starting up your own business!

Find Someone Else’s Product to Sell.

Many of us don’t have a product or service to sell. We are open to selling the products and services of someone else.

Open up ClickBank and create your account if you don’t have one. On this network you are going to find someone else’s product to sell. You will find a product and sell it as an afiliate and create a business opportunity.

There are dozens of YouTube videos out there to show you how to use ClickBank.  Find the tutorials for new affiliates and watch at least six of them so you get a good idea on how this works.

In my experience, there are ten niches that pay quite well for affiliates:

1. Cycling
‘Cheap’ bikes start at $2,500 and most are about $10k. “In Australia cycling is the new golf.” Related: Think Triathletes.

2. Photography
“Who is into it knows the hobby is filled with gear snobs who will say you’re an amateur for shooting with anything less than the best.”

3. Hiking
All you need are comfortable shoes and a backpack.  But you’ll hear on and on about the right clothes and gear.

4. Cooking
The dish won’t come out right unless made with organic grassfed single ethically harvested ingredients.    Example: Maldon Salt or Truffle Oil.

5. Magic The Gathering
Yes, it’s a nerdy card game (an old roommate of mine actually played) but man do they shell out money for decks.

6. Remote Control Airplanes
“You could get a fully functional remote control airplane for $100 and it’ll fly fine. It’ll teach you how to keep it airborne, it’ll survive your inevitable wrecks and it’ll be great fun while you own it.
Show up to any kind of hobby meet with a $100 foam plane and no one will take you seriously.

7. Pinewood Derby Racing

I’d legitimately never heard of this one before so I had to Google it. People spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading their racers and traveling around the world for meets.

8. Knitting
“You can start knitting with less than $5 worth of supplies, but there are some serious fiber/needle snobs who look down on you for using acrylic.”   Guess it’s not a surprise I have a friend doing 6 figures a year in this niche. The rarer the fiber, the more exciting the project.

9. Guitar 
“Playing guitar. There’s always that one guy with a $3000 rare, custom signed instrument that feels this music and skills are so much more sophisticated than anyone. Related: Any Musical Instrument 

10. Pool or Billiards
People spend $900 plus on pool cues.  Pool tables can run up to $50,000 for a custom slate and felt. Everyone has dreams of becoming the second Reyes or Mosconi. These are the folks who can beat you with a broomstick or 2×4.

The Process Strategy:

You want to sell something that other people are looking for.

Look at the first category and the first offer. Write down the subject.

Open the Google Keyword and use this for the research.  Copy the product URL over into the Google keyword field titled, website. Enter the captcha, if required.

Look at relevant keywords ideas and record the number.

Make a note about the keywords, example “Watch TV from your PC”  

Look at the medium or high indicator and look at the number of searches on the keyword. Ie, 9,900.

Click on the “Global Monthly Searches” to index the total searches.

Go to the far left hand side of the keyword screen and find “Match Types.”

If there is a check mark in the Broad box, uncheck it.

Now put a checkmark into the Exact box.

Look at the number change in the global monthly searches. The number should have fallen.

Write down the last of the top 10 keywords because you’ll need those for the campaign.

You will want at least 5,000 searches per month per keyword.

It is a measurement of the market and you should use it as a rule of thumb.

Now go back to the marketplace and click on the category “Education”.

Click on the first offer.

Find one that offers a 75% commission level, the average sale pay is greater than $24.

Go through the same keyword process.

Copy the website URL into the keyword field and enter the captcha if needed.

Make sure you are looking at Exact match keywords. If the searches show less than 5,000, don’t use it.

Understand this:  The number of searches has to be high (5,000+) each month for the marketplace offer. If only a few people are looking for it, only a few will buy and you won’t make any good money.

You will get a lot of traffic and you will spend a lot of money but the number of visitors that convert to sales will be near zero.

Please pay attention. This has to make sense. It is important for your success.

Once you’ve decided on an offer:

-Look to see if there are any recurring commissions.

Now look at competition which is gravity.

There is some private formula that ClickBank computes to create the gravity number.

The higher the gravity number, the better it is. Do not select an offer with gravity below 50.

Click on “Promote” and a new window appears.

Enter in the ClickBank ID#.

Click on Promote and another window opens with the hoplink.

Highlight and copy the http:// link. You will need this for the Traffic part. That’s next.

Step 2: Get traffic

–You should have the ability to test on a small dollar scale.  You must invest $20, $20 or $40 but no more to buy traffic to test the offer. Always use 2 different traffic sources to test. Do a search on Google for a list of web traffic companies.

 –Is it fast, scalable and consistent?

–Do you have the ability to capture leads via lead pages and list building?

— Can you promote a simple WordPress landing page?

Step 3: Other People’s List – Also Known As  Solo Ads

Gives instant traffic to 75,000 up to 300,000 count email lists

Usually very inexpensive because you are going to send that traffic to your landing page.

Works on all kinds of niches

Allows you to build a list quickly

Fast, scalable and consistent

Step 1:  Go to Google

Search “Your keyword” + “ezine”  or “newsletter” or “blog”.

Bring up the first 10 sites, contact the owner and ask if you can buy a solo ad from them.

 

Step 2: Go back to Google again

Search “Your keyword” + “blog” only.  You are looking for blogs with optin forms. Bring up the first 10 sites, contact the owner and ask if you can buy a solo ad from them. You will get a lot of rejections. Just keep at it. One of them will say yes.

 

  • Can I buy a solo ad from you?
  • How many active subscribers do you have?
  • What is your average email open rate?
  • How much is your solo ad?

 

 WILD GUESS MATH TIME

With a 30,000 list you might pay $100 for a solo ad.

With a 10% open rate and 20% click through rate

 

30,000 x .10 = 3,000  x .20 = 600 visitors

For your offer:  600 x .02  =  12 sales @ $30 = $360

$360 – $100 = $260 profit

DON’T GIVE UP ON THIS:

The first time you run ClickBank or Solo Ads, it feels like the amount of work is not worth the results.  Keep at it.  AFter the 5th ad you run it gets a lot easier and a lot faster. Don’t give up. There are people out there puttin their kids through college running ClickBank offers.

–Always know your numbers.

–Always watch the volume of traffic, number of visitors, cost per visitor, unique visitors and total visitors.

–Watch your earnings per click (EPC).

–Watch your lead conversions into customers percentage.

 –Use a tracking software, (hypertracker.com   budurl.com    tracker123.com)

How to run a workshop

Tony was a hyperactive, go-getter with a horrific case of PTSD. He was good at building his wooden widgets but never knew if he would be flat on his back heavily medicated.

A friend dragged Tony out to a hotel ballroom and together they sat through a seminar on how to put on workshops. It clicked with Tony and he began to make the connections in his mind.

Tony knew he had to find ideal clients to populate his workshop. Through small ads in local newspapers, Craigslist, and word of mouth, they put together a Saturday workshop from noon to 6:00PM. Tony was shocked to learn that a couple dozen people were interested in how to make these little wooden widgets.

The next three days saw Tony building out a curriculum for each hour of his workshop. He needed to identify a problem and provide a solution and do it in a way that kept attention. At the end of the afternoon, each participant had to walk away with a perfectly made wooden widget.  Three rehearsals later, Tony had a working script and a lot more confidence.

Tony’s first workshop had some kinks and bumps that were worked out. Participants wanted to know when his next one was scheduled. Others wanted to know if they could schedule a workshop exclusively for their memberships.

It came as an eye-opener to Tony that people would pay for the knowledge in his head.

