Monthly Archives: September 2011

Spiders or Peeps? Why Writing for SEO Can Hurt Your Website Rankings

In my copywriting trainings, this topic invariably comes up. And usually it’s because I’m questioning my students’ choice of words on their websites or other online promotional copy.

“I chose that word because it’s a good SEO keyword,” they say.

Ah. It may be a good SEO keyword but it’s certainly not a good people word.

But before I get too far down this path, let me give you all a little background info. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What that means is you make your website and other online copy “search-engine friendly” so the search engines will rank you high for your chosen keywords. (Like on the first page when someone does a search for that keyword.)

One of the main tactics used to optimize your site is to scatter your chosen keywords throughout your copy (the frequency and positioning seem to change depending on how close the Moon is to Jupiter so I’m not going to even go down this path today.)

Why do you want that? Presumably so you get more online visitors to your site.

On the surface, it makes sense. Your website ranks high on the first page when people do a search for your keywords, they see your website and click on the link.

Easy, right?

Well…

First off, SEO (like everything Internet-related) has changed. A few years ago, SEO made perfect sense. That WAS the main way people found things on the Internet.

However, with social networking taking the world by storm, and more people on Facebook and YouTube then Google, people using the search engines have dropped significantly.

Now, that’s not to say you don’t need to take the search engines into consideration. There’s no question people are still using the search engines. But their searching habits have changed. Now they’re more likely to search for you after hearing about you via offline methods (like newspapers, magazines, television, direct mail, speaking, meeting you at an event, etc.)

Of course, people will still do generic searches for keywords that relate to what you sell. But trying to get yourself on page 1 of those rankings can be really difficult. And with Google changing their algorithms every time the wind changes directions, you can be on Page 1 one day and knocked down to Page 20 the next. (Also known as the dreaded “Google Dance.”)

So what do you do?

Well, my thought is while optimizing is not a bad idea, I wouldn’t put too much energy into it. And I certainly wouldn’t put words that sounded weird or off to my ideal clients on my online materials even if they were strong keywords. (Look, if you’re going to do all this work to get your ideal clients to visit your site, do you really want to turn them off with bad writing and poor language choices?)

Google and all the other search engines are going to reward you if your website isn’t deceptive, offers great content, and the content changes regularly. If you do that, the search engines WILL like your site regardless of your SEO. (You might not end up on Page 1 but the search engines will regard you fondly and will probably not move you around too much during any dances.)

And the reality is, it makes far more sense to focus on other avenues for people to find you. Be active on social networking sites, post articles, upload video, blog more. All of these things will increase your visibility out in that wild world we call the Internet FAR more than simply focusing only on SEO.

And if you focus on those activities, then you can put your very best writing on your website — the kind of writing that will make your visitors eager to learn more about you and do business with you — instead of suffocating your copy with keywords that may make those very same visitors click away.

Ask PW — “How do you get past what I call ‘Perfection Procrastination’ and get things done?”

Today’s question comes from Ruth M. Callejas, www.resourceassist.com, and it’s a good one. How do you get past “Perfection Procrastination?”

In my opinion, there are 2 types of procrastination — good procrastination and bad procrastination.

Good procrastination happens when there’s something else going on. For instance, you know what the next step of something is but you honestly don’t know how to do that step. In this case, procrastination is telling you to do more research or get some help.

Bad procrastination, on the other hand, is when you know darn well what you should be doing next AND you know exactly how to do it…and yet you still find yourself not doing it.

And if this is the procrastination you’re suffering from, then that probably means you have some sort of block or obstacle around a larger issue that’s preventing you from getting it done.

Let me illustrate with an example. Let’s say you know if you publish a weekly ezine, you’ll get more customers and sales and your business will grow. And you know exactly how to publish that ezine (or maybe you have the team in place to help you publish it and you just have a few small things to do, like review it or maybe do the initial writing). And yet, each week you find yourself procrastinating instead of publishing your ezine. And maybe the procrastination is SO bad your “weekly” ezine is actually a monthly, or every-other-month, or every-6-month ezine.

And your business stays flat because of it.

So in that case, I would say you probably have some sort of mindset block around business success, and that block is manifesting itself as bad procrastination around publishing your ezine.

