Category Archives: internet marketing

Why You Need a Backup Plan for Your Backup Plan

Having a back up plan might not be enough to save you from grief.

Listed here are the 3 critical reasons you need to have a backup plan for your backup plan PLUS 7 serious tips you must keep in mind when switching to your new environment.

When my computer crashed 4 years ago, I lost everything that wasn’t stored on a floppy disk. (Am I dating my(tech)self?)  I was devastated and swore I’d never be in that position again.

I bought an external hard drive to back up my data locally and subscribed to a remote backup service for even more safekeeping.

For the last several years, I was proud of myself for my foresight.  At the same time, I was pushing my computer to it’s limits with all the files I accumulated on my hard drive and the multiple applications I always had open at any one time.

I purchased another external hard drive to hold my pictures, videos and audios and had begun to think about what my next computer would be but didn’t feel any urgency until that fateful day, March 19, The Day My Computer Crashed. I swear, I could make a full length movie out of what has transpired since then.

Here are the critical three reasons you need a backup plan for your backup plan.
1.  Because technology is moving so rapidly, your original backup plan won’t have anticipated all of the new things that could now go wrong.

2.  Things will go wrong that you hadn’t accounted for.

3.  Getting back up to speed will take WAY longer than you expected.

Here is the first of the seven serious tips.

1. Understand the data restore process and find out how long it takes to restore your data.
I had (erroneously) assumed that once I was ready, I would click some remote button and my stuff would magically and almost instantaneously appear on my new computer.  Not! So I waited to request the restoration until I figured out which computer I would buy and got it set up in my office. Bad mistake!

Because I had so much data backed up from my original computer, even after five days of waiting, by big “packet” of everything was still not available.

I was able to download individual files as I needed them and that process only took minutes so I wasn’t completely out of luck.  But I’m impatient and wanted all of it.  After waiting the five days for the ‘all of it packet’, I requested a smaller packet of the stuff I really needed.  But even that took several days to arrive!

Then, once it was available, there was another step to extract all of the compressed packets of data into the actual files that I could use.  That process took several more days! And finally, even though I downloaded entire folders of documents, all of the documents didn’t make the voyage.

LESSON: Had I known then what I know now, I would have started the restore process the moment we knew my hard drive was dead and requested my documents, files and folders in much smaller increments. Verify that everything you thought you downloaded actually makes it to your computer.

2.Check the status of your backup process regularly.
As mentioned in the video, I was rather cocky because I had built in redundant backup processes: one local on a hard drive, one remote.  I discovered that the local backup process had not successfully completed since mid-January.

To make matters worse, the software that ran the local backup wouldn’t work on my new computer (way more about that later).  Since most of the stuff I was anxious to get my hands on were my more recent creations, I abandoned the idea of upgrading to the newer version of local backup software since it wouldn’t produce the files I needed right away.  So I waited…

LESSON: Check your backup status weekly

3. Keep a printed list of the software/tools you download from the internet.

When you get a new computer, you’ll need to reinstall all of your software.  If you have the installation CDs, you’re good to go (although this process is also time-consuming.

The thing I had not anticipated was that all my cool tools I had found online would also be gone and I would not have a CD to reinstall them.  This is particularly important for software you purchase.  You might get the vendor to give you another download link, but you’ll need the exact date of purchase and/or the ‘key’ code to verify your purchase.

I was able to find one of my purchases (once Outlook was filled with all my history again), but it would have been great having a handy list.

LESSON: Save the ‘.exec’ files in a safe place (perhaps the Downloads folder on your computer). Rename them so you know what they are (Vendors often abbreviate them beyond recognition.) Maybe save the emails with download links or the download url address.  Periodically print out your list of tools and purchase dates.

4.  Before you purchase anything, identify your hardware and software/operating system needs and research your options.

Talk with some technical advisors from whom you cannot purchase anything to get an objective opinion.  Tell them how you work.  Let them make recommendations. You can go to stores to see the things in person, but the technicians in the stores will only tout the stuff they have on hand.

Here’s a compilation of what I heard from My PC Techs and My Computer Works. (Love them both; they’re lifesavers!) “Stick with HP and Dell.  Buy Intel inside.” (Windows 7 was tested on Intel.)

