.  But the thoughts are still there.  The worries.  What if I really can't make this work?  What if I lose everything I've put into this?  What will my family think?  WHAT IF I FAIL?

I first started in network marketing in 1993.  (Unless you want to count the summer I played at Amway between high school and college).  I had just retired from the Navy and was having a difficult time finding work.  What does a former Navy spook and Russian linguist do in Northwest Arkansas?  It wasn't like I had a lot of marketable skills.  Network marketing seemed like the answer to my prayers.  And so I signed up, got my starter kit - and waited.  I waited for someone - my sponsor, my upline - anyone, to tell me what to do next.  I grew more impatient and frustrated as I waited for the help that never came.  I felt abandoned.  I felt like my sponsor knowingly took advantage of my need just to sign me up and get his next recruitment bonus.  When you're waiting for help and for answers, it's easy to get angry and discouraged.  Far easier than trying to move forward on your own.  You think that things will never change.  So why bother to try?

I was fortunate and did find work, good work for a free health and dental center that served the less privileged in our area.  I was doing something that was not only financially rewarding, but also spiritually and emotionally fulfilling.  I was making a difference and that was an amazing feeling.  But always in the back of my mind was that nagging feeling of failure.  And so I eventually stopped talking about my network marketing company.  I didn't quit because I loved the products.  And if anyone asked, I would be happy to sell them an item or two.  But I stopped actively pursuing it.  I focused on my new job, telling everyone that I was just so thrilled to be doing this that I had no time or desire to worry about my business.  At least that way I could say I had made the choice instead of having to admit that I had failed.

Life was good after that.  I left the health center for a series of jobs, each one a step up the pay scale.  These didn't have the social impact of a free health center, but the money was good.  But when you are not doing what you are called to do, it catches up with you.  And some years later it did just that.  My heart was not in what I was doing and it showed.  And so, once again, I found myself in need of income.  And once again I fell into the trap of network marketing.  Only this time I had no choice.  I had to be able to work from home.  Now I had someone depending on me to figure this out.  And as I have always said, it's amazing what you can do when you have no choice.  This time I had the answer.  I had been working with an event planning company and through them I had met many of the top internet marketers of the day.  I had the opportunity to sit in on their events and to talk with them and learn from them.  And while I did not use the internet to build my new business in the beginning, I did learn some things from them.  Persistence.  Focus. That success doesn't always come overnight.  Sometimes it takes days, or weeks, or months, or even years.  But it is definitely worth waiting for.

If you are struggling in your business, feeling frustrated and discouraged, stop.  If you are feeling abandoned and forgotten by your sponsor, stop.  If you are ready to give up because you've just been struggling for SO LONG with nothing to show, stop.  Refocus.  Find a mentor - one that will be there for you and hold you accountable for your own success.  Learn all you can - about your business, your products, marketing techniques, and whatever else you need.  Ask - ask questions, ask for help, ask anyone who will listen.  There are lots of us out here who have been where you are and are willing to guide and mentor.  Above all, don't quit.  Because success will come.  And it's definitely worth waiting for.

If you're ready for a mentor and coach who will be there for you, who will set the bar high and help you reach it, then perhaps we could work together.  Let's find out!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hanging Out with Friends Makes for a Fantastic Video Blogging Experience

Not every video blog has to be polished and professional. In fact, some of the most engaging content is off-the-cuff, personality driven, and just plain fun. Google Hangouts makes it easy (and free) to create a vlog that showcases you and your unique personality. And all you need is a Google+ account to get started. (Hint: if you have a Gmail account you already have a G+ account as well!)

Here’s how Hangouts work. Simply log into your Google+ page and look to the right of the screen. Click “New Hangout” and choose the people you want to invite. You can have up to 10 on camera, and dozens more watching, but for a video blog, two to three speakers is more than enough. You could even do it by yourself, simply using Google’s technology to record the event.

One tip: be sure to enable the “Hangouts on air” option. As soon as you do this, your Hangout will go public and a recording of your Hangout is actually going to automatically go your YouTube account!  Once your hangout has been sent to your corresponding YouTube account, you can then embed that video into a blog post on your site and voila... a new vlog for your audience. Talk about a quick and easy way to produce some fresh new content!