Circling back to Perfection Procrastination question, here’s what I would suggest you do:

1. Determine which procrastination you have. If it’s good procrastination, then find out what’s stopping you for moving forward. If it’s bad procrastination, then do some work on your mindset.

2. Regardless of which procrastination it is, there’s a message in it for you. Now it’s your job to interpret that message and get some help.

So what are your thoughts about procrastination? Please share below in the comment section. Or if you have a question about marketing, business or writing copy, feel free to put in the comment section and  I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.

 

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Add Multiple Streams of Income to Your Business

It’s never a good thing when you rely on one stream of income. That stream dries up and you’re, ahem, up that creek without a paddle.

That’s why having multiple streams of income is so valuable. One stream dries up, you’ve got a few other ones to depend on.

(On another note, have you noticed how often money is referred to in water terms? Cash FLOW, multiple STREAMS of income or just income STREAMS. Just something to think about.)

But talking about multiple income streams and actually implementing them in your business are two entirely different things. That’s why today I’m going to share 3 quick and easy ways you can start adding more streams right now.

1. Information products. Creating a product based on your expertise is a fabulous way to start diversifying your income. This is especially good if you’re a service provider — now you’re providing other ways for your customers to work with you rather than them paying you to work with them one on one.

But creating information products doesn’t mean you have to sit down and write a book. You can do a teleclass or a series of teleclasses. Or maybe you do a video. Just make it easy for you to create. (The idea here is NOT to spend months or, worse, years crafting your product — the faster you get it done the faster you’ll make money on it.)

Still feeling stuck? Try this. What’s the biggest problem your customers come to you to solve for them? Can you do a teleclass or write a special report walking them through how to solve it themselves? Granted working with you would probably get the faster, better results, but remember not everyone has the money nor even the inclination (there are a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there, and you don’t want to exclude them from your customer base.)

2. Licensing or certification programs. Do you have a special process you take your clients through? Why not package it up and sell it to other consultants like you? Lots of people are looking for proven methods and systems they can add to their business income streams. So in essence you’re helping other people add income streams to their business while you’re also adding income streams to your business.

Now this one may not be all that quick to do, but I wanted to include it so you weren’t just thinking “info products” as your only option. Open yourself up to other options to making more money.

3. Offer advertising or sell other people’s products. With this one, you’re capitalizing on an asset you’ve built — your list. You have people who follow you, right? They’re on your list, they’re following you on social networking sites, they listen to your podcasts and/or teleclasses. Well, with this one you make money either by promoting someone else’s products and getting a commission, or you charge for advertising.

For advertising, think bigger then just selling spaces in your newsletter or web site or blog. What about offering sponsorships? Sponsorships aren’t just for corporate — they can also be your colleagues who want to reach your target market.

Of all the options, this one is definitely the fastest to pull together and takes the least amount of time for you to manage. However, if you don’t think it through, it does have the potential of diluting the impact you have with your list. If you’re interested in this option, do your homework. Find one or two people who have successfully offered this and ask them about it.

Above all, think creatively. There are lots of ways of reaching your target market, try a few and see what works for you and them.

How to Get More Value from Every Business-Building Program You’ve Ever Taken

Guest post by Rhonda Hess, the Niche Success Strategist

Ever felt like you wasted time and money on a teleseminar, home study program, or live event? The thought leaders delivered great value and you can see the strategies made them wealthy. You were excited to get started…

But then, for some reason, you didn’t reap the promised results. And now you doubt yourself. Ouch.

Why haven’t those programs worked their magic for you yet? It’s not you. But it could be your niche.

A highly profitable niche is the unique solution or transformation you bring to a tribe of people who is genuinely hungry for it. A viable niche is the fulcrum that helps you leverage every action for consistently BIG results.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

• You’ve learned the steps of the most powerful enrollment process, but you’re having trouble getting people into consults in the first place.

• You’ve learned from the best how to have sold-out teleseminars and high-ticket events, but it’s incredibly difficult to “put enough butts in the seats”.

• You’ve consumed the insider secrets for creating membership programs and other recurring revenue products, but you don’t know exactly how to authentically inspire people to say “Yes!” with their credit card.