It can work that way for you, too.

Business Mogul at 16

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

One of my business models is the profitable activities of my Nissan Titan. In my opinion, trucks are made to work. I was brought up to expect that trucks had to help earn a living. America is a transient society and people are forever bugging out from one location and installing themselves into another location, sometimes within hours.

My son and grandson look over the yard sale ads on Craigslist every Saturday and Sunday mornings. They GPS map out every sale within 15 miles of the home front door. In our neck of the woods, yard sales rarely go past 3:00pm. They start making the rounds and leave a half page orange flyer with the name and phone number with each sale proprietor about the pickup-haul away service.

Usually about 6:00pm the phone starts ringing with voicemails about things left on the curb for pickup. Anything and everything will be left and my son and grandson triage the remains to see what they feel they can clean up and re-sell. Some take a little more than soapy water and Pledge, and that trained eye comes up on a proposed price.

Most wooden tables can get a quick sanding, a quick wipe on of stain and then the next morning another quick swab of sealer. That takes a dining table from “Haul Me Away” to $200 or more. Some sofas and chairs can get a full spray can of spot cleaner and Febreeze and jump the price about $25. Again, it is a trained eye that decides what goes into the Titan and what stays on the curb.

Modestly, these activities can clear $1,000 per month in hustling, working, and innovative selling utilizing Craigslist. It has effectively paid each Titan monthly payment and left enough over for gas. My grandson has paid for his football activities, his Subway card, phone bill, and miscellaneous stuff. He is 15 and now realizes that he talent, a critical eye and a future level of independence that will make life comfy.

I wholeheartedly agree that it is good business. Do whatever it takes.

Grant Cardone evangelizes that we need to approach every situation with a “whatever it takes” mindset.

You will want to find all the local small neighborhood newspapers. In my neck of the woods, there is a military newspaper called Stars and Stripes that covers regional residential military bases. Because people deploy out at different times of the year, there are dozens of yard sales going on every weekend. Big furniture that won’t fit in a pod or crate is not going to be loaded onto the transport plane to Germany. That is your perfect opportunity.

Here is one more thing you can do:  Find the nearest strip mall not anchored by a Macy’s or Sears. These are smaller strip malls where all the stores are built together in straight line. Copy up some of those half page flyers onto turquoise paper and walk into every one of those stores.   Ask for that sheet to be given to the manager. Turn and walk away and head to the next store.

In retail, there comes a time where owners bring in new stock, new equipment, or fixtures and they want the others gone in the next 10 minutes. Putting the stuff out in to the dumpster can rack up fees if they don’t pay attention. Your hauling gives them an alternative. If what you pick up doesn’t work out, you can always take it over to the local recycling center and those big machines will grind it into confetti.

Okay, now I get to talk about one of my favorite things on the face of the Earth: being organized. In doing hauling and cleaning up cubs we ran into a pattern. Certain neighborhoods had periodic “street” garage/yard sales where all the homes on the block participated. We found the organizers and put them onto a year-long calendar. You’ll need wall calendar that can be wiped off and an electronic calendar on your phone or tablet.

You will need a spreadsheet to keep track of sandpaper, varnish, cleaning materials, and laundry soap. Whatever you buy to clean stuff up goes on this list. I use a lot of steel wool pads with dish soap. On the next tab of the spreadsheet you’ll keep track of what you sell for how much. This is going to show you how much you’ve brought in for the time and materials you’ve expended.

If you are 16, in the U.S. that means you can get your learner’s permit. You aren’t just driving around to show off for your friends. You are now driving around looking for those addresses of Saturday’s garage and yard sales. Your scope of reach just amplified and now you have more territory to keep track of. You come up on something sitting there, get a pic on your phone of it and when you get home, ask if it is worth the time to head back out.

Christopher Penn said, “Find your spirit, and no challenge will keep you from achieving your goals.”

I get asked this question a lot from parents whose children cannot seem to find a job. Can’t find any job. I tell them to get started right now and don’t let up. Be the role model that earns money to put a roof over their heads and dinner on the table.

Sixteen is the right age to fire up that entrepreneurial spirit.

Crucial Business Lessons

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Lesson #1: It Takes Money to Make Money

A guy I know used to park around the corner or 2 blocks away from his appointments. It always looked like he walked everywhere.  One day I asked him why he walked all the time.  “I’ve got an old, beater car that gets me to my appointments. But customers would take one look and decide I was a low-class hustler. I have to get money ahead so I can get a better car.” Work with what you have, until you can get better. It takes money to make money.

Lesson #2: Stuff Your Leads Pipeline

You will need a list of people who fit your customer profile. You don’t want to sell sophisticated mailroom equipment to Linda Lu’s Nails and Facials. For example, contact InfoUSA and spend the money to get a list of businesses in the three surrounding counties where you work. Bring the list into Goldmine, Word and Excel for your one page mailer and a business postcard. Mail them out and stuff your pipeline and make leads start coming in. Same with social media. People will toss out an ad from the US mail but read the same ad in their email.

Lesson #2: Your Customer Doesn’t Know He is Looking for You

Learn everything you can, read everything you can and talk to as many people as possible online about the buyer’s journey. In the beginning your customer knows he has a problem but doesn’t know how to find the solution. You should make it really easy for him to find the solution, you. There is a point where your customer becomes aware there are many solutions, but it’s overwhelming to select one. You have to position yourself as the easy choice. In the end, at that the moment where your customer is holding his credit card, you should have given him every reason and tool to select your solution.

It has taken several in-depth interviews for me to figure out what A gets connected to B to make C happen. The closest I’ve ever come to it is an article called

30 Brilliant Psychological Life Hacks That Successful People Have Been Using Forever If you know the author’s name, let me know so I can offer credit.

Hack #1. Primacy and recency: People most remember the first and last things to occur, and barely the middle.

Hack #2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, be polite.

Hack #3. Once you make the sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

Hack #4. Watch the movie “Tommy Boy” and learn the lesson inside it.

Hack #5. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait because they may be thinking.

Hack #6. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous like public speaking or bungee jumping. An object inside your mouth to concentrate on will lessen your nervousness.

Hack #7. Talk to the person in the mirror until you are comfy talking about anything.

Hack #8. People will remember not what you said but how you made them feel.

Hack #9. When you’re learning something new, teach a friend about it. Let them ask questions.

Hack #10. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

Hack #11. The physical effects of stress – breathing rate and heart rate – are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

Hack #12. Pay attention to people’s feet.

Hack #13. Learn the false front technique. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

Hack #14. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

Hack #15. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

Hack #16. Build a contact network over time.

Hack #17. If the slowpoke in front you is making you crazy, imagine them as a relative.

Hack #19. Stand up straight and take a deep breath.

Hack #20. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

Hack #21. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

Hack #22. Read up on being better organized.

Hack #23. Make it part of your personality to always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

Hack #24. If you are going into an interview, be interested in your interviewers.

Hack #25. Pay Attention Parents: Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

Hack #26. Always offer a choice when you know the first choice is a “no”.

Hack #27. Your actions affect your attitudes more than your attitudes affect your actions.

Hack #28. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

Hack #29. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

Hack #30. Learn to watch body behavior and postures of successful people.

 

 

fear of failure

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

The aversion to risk, the fear of shame and humiliation compound to create fear of failure.  Athletes fear loss with experiencing embarrassment, disappointing others and a social stigma. Nobody wants to look bad. Entrepreneurs experience fear of failure as they process through uncertainty and mitigate risk.