One thing to keep in mind is that you Google Hangouts are all about engagement. People like to feel like they are a part of something. Giving them the opportunity to ask questions and have you answer them is a great way to bring your audience into what you're doing.

There’s more to Hangouts than just face time, though. You can also record your screen using screen capture software, so it’s a good way to demonstrate software. You can share PowerPoint presentations for a more formal look. There are also several different apps that incorporate with Google Plus to enhance your hangouts. 

While this is all done in real time and things can be unpredictable - especially if you're going to have other people on with you - don't fret if you want to share the content later on. Yes, it is live but that doesn’t mean you have to publish it as is. You will have the option to edit the content after the hangout is over. You can edit the video by going to your video manager in your YouTube account and doing it from there.

Some ideas for Google Hangout video blogging include:

  • Interviews with a guest – think of it as a podcast, but with video.
  • Q & A with your market – this is a great way to interact with your audience live, then repurpose the content later in the form of a blog post.
  • Demonstrations – whether software, cooking, or crafting, Google Hangouts are a good choice for live video demonstration. As long as you can use your webcam to film, it’s a good candidate for a Hangout.

One drawback to Google Hangouts is the quality of the video. If a crisp, clear picture is important to your event, it might be better to choose a different solution, such as GoToWebinar or Camtasia (depending on your needs). But when you’re just starting out, or you’re looking for a fun, interactive choice for video blogging, Hangouts are definitely worth a look.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Network Marketing Advertising Made Easy

You will have to invest a certain amount of cash into network marketing advertising. That is just a fact of business. But there aren't too many other ways of promoting a product without it. Many new network marketing specialists fail to realise this concept. Advertising is essentially an investment if it's working and they miss their chance at making a reasonable income.

You may not see advertising as an investment, but methods of advertising that are chosen sensibly and closely monitored, can make a large ROI. Bad advertising brings poor returns.

Just like any business, online and off, network marketing advertising is one of the keys to success.  It can often be confusing online particularly with the other millions of internet sites, blogs and ads all competing against you. Unless your product is completely unique and new, you're going to need to learn where to put your advertising.

The very first thing you should do is figure out your advertising budget. Fortunately, this does not need to be a large amount. For example, you can advertise on Facebook for as little as $5.00/day.  Put aside a specific amount each month, and be pragmatic. When you find the most successful style of advertising for your business, you can then raise your monthly budget.

Most people that are new to network marketing only have tiny budgets, but the good news is there are many different ways to publicize for free online. Some are effective. Some are downright pointless. Keep experimenting and find what works for you. 

 These are the results you will be looking for from your network marketing advertising:

1. It should be bringing you a flood of leads
2. It'll be a medium for you to advertise your product
3. It will be a technique for branding your company and growing brand recognition
4. It should be a route for you to effectively and efficiently close sales.

By far the best and least expensive form of advertising is recommendation by friends, and online generating a buzz about your product can pay enormous dividends, but it's going to be up to you how you go about this. Social networking sites, particularly YouTube, are glorious places for getting heaps of eyes on your product, but though this strategy might be free, you need to plan everything you do thoroughly or it can backfire.

Do not expect to go on Twitter and make 1 or 2 posts saying your brand is the best, or buy one of these, because you'll be un-Tweeted and ignored.  Neither should you post on Twitter every minute or two.  You wouldn't do it at a cocktail party, so do not do it on social media sites, blogs or forums either. 

You must build a following before even mentioning what you are offering.  Just like a party where almost everybody is a stranger to you, you have to build relationships and trust before you try and pitch your product.

You can also rely on others to offer you referrals, and again, this comes thru social interaction, both offline and online.

It is essential you build a relationship with that person first. Leads are valuable, and no one is going to reach in his pocket if he doesn't know anything about you!

Mailing programs are so yesterday, but if you're marketing off-line it's so unusual to get mail nowadays, this might be an effective way of marketing. especially if you have a local brick-and-mortar location.

List-building is one thing that many don't understand, especially off-line businesses. A large amount of information can be gathered by doing a direct mail-out, but the drawback is it is extraordinarily pricey and can frequently be ineffective.