What’s missing? To leverage all these brilliant tools and techniques for earning more and thriving for the long term, you have to know the people you serve inside and out. What do they want so much that they are no longer willing to live without it? What’s in the way? What is it costing them?

And to know that, you have to target an audience that’s easy to find and full of seekers. That’s the definition of a viable niche market.

Lots of coaches and consultants are doggedly selling their tools… but their tools aren’t what people urgently want, so it’s very hard to get them to invest. If they do invest, they may not stay long. And referrals don’t flow.

Do you know exactly who is hungry for the transformation you provide and how to authentically inspire them to invest in your programs?

If you’ve nailed your niche then it’s easy to:

• Know exactly where to find prospects because you are drawing from a narrow but endlessly deep pool of prospects that naturally gather in groups.

• Discover what’s most important to them and speak their language so they feel seen and heard by you. That builds credibility and trust quickly!

• Be certain they’ll invest in your programs because you know how to hit the sweet spot.

If you’re ready to leverage all the best strategies you’ve learned and reap results like the top 5% of entrepreneurs, let me show you how to choose a highly profitable niche market and become THE go-to person for them.

There are a few more seats in my tele-workshop Champion Your Ideal Coaching Market. You will walk away:

1. 100% Confident in a niche market you’ll love that will go the distance for you;

2. Knowing what motivates your ideal prospects to happily invest and refer others; and,

3. Certain that your messages and offers will authentically motivate prospects to say, “YES!”

Grab one of those last seats today. It all begins TOMORROW! I can’t wait to see you transform your business!

Rhonda Hess is an internationally recognized business mentor and the Founder of Prosperous Coach®. Rhonda has a genius for helping coaches choose and champion a highly profitable niche so they can coach more, market less and blow the lid off their income. Grab Rhonda’s free ecourse now: 5 Secrets No One Ever Told You About Your Coaching Niche and join the conversations on her blog. http://prosperouscoachblog.com

 

Ask PW — “Is there anyway to get sales without discounting?”

“I’m a recent Internet Success Story graduate : ) I’ve taken on a new position and it’s changed into a marketing position. Eek. I love what I learned on the Internet Success Forum, but this is a brick and mortar business. All my personal businesses are Internet based, and social media heavy, so I’m incorporating a lot of social media into this new marketing position, but it’s not yielding a lot of sales.  I guess my question is, how do I get people into this establishment without making HUGE discounts (which BTW is what the owner has done in the past with some success.) I’m worried people are comfortable waiting for the deal and are unwilling to pay full price. Help. Maybe this is a longer question than I intended. If you have a quick tip, I’d appreciate it.”

Thanks,

RosaLinda Diaz

First off, congrats on your new position RosaLinda. And thanks for writing to me — this is a HUGE issue and something I am constantly battling.

Okay, so first the bad news. I suspect you’re instinct is right and the owner has indeed trained their customers to only buy where there is a sale.

Now for the good news — you CAN turn it around but you’re going to need to get buy-in from the owner.

Here’s a few ways you can turn it around (but know that sales probably will drop while this transition is going on).

You’re not going to get people into the establishment without doing something special. Since I don’t know what sort of business you’re working at (other than it’s a brick and mortar) I’m just going to throw out some ideas:

* Some sort of layaway program (take a look at what K-Mart is doing)

* A sale on “last season” or a “scratch and dent” — but don’t discount everything, be very specific what you ARE discounting to get them into the door and then see you can start “upselling” to normal prices.

* A party that isn’t sales based — for instance, if this is a clothes shop, what about a trunk sale for the new fashions? Or new furniture if it’s a furniture store? Offer refreshments and door prices, maybe a raffle, but no big sales.

* Maybe you do a weekly offer — like the “blue light special” at K-Mart, but again, not everything, just one thing to get people in.

* Do you have a VIP customer program? Now might be a good time to get one started and see about building a relationship with your best customers (just remember to not ask people if they want to join a mailing list — create a club, give it a name and some really sexy benefits for joining for free).

Eventually, if you stick to this and don’t go back to the price discounts, you will retrain your customers to come in without a sale. But it may take some time and effort.