The fear of failure in men causes symptoms such as depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, and low self-esteem and crises such as divorce and unemployment. The same fear of failure in women might prevent them from even attempting a difficult task and if they do, they suffer debilitating worry and anxiety. Your sex doesn’t matter when it comes to fear of failure.

According to MindTools you might experience some of these symptoms if you have a fear of failure:
  • A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects.
  • Self-sabotage  – for example, procrastination, excessive anxiety  , or a failure to follow through with goals.

 

  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence  – commonly using negative statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that promotion,” or “I’m not smart enough to get on that team.”

 

  • Perfectionism  – A willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly and successfully.

 

For entrepreneurs, the fear of failure is the first step before criticism of failure. Few will mention it, most will disguise or hide it as it means defeat. Many put their complete thought process, finances and reputation on the line to succeed and in the face of failure the setback can be devastating.

According to Psychology Today, everyone hates to fail, but for some people, failing presents such a significant psychological threat their motivation to avoid failure exceeds their motivation to succeed.

Do you every wonder why it is called WD-40?  The first 39 were failures. Not fantastical, squeaking or cataclysmic failures, but still failures. It is the attitude toward that failure as being acceptable that lessens the stigma. Where society tends to focus on success and celebrate that success, it can be tough to acknowledge failure. As humans we like to make better mistakes.

Life is already dangerous. I like the “hit by a bus” scenario. Living in California I already rock and roll with the earthquakes, but fear of the big one is a wisp. Since 1963 I’ve wondered where I would be when the 10.0 hits. In the bathroom. On the freeway. At Wal-Mart. I’m not a milk-toast type of person and playing it safe is foreign to me.

Failure means there is still work to be done inside my head. The more insight I get, the finer clarity that I gain can be used to refine my efforts. That’s how I developed my silent sales game of go for no. Many years ago I nearly became paralyzed with fear and dread about hearing rejection from a prospect. I had peeled back the insulating layers of callous on my feelings and a head-on collision with no.

Jeremy was 30 years my senior and borderline psychic. I we used to run hourly contests on the phone to see who could rack up higher sales numbers. I knew the day was different when I sat up on the edge of the bed. You’ve felt it, too.  That feeling that you shouldn’t even touch the floor with a toe. But my bravado kicked my butt into the shower and on to work.

Even the 21 year-old kid that had been on the job for 36 hours beat my sales numbers. It felt like I had been captured in a net and stapled up helpless to the wall. Except it was a mental wall of my own construction. I felt someone kick my chair which normally would make me start a war.

“Do those fools on the other end of that phone cause your kids to be sick and unhappy?” I shook my head no.

“Do those fools affect the safety and health of your family?” Again, the no.

“Do those fools eliminate all your education and put you back into a moron level?” I blinked a couple of time and then shook my head no.

“Did any of those fools on the phone tell you, no convince you, that God does not love you anymore?” I frowned at that one.

I didn’t know that Jeremy could even raise his voice let alone sound like a Georgian evangelical preacher. I just sort of sat there astonished shaking my head negatively. I was aware that others had stood up in their cubicles and starred with open mouths. The man stood there spewing out assorted expletives, throwing his long skinny arms around, and glared at me.

That was my talking to. I like to think I had a momentary lapse of judgement. Like temporary insanity. Like cosmic stars came out of alignment and allowed invisible forces to sway me from course. Years later, I looked back at those moments and recognized that I had allowed my fear of failure to take over. It hasn’t bothered me since that time.

Business Relationship barriers

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

What are the barriers to developing a great business relationship?

The lack of communication is the number one barrier to building a solid business relationship. Communication is a wall a mile high, wide and deep. It can be overcome but only in the long haul. I’ve found that a terrific gatekeeper can stop all communication with my target customer so I do an end run around via the sales team. They are no longer interested. The budget has been tightened. There is a shakeup in progress of management. It is a fill in the blank communication barrier that means you don’t stand a chance of making a sale.

I have clients tells me that they can’t buy today, but they can at the end of the quarter. The quarter end comes around and geez, something important came up and they can’t do a sale right now. The truth is they live on accounts receivable and collections with a 1% margin. They would have to borrow money to buy from me and they would be a one-time customer.  That is a financial barrier to me.

I once had a desperate client ask me to do something unethical. He wanted me to write a sales contract for a large sum and then hire him on as a consultant and pay him that exact large sum.  That’s money laundering for all you Business 101 types. That is an ethical barrier. Some day when he gets called in front of a grand jury, my name and company will be nowhere near him. That was my ethical barrier.

I friend of mine grows monster avocados in Baja, Mexico. The majority of his crop comes north to the U.S. where he clears customs and hears that cha-ching sound. He cannot ship to Philippines, Germany or India because the flight time causes spoilage and he only makes $2 because of the huge refrigerator shipping costs. That is a proximity barrier.

You may sell the platinum level of swimming pool liners. That is a product barrier. You can’t sell those to Flying A truck stops because those truck stops don’t have swimming pools.  Your product simply does not match the need. You have to dig up something that the Flying A guys will go bonkers over. Or you have to get out to every apartment complex in the U.S. that has a swimming pool.

 

Grant Baldwin  said, “The more specific the pain point is that you’re solving, the more likely people are going to buy it.”

 

I know a guy, Walt, who is a retired truck driver. Walt’s eyes started failing and that eye chart at DMV caught him. He is an old citizens band radio guy that won’t own a cell phone. He has a land line in his house and a big CB radio set up in his living room.  He built up a 40 foot tall steel antenna and mounted up alongside his garage so he can hear the truckers out there on the road. Walt is scared four ways from Sunday about getting the cataracts lifted off his eyes. When you tell him if he gets his eyes operated on, he might be able to drive again, he starts literally shaking. That is a huge barrier.

How about the philosophical wealth barrier? There are organically pre-disposed people who believe if they make too much money, God won’t love them as much as He does now. Somehow they are afraid of all that money getting in between God and them. The meek, the timid, the worthy can only enjoy the love of God. The barrier is their belief that God wants them to be this way.

Every person out there who got brave enough to fire up a small business has run smack square into a wall, a barrier of some sort. You are not the first, and you will not be the last. Just be that one who sees the barrier and decided to nuke it or vault over it.

fear of cold calling

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

For some, cold calling is pure torture. They’ll take water boarding over cold calling. They sweat, their throats close up and headaches grow. That is the physical reaction to fear.

I was never taught that fear. I witnessed the smiling face of my mother making call after call from the kitchen table. So easy. And the best part was after so many calls she rewarded herself with a treat. I wanted a treat, so I had to make calls. Sucked in at a young age.

Please be aware that some companies do not give any attention to people who call in. They want you to walk in the front door. It’s the actions speak louder than words thing. Companies are in business to make money and now that summer is here, their phones are ringing with unemployed students and regular people looking for work.

Here is your script for over the phone:

“Hi, my name is Anthony (not Tony, or Buzz-Buzz) and I’m calling from Imperial Widgets. My sales manager just announced a sneak sale with 15% off all red widgets. I know that your company, Valley Sprockets use those so I called to see if you want to lock in a case at that low price.” Or something like that. Make that call seem like you are letting that customer first in line in on a big semi-secret thing.

“Do you want to buy any widgets?”  Automatic answer is no and you hear the phone click dead.

“I want to find out how I can sell widgets to your company.”  You don’t, my nephew is doing it. Click.

You are going to turn your dialing into a game. When I do cold calling, I play a silent game with myself. I go for no. I get out a wide sticky and tape it onto the desk top. With each call where the client hangs up on me, politely says no, or one of his minions says no, I record a hash mark.

I believe that prospects say no right now because I have miraculously caught them at the one moment in business where they don’t need me. But people change and things change in business. If all the other widget builders fell off the face of the earth and only I was left, I’d have a corner on the market. Therefore, I’m looking for nos.

Mondays, my no quota is 20. Tuesday is 25, Wednesday is 30, Thursday I shoot for 35, and Friday I’m back to 20. It is harder to get an answer on Fridays so I cut myself some slack. On a productive day I can make 75 dials, get 30 people on the phone, make 25 phone pitches, get 20 no’s and end up with 10 closes.

If you hear a “no” come out of your phone during the business day, it is not the end of the world. You are going to have 4 more attempts at this prospect to get him to say yes. You have to look forward to that event.

Remember, this person on the other end of the phone line does not know you like rocky road ice cream, or that you slather ketchup on your scrambled eggs. They don’t know you oldest just came out of the end of school with straight A’s. They don’t know you. People who don’t know you personally can never reject you and they cannot damage you in any way shape or form.

As a recruiter, I look for phone people who have a high tolerance for the emotional pain of rejection. They know how to separate themselves from the personal distress of being turned away. They have small, silent systems where they put another goal out there and shoot for it as a positive reinforcement. Door to door is very similar.

You could be standing there smiling when that door opens and offer someone immaculate health and $5,000 per month for the rest of their lives.  Because you knocked on the door, they automatically reject you. You could knock on that door and a snarling herd of Pekinese could chase you all the way back out to the front gate. The happy homeowner doesn’t want to hear what you have to say because you knocked on the door. You can count that one as a “no.”

How about this:  If that person answering the door really got excited about rejecting you, they might move heaven and earth to find out where you live, where you went to school and what size shoes you wear. Then they would make fun of your accent, color of your hair, mannerisms and most likely, make some off-color remark about the company you work for. Just chalk up a “no” and move on.

Now here is the gutsy move I make when I’ve got a crowd around me watching me push buttons.  I take out a $50 bill and tape it down to my desk. As I’m making my calls, I tell those watching that the first sales rep that gets 100 No’s in one day, gets that bill. People scatter and run for their phones and you no longer have a crowd breathing down your neck. Works every time.

Door to door is a process of a trying person. Yes, I keep a running spreadsheet about the metrics and review it from time to time.  That’s how I know that Wednesday has been my weakest day for years. But I try. I put in the effort. I overcome the fear and I hunt for nos.

Steve Kamb said, “I actively seek out small failures to learn from so that I can succeed at big missions.”

I offer the following:

Step 1. Establish your customer profile, getting confirmation with your sales manager. Before making your calls, research your prospects. Create a profile from current customers. You’ll need the industry, region, # of employees. Use your down time to do this and/or ask other reps for their scripts.

Step 2. Now start setting up your telephone script. Concentrate on what you’re going to say. Write a brief script or roleplay and bounce it off your manager. This short paragraph introduces who you are, what you do, and what you provide. Asks for the appointment so you can show them in person. All you want to do at this point is get your foot in the door and a chance to sell.

Step 3. Prospective customers have 3 objections:  it costs too much, I don’t have time. I don’t need it. Anticipate these and create a list of overcome those objections. Go back to asking for the appointment. Practice overcoming objections. Your response should be easy like breathing without being pushy.

Step 4. Get positive and get calling. Don’t ever get on the phone if you don’t have a positive attitude. Have another rep try to sell the product to you so you can hear what it sounds like before you get on the phone. Your product has value and will benefit the customer. That has to come across in your short paragraph. You are providing a value to this customer.

Step 5. Plan on leaving 75% messages.  These people are in business and are busy hustling their own customers. Now you have to write the message that you will leave on the voicemail. Be sure to tell them you will be calling back on a day and time, if you don’t hear from them. If the customer is still not available next time you call, ask the gatekeeper for the best time to catch him.

Step 6. Once you get the customer on the phone, don’t read verbatim from the script. Speak in your own words, with a smile. Be ready: here come the objections. Respond just like you have practiced. If you feel that the customer is not open to buying, tell them to consider you for future needs, thank them and get off the phone. Put that customer in a contact manager system to touch them in 60 days.

Step 7. Do this every day. Consider that you might make a thousand calls in a month, achieve 100 live customers who agree to appointments and 10 sales. Your goal is to make half cold calls to get half sales calls.

specialty business mentors

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

First and foremost is your education on becoming a savvy entrepreneur. You are going to read every article and interview so you come to understand how an e-commerce mind works. You are going to set up an account with Wealthy Affiliate and study the best practices and read those forums so you can get a ‘feel’ for actual e-commerce. Once you have done that, read everything on Fizzle.com so you can start the actual work.

Because you are a student, most likely you are still used to working in groups to accomplish something. That’s a good thing. One of the adults in your house is going to learn everything along with you. It doesn’t matter who as long as they can hold you accountable and cheer you on. I know this works because I’ve guided my fifteen year-old grandson to do exactly this.

Here is your list of mentor resources: Michael Chang, Jay Baer, Neil Patel, Ray Edwards, Pat Flynn, Chase Reeves, Chandler Bolt, John Meese, Mike Kim, Joanna Penn, Dan Martell, Brian Dean, Derek Halpern, David Zheng, and Corbett Barr.

Remember, every failure and setback is a learning experience and you have to be able to state exactly what went wrong, what you learned and what you will never do again. Conversely, the emotional and mental high you’re about to get can never be achieved in any other way shape or form.

 

During the search for an ecommerce mentor, you will find that you submit yourself to another’s detailed eye and scrutiny. The way you pronounce words, that flicking of your nails, the dangling your hand out the car window are going to come under fire because you have to be made into “good enough.”

And of course, whilst you are out enjoying the wise words of whoever, you just might come across someone else who is smoother, taller, and a Svengali with words. Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can because that is what builds up your knowledge.

 

Rosetta Thurman said, “The Dream Killers are the people in your life who don’t share your dream, don’t know how to support you, and don’t share your optimism about making a better life for yourself and your family.”

 

One more thing, be sure to ask the potential mentor about the failures in ecommerce. The wildly successful are one thing. The crash and burn with lessons learned are priceless.

not a salesperson

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

A lot of people are not salesmen. Their strength lies somewhere else. Perhaps they had a horrific incident with a high pressure sale and made a personal vow to never get to that state. In fact, I wish more people were not salesmen. Err, salespeople. There are people who are simply not comfortable aiding and abetting someone to buy something. That, or you become physical ill if anyone thinks of you as a salesman.

So now what you are going to do is get into an emotional conversation. It’s about all how you feel. You can expect someone to tell you how the color red is so incredibly aggressive that they want to run the other way. One of the smoothest lines from a car salesman I ever heard was, “this leather seat is so comfortable and relaxing. It really nestles you. Everyone gets comfortable when they nestle. And happy because you’re so relaxed.  Now you can really be happy in your car.”

You don’t tell people to walk into your store. You invite them in to have fresh cookies and coffee. You don’t tell people to buy a happy puppy. You offer them to put a new love in their life. That antique store with those beautiful cherry wood rockers out front? The reason they don’t have price tags is because they want you to fall in love with the rocker first. You don’t tell someone they need a long term care insurance policy. You tell them you want to put answers in their hands for when the time comes for that family member.  Emotional 100% of the way.

The ticket seller at the movies?  That is a salesperson. The Mickey Dee’s person who runs your credit card at the drive-through?  That is a salesperson. That heavy accented woman straightening the $45,000 paintings in the gallery uptown? She is a salesperson. It is a style of sale. It is actually very difficult to learn. Most people want to rush right into saying, “Won’t this look great over the sofa? I can take your card when you are ready.”

The perfect conduct for this type of negative pressure sale is to stand somewhere silently handing your brochure. You smile pleasantly and nod. You might even take a step forward if you are comfortable, but at all times avoiding anything that is perceived aggressive. Look. Look carefully. They take your brochure and 20 feet away drop it in the trash. If you have the $$ to print those things up and throw them away, I’m going to take your money and print ‘em up.

You are a sign spinner customer. $8 an hour on Craigslist. Go find the nearest 6-lane intersection and put the spinner on the north-south route from 8am to 12 noon. Hour for lunch. Move him to the east-west lanes from 1pm to 4pm. There are a dozen studies up on the Internet about never using 5pm to 7pm sign spinners. Drivers are looking to get home, not a $149.95 Skilsaw.

One other passive sales technique is door hangers. Vista Print has set up printing a thousand at a reasonable price.  You spend 8 hours walking through your target neighborhood and simply loop the hanger around the door knob. Walk away. Don’t knock, don’t ring the bell, just move on. This is a prime advertising and marketing effort done by churches, landscapers, and maid services. If you don’t want to do a pressure sale, do a door hanger.

There’s one more thing I want you to think about. You mentioned letting the quality speak for itself. I agree. That’s a good strategy. I can pretty much tell the difference between a chicken fried steak and veal parmigiana. I’m smart that way. I cannot tell the difference between a transmission for a 1960 Chevy and one for a 2015 Acura. Got not a clue. I’m stupid and ignorant that way. Oh wait!  The Classic Chevy Store guy just invited me over for a demo and snacks and I’m going. In other words, my salesman is going to educate me into being a smart customer. And that is what you have to do.

Mark Lack said, “You cannot be afraid to take a risk and you must absolutely have a plan.”

 

When you let customers roam around your jewelry store looking at the sparkles, they’ll smile and walk away. Your quality speaks loud and clear. Your sales opportunity drops by 50%.

If you make them chase you around the store to try on a watch, your sales opportunity drops by 75%. It looks like you just don’t care if they buy or not. Now your customer service after the sale speaks loud and clear.

It looks like you might be embarrassed by what you are trying to sell. Standing next to your cash register is a good move. That tells people you have no intention of showing your merchandise. That uniformed clerk ready to swipe your card at Mickey’s place?  You’ve just become him.

So yes, you are not a salesperson. You preferred to be called owner. Good. Stay that way. Maybe step up to coordinator. You have to start somewhere.

international shipping costs

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

A good friend, Bill, builds those fancy custom wood bed frames and ships them all over the world. Depending on the distance he can make $1,500 or $15.00 because the shipping will eat him alive.

If the destination is off the continental U.S., shipping companies deem it international. It is maddening. Shipping company A has one price and one mile down the street shipping company B has another price. Bill can fly six hundred pounds of bed frame to Japan for $150, but to Alaska via truck is $875. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for freight rates. But there is something you can do to knock down those shipping costs.

Plan Ahead Last minute shipping is always expensive so avoid it by planning.

Invest in prepaid shipping. If you are shipping the same product, the same way at exact times during the year, ask your carrier reps to give you a shipping cost schedule.

Use online shipping. One way to save is to pay for your shipping online. See if there is an online discount with your carrier.

Use packaging provided by your carrier. If you use your own packaging, you could face additional “dimensional fees” if your container is greater than the space in the plane.

Properly packing will reduce down any size costs. You can’t shrink wrap beef. You should not refrigerate carpets and rugs. Don’t try to package tee-shirts into cardboard cylinders.

Get suppliers to use your shipping account number. If you have multiple vendors shipping quantities throughout the year from all over the world, a shipping account number might bring down your costs. Call several carriers and find out if there is a way for you to coordinate and lower costs this way.

Ask about association discounts. Find out if your industry’s professional association has a partnership with a carrier that offers member discounts.

 

Factor in all shipping fees especially those special charges. Forklifts, wharf or dock charges, standing charges, casual labor charges, inspections, etc.

Consider hybrid services where the manufacturer ships the finished product to their own shipping point (halfway) and then you ship to your destination.

 

Negotiate with multiple carriers. All shipping companies have pricing schedules based on volume:

The more you ship, the lower your rate. 

Research for your regional carriers. The competition in freight hauling is high so carriers are going to be competitive as in any business. Ask if they will price match to another carrier.

Get acquainted with the representatives. Is the guy in Las Vegas easier to work with than the heavily accented man in Miami? Can you walk into the office in Ensenada or do they only work online?

Leverage flat rate shipping.  If you ship apples to Japan during specific times of the year, find out what time of year is the most expensive and when is the least expensive to ship. Find out who else ships when you do. Offer to partner up for a full container shipment.

Find suitable shipping method for your cargo type. Do you need to ship sacks of dog food on pallets or do you bulk load into 55-gallon drums? Some carriers are sensitive to shifting liquid cargo.

Find multiple local transport companies If you are shipping cotton bales from South Africa to Mexico, plan on how you’ll get those off the ship and to your manufacturing facility. This part is often overlooked and hauling costs can add up.

Lastly, insure shipments  Insurance against the sea pirates, the ship sinking, the train derailing and a trucker’s union going out on strike.  You might not get 100% of your value but at least you can get something back. Compare flat insurance rates of $1,500 to a per $100 of insurance rate.

Scott Cook said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

researching cold leads

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Using a browser I type in the name of the company and “press release” to see if they are talking about any newsy type announcements. On the other side of the spectrum, I also use “lawsuits” to see if anyone is taking them to court. It is kind of hard to do business with a company under F.B. I. scrutiny.

I’m the sort that wants to dial one more number, knock on one more door and send one more email. I want to know. I want to find out. Knowledge has proven to me that it is where my power lies. It can for you, too. You see, it is lying inside you right now and all you need is that sledge hammer to knock down the wall.

If you have arrived to the point where you are clawing and scratching and desperate for any tool to get through this, I have one resource for you. Gird your loins, take an aspirin and turn off your phone.

I want you to go over to Grant Cardone University.  Sign up for the FREE account.  Go into the FREE area and watch all 9 videos (or however many there are). Now go back through each one and take notes. Write down words and phrases that you can use. Listen to his attitude as he talks about cold calls and selling.

 

I suggest that you become obsessed about the things you want; otherwise, you are going to spend a lifetime being obsessed with making up excuses as to why you didn’t get the life you wanted.
– Grant Cardone

The reason I want you to do this is because of your mind set. I am a highly emotional sales person. I look for that emotional pain in clients and jump on that to solve the problem. Grant takes you the other way into a logical sales path. It’s not all about just the facts. There is some feeling and some emotion in it. The majority of what he drills into you is that 1) you can do it. And 2) that there is a way to sell everything. The one thing that holds every sales person back is their mind set. Mine held me back until I watched Grant Cardone.

My secret? I go back and listen to Grant once a month to get that stunning force amped up in me.

5 degrees, no job, no experience

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Two years at the community college. Four years at the local university. Two years of grad school. Four years in specialty colleges. Congratulations, you are 28 years old with five degrees and not one hour of work experience. What to do?

During the summers when you weren’t in class, what did you do for fun?  Did you happen to go see relatives or visit family?  How about cruise/backpack around Mexico or Europe for a year?  Some of the things people do for hobbies can be turned into jobs.

You are about to live until you are 93 years old. You have a little bit of time try things out and learn what you DON’T want to do in life. Some people get out there and go through thirty or forty jobs before they realize they are best at parking cars, cooking steaks, or cleaning carpets.

Here’s what you do.  When a recruiter like me asks why you think you have the experience and knowledge to do the job, answer like this.

“All during my senior year in high school I helped my grandmother Gladys with chores and errands. I used to drive her to appointments, help her shop and she liked to go to the movies. I miss her a lot. During college I used to go stay with her during breaks and that’s how I came to know helping seniors is what I want to do.” I’m impressed.

“During my college time I backpacked through South America, mainly off the tourist tracks and found the real citizens of countries. It was something that you never saw in those travel books and guides. Just last year I made it through 10 countries right up to the Russian border. I’ve become adept at getting around mainly on trains, busses, and on foot. I know I could help someone looking for a down-to-earth travel itinerary and that’s why I’d make a great travel agent.”

Do you see what I mean?  Inside you, even as a spoiled brat, you have a talent that you are ignoring. It’s there. Just peel back the layers and find it.

 

Jordan Fliegel said, “Just be yourself. Work hard, and do something you love. Focus: do less, but do it better. And give back when you can.”

I think I say this in another article about how to put on your socks and shoes and go looking for work. What I haven’t said is why I say it.

In high school our family had friends that had been emotionally and psychologically debilitated by advanced degree education. My dad called it, “brain bound.” Somewhere there was an uncle educated at Harvard who couldn’t count past 1,500. There was a cousin who had a Ph.D. and drove a NYC taxi for a living.

There was a cousin who graduated Stanford Medical School and went to work on a fishing boat. Brawn over brain work. My mom always chided me about how a degree can help you dig a post hole.

 

You have to try. You have to get out there and prove to yourself that you can. You have to satisfy that question inside your head. Your own self-worth has a value to you and only you. Use your strength and muscles while you are young and gain knowledge all along the way. Once you are “older”, you can ease back on the bale toting and start doing pencil and paper stuff. You have to try. Be a trying person.

When you go into business for yourself, you’ll come face to face with the person you used to be. You will also see the person you want to become. You have to relish the experience that got you to this point. You also have to clench your jaw, double up your fists and feel the adrenaline pushing you on to the next level of success.

From the minute you lace up your shoes for kindergarten until you are walking the stage getting your Ph.D., you will hear about the glory of going into business for yourself.  You may even have a dynamite idea to work on. Let me temper your enthusiasm just a tad here.

When you have no work experience, you don’t know what it is like to be the employee. What might even be more disturbing is that you don’t know how to be the boss. Your golden retriever doesn’t count as a subordinate. If you don’t know how to be the boss, mentally you will think you can let something slide and just push things aside if they don’t suit you.

Being the boss does not mean you don’t answer to anyone. We all talk to ourselves in the mirror every day. That happy, friendly face smiling at you will start to become the furrowed brow task master. Right now, your new and small business has one ringleader and it is you. You can’t get out of it. It has to be a driving desire for you to want to have total control and be that boss that runs it all.

Maybe you’ll start out by pulling up a kitchen chair every morning after breakfast. That is a good thing because you want to have a familiar place, a comfortable setting and most people think the breakfast table is good place to be. You are going to need that, too. Starting up your business life is filled with dozens of details.  If you think juggling classes, papers and courses was difficult, you will want a starting place where you can handle stress. You’ll be spending more than a few hours at that table hammering out not just what do next, but the meaning of what to do next.

So in answering the question about what to do, look at what you like to do for fun and entertainment. The next step is to figure out if you can do it as business.

how do i get bonded?

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Bondable means insurable. There might come a time when your customer or client asks if you have a bond. They want to know that if you mess up bad, if there a way that they can collect for damages against your policy without having to waltz you into a courtroom.

In recruiting, screening and hiring, when people can pass a background check with fingerprinting and a drug test, chances are they are insurable. They can get a bond because they have been careful with the past behaviors and stayed out of recorded legal trouble.

Insurance companies won’t touch convicted felons or ex-convicts with a ten-mile pole.  They cannot get insurance to cover anything they might break, abscond with or cause to be destroyed. The felon’s previous history will drag on through the rest of their lives when it comes to getting work.

Get on the phone and call up AIG, the world’s biggest insurance company. Ask to be put through to the part of the company that does individual commercial insurance also known as fidelity bonds. Have them ask the 1,500 questions about your life to see if they would issue an insurance policy for you doing business. Yes, they would issue a policy?  Great!  No, they won’t insure you?  Ask for a printed report so you know what to fix.

My friend, Donna, runs a maid/housecleaning service.  She and her team go into people’s homes to wash down smoke damage, clean up after renters who were evicted or those places where someone lost their life. The man who owns that house doesn’t want to come back and find he owns a vacant lot.  If he is smart he asks to see the commercial liability insurance policy that covers everyone walking into that house. Everybody on that team has to be bondable to get hired.

My friend, Linda, provides personal caregivers to seniors. Every person she hires goes through that same background check that proves they are who they say they are. Here’s why.  One guy came in for an interview on Tuesday with one of the team leaders. The supervisor left him alone in her office for just a few minutes and then came back with a packet of information for him. The guy had walked out of her office with a list of clients that she had carelessly left out. Wednesday through Friday the man went around to nine homes and burgled them. After the police caught the guy, they traced the list back to Linda’s business.

Contact LiveScan. Find out how much they charge to run you through a background check.  Know what there is to find by someone who is looking. More than one person that I thought was an outstanding candidate had wants and warrants, restraining orders and was a person of interest in a Gulf state. LiveScan is something you can do for yourself and along with your certificates, diplomas and licenses, looks great on your resume.

Several years back I used to work as a contractor on different sales jobs. I used to put up my own bond to prove to the employer that I could be trusted and that I would stand behind my completed and finished work. I used a contract bond for that.

 

According to JW Surety Bonds, contract bonds are what guarantee your work on a specific job. Usually, contract bonds guarantee construction of public work. There is quite a bit to learn on how these bonds work. If you are new to contract bonding, our contractor’s construction bond guide is a great starting point.

There is a wide range of fidelity bonds. For example, employee dishonesty bonds insure the employer from theft or damage should an employee commit forgery or embezzle funds. Some fidelity coverage is specific to certain lines of work. One familiar to most is a janitorial and cleaning bond, as the coverage provides homeowners and businesses they service peace of mind that the company can reimburse them in the event of theft. There are some fidelity bonds that are appropriate for any business.

 

There is one other thing here that I want you to know. I’ve never had a claim against my fidelity bond. Nobody has ever come back and claimed I screwed up and they lost money. You need to make your work ethic and reputation stand up to good scrutiny. They might be able to make fun about the way your nose is shaped or your beat up 1998 Honda Civic. They can’t touch what you produce when you roll up your sleeves and push out work.

sales pitch reaction

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

When you go into business for yourself, you instantly become the target of everyone selling something. People see the sign on the side of your Camry and catch you in the parking lot to sell something to you. They drop off key chains, coffee mugs, concert tickets, and coupons to the circus in hopes of you favoring them with a sale.

That flyer in the mail announcing the fifteen percent off of a sale?  That’s a sales pitch. The robo-caller telling you about how this certain lawyer can help you get through a contract negotiation?  That’s a sales pitch.

I usually scan the pitch and it had better answer 1 of 3 questions.

  • Are you addressing the widget polishing problem that I am having?
  • Can I scale your solutions out to my 5 widget polishing locations?
  • Does it lead me to believe that you can help me polish widgets faster?

I’m a pro at doing the 30-second elevator sales pitch and I often give others the same opportunity. I don’t want to hear how many kittens your cat has. I don’t want to hear about what my competitor is buying. Tell me what your whizzygizzy is going to do for me and tell me how to get it.

“I put the stainless steel freebostrats into surgeon’s hands so they can save lives. I’m going up to the 17th floor to help a plastic surgeon expand his business.”

I want to expand my business. I want more success.

“I retrofit the Ames 5500 widget polisher machines so they wind faster using less electricity.”

I’m paying attention. Tell me more. You got time to get off on the 14th and give me a show and tell?

“I qualify prospects, I vet buyers to make sure we find the right customers and then pass those on to the sales team to close.”

I can think of 20 businesses who need your decision-making talent.

If you start out by saying, “I sell, I manage, I organize, I open the door,” you are not telling me what you can do for me. You are telling me how you keep things the same from day to day.

I don’t want day to day. I want bigger, better, faster.

Here’s the thing.  What about when your sales pitch speaks loud and clear and you are nowhere around? It’s your website. There is some statistic out there that talks about 65% of all buyers now get online and shop around to you and your competitors before they even call you. They know more about you, more about the variety of products and services and are on the way to a buying decision when they dial your number.

Inside your website there is a page dedicated to the description and price of all your products and services.  Potential customers drop by and take a look to see if what you have is what they want. This page has to be designed and laid out in an easy to understand manner with words appropriate for your audience. You want them to scan through the entire page and decide to buy from you. These are landing pages, sales pages and pitch pages.

If a customer runs across your website link while surfing through someone’s site and they click on it, you want them to arrive at the one spot where they can buy something. This is a landing page. By sending your web traffic directly to a promotion specific landing page, your advertising will perform far better. If someone has come onto your website and are clicking through the navigation make sure they can click directly onto your sales page.  Your might have an embedded video or slide presentation on your sales page. A good sales page will also lead through to a great Thank You page. When they do get to your sales page and decide to look specifically at a product, they click through to your pitch page.

When a customer clicks on the product or service, they must be able to easily create the order, see the details and be 100% sure about what they are about to purchase. Your pitch page needs to have a payment system that is easy for checkout and payment processing.

Bob Goff said, “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we’re captivated with purpose.”

I’ve signed up for 50+ Internet marketing newsletters. I look at the style, the format and the verbiage and open cut and paste it over to use in my own stuff. I like the ones that talk about how much easier, faster, cheaper, luxurious, smarter my life will be when I buy. It’s mostly about the fantastical improvements that will happen. Your sales pitch should be offering solutions, solving dilemmas, and stopping the pain.

Hire a tech support or a sales rep?

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Dale was spending far too much time on setting up his computer systems, linking the printers and scanners together, and then troubleshooting everything. It was making him crazy. Three locations, five hundred miles apart simply would not communicate via the network. Dale started looking for a tech support person.

Dale had been running out to three prospect sales every day. He sometimes went to assist customers up to four times each day that took him up to 9:00pm. Dale was terrific at selling with that knack that made people say yes and sign on the dotted line. It was what he loved to do, but he knew he couldn’t avoid the other components to his business.

What to do?  Hire a $35,000 per year tech support person or hire a customer service person at $40,000 per year.

When you grow your small business up to the point where growing hurts, you get faced with tough decisions.

Most tech support jobs seen on Craigslist are dollars-per-hour positions. $12 to $18. You bring them on board, they fix everything in the first thirty days and then you have someone sitting around doing nothing. You would have been better off with a 1099 contractor with a retainer on-call type of arrangement.

You could always set up a call-in help desk for your clients. The Help Desk involves answering the phone, stomping out fires, solving problems and pretending to be the white knight that come to the rescue. This job sits in a chair and has a headset. If the majority of your clients have technical questions, the help desk position solves your problem.

I’ve done that job in the past and approached it as a team member that came to help. I was careful to smooth the ego of the caller and not point out how stupid they were. The worst event was a personal computer actually caught fire from another piece of equipment the employee brought from home. They dumped water on it and shorted out half of the office floor.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I told someone to turn off the machine, count to 30 and then turn it back on and call me. I could buy that Continental GT I lust after. Now don’t get me wrong as I made use of the experience later in my career. I did a call center stint that sold help desk equipment where I made a profitable upsell on fire retardant equipment.

Let me give you some insight into the mindset of a help desk employee. Emotionally and mentally, I could leave the job at the front door at 5:00pm. Once I made it to my car without my name being called I was home free. I refused all efforts to send me home at night with a company phone for “on call” rings at 2:00am. If a person takes this job and after-hours calls are mandatory, they will never truly be off work. A movie, a wedding, the doctor’s office, no place is safe from that ringing phone so plan on interruptions.

Jay Oatway said, “When we are sharing stories to create bonds with other like-minded people, we want to give them social currency with the highest pass-on value we can.”

 

I am first and foremost a sales executive. I’ve made $8 per hour with a 15% commission, $10 per hour with a 2% commission, and $18 per hour with a 5% commission. I’m in control of how much money I can make in any given year. I don’t really care about 7% increase in my hourly rate. I care more about moving from 10% to 11% commission.

I love to sell. I’m fascinated with the art of the deal. I’m a hustler meaning that I get out there and find my own sales leads. Nobody controls the leads I need to make a living. I advocate every sales person doing this, too.

I make phone calls for a couple of hours, go knock on doors and meet my appointments, mail out the stuff I have to mail out and follow up with clients who can’t screw in a lightbulb. Some days I work from my car and call it my mobile office. I’ve made it a point to log my signed contracts and deposit checks into QuickBooks. I keep myself organized.

If I hire on a sales rep, I still have to keep after them. I want to take all the obstacles out of their way so they can close deals and bring in those signed contracts. I still get the emotional fulfillment of doing sales. I’m also cognizant that I’m taking care of my business.

It has to be in your personality to want to achieve more today than you did yesterday in sales. Every day you have to get up out of bed and look forward to beating out what you did yesterday. Sometimes you have to do that without any recognition or pats on the back. Sales is not for everybody, but for some it is the best thing since breathing.

My solution is to find a 1099 information technology support subcontractor that will stick by me while I grow my little business. When I start spending more than four hours a day helping clients, that will be the signal that I have to hire a client services person.

Remember, nothing happens until somebody sells something.

12 years as a gamer

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Johnny wanted to start up a professional gamer business. He wanted to coach, support and sponsor a championship team in online gaming events. Yes, he was very good at playing all the recent and legendary games. He had a powerful computer system with all the peripherals set up in a dedicated room. But he didn’t know how to get people to pay him for what he knew. He also had zero confidence in his business acumen.

Johnny had gaming software skills from playing only on Eve, World of Warcraft and dozens of other games, for twelve years.  It was his passion and hobby and entertainment. He also gained a few skills.

For example, if an online game stays verbally quiet and limits his involvement to texts with other players, it is likely they will be excluded from teams and groups.  Most online gamers like to wear a headset and have microphone so they can talk in real time and play the game faster. Most gamers play in a group environment so remaining text based does not get you anywhere.

That means that the gamer has to learn how to go into an online store or a brick and mortar store to buy that headset with microphone. I would guess that gamers get excited and break those headsets which also decides the one they will not buy in the future. That critical buying skill is important to gamers. Everybody discusses what machine they play on, what peripheral equipment they run and the costs. Johnny figured this part out.

Just like being in school and playing ball games on teams, now online gamers get to find teams that need players. After twelve years’ experience of playing this online software game Johnny had most likely learned how to promote and sell his character talent. Yes, that is Marketing 101. Well, I don’t mean ship yourself out via FedEx, but more like making yourself attractive to get onto a winning team.

After 12 years of software experience in a gaming hobby, players most likely have come to realize time management. Time spent on the day job, time with family, time in school or higher learning, and military commitment time. I’ve talked with gamers that have explained about walking around with a running clock in their mind. It’s the invisible tick tick about how what right now is taking time away from their gaming software time.

Johnny explained to me that instead of sitting down at the dinner table with soup, salad and chicken with his family, he was sucking down a hot dog with the other hand at the keyboard or controller. What I told Johnny was that he had made the choice using critical thinking skills about what is more important in life.

Also, professional gamers have been able to whittle down the number of people that impact their lives. That is a people management skill that happened during those twelve years of software experience from gaming.

Johnny had surrounded himself with only those folks who also play online software-based games. Maybe you go out to software classes to learn more about gaming or even attend conventions and courses such as Comic-con or gaming competitions. If someone does not contribute or play to your gaming hours, you simply don’t respond to the requests for your time. That is a people management skills that keeps you where you want to be.

 

Aaron Lee said, “These days, social media waits for no one. If you’re LATE for the party, you’ll probably be covered by all the noise and you might not be able to get your voice across. It could only mean that if you want to be heard by the crowd, you have to be fast; and on social media, that means you have to be REALLY fast.”

 

 

So here you are now trying to figure out how to cash in on what you’ve learned from playing online games for years. You have gained critical buying skills, time management skills, and people skills. In business, part of success comes from knowing what to buy and what to pass on, keeping an eye on the time, and becoming a good judge of people.

startup 101

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

You can count on building your little business on whatever resources you have on hand. You have friends and relatives who will come give you an afternoon or a morning or even a Saturday. Right now you can plan on starting your business out small, really small, like kitchen table small or more commonly, the garage.

 

Tell yourself that after the tenth sale you will begin a reinvestment program, meaning a percentage of the money you make will go to making your business better. Buy a new printer, another computer, restock the office supplies. Remember to keep your expenses small and you will create a bigger profit.

 

If you have a day job, you have small business funding, just not a lot. Putting aside $50 from each paycheck may not seem like much, but at the end of the year, you will have enough for a website, modest marketing, and pencils.

Now start thinking about what you will lose when you leave your day job and what you will need when you take the helm of your new business. You will lose paid vacation time, medical benefits, dental benefits and retirement benefits at the least. The biggest asset that you will lose is the access to years of disciplined experience from your coworkers.

 

You want to have the first set of mechanical tools to do the job of your business. Make of list of those tools such as sewing machines, arc welders, computers, floor jacks or server racks. To the right put in a dollar value of the equipment you already have.  Now write in red the dollar value of the equipment that you need.

 

  • Go file your fictitious business name.
  • Go reserve your online business name.
  • Contact a workers compensation insurance agent and get an estimate.
  • Get an estimate on your personal medical insurance.
  • Research the engineer costs.
  • Contact a business attorney and research any legal issues.

 

Start getting estimates on your marketing materials such as door hangers, flyers, banners and magnetic signs. Find out how much you will have to spend to get a basic e-commerce website up and running.

 

Are you ready to build a prototype or the first version of your product or service? Get busy picking out the bugs and making it as perfect as your current supplies and equipment allow.  Figure out how many days of testing you will need before you get a finished product.

 

Will you need to collaborate with others who are only available during certain hours or days? Will you apply for a patent before you offer your product out for the general public?

 

There may come a time where your business simply falls off and there are no customers in sight.  If that is the case, go work part-time somewhere or find a temp agency job and just get some money coming in. You must be determined to do whatever it takes in business. Switching back and forth from owner to employee is not the easiest thing, but it will keep your head above water.

 

Your startup is not the same as the guy down the street. Your idea, invention or strength is not the same as his. Maybe you have found a gap in the market and have just the product/service to jump in. You will want to take a serious moment to consider how you are going to do this, where and when you will do it and what success will look like.

the vanity buyer

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Buyers and customers are not happy with being sold like they are happy with buying. Why do they want this?  There is a whole segment of psychology devoted to the wants of people. When you start to uncover the buying motives of individuals, you get close to the real reason for their purchase.

Customers have personal vanity-based needs. Baldness, brown skin spots, acne, wrinkles, scars, weight loss, and minor deformities. Maybe driving that new Jaguar will keep someone from noticing that hair loss.

Customers have desperation-based needs. General aches, pains, joint problems, bunions, hemorrhoids, flu and arthritis just a few of a possible thousands. Big pharmaceutical companies, big healthcare companies, and healthcare providers follow epidemic and pandemic announcements closely.

If you are hunting for those vanity buyers, you will want to do a show and tell for them via YouTube. Show them what you have, demonstrate using it and then let them know how they can acquire that. There is one big caveat here. Any videos that start out in the “How to” or research mode can satisfy that research need.  Most vanity buyers are trying to figure out how to find you. They are not buying and they are looking for research.

Here is another hint.  When you title the video, use the key word that the buyer used to find your video.  “Wrinkle Cream” + Review works really good to bring a thousand list of wrinkle creams. Somewhere in your video you should put the word “review” at least five times.

Set up YouTube and put the videos into playlists by subject. Make sure it is a logical progression from watching one to the next video. They may have watched a video for one thing, saw another video and bought that instead.

 

Taylor Pearson said, “While our first instinct is usually attempting to push harder, it’s more valuable to figure out where to push.”

 

There is this thing out there called buyer urgency. For example, I’ve got a couple of missing slats in my vertical blinds and I have to keep adjusting my chair to avoid the sun on some days. I’ve been putting it off for three weeks now and my level of irritation is rising. My urgency is not so urgent. I may take care of it later this afternoon and make a run through the coffee place, too. My buyer urgency is miniscule.

I’m a risk taker. I drive without a spare tire and with a fantastic roadside insurance policy. I pay a ridiculous amount. I am pretty quick on swerving to avoid stuff in the road and I’m nineteen miles from doorstep to office. I cannot feel any urgency to buy a spare tire.

Oh, but wait!  If I buy some new rims for my ride, I’ll be styling down the road. That appeals to my vanity. So now I’m not out the $125.99 for the tire. I’m out $865.00 for the rims and I look marvelous.

 

Do you see what I mean here?  The tire store guy selling the tires just wants to make a tire sale. It’s almost by accident that he agrees with me that a set of new rims would look great on my Honda. He hasn’t pursued the vanity buy opportunity with me. He might lose my sale if he just wants to get on with it and on to the next customer.

You have to inspire the vanity based need in people. You’re going to tell them how much more peace of mind they will have with that new insurance policy. Less worry, less wrinkles, right? Yes, your family will be so much happier in a bigger house with more room.

The internet is full of brochure templates. Pick out five and start with the first one. If that one doesn’t work, move on to the next one.

your face in front

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Your small business newsletter must contain your face and name. It will start out on a sporadic frequency. Once every three months, then up to every other month. Then you will start sending it out every month. You may need to change up the way your newsletter looks based on the feedback you get from readers.

Your email campaign will be designed to do one thing:  gain more emails to build a list. This is where your logo will come in very handy. People recognize the logo is associated to your name and face. Add on the names and set up a series of fifteen informational emails. You will need an email vendor like Constant Contact. