The “Mom Theory”

As I write this we are right smack dab in the middle of the holidays.

I was driving down the beautiful 280 freeway today, (you heard that right, it is a beautiful drive) and my mind was wandering in and out of online marketing, email funnels and family. Weird, eh? I love California!

Anyway, I was contemplating how to explain the concept of know, like and trust, a well-worn idea in marketing and trying to come up with a fresh way to explain it.

Mom, mum, mother, ma… my family it was mom. She is a legend in our family. An artist, a musician, (kind of) a disciplinarian, and most of all, someone I could rely on. And trust.

Who better to stand for the concept of know, like and trust?

Mom would never steer me wrong. She wouldn’t suggest a product to me solely because she was getting an affiliate commision. Mom wouldn’t try to sell me something in every email. Mom listened before thoughtfully portioning out her advice. And she was the funniest person I ever knew.

She was a terrific storyteller!

Mom didn’t tell me what to do (when I was older) but she did voice strong opinions based on her own life experiences. I didn’t always listen or take that advice but she was right more often than not.

Yep, my mom encompassed the very nature of know, like and trust and that is exactly why I treasured her advice.

It might be something for you to think about. Be a little more like mom in your marketing, especially your email marketing.

The “Mom Theory!”

You cannot be everyone’s mom but maybe thinking about her as an example might help you in your marketing efforts. Put your customer first, be helpful and honest, and make sure the advice you give is about them and not you.


Should I Start List Building? Definitely Yes! Part 1


Should I Start List Building? Definitely Yes! Part 1

You likely keep hearing about “list building.” What the heck is it and when and why might you need it? Let’s dive in!

Grow your email listOver the decades a lot of good ideas and inventions have gotten lost in the dustbins of business history. If you spend much time in digital marketing facebook groups you will find scores of people certain they have a crackerjack of a concept only to hear later they have given up.

No sales.


There a lot of reasons, of course, but one of the main ones is a failing as old as business itself. NO prospects=NO customers= NO sales.

“Build it and they will come” is generally credited to a 1989 movie called “Field of Dreams.” In business circles, it usually refers to a product under consideration. It is generally pretty iffy advice.

Very few products make it to market successfully simply because someone thinks it up, then creates and waits. Products and services need to be promoted and sold.

This is why advertising exists. The motor that runs so many things in our society is one that tries to convince an audience to take an action.

What sort of business has advertising at it’s heart?

  • Radio stations
  • Television
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Google
  • Facebook

These are the advertising vehicles. They are the ones who know the importance and power of advertising.

People who USE advertising to promote their product or service….well, I don’t have to tell you about them. They are a huge part of your life (unless you are living in Trappist monastery :).

People who need or want your great idea will seldom just stumble across it.

Why should your new business idea be any different?

One problem for a new business is that advertising is expensive. And hard to do correctly. And ineffective if you do it wrong.

Online marketers like you and me have a great opportunity to address some of these issues.

We call it List Building. It should be one of the very first things you focus on doing and once you start, you should never stop. And I mean never!

In this short series, I am going to tell you WHAT list building is, WHY you need to start doing it (and keep doing it, and HOW to get going without spending any money.


When you gather emails from a segment of people who are interested in your topic it is called list building. You are very likely on many, many email lists. A few good ones and probably many bad ones. They are bad if you do not open them and read them.

We will discuss how to make sure your list is one of the good ones, (the list that is made up people who actually open and read the emails).

You want to turn your list into a raving audience that is convinced of your expertise and is willing to take your advice, (a warm audience). They know, like and trust you and therefore it is the ultimate in targeted marketing.

A warm audience is full of potential customers.

The way you build an email list is to have something of value for which people are willing to exchange their email. Tit for tat, as they say.

In marketing, this is called a magnet. Some examples of magnets are:

  • Checklists
  • White Papers
  • Guides
  • Helpful Hints
  • Free courses
  • Webinars

My friend Amy Porterfield calls these things “freebies” but that is a bit of a misnomer. If a person wants the “freebie” they must pay for it with their email address.

Because the magnet is related to the products you will want to promote in the future (and it should be) then you will create an email list of like-minded people who will be a much more receptive audience to your future promotion.

Make sense?

In Part 2 of this series we are going to talk about what to do once you have that email (in exchange for your magnet) and how to make your new email list be one of the “good ones.”  



What Makes People Buy?

