Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

Get More Traffic, More Confidence, and More Work Done

Good to see you again! With the Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, this was a short week on Copyblogger. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid kicked things off with a thoughtful look at impostor syndrome — with clues on how to approach it from different sources, including the famous Turing Test. And on Wednesday, I talked
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How a Famous Robot Test Can Help You Beat Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever had that nightmare where you’re sitting in an examination room in front of a panel of experts watching a timer count down to zero? You’re being asked a series of critical, complex questions, and you’re running out of time to answer. In fact, you haven’t answered one correctly, or at all, and
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Keys to Greatness (or Just Getting More Great Stuff Done)

This week, we have lots of pragmatic advice for you on how to be a happier, more productive person. Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, this joke has now been permanently rendered un-funny. On Monday, Morgan Dix (he happens to be one of our Certified Content Marketers) revealed what meditation
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Strongly Worded Advice Week on Copyblogger

This is a week of strong opinions on Copyblogger — designed to make you more productive, wiser, saner, and maybe even happier. We want you to do amazing things, so we’re not pulling any punches. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman encouraged us to get a handle on our information overwhelm, starting with getting smarter about the
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The Internet Is Not Your ATM

Maybe you have hopes and dreams about making a living online. Maybe you’ve envisioned a beautiful future where you work four hours a week, you never trade time for money, you sail through a life of ease because you’ve learned to “work smart” and figured out “one weird trick.” The internet doesn’t care. The internet
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Are Any of These 5 Reasonable (but Wrong) Fears Holding You Back?

Let’s get something important out of the way: It’s okay to have fears. Actually, it can be good to have fears. Especially when it comes to any kind of entrepreneurial venture. Fear can keep you working hard. Fear can keep you asking the right questions. Fear can keep you from taking any success for granted.
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Digital Commerce Academy Is Open Again (For a Limited Time)

Can I really earn a living with digital products and services? The answer is yes, you can. And you can enjoy the personal and professional freedom that comes along with it too. Already prepared to move forward? Here’s how to start your Digital Commerce Academy membership today, so you can learn the strategy and tactics
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7 Keys to Staying Productive When Your Daily Routine Gets Detonated

I had a rhythm. I had a routine. Most days, I even had enough time. On a few magnificent days, I had more than enough time. (No, really. It was glorious.) But then my daughter was born. Eventually my wife went back to work. And much to our chagrin, no acceptable daycare or nanny options
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Don’t Let Go of Expectations … Put Them to Work in Your Marketing

"Are you willing to write like a million people read your words, even if only one person currently does?" – Stefanie Flaxman

We all know the potential trouble associated with expectations:

If you expect something to turn out a certain way — and it doesn’t — you likely end up disappointed.

Subsequently, traditional wisdom has advised that we let go of our expectations to soften the blow of disappointment and train ourselves to be content with the outcome we get.

Even though I hold that outlook to be true most of the time, I wanted to explore how we could use expectations to our advantage in certain situations, rather than try to (unsuccessfully) forget about them.

If you struggle with letting go of expectations for your business, I have three steps you can follow to put them to work in your marketing instead.

Step #1: Get clear about what you want

During this step, you examine each expectation you have and turn it into a goal.

When you don’t deny or downplay what you hope for, you’re free to get specific about what you want. Those specific details can then help you uncover and perform the work you need to do.

Step #2: Assess your current routines

This step can be tricky because it requires a critical evaluation of your current work routines to see if they support your goals.

You want to be open to different options you may have not considered before.

A topic I find fascinating is the difference between people who work hard and meet their goals and people who work equally hard but don’t experience the type of success they want.

If both types of people work hard, why don’t they both see satisfying results?

My hypothesis is that people who succeed are more flexible and acknowledge when something isn’t working for them. They reassess their methods in a timely manner and move toward a similar goal that may be easier.

They keep setting and meeting new goals … until they eventually reach the one they originally wanted or achieve something even better.

The work they perform every time they adjust their focus moves them closer to that initial expectation they hoped for.

On the other hand, people who work hard but don’t meet their goals may get stuck working hard on the wrong things and ignore their great potential in other areas.