The easiest way to build a list is online.  If you can somehow get people to visit your capture page, and leave an email address when they come, you can then use this list for future marketing campaigns. The easiest way is to offer something of value in exchange for their e-mail address. This can be something as simple as a free report or eBook, product sample, or complimentary service.

 It is difficult to run an efficient network marketing advertising campaign if you actually don't understand how it all works. There is an enormous amount of psychology behind selling effectively and if you do not understand the fundamentals of network marketing, now is a very good time to learn. Or tap into a marketing system that has already done all the learning and use it to do your marketing for you until you learn to do it yourself/

One of the most highly respected marketing systems in use today is My Lead System Pro.

MLSP gives detailed insight into how network marketing advertising works, and also useful information about the best way to generate qualified leads. It is written both for beginners and for experienced network marketers.  But mostly it is for those that are trying hard to get their network marketing businesses off the ground!  
Click here to find out more about MLSP.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The 3 C's of Social Media

Guest post by Brandi Spencer
Did you now that only 3% on people on your social media feed are ready to by from you?

As you know, were living in the tech age.  Everything’s automated, digital, and designed for speed.  It seems like every article you read discusses the power that social media has in building a business. 

From what I've observed, most business owners use their social media profiles like billboards for the services and products that they currently offer.  This strategy only attracts 3% of people who are following you.  This 3% know they have a problem, want to solve the problem, and are willing to invest in solving the problem right then and there.  The other 97% need more TLC.  You still need to gain their loyalty and trust.

The C3 method of social media addresses the other 97% of you followers at any given time.   The method allows you to nurture the 97% and prepare them to work with you!  Sound Interesting?  Keep Reading!

The C3 Method of Growing Your Business with Social Media

  1. Content - Create valuable content that educates your customers around their problems and struggles.
  2. Conversations - Start authentic conversations with the people that you want to serve and find out how you can serve them.
  3. Capturing the Email Address - Provide opportunities to access information, tools, consultations in exchange for their email address.

What type of content should you be sharing via social media?

  •  Podcasts: Record a simple audio delivering content to solve one specific problem.
  •  Blog posts: Write your heart out and share your knowledge and expertise to help your prospective clients.
  •  Social Media Posts: Posts, images, and quotes that entertain, inspire, and speak for your ideal customers (and dream for them).

How Do You Start these conversations?

Don’t forget, it’s called social media!  Platforms like Facebook and Instagram were created to help people form relationships and build connections.  No matter how intimidating and scary some of the people on social media may look, they’re just people.  Strike up natural conversations.  Ask them about their day.  Find out what type of problems they’re struggling with.  Extend a hand to help them solve a problem.  Talk to them like normal, everyday people with a problem that you can possibly help them solve. But remember, the only way to help is to learn more about them, so always end your responses with another question!  Dig deeper!

You’ll be surprised how effective it is to say hello and ask if you can help them with anything!

What types of content and experiences (freebies) can I create to get their email address and allow them to experience more of you?

Create invitations for your ideal customers to connect with you and consume more content, in a more personal setting in exchange for their email addresses.  This allows you to communicate over time and nurture the 97% of potential customers who weren’t ready to buy on your social media.  By sending more valuable content consistently over time you are able to build the Know, Like, and Trust factor which translates into more sales for you!  Here are a few ideas of some freebies that you can offer.

  • Free Webinars and calls:  Teach your audience how to do something in a 45-minute webinar or teleconference.
  • Ebooks: Create a 3-10 page PDF that will allow the book worms to consume your content with ease.
  • Checklists and Templates:  Tools that save time and make your ideal customers life better (or easier).

Do you need to beef up your social media profiles and add more TARGETED followers who can see your content and offers? 
Join me next week for my FREE, Gain Your First (or next) 100 Instagram Followers in Just 5 Days Challenge!  Grab Your Seat Today
Brandi L. Spencer is an Entrepreneur, Educator, and Speaker that helps women stand in their power and create the life they desire! Visit Brandi at for strategies and tips to build your empire with online marketing and technology tools.