 “What makes people buy” is a complicated question. Getting people to hand over money is tough! 

Obviously, it depends on the product, the circumstances, and the individual. Ever heard of “know, like and trust?”

For purveyors of online courses, digital products and various services sold online, one of the most important factors in a buying decision is how the buyer perceives the seller.

You will want to have your prospects KNOW who you are, you will want them to LIKE you and most importantly you will want them to TRUST you. We call this KLT or Know, Like and Trust. It should be the goal of your online marketing to nurture this idea amongst the people who you are going to sell your product to.

Let’s say you are selling an online coaching program of some kind for $297.00. That’s a lot of money. Most people aren’t going to fork over that amount of money to some stranger who simply has a fancy website full of promises.

Prospects are much more likely to buy that course if they have been following the coach on a podcast or blog for some amount of time (know), have gotten a “feel” for their personality and found yourself admiring them or interested in them, (like), and finally have read enough comments on their blog from customers or read “testimonials” of people who have gone through their coaching, (trust).

Of course, you can sell to a “cold” audience but it is a heck of a lot harder than selling to an audience of people who know-like-trust you. When you have KLT on your side price becomes much less of an issue. People are willing to pay for value.

Here’s an Example

Apple is one of my favorite companies. There was a time when I was a cold audience for their products (a LONG time ago lol). I was a long time user of other lines of digital hardware. Then I decided I wanted one of those little doodads that I could store music on.  I wanted to listen to it while I was running. One of my kids  (whom I trusted) suggested I try an Apple iPod. I did and I loved the whole experience of doing business with Apple.

  • So I bought the first iPhone (and many, many more after that).
  • And the first Mac Air (and many, many more after that).
  • The first iPad? Yep. Stood in line! (and at least three more after that).
  • Since I am sort of a “center of influence” about these sort of products, I have persuaded a lot of people in my life to buy their products. Apple has stood behind everything I ever had “an issue” with. I know them, I like them and I trust them.
  • When they come out with something new I am all ears.

Customers with my “Apple attitude” should be your goal. Prospective customers like that should also be your goal.

That’s one of the ways you can sell without being “Salesy.”

TAKEAWAY: Offering a quality product or service to a warm audience, one who know-like-trust you, will dramatically enhance your sales results!

Productivity. Coffee Shops. Me.

productivityOne of the wonderful things about working as a
solopreneur is that I can work when I want, where I want and with whom I want. I saw this great article on productivity. Why people are more productive when they work away from their “office”? (which for these purposes, means your normal workspace). Start of a new year is a good time to read this stuff!

I’ve been doing this for 20 years but never really zeroed in on why it works for me. I thought it was because I am an independent don’t-tell-ME-what-to-do sort of a guy. While that is true, according to this lady, there are some actual better reasons than that for this to be a good idea.

Here’s what she has to say……

The ‘Coffee Shop Effect’: Why Changing Your Location Boosts Your Productivity

By Kat Boogaard 

By now, I’m embarrassingly familiar with the post-lunch slump that strikes at least once during my workweek.

Still full from my avocado toast, I find myself slouched in my desk chair—just willing something to appear behind that menacing, blinking text cursor that’s been taunting me for the past five minutes.

So, what do I do in those moments when I find myself feeling totally zapped of motivation? I pack up my laptop and head to a coffee shop with reliable WiFi.

The ‘Coffee Shop Effect’: My Productivity Secret Weapon

Once I’m there—with my venti iced chai latte by my side—I discover that I’m hyper-focused. I crank through my to-do list with seeming ease. In fact, I accomplish more in two or three hours than I would have in an entire workday in my home office……READ MORE

You Are Going To Have To Create Content

UPDATE: I have now been using the free version of Grammarly for about 18 months and can confirm it is everything I hoped for. The one thing you need to know is that it is NOT always right. I am someone who wants to write in my own voice…not necessarily perfect grammar. But with this product, it just alerts me and makes sure I look it over and confirm that is what I wanted to say, I absolutely love it. I have not tried the paid version but if I was a more prolific writer I would at least test it out. I might anyway!
People who are selling on the Internet or are trying to attract an audience are going to need to create content. That will very likely include some writing and it will most likely include a LOT of writing. Agree?

If you do agree then you will want someone to review (edit) your created content.