I went to four stores with my requirements in hand to check prices and was glad I did.  I spent a little more than I wanted but am happy with my purchase.   If you have the time or can plan ahead online purchases can be cheaper, but I was strapped for time and as you know, impatient.

LESSON: Use professionals who can guide you and help with the process.

5.  Wait 18 months before buying the newest operating systems.

Windows 7 does have some really cool features and works noticeably faster, but I’ve heard developers launch products when they’re ‘good enough’ then rely on customer feedback to work out the kinks.

LESSON:  In my research phase, I did notice that there were some computers that came loaded with Windows 7 plus a ‘rollback’ option to XP.  That would have gotten me up and running more quickly and avoided the pain of Tip 6.

6.  Figure out if your software will run on the operating system you buy.

Part of the reason for waiting is because when new operating systems are rolled out, all developers may not have revised their products to work in the new environments.  Even if they have, you may have to pay for upgrades in some cases.

Also, there is a difference between Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit.  As much of a geek that I am, I didn’t think about (nor do I totally understand) that difference.  I do know that some of my tools would have worked on the 32-bit version of Win7 but not the 64-bit that I got.

7.  Buy from a company with great support.

This was really important for me. With the specs I received from my advisors, I could have purchased a computer from local geeks who build them.  But I know that I need to be able to pick up the phone and say “XYZ isn’t working.  Help me” and then get that help.

I don’t have an in-house tech department and rely on the two companies I mentioned  above.  I have been thrilled with them and the support they provided in this transition.

I’ve also been impressed with the support from HP and Sprint (e.g. trying to get my phone to synch with my computer since the USB cable doesn’t work on Win7. ) They guide me through issues and do remote interventions for me.

They have even called me back to make sure everything is still working! I wasn’t expecting that.

Yesterday, when my phone successfully synched my new appointments and contacts using Bluetooth technology and my wireless printer didn’t go offline when it did, I finally felt like I was coming out of the dark.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you and prepare you for your next tech transition, planned or unplanned.  I encourage you to plan ahead however.  This was tedious process!

Please share your tips and stories here.

5 Ways to Blaze a Trail of Traffic to Your Website

Many business owners I speak with are feeling overwhelmed with all there seems to be to do.  They need sot find ways to bring business to them in addition to seeking it out themselves.  Here are some simple ways you can position yourself as an expert, gain credibility, increase traffic to your website and draw people to you!

1. Get on YouTube
Instead of watching other people’s funny videos, create some of yourself sharing tips about your expertise.  Create a You Tube channel and publish away.

(Check out mine, Limitless Dream Leader.) These don’t have to be high quality visually. A flip phone or camera that shoots video will be fine.  It’s the content that establishes you as an expert.

2. Publish articles
There are tons of article directories on the internet. Many publishers of blogs & ezines  like this use other people’s content.  They will scour article directories looking for key topics they think their audience will want. If you’ve written something of interest to them, they will pick up your article.  Make sure you have your website in the ‘resource box’ at the end with a ‘bribe’ to entice them to visit your site and leave their email address so you can build a relationship with them.

3. Optimize your website for search terms your market is looking for
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a fortune on this.  Take a few minutes and ask yourself, if you were looking for your on the internet and didn’t know it existed, what phrases would you search on?  Those are your keywords.  TIP: relevant multi-word phrases are better than single words (i.e. gluten free bread vs bakery). You might have to find someone to enter them in the proper place on your website, but you can find someone inexpensive on Craigs List or elance.com.

4.  Update the content on your website regularly
Not only will this make you appear ‘current’, but the robots that troll hyperspace looking for interesting sites to recommend in search results won’t visit you much if nothing changes on yours.  Blogs are great for this reason.  If you don’t have one yet, make sure you incorporate it in your website for added traffic.

5. Install Google analytics
It will help you understand where the traffic you get is coming from so you can refine your efforts even further.

There you have it.  Five ideas that won’t cost much to implement but that could make a world of difference to your website visitors…and your bottom line.

Create Passive Income: Stop Trading Time for Money

The IRS defines passive income as income from “trade or business activities in which you do not materially participate”.

Traditional sources are dividend/interest income from investments, rental income and royalties from books.