Step #3: Align your actions with your goals

Let’s go back to the expectations that helped you set your goals.

Rather than strive to have something you don’t currently have, commit to working like your expectation is already a reality.

When you create your next piece of content, ask yourself:

  • What is one thing my ideal clients and customers need help with?
  • What information will help them?
  • What is the best way to deliver that content?

You may decide to write a content series that also educates them about your business or an ebook that becomes part of your business model.

The idea is to shift from focusing on what you don’t have (yet) to putting out meaningful work into the world. You get to where you want to go by helping other people get to where they want to go.

Channel your expectations into smart work

You have to create content on a professional website as if you already have the audience you want to engage — it’s how to attract the right people to your business over time.

This perspective on how to use your expectations could be summed up with the widely known phrase: “Fake it ’til you make it.”

I find that saying a little trite, but it’s essentially the mindset I’m talking about. 😉

It may not be as concise, but let’s refer to it as:

Your expectations can drive excellent work and direct you to your next milestone as you move closer to your ultimate goals.

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How to Carve Out Your Own Slice of Independence

american flag art by hugh macleod

Today is Independence Day in the U.S. I’ve written before about the theme of independence and how it plays out in our lives today.

Independence is more important to Americans than ever. Thirty-five percent of the U.S. workforce are now working as freelancers. And while the current uncertainty around our health insurance system might make it seem “safer” to take a more traditional job, rapid economic change also creates a lot of turbulence in traditional employment.

Running a “side hustle” — a micro business with controlled costs and limited risks — offers amazing benefits for your peace of mind, your financial health, and your creative soul.

In other words, it can help make you healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Abruptly quitting your job so you can jump into running a business, on the other hand, is often a short road to health-killing stress, money crunches, and panicked decisions.

So — if you have the luxury of spending some of your time, in Jeff Goins’s phrase, “building a bridge in the direction of your dream,” this is an awesome time to do that.

I wrote my first Independence Day post for Copyblogger in 2009 around three critical steps to take toward independence. Those same three steps are just as relevant today. Here’s how I’m thinking about them in 2017.

1. Expand your audience

I strongly believe that for any business owner, the audience is the source of all the good things.

  • Revenue
  • Product ideas
  • Reputation
  • Creative energy
  • Meaningful work

It starts with a solid understanding of your own values, and clarity about precisely who you want to attract.

Once you have a concrete idea of who you want to serve with your business, focus relentlessly on that person’s wants and needs.

We have lots of tips for you on how to “get more traffic,” but you always need to approach it with that attitude of service and respect.

2. Create a revenue stream

Once you know your audience incredibly well, you can start figuring out how to help them get what they want. That’s where sound product ideas come from.

Most people start with the idea of a product or service they’d like to offer. That’s a recipe for a business without customers.

It’s wise to start small — what’s sometimes called the minimum viable product. This isn’t, as some interpret it, a half-assed offering that you haven’t put much time or care into.

Your first product or service should be your best guess, rooted in a deep understanding of your audience, of a small way to create a meaningful change for that audience.

  • If it’s not grounded in your audience’s desires, they won’t buy it.
  • If it’s not small, you’ll get overwhelmed before you can launch it.
  • And if it doesn’t create a meaningful change for them, you’ll never get any momentum.

3. Never stop learning

The United States was born during the Enlightenment, a time of disruptive change. The Industrial Revolution only accelerated that change — for good and for ill.

Things seemed to smooth out for a while there in the 20th century (other than those nasty world wars), but the age of the computer showed us what disruptive change really looked like. And there’s no sign of things slowing down anytime soon.

To navigate all of this change gracefully, each of us, of every age, needs to become a lifelong student.

Beyond facts and figures, we need to nurture our ability to create and evolve.

We are all makers. We are all artists.

It’s our nature as makers and artists that will bring us to the best possible future.

As I wrote back in 2009:

Knowledge is your greatest asset. It can’t be stolen or confiscated. It sets your intellect free. And when your mind is free, the rest of it is just a bunch of beautiful fireworks.

How about you?

Do you have anything cooking that will help you become more free? Let us know about it in the comments …

Image courtesy Hugh MacLeod.

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