And RosaLinda — feel free to comment below if you’re comfortable sharing more details about the business. And if anyone else has a comment or something to share, please comment below as well. (Or ask a question about marketing, business or writing copy — I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.)

 

7 Ways To Increase Your Leads, Customers and Sales

One common mistake I see small business owners and entrepreneurs make time after time is this — relying on one source for leads.

In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I tell someone I’m in marketing and what they say to me is “oh, the only thing I do for marketing is word of mouth.” (I’m going to write an entire article about word of mouth marketing, maybe two, because that is hands down the most misunderstood marketing strategy.)

Anyway, if you rely on only one marketing source, like word of mouth, I can nearly guarantee what your business looks like. Feast or famine. Either you’re buried in work, stressed to the max as you spend all of your time and energy frantically fulfilling the work pouring in, or you’re starving. Nothing is coming in and you spend your days worrying about how you’re going to pay next month’s bills.

So how do you avoid that situation? By not relying on one lead source but instead diversifying and having leads come in from multiple sources.

When this happens, you start to create a much more stable business environment for yourself, plus you have the added bonus that if a lead source dries up, you’re not out of business.

Let’s look at some lead sources other than word of mouth:

1. Speaking. This is a great one as it also positions you as an expert. You can speak at live events or you can speak on your phone for teleclasses or you can do both. I personally do both and have found they work very well together.

2. Web site. People are constantly searching the Internet looking for products and services you’re already selling. Why not cash in on this by turning your Web site into a lead generating machine?

3. Networking. Both online (also called social networking and includes sites such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn) and offline (includes networking events and live seminars filled with your target market) are good ways to find leads and clients.

4. Advertising. Not my favorite but it definitely has its place. And there are times where this is the absolute best way to pick up new leads.

5. Existing/past clients. You can pick up quite a bit of work both by upselling your existing clients or by reconnecting with past clients and seeing if their needs have changed.

6. Media. Getting articles placed or being interviewed on radio or television can also increase your bottom line.

7. Strategic partners or affiliates. This is where other people promote you to their customer base for most likely a percentage of the sale. The difference between strategic partners and affiliates is strategic partners tend to have a more long-term relationship with you and affiliates can be a one-off or short term (for instance, they promote a sale you have going on).

There are other lead sources, but these ideas will get you started. Best yet, all these sources will work together for you and feed off each other (and even increase your overall referrals). For instance, someone might hear you speak, then meet you at an event, then check out your web site and finally hire you. Or they might first meet you on Facebook, then head on to your web site, then hear you speak and finally buy a product

See how easy and effortlessly it can work for you?

Roxie’s Final Gift — Part 2

(To read Part 1 click here)

RoxieI had decided to take Foxy Lady back to the humane society. It was the only thing I could think of to do. She was attacking Amber rather than being her friend and the whole reason why I brought her home in the first place was to be Amber’s friend.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about those eyes. So desperate, so anxious, so eager to please. And how she didn’t stop wagging her tail when I gave her that bone.

Was there anything I could do?

I decided to call my friend who had done rescue work for years in Phoenix. My friend would know if there was any way to salvage this situation (or not). One very small bright spot was how submissive Foxy Lady was to ME (and my husband) and how she would listen to us.

Could I get her to leave Amber alone?

My friend gave me a list of things to do. I decided it was worth a try. I’d give it a week or so — if we couldn’t turn it around we’d give her back.

I called the humane society and told them we changed our minds. We were going to try and make this work. To be honest, I think they thought I was a little nuts. At the same time, Paul went and picked up the scruffy, skinny puppy, which I think they had second thoughts about giving to us after this Foxy Lady debacle (Paul said they seemed less than enthusiastic about us taking her home.)

So that’s how we ended up with Maddie (the scruffy, skinny puppy) and Roxie (a.k.a. Foxy Lady because I never could bring myself to call her either Foxy OR Lady much less both).

Maddie turned into my buddy. She loved being a house dog — never enjoyed being outside. Her favorite thing was being in the house, lying on something comfortable near me. Maddie was a survivor — her time by herself in Sedona in July and August had made her one. Border collie nature be dammed — she was going to be a house dog. Other than wanting to bark a bit too much (border collies really aren’t barkers so not sure where that came from) she had no bad habits and was a pretty easy-to-live with dog.