When you perform work and get paid for it, no matter how well you’re paid, that’s not passive income.  That is trading time for money.   I realized a few years ago that unless I charged a gazillion dollars for my services, that my income would be capped by the number of hours I worked. So I got busy creating income alternatives beyond coaching and training.

If you own a business but are not working in the business, the income you receive from that business is passive.  In the 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris describes ways in which you can create income that require little or no effort on your part.  You may work in the beginning, but the key is to set up systems so the business works without your involvement.

Here are some of my online favorites.

1. Information products (books, CDs, home study programs) can be sources of passive income.  They do require work for their creation, but once done, fulfillment (delivery) of the products can be outsourced.  If you’re in business, you have some expertise that can be turned into a book, CD or DVD that people will purchase.  When you sell them online instead of ‘hawking’ them personally, you’re getting paid on-goingly for work you did perhaps years ago.

2. Affiliate programs (where you sell someone else’s products or services for a share of the revenue) are also opportunities for passive income.  Again, you may have to set up websites and traffic generation strategies to make those products & services visible to others, but once done, ka-ching!

3. Network marketing programs have made many people thousand-aires and even millionaires.  There remains a slight stigma in some people’s minds about pyramid schemes.  But most multi-level and network marketing programs these days present legitimate products and services that people are buying and consuming.

4. Licensing involves creating intellectual property (like books, systems, processes, etc.), protecting them with trademarks and patents and then selling rights to others to market the products for you.  If you have (which you do) expertise in your field, you can create information products and systems that you can license to others.

The key here is to get in early with an offer you believe in, particularly one that is ‘consumable’ where clients buy something every month without you having to sell it to them.  It could take a couple of years of dedicated effort to build up a clientele and train a ‘downline’ so that they’ll work the business without you.  But it’s possible to do.

Kim Kiyosaki shared some startling statistics in her talk at NAWBO.  She said “58% of Boomer women have less that $10K set aside for retirement.” Yikes!

It’s not too late.  But don’t wait.  Take action now.  Do a little research. Find something that you can get behind. Devote at least 10% of your time each week building passive income streams and stop trading your time for money before you run out of time.

Social Networking: Mystery, Madness or Money

Do you tweet?  Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo?  Does the thought of having yet another networking venue send shivers up your spine?

Are your tweeting and linking the hours away, but not seeing any results?

Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you remove the mystery, reduce the madness and ultimately make money from your social networking efforts.

1.  Remove the mystery

Starting a profile on most platforms is relatively easy.  Four of the ones I use the most are shown right under my Greeting message above.  I also use Plaxo. So if you’re just getting started, connect with me.  Just click on the Plaxo link above or any of the icons below my greeting.

Start simply.  Enter both business and personal information.  The key to social networking is leveraging the ‘social’ aspect.  People want to know you, not just your business.  Once you’re in, look for people you know who are already on that platform.  Most sites make it easy for you to do that.  Once you’re connected to others, you can connect with their friends and associates.  (You’ll probably know some of them. If you can customize your introduction, a personal note will help ‘grease the slide’.

2.  Reduce the madness

As in real F2F (face-to-face) life, you could spend hours every day networking online.  Don’t let yourself get consumed.  Don’t feel compelled to join every site that people invite you to.  I have profiles on 16 sites, but don’t use them all. Set aside 15 minutes a day to tweet or update your profiles.  Just pick a few to start with.
What to say in your updates?  Share a great idea you heard, your plans for the day, a success you had, a success someone else had, an inspiring quote, a triumph for your child.  Make comments on other people’s profiles.  Again, use a good mix of business and personal.

Also consider automating the process.  There are tons of tools & resources like tweetlater.com to make the whole social networking thing less labor-intensive.

3. Monetize your efforts

Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about for us business owners, isn’t it?  Don’t expect to put dollars in your pocket immediately though.  Social networking is about building relationships with people, getting connected on a deeper level.  It is through building solid relationships with people first, that you’ll be able to later on, introduce items or services that you think might help them…but only after you’ve gotten to know them.

Consider it a little like dating – you probably wouldn’t ‘pop the question’ on the first date would you?  Don’t do it on the social networking sites either.

That’s just a primer (or reminder) for those of you who are relatively new to this arena.  Stay tuned.  As I mentioned in the video and the welcome greeting above, I’ve got tons more resources on this topic to share with you, so pay attention and don’t miss out, ok?