If you don’t have a human editor available, you may want to take advantage of a couple of tools I came across recently. One is Grammarly and another is Hemmingway App. At first, I thought they were competitors. After a quick look, though, I realized they do two different things. In my world they are partners.
One is “grammar” (duh) and the other is style, readability and reading level. Neither one is correct 100% of the time. No real editor is either. They do give you a heads up and ask if you’d like to reconsider what you have already committed to the document.
I like them both. My concern with Hemmingway is that it might alter your “voice.” My caution is to not let it pull the personality out of your writing. I try to write like I speak….that ain’t always easy to do, (I threw that in on purpose LOL).
Anyway…they both deserve a look. Solopreneurs may not have resources some of the more well-funded competitors do. They might find these tools helpful.
My two cents. Check them out and make your own decision!
(You will have to decide on your own whether I used these tools on this post!)

Do You Have To Be Passionate?

I constantly hear instructors telling me that I must be passionate about the subject I want to create a digital course about. They have heard it from others for so long that they just repeat it as gospel.

I think that is hogwash.

There is certainly nothing wrong with being passionate about your subject matter.

But to make “passion” a threshold for someone wanting to develop a side hustle and create a digital “how to” course might be very limiting.

I think that if you came up with an idea you thought would make a cool “how to” course it is entirely plausible to do a ton of research on it and create a course using the results of your research.

If you are successful selling it, get immersed in your FB group, become more and more interested that’s good enough for me.

I have started businesses that I grew into. I might have even become passionate about them after a while. But I sure didn’t begin that way.

Keep that in mind when you are deciding what you might do as a side hustle. If you already have a hobby or subject you are knowledgeable about and passionate about, that’s great.

If not, don’t sweat it.

Brainstorm with yourself. Find some things that look fun and do some research.

Remember, people are not born passionate about anything. They become passionate.

Bones Before Dog Food

You probably hear it all the time.

The very first thing you need to do is to start building an email list.


Because the single most effective way to sell your product or service online is to promote it to a group of people who know, like and trust you. 

A warm audience.

Let’s assume you want to sell a course called “How To Make Candles At Home.”

If someone interested in learning how to make candles knows YOU are an expert in making candles and you offer them a course on that subject they are likely to buy it.

If that same person is approached by a stranger what happens?

They will have to spend some time checking out the course promoter and become convinced of the seller’s expertise and trustworthiness before whipping out a credit card.

After the research, well maybe they are convinced and maybe not.

Sound right?

Making another assumption in this little business model, let’s say you run some Facebook Ads about learning candle making.

Instead of trying to sell with your the email you should begin the process by impressing them with your candle making expertise. Throw them bones before you sell them dog food.

  • You might send them a tip on buying candle making supplies
  • And another email on the types of candles they can create
  • Maybe one more on the designs and sizes you can make at home

By now they are beginning to think you know what you are talking about.

When the next email (the promotion) comes in:

  • Importantly, they will probably open it because you added value in previous emails
  • Your offer of a course will be much more warmly received
  • The “conversion rate” will be much higher than if you asked on email 

In sales, we call it a warm audience.

Strive for it!

What’s New in 2019 (for me)

I’m not real big on New Year’s resolutions.

I do, however,  take a fresh look at my business this time of year.

It’s a good time to start new projects and inject new life into existing ones.

Here is my exciting (hey, at least to me!) announcement.

This Year’s Plan

I’ve made a decision to start a Channel of “how to” videos sharing what I know about starting a small business on the Internet. I’m going to explore concepts, pain points, and solutions.

I have decided to tackle video. Finally. I’ll be honest, I have avoided it even though everyone has been preaching the new age of video for a couple of years now. I am now committed to making a go of it once and for all.

I’m a teacher at heart. I love showing people how to do things and why I think they should. The whole idea of this blog is to encourage and educate people who want to earn some money using the fantastic benefits of the online world we live in.

I’m going to examine what a problem or pain point could be, why it may become an issue for you, and how you can address it or solve it.

I’ve been doing business on the Internet for just about 20 years now. Tacking that experience onto a former life running my own “real world” small business gives me a lot to draw on. Successes and failures.

I know I can help you.

Now if I can just get the hang of video production and on camera communicating and entertaining, I think I can turn it into a valuable resource for you, the aspiring entrepreneur.

  • Perhaps you want to add $500 or $1000 a month with a side hustle
  • Maybe you want to start a future full-time gig part-time while you keep your existing job
  • Some people are ready and able to dive in all the way right now

Whatever the case, this Learning Lab of videos will be designed to help you. Did I mention it will all be free?

Plans call for me to start filming very soon. Check back in here for announcements. If you’d like to get on an early bird notification list, you can sign up HERE

And of course, I want to wish you great things for the coming year.

Let’s get started!


What’s A Side Hustle?

side hustleNot everyone is in a position to walk away from their job and begin living the Internet Lifestyle.* For a lot of people that isn’t even the ultimate goal. Some of our community simply wants a “side hustle.”

What’s that you ask? Some peeps just want to earn some additional income or have a little fun sharing their passion.

(We’ll get back to that passion idea later. It gets more attention than it deserves IMHO).

Everyone on the Internet is not trying to make a million dollars a year. You may find that hard to believe when reading some of the overheated rhetoric floating around marketing circles.

Side Hustles

A lot of people are earning very nice little chunks of change every month running small side businesses by using the power of the Internet. A lot of people.

No matter where you live, thanks to the Internet platform, you can reach audiences of prospects for whatever it is you want to sell.

  • It might be handcrafted items you make.
  • Or “How To” books or videos on a niche subject you know (or learn)
  • Could be a course that teaches others to make the aforementioned handicrafts
  • One famous Internet marketer sold a course on making potato guns!

The list is as endless as your imagination.

If you created a business that you spent a few hours a week running and earned extra income while doing it….we would call that side hustle. And if you did on your own terms, working when you want, where you want and with whom you want, that would very likely be an Internet side hustle.

Thousands of people are doing this. Think of it.

I used to hate the term “side hustle.” It conjured up something going on at a carnival or the county fair. I decided to look up the definition of the word. Even if I know what hustle means, perhaps if I visualized it more by the terms of an actual definition I just might warm up to it.

“…. to convey forcibly or hurriedly.” Yikes! No wonder I had a bad vibe!

I kept reading in the hopes of finding something a bit more socially acceptable.

“….to obtain by energetic activity.” Now we’re talking.

“…to sell or promote energetically and aggressively” Okay, I can work with this.

Aggressive doesn’t mean pushy. It means you are hustling. Going for it. That’s a good thing.

An entrepreneur can be aggressive going about putting the side hustle together. She can be aggressive about educating her audience about her product. And she can be aggressive about making herself have the discipline to learn about running a business on the side and taking actions to make it happen.

Would making an additional $500, $1000 or even $2500 a month make a difference in your life?

Then a side hustle just might be something you may want to look into.

I’ll be discussing the number one question people have about this in my next blog post. “What Should I Do For A Side Hustle?”

*Internet Lifestyle. I call it working when you want, where you want with whom you want. Freedom to choose your own path and where it leads.


How Will You Create a Magnet?

UPDATE: We often talk about the need for you to have opt-ins aka magnets

To refresh, you need to have to have something to offer your potential Tribe-List members to

  • Encourage them to join your tribe by giving you their email address and
  • Motivate them to begin opening the follow-up emails you will be sending them. It is negative for you if someone gives you an email and then never opens follow up emails.
  • Deliverability is a very important metric. You must have engaged list members to create a Tribe.

A top-notch first impression with that opt-in “freebie” you send them will go a long way towards getting them to read subsequent emails you send, to be engaged.

In the past, I have farmed out this kind of project. Fairly inexpensive options are available by using services like Guru to hire talent. You still have to create the basics…the actual content. But a pro can whip it into a nice and professional PDF for $50-$100. Facebook Groups and forums are a great place to ask others who they use. A referral is always better than just hiring someone cold.

But there is another option.

You could do it yourself!

There are a lot of reasons this might be the preferable route to take. At the prices I am talking about, designers cannot possibly spend a lot of time going back and forth making changes.

It is rare for the first iteration to be just what you want. They will usually make a couple of minor changes for you without charging more but unless you know exactly what you want from the get-go (rare), you have an issue.

Another nice thing about knowing how to do it yourself is if you want to make changes down the road (very common) you can just do it without incurring more expense.

In some of my businesses, the opt-ins contain information that needs to updated every year. Having the creation process in-house makes this a lot easier.

In another post, I’m going to discuss a free tool that can transform you into a near professional designer, even if you don’t have any previous experience. It is honestly something almost everyone can learn to use.

It is called Canva. Check it out.

I also want to mention there are several inexpensive training options on Udemy. (You should pay around $10).

Did I mention Canva is free?