Roxie, on the other hand, had just about everything wrong with her. She was never fully housebroken (although years would go by between accidents, once I figured things out). She would eat her own excrement. She had that awful, annoying, high-pitched bark — and she used it anytime we tried to take all 3 dogs for a walk or take her to dog trials or training. She was dog aggressive so we had to keep a close eye on that.

She had been abused and would run and hide if she saw my husband with a stick in his hand. She was terrified of thunder and would hide during thunderstorms. She was an escape artist and if I wasn’t careful she would run away (but she always came back if we didn’t find her first).

She was a dog of extremes — endlessly licking us and if we tried to stop her, she would get up and leave the room. It was one or the other — we couldn’t just sit quietly next to her, she was either constantly licking us or laying down in the next room.

You see, Roxie was a true border collie. She had an incredibly strong herding instinct that had been twisted by her earlier upbringing. (She was such a powerful herder she could move sheep even with a fence between them, just by using her stare.) We taught her to play fetch to channel some of that energy, which did help some. But that wasn’t the biggest problem.

The biggest problem was she had trouble figuring people out.

This is difficult to explain but I’m going to try — you see, when you’re with a dog who was raised by kind humans, the dog can pretty much figure out what humans are trying to communicate to them. The dog “gets” you.

Not Roxie.Roxie

She would watch the other dogs and then mimic their behavior with us. (Hence part of the housebreaking issue — she didn’t know how to communicate with us she had to go outside. I had to adapt to her schedule — plus there were many times one of the other dogs “told” me she had to go out.)

She was exhausting and challenging. But we kept her. Even though I finally realized (too late) that Amber really wanted to be an only dog and was never terribly happy I had brought not one but two dogs into her home. Even though Roxie never did completely stop attacking Amber if we weren’t around. Even though she hindered our dog training activities because it was difficult to bring her with that high-pitched barking and I really didn’t want to leave her at home, alone, and feed into her insecurity.

But, then she would look at us, full of love and gratitude for keeping her. She loved pleasing us and would do anything we asked (just as long as she could figure it out) because she wanted to make us happy. When I would do dog training with her, she would puff up her chest with pride as she proudly “sit” or “stay” or “come.”

So we kept her.

Amber died first — suddenly — in my arms — December 2001 (in other words, 3 months after 9-11 and two weeks before my grandma died). Two months later, when I could see through the fog of grief and the guilt for not letting her be an only dog — we brought home Nick.

Unlike her stormy relationship with Amber, Roxy and Nick became good friends right away. Maddie decided she was my dog and pretty much stayed out of their relationship. The dog aggression faded, Nick helped with that, and the longer we had her, the more we were able to tame her undesirable habits.

For years our 3-dog house ran fairly smoothly. Then, a year and a half ago, Maddie died. Some of you reading this may recall that. I had a lot of social networking and email love over her death — thank you all.

I was devastated. Maddie was my buddy. Who was going to replace that? She was the one who was always in the room with me while I worked, always following me around.

I was all set to write an article about Maddie — she was a survivor after all.  She had an interesting story.

But then I didn’t.

I didn’t because Roxie stepped into her role.Roxie

Roxie became my buddy. Roxie started doing everything Maddie did — hanging out with me in my room, following me around.

Roxie realized with Maddie gone, she could be that to me. I don’t know if this was a role she always wanted or if she realized I needed that and decided to step up. Whatever it was, she saw an opening and she took it.

While I missed Maddie like crazy, it didn’t take me as long to recover as I thought it would. Because of Roxie. And I never saw this happening because, for one, I had such a challenging, complicated relationship with Roxie. And second, I never thought Roxie would outlive Maddie.

(Remember, I brought them home together. Maddie was a puppy, Roxie was 4-6 years old. It never occurred to me Roxie would live this long especially with her difficult upbringing.)

As Roxie helped me through Maddie’s death and became my buddy, something odd, unexpected and very unpleasant happened to me.

I became racked with guilt.

Guilt because Roxie had always been “last” in my heart — she had never been my “favorite” (my other 3 were my favorites in some category). Guilt because I was sure she knew she was last in my heart — how could she not? I HAD treated her differently then the other dogs. And guilt because I resented how she had treated Amber. I had brought her home to be Amber’s friend, not attack her. I did this to Amber. How could I have done that?

My guilt suffocated me like a sticky spider web cocoon. I couldn’t breathe. It made me sick. Worse, I didn’t even realize how sick it had made me.

Let me tell you a little secret about guilt — and “stories” around guilt. You don’t even realize what you’ve done — that you’ve created a story around something that doesn’t exist. You assume it’s true — how could it NOT be true? You don’t even realize there’s a possibility it’s NOT true.

With the help of a beautiful animal communicator Val Heart (www.ValHeart.com) she helped me break through that guilt, crack that dark, sticky cocoon web, and, like a ray of sunshine, see the true Roxie.

That Roxie was the one who would come to us every day, her entire face alight with joy and gratitude and give us kisses. Every day she would tell us how much she loved us and how grateful and happy she was we had kept her. I never had a dog look at me with that much love in her eyes and finally, I could see it, appreciate it, and love her back.

I could also see the Roxie who was a trooper — who lived at least 17 years and was probably even older. The Roxie who shattered her leg 7 months ago falling 15 feet onto a concrete floor. Her leg was held together with a metal bar and pins and was an inch shorter. Eight weeks later, she was completely healed and stomping around the house, still coming over each day with love in her eyes and joy on her face to give us kisses.

And most of all, the Roxie who had overcome abuse, neglect, at least two trips to the humane society, Valley Fever (a potentially fatal illness), 2 months of misdiagnosis of Valley Fever (don’t even get me started on that nightmare — I actually ended up creating a chart and was taking her temperature twice a day and screwing around with pred, a steroid, which was the only thing that would keep her temperature below 104 degrees but pred has serious side effects as well so it was a constant battle with the dosage), 2 very serious infections and a shattered leg — to live a long and full life full of gratitude and love.

And along the way, the dog who had the most difficulty communicating with humans, taught me the most important lessons of all about forgiveness, hope, gratitude and love.

Roxie

I will miss her so.

Roxie’s Final Gift — Part 1

RoxieThis past Sunday was an end to an era.

I had to put my beloved 17-year-old-plus dog Roxie down.

For those of you who follow me, you know how much I love my dogs. So it probably isn’t much of a surprise I would write a tribute to one.

But this is more than a tribute. Roxie’s story is a story of triumph over tragedy, of the power of the mind, spirit, gratitude, hope, and most of all, love.

Her story is bigger than simply a story about a wonderful dog who made my life better just by the virtue of being in it. She changed me — she made me a better person. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without her.

Her story starts 15 years ago. At the time, I had one dog — a border collie named Amber.

Amber was my very first dog and I adored her. I had been desperate for a dog my entire life, actually any pet at all for that matter (note to all you parents out there — if your child makes pets out of a grasshopper and a crayfish — and keeps the crayfish alive for nearly 2 years and the grasshopper alive for an entire summer — perhaps you should take them seriously when they tell you they WILL take care of a dog — just saying).

So when I finally brought home my first puppy, I of course completely doted on her. She was my baby. And I wanted to do everything right by her — including bringing home a doggy friend for her.

You see, I believed all the rhetoric out there that says dogs are happier when they have other dogs around them. So, about a year after we moved from Wisconsin to Arizona, I began my quest to find Amber a companion dog.

Now during this time, someone very smart (who I wish I could remember her name) said to me “just because they’re dogs doesn’t mean they’ll get along. You don’t get along with all humans, all dogs don’t get along either.”Roxie

I of course ignored such sage advice because I was dead set on getting another dog.

(Another important note — dogma isn’t always true and sometimes smart advice comes from a tossed-off comment from someone you can’t even remember their name years later when you’re writing a blog post about it.)

My vet, who was also a friend of mine, called me one day and told me about a border collie who had been dropped off at the humane society. The couple who had dropped her off were heartbroken about it but they felt like they couldn’t keep her — they were elderly and she had jumped a 6-foot fence during a thunderstorm. They had adopted her a few months back from the humane society and had just returned her in hopes she would find the right family.

I went down to take a look at her. She was clearly high strung — pacing constantly plus had this awful high-pitched bark. I studied her. They told me her name was Foxy Lady.

Oh dear.

I started looking at the other dogs there. A different dog caught my eye. A filthy, skinny border collie puppy. I reached in to pet her and she sat up, balancing on her back legs and wrapped both her paws around my arm.

I asked the staff about this puppy. She was a stray — wandering around Sedona (this was in the middle of summer too, mind you) before they picked her up. By law she had to be kept 3 days so we had to wait another two days to adopt her.

But this high-pitched, high-strung dog named Foxy Lady was fine to take home right now. I went back to look at her.

She was very friendly. Full of kisses. Her face and eyes were desperate. Pleading. Take me home, she begged with her high-pitched barking, her pacing, her kisses.

Two border collies. Which one was the right one?

Maybe we could take both?

I brought Amber to meet Foxy Lady. We took them outside to a little “meet and greet” place. Both dogs ignored each other.

“Well, they appear to get along just fine,” the humane staff person said.

I had my doubts.

But I loaded her in the car and brought her home. Shortly after bringing her home, she started going after Amber — standing over her and growling even though Amber was being submissive.

This was not going well.

I was alone with the two dogs. They weren’t getting along. I didn’t know what to do. I had brought this dog home to be a companion for Amber, not attack her.

Finally I brought them both upstairs, got into the middle of my king sized bed, put one dog on each side of me and gave them both a rawhide to chew on.Roxie

Amber chewed on hers but didn’t look at all pleased with the situation. She was clearly waiting for this “other dog” to leave. Foxy Lady, on the other hand, couldn’t stop wagging her tail. She was thrilled to be a part of the family. She would stop chewing and give me kisses and look at me with these happy, anxious, desperate, grateful eyes.

And her tail never stopped wagging.

I decided I was taking her back to the humane society. How could I keep her? She was attacking Amber. This whole thing was a really stupid idea.

The next day I called the humane society, told them I was bringing her back. She had attacked Amber. This wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t bring her back today because I was working (at the time I had a full time job) but I would bring her back.

After I hung up I kept thinking about those eyes. So desperate, so anxious, so eager to please. And how she didn’t stop wagging her tail when I gave her that bone.

But what else could I do? Was there another solution?

Check back for Part 2 tomorrow.

 

 

Biz Success Strategies — Are You On a High or a Low?

At one of Alex Mandossian’s Teleseminar Secrets Reunions, we did a “timeline” exercise. Alex started it by charting his highlights and lowlights from the past 20 years. It was fascinating to see this laid out for us and to know even someone like Alex was in the abyss at a couple of points.

Even more importantly, I learned 2 important takeaways I wanted to share with you.

The first came from one of the participants. He remarked that the timeline exercise really put things in perspective. These were simply events, not good or bad. They were neutral. Whether you’re in bankruptcy or just broke the 7-figure mark, it’s just an event. A fact.

It’s the story around it that turns it into something else. The story is where the emotions come in. And that’s where it gets messy.

The event isn’t the problem. The story is. If you can take the story out of what’s going on, you can look at what’s happening more objectively and objectively make a decision about how you’re going to handle it.

You may have heard the quote that life is about 10 percent what happens to you and about 90 percent your reaction to what’s happened to you. In other words, the event is in the 10 percent — your story is in the 90 percent.

Bad things happen to everyone. The vast majority of successful entrepreneurs I know were either in debt up to their eyeballs or actually declared bankruptcy at some point. In fact, I can’t think of a single successful business person who didn’t lose a significant amount of money at some time in their life — whether from a poor business decision, a bad investment, the market changing or a product that completely flopped. That’s just the way it is.

But, the successful business person picked themselves up and went back to work. They didn’t lay in the gutter and moan about their bad luck. (Well, maybe they did, but it didn’t last too long.) They mostly focused on what they were going to do next to recover.

The unsuccessful business person is the one who allows failure to stop them. The unsuccessful business person is the one who gets so sucked up in the story around the failure they don’t get around to picking themselves back up and trying the next thing.

The second takeaway I learned was about the pattern. Alex’s timeline (as those of people who shared) looked like a sine wave. It went up then it went down then it went up then it went down and it went up, etc.

And that’s what life is like. You’re up and you’re down. You can’t enjoy the ups without the downs. And you don’t stay down because you’ll end up going back up.

So, where are you in your timeline? Are you on a high? That’s fantastic — enjoy it. Eventually it will go down but don’t focus on that, focus on enjoying being on top. Are you on a low? Well, celebrate that as well, because that means you’re on your way up.

Even if you’re on the way down, still celebrate, because you know you’ll eventually hit the bottom and come back up. And life will be all the better because you just came out of the down.

Take the time to do this exercise for yourself. Chart out your most important milestones over the past 10 or 20 years. And take time to celebrate where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. And don’t forget to celebrate wherever you are right now.

Ask PW — “Is there a way to write great copy without being overwhelmed?”

Copywriting seems like such a huge daunting task when it comes to looking at my website, one that makes me feel overwhelmed just thinking about how to learn how to do it better.  Is there a trick to breaking it down into small stages so you can eliminate overwhelm yet make progress towards having all your copy be better?” Lisa Larter, www.LisaLarter.com

Great question Lisa! And yes, you’ll be happy to know there is a way to break your copy project down so it’s not so scary and overwhelming and it still gets done. I’m going to share with you a few tips to get yourself started (note — these are the same tips I share with my Juicy Online Marketing Essentials Bootcamp students).

First off, start with your foundation. Once you have a full grasp of that, the rest of the copy will flow pretty naturally.

So what is your foundation? It’s knowing:

• WHO your ideal client is (and what’s keeping them up at night)

• WHAT you’re selling (but deeper than that — your uniqueness, what makes you different than anyone else even other people who could be considered your competition)

HOW your solution will help your ideal client sleep better at night

Once you “get” this, writing the copy will be much easier.

If you still struggle or it still feels overwhelming to you, then I would suggest writing “pieces” of it, then putting it together at the end. For instance:

1. Just focus on writing headlines

2. The headlines you reject as the main headline, you may find will work perfectly as subhead

3. Just focus on writing benefits of your solution

4. Just focus on answering objections

And so on.

Once you have the pieces done, then you just need to assemble them, add transitions and testimonials and you’re ready to go!

So what are your thoughts? Do you have any “copywriting” tricks to share? Comment below — or ask a question about marketing, business or writing copy (I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.)

 

Dear Ms. Social Networking/Biz Manner

Welcome to another edition of Ms. Social Networking/Biz Manners. Ms. SN/B Manners has made it her mission to rid the world of business etiquette faux pas — both online and offline. While Ms. SN/B mourns the day when readers would mail her handwritten questions, she will accept digital correspondence at Ask@MichelePW.com.

Dear Ms. Social Networking/Biz Manners,

I’ve been on a lovely ezine list for quite some time now. The owner sends wonderful articles and I love getting all the fabulous content.

But then, the other day, I received an email asking for (gasp) money!

This person actually had the indecency to ask me to pay money for something! How could she? She had always sent such lovely ezines before but now I see she’s only in it for the money.

What’s wrong with her?

Signed,

Disgusted

 

Dear Disgusted,

While it may come as a bit of a shock to your sensibilities (I know it did mine when I too started receiving sales messages interspersed with beautiful content) the people who are sending you these lovely ezines are in fact entrepreneurs. They actually would like you to purchase one of their products or services. So while they appreciate you enjoying their content, they also would like you to occasionally purchase something from time to time as well. (For the most part, they are running a “for profit” business.)

What Ms. SN/B finds more shocking is how long it took this entrepreneur to actually send a sales message out. While ezines are a wonderful way to build and nurture your relationship with your list, if you also don’t regularly ask your list to buy things from you (or take action in other ways) you will end creating a bunch of (ahem) “freebie seekers.” Like our friend Disgusted, who more accurately should have signed her name Disgusted Freebie Seeker.

To prevent this from happening, Ms. SN/B suggests sending out at least one promotional email a month in addition to your regularly scheduled ezine.