One Tough Challenge – Knowing When And What To Outsource

I have to be honest – I’ve had really bad experiences when hiring outsource workers. Like really, really bad ones.

Go Cheap, Go Chinese!?

At first, I thought I should look to China and get the cheapest labor I could find and that they’d still be really good.

NAHHHH! It blew on my face – huge communication barriers, mostly my fault, put a stampede on my project as I was unable to pass my vision to them in a manner that they’d get the concept.

Plus, the 12 hour time difference doesnt help at all – I had to stay awake to make the meetings and that would really screw my day.

Then I realized there’s a reason they’re so cheap – the technical part came out decent (they really know their stuff), but the part that required finesse, failed miserably. Again, my responsibility to make sure they got it.

Outsource Much?

Here’s another issue I had to face head first since the beginning (and that still confuses me sometimes):

1. Should I outsource even though I dont really have the margin to cover the outsourcing cost, just to free my time in order to focus on big picture? Or..

2. Should I keep my margins high by doing most of the work myself and saving outsource hours for bigger projects?

The thing with option TWO is this: how would I close bigger projects if I’m stuck doing small work?

So what’s the solution?

Outsource as much as you can – but KNOW what to do with your time.

Dont hover over the outsourcing people when you should be focusing on more important things. In other words, letting them do the minor things means NOT thinking about the minor things – so give’em instructions, strict checkpoint deadlines, and move on.

Last tip: sometimes softwares can be the best outsourcers – for example:

ViralUrl email marketing allows you to save time and money when building a list of subscribers. The Synnd software is a social media marketing robot – that can save HOURS of work. And the right plugin can save you tons of SEO time – try Jeff Johnson’s free traffic plugin to start.

BIG ONE – if you know any good outsource/freelance agents – PLEASE post their contact info on the comments. I’m always looking for new people to work with.

Thanks!

Why People Say They Have No Time For Blogging….

It Sucks To Not Have Time To Blog!
It Sucks To Not Have Time To Blog!

Okay, so I would never agree with anybody that said social media is a waste of time and blogging is for geeky people that still live with their moms, but lately I’ve been wondering “When am I going to have time for blogging?”

Trust me, I have this blog and its approximately 25 daily readers dear in my mind everyday, and I probably have 10-20 ideas of stuff I really want to blog about, but I’m seriously lacking the time to do it.

Unlike this post, I usually dont post two paragraphs – my posts have a certain level of research put into them, and I try to add screen shots, images, videos, etc.. to make life easy for folks who browse the net with ADD.

But ever since I started a online marketing & sales consulting company, I’ve completely lost the little time I had to dedicate to this blog. You may say startups are a shot in the dark, but in less than a month, I have 5 clients.

And when I take in consideration that this blog has only generated about $100 worth of revenue (from affiliate links), the amount of time invested absolutely does not correspond to the ROI. Thus, I’m focusing on the consulting area.

I’m working with local small/medium size companies that wouldnt necessarily participate in online marketing if it werent for me. I say that because I’m 98% sure that they wouldnt seek a ppc management firm or ever adventure themselves into social media by themselves. So they have me doing it for them.

A quick look into my portfolio:

2 Local Gyms: KnuckleUp Fitness –ย  Outer Banks NC Gym (they have a blog & multiple capture pages for PPC)

The Fitness Warehouse – Chesapeake & Suffolk, VA Gym (their page will be up soon)

Four Seasons Landscaping – Outer Banks Landscape Design

East Coast Construction Co. – Outer Banks Vacation Rentals & Home Improvements (under construction at the moment)

The Red Sky Cafe – Catering Outer Banks (also under construction)

At this point, I’m doing all of the web design, the ppc management, the social media updates, the video editing, writing blog posts, setting up autoresponders….

So you can see why I’m not that much available for blogging. But that’s no excuse.

This community (though smaller than I’d like) is important to me and I shall find the time to keep up with it.

Hope you stick around with me.

The Web 1.0 Corporate Website DeathTrap & How To Avoid It At All Costs

How To Avoid web 1.0 Traps & Monetize Your Website
How To Avoid web 1.0 Traps & Monetize Your Website

I’ve been working with a local gym introducing them to different ways of using the web as a communication channel and monetization opportunity.

Of course, the very first thing they asked was about Pay-Per-Click, to which I tried to explain (not successfully) that their beautiful corporate website would was not ready for it.

The reply was one I already expected:

“But the site looks awesome, I paid a lot of money for it!”

Yeah, I know.

They had a bunch of flash animations, amazing graphics, and a really kick-arse design. But the navigation was poor, there was very little content. But more importantly, if I were to use that for a PPC campaign, I needed a BRIBE and a CAPTURE FORM.

The owner looked at me like “Am I really paying you?

And the explanation that took me a couple of meeting to finally get him to understand was:

If you’re paying for traffic, you need to find a way to monetize those visitors.

Even if it means a simple data-gathering form.

What is the web 1.0 corporate deathtrap?

When that same business owner heard me saying that, he freaked out.

He was proud to have a cutting-edge website, and for him that was all that was necessary. But therein lies the trap:

Most brick-and-mortar business owners believe a website should be like the front of their store, and look pretty enough to invite visitors in.

But the fact is that the internet is the biggest, fastest-pace mall EVER. Online users’ attention span is minimal and they’re not attracted by looks only anymore. That was the web 1.0.

Visitors now want information, as they’re used to receiving it at an unbelievably fast rate from Google, Twitter, and many other sources. And making information attractive, educational, and satisfactory is key running a successful website and to widen a business’ communication channels.

Avoiding the web 1.0 Deathtrap

Get that expensive web designer of yours and feed him with everything that is going on in your business.

Tell him to update the site with a NEWS stream and publish press-releases-like messages (or even blog-posts-like) at least twice a week.

Instigate your visitor by publishing pictures, and videos on your website. But not studio pictures or professional videos: get somebody on your staff to take pictures of that special event or record a video of a class or seminar. It has to look real, not “made-for-tv”.

And that is just basic. To go one step further:

  • use the website to promote special events, and offer web-exclusive bonuses.
  • At specific events, record live customer testimonials
  • Start a blog: Let customers post their feedback.
  • Write an industry-specific ebook or record a video training and sell it on the website.

The web is the most effective communication channel a business can have, aside from personal interaction. It offers the most targeted advertisement platforms, and through the internet a business can uncover any market.

As long as top management is aware of it, a website will offer a ton of opportunities. But when management is stuck in the web 1.0, the best thing to do is introduce them to the information era.

I’ll keep you posted on our work as we move forward with the project.

If you’re a business owner looking for ways to establish a more positive online brand strategy, or you’re tired of paying good money for a website that is useless, post your question here (as a comment), and I’ll answer them.

The Traffic Formula 2.0 Dream Team – Are You One?

Ever imagined Mike Dillard, Ferny Ceballos, Mike Klinger, Raymond Fong, Mark Wieser, Jim Yaghi and Tim Erway together in your living room?

Well, that’s what Traffic Formula 2.0 will do.

Each in their area of expertise, these masters will be working constantly to take your business beyond the
next level.

I wasn’t even in the industry when the first Traffic Formula came out, but I know first hand how it changed a couple of
people’s business:

Jim Yaghi started his PPC adventures after reading the original TF, and now he produces an AVERAGE of 600 leads a day.

Ferny and Ray were just two more engineers, with lots of student debt to pay (MIT is not cheap..). Last year, they hosted the Traffic Formula Live event ($1000 per ticket!), sharing the stage with Mike Dillard.

And that was only three years ago.

You know how there are turning points in one’s carreer?

The amplitude of this education will open many, many doors for you, and undoubtly spark a million new ideas to
increase your success at least tenfold.

So, if you’re undecided about spending $267 to receive these masters in your house, consider what this investment would mean to you 1 year, or even 6 months from now…

You can get Traffic Formula 2.0 here:

http://vur.me/about/traffic

And maybe we can both be a part of the 3.0 edition, huh?

To remarkable turning points,

Leo Saraceni
office: 252-202-6190

P.S – I have limited spots left to schedule personal consultations. If you bought TF with me, reply to this post with your info andย  I’ll personally contact you. Or just email me at leosaraceni[at]gmail.com

If haven’t gotten this gigantic amount of marketing knowledge yet, do it so now and I will work with you 1-on-1 to assist in digesting it all.

http://vur.me/about/traffic

The Marketing Voodoo Report & How Eben Pagan Moved The Free Line Out Of The Park

Eben Pagan Moves The Free Line
Eben Pagan Moves The Free Line

I’ve just finished reading Eben Pagan’s latest giveaway, the 21-page Marketing Voodoo report.

Eben is too humble to take credit for it, but he’s famous for the phrase “move the free line”, in regards to offering high-quality content, freely, in order to capture and captivate prospects, customers, and associates.

To promote the launch of his Guru Home Study Course, Eben has been over-delivering 1000s of dollars worth of free tips, training, and even mini sales letters – stuff that could easily sell for at least $40, only to WOW his prospects to the point where they have to have his course.

Honestly, it’s working.

After taking the time to watch his 40 min video twice and reading his marketing voodoo report over and over, I’ve reached the point where I can’t imagine what’s left for the actual paid course. The information Eben shared on the marketing voodoo report alone is 100% actionable, and I already see it increasing my conversion rates and capturing customers for life.

I’m trying my best not to sound like a groupie, but it’s not easy.

What is impressive is that Eben leaves no doubt that what’s in the video and in the marketing voodoo report is his best, most precious strategies, and he is not afraid to reveal it publicly. The reason for is that despite the immediate potential his free reports have, with his guidance and special exercises, exploring its full potential will take much less than having to study it on your own.

Basically, Eben Pagan is giving you an amazing toy without the full, 400 page instruction. He gives you a 20 page instruction, and full access to the toy; you may play with it for a while, but without the entire manual, it gets boring… So you have to come and ask for the full instruction set.

It is your decision to seek Eben Pagan as a solution provider, not only because he gave you the toy, but because he knows exactly how to have lots and lots of fun playing it.

The entire “move the free line” strategy revolves around the fact that Eben (or any knowledgeable entrepreneur, for that matter) is confident that it will be our decision to seek his solution, which brings us to another point discussed on the Marketing voodoo report:

An info-product has to solve an immediate pain, and if done correctly, has no perceived competition.

Notice the cycle?

  • The Bait – high-quality information
  • The catch – the info has limited training
  • The solutionpay to get more training
  • The alternative – none, since there’s nothing designed for this specific need/service/opportunity

Genious!

I’ve already made changes to my sales letter, and include some of Eben’s “toys” – can you see which ones are they?

How Can You Mix Academic Life And Entrepreneurship?

Phi-Theta-Kappa Member
Phi-Theta-Kappa Member
All American Scholar Award
All American Scholar Award
Who's Who Among Students In Junior Colleges
Who's Who Among Students In Junior Colleges

So there’s this young college kid who’s got a great GPA, is very sociable, and does very well in his classes.

His family is very proud of him, they say, ‘what a great future he’s bound to have!’, and they see him wearing his suit and working in some big office, with subordinates, doing important stuff for a nameless corporation.

Little do they know all that this student sees is a commitment to give his best in all aspects of life, and his academic experience is merely the means to achieve the end purpose of creating credibility not only within his peers, but within the faculty, the staff, and the local business leaders who support the college.

So, how can academic life and entrepreneurship combine?

In a recent post, Jim Yaghi detailed why most college students will not become entrepreneurs, and the major reason is that they’re only there because they have to.

Think about it: whether it’s society, or family, or good-old boss pressure, most college students are there against their will. Because of it, they tend to offer their least, since there’s zero motivation.

Now, when a student realizes the relationship between income and studies, there’s a much higher change of strong dedication. At this point, that student has the potential to assimilate academic efforts as a personal investment to be recovered at potential job interviews, in informal conversations with superiors, or even in personal relationships.

And that is where academic life and entrepreneurship converge, and studying becomes an investment in personal development.

Take Charge Of Your Academic Investment

Classes are nothing more than a portfolio of the skills a student-preneur sees as the most benefitial to their enterprise. I, personally, would steer away from exact sciences – even though I appreciate the logical thinking that comes with math and physics, there’s very little return on that investment.

Here are some ways you can turn your academic investment into entrepreneurial opportunities:

Students offer networking and leadership opportunities
Students offer networking and leadership opportunities
  • Take advantage of the exposure and develop a network beyond ‘beer-buddies’
  • Explore the possibilities within each class: copywriting skills out of English, leadership skills out of History, etc..
  • Be on your teachers’ good side by raising critical questions – reference letters are particularly powerful when meeting Venture Capitalists, Banks, and initial customers.
  • Find and explore the small business center/junior business/business department and develop contacts – it might turn out into a speaking gig
  • Make use of the career center to find cheap qualified labor – again, cheap outsourcing!

If you’re not in college

I realize the average reader of the LifePath of a Network Marketer is not a college student, but the same concept applies: entrepreneurs are opportunity-obsessed and their success depends on knowing when, where, what, and WHO to invest their time with.

Learn how to turn adversity into opportunity, and you will have no unecessary experiences.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship Is…

Opportunity Obsessed

The Power Of Entrepreneurship
The Power Of Entrepreneurship

Personally, this could not be more true. Entrepreneurs have a blood thirst for opportunity, and are often seen squeezing money out of rocks.

The obsessed part draws a line between the “stable job with benefits” and the “jobs are fuel to my next startup” professionals. To be honest, I don’t have a single relative that would fit into the first category, so I blame my family for my lack of interest in the 9-to-5 world. (just kidding)

Jokes aside, stable jobs’ seekers are beyond my comprehension.

The entrepreneurs that inhabit my social circle, and the ones I admire, such as Perry Belcher, Yanik Silver, Frank Kern, and others, are opportunity-obsessed professionals that have seen many opportunities fail, but keep creating more and more due to this insane obsession.

Holistic in Approach, Leadership Balanced

There’s no doubt we’ll always have the ‘schemes’ entrepreneur trying to get ahead by scamming people, but for the major part, entrepreneurial enterprises seek to fulfill a need, offer a benefit, and conquer the minds of its customers as a necessity. The holistic approach grants that serious entrepreneurs are over-delivering, offering as much as possible in exchange for consumer loyalty.

Being a leader is communicating those values and inserting that obsession into those around you, instigating commitment, motivation, and attracting success.

Leadership = Personal Responsibility

Entrepreneurs are disciplined enought to understand they’re the ones responsible for their success and their entire operation depends on their decisions. Leaders are those that accept this responsibility despite the pressure.

Value Creation, and Value Capture

Isn’t this the basis of capitalism?

We strive to offer only the best, so we are rewarded with only the best. As I mentioned above, entrepreneurs seek to fulfill a need, creating value to those benefiting from it, and receiving credit for doing it well.

How Much Value Are You Creating?

This blog is inhabited by an incredible number of entrepreneurs, so I must ask you: are you creating value to your customers?

HOW?

Be sure to measure and track your answers – they are directly related to how much value ($) you capture ๐Ÿ˜‰

Who Wants To Be A Tool? Learn How To Become A Solution!

Stop being a tool - Become a solution
Stop being a tool - Become a solution

I received yet another bogus email this morning, and the only reason I opened it was to get inspiration to advise against this evil practice. What I’m talking about is the silly “my company is awesome” email that most network marketers seem to have on their autoresponders.

It usually starts like this:

“hey [name], thanks for stopping by my website, and congratulations on blah blah blah […] our company has been in the market for [insert years here], has been featured on [pick from: Oprah, CNN, Mad Money], and our market grows by $1 Billion/MINUTE!”

So here’s the fundamental mistake on these bogus emails:

They are TOOLS – basically, their company uses them to promote the company’s solution. Let’s address this:

Most marketers fail to notice that they are NOT Representatives. They are not salespeople, per se. As a marketer, your objective is to PROMOTE A SOLUTION.

You, my friend, is a RESOURCE through which your prospects find the solution to their problems.

You guide, mentor, advise, and coach your prospects towards a tool that will make them money, improve their marketing, clear their acne, and so forth… Pay attention to how this works:

A person is looking to get out of a dreadful job, or generate a second income stream – direct them to a business opportunity where they could be their own boss, or just supplement their main source of income. If they already have a business and are looking for some marketing assitance – share with them a marketing training that helped your business.

You see? There’s no selling – only good-old advice, tips, hints, even opinions. Things get ugly when your prospect thinks you’re a pitching machine.

Okay, so what do you need to become a resource?

Share your knowledge, offering valuable information that will assist others make better decisions. You will benefit by just by grabbing their undivided attention.

To help you come up with ways to do this, answer the following questions:

  • How can I make a difference?
  • How can I assist others?
  • What can I offer?
  • What took me way too long to master, that I wish somebody had told me before?

Of course, in your path to become a valuable resource, there is one major investment to be made: YOUR EDUCATION.

The more you know, the more you learn, the more valuable you are in the mind of your prospects.

Think about it, and let me know what is your plan to change the world. I’d love to hear about it!

Seriously, leave a comment.

The Greatest Salesman In The World – Og Mandino

Highly recommended reading
Highly recommended reading

Yesterday I published this note on Facebook, regarding Og Mandino’s classic “The Greatest Salesman In The World”.

I didn’t mention how my wife first introduced me to this book in a moment when I needed positive reinforcement, how it opened my eyes to accepting how perfect my life is and exactly where I would work to improve it.

I’m very thankful for this book, and I plan on extending my review to each scroll. For now, read the 10 vows of success, and take a moment to absorb them.

1. Never again will I pity or belittle myself
2. Never again will I greet the dawn without a map
3. Always will I bathe my days in the golden glow of enthusiasm
4. Never again will I be disagreeable to a living soul
5. Always I will seek the seed of triumph in every adversity
6. Never again will I perform any task at less than my best
7. Always will I throw my whole self into the task at hand
8. Never again will I wait and hope for opportunity to embrace me
9. Always will I examine, each night, my deeds of the fading day
10. Always will I maintain contact, through prayer, with my creator

I really admire the amazing relation between the title and exactly what the book is about, and how there’s much more to success BEFORE you actually make money.

Network Marketing & Ray Croc – How to Flip Burgers On Your MLM

Ray Croc, Father of direct selling?
Ray Croc, Father of direct selling?

This morning, on the Fresh Start call with Joe Neid and JT Debolt, Joe shared a rather interesting story from when he was beginning his MLM career.

He’d called his mentor, and when he asked ‘what are you planning for our team?’, Joe’s mentor returned: “i’m flipping burgers right now!” Surprised, Joe asked the meaning of it, and it was then that he learned about Ray Croc.

According to Joe (and a quick Google search) Ray Croc was a milk-shake machine salesman before he bought the rights to the McDonald’s brand from the original McDonalds brothers.

Joe’s mentor was referring to flipping burgers in the sense that he was trying to develop a system so simple and effective that would be easily replicated anywhere in the world (like McDonalds), one that he’d ‘patent’ and use to make not only himself, but thousands of other entrepreneurs successful.

Joe Neid, Ray Croc of Network Marketing

Joe Neid, Ray Croc of Network Marketing
Joe Neid, Ray Croc of Network Marketing

Fast forward to 2009 – Joe Neid heads a thriving direct sales company built around a simple system, which is not necessarily original in the industry, but that has been deconstructed and put together in such an effective manner that several ‘virgin’ entrepreneurs are turning into powerhouse businesses.

The system is fueled by premium, undisputably original products (that’s something fresh in the industry) – and a team of well-positioned leaders put in place to guide newcomers. Just like Ray Croc, Joe knows how much better his organization will develop if all parts of the chain are strong and healthy.

I am part of Joe’s organization, and I’m proud of it. I would, however, advise Joe that I might just grow up to be a Burger King ๐Ÿ˜‰

What about you? What are you planning for your organization?

Setting objectives as to enable easy duplication are key to your success. Just think about McDonalds. (think. DO NOT EAT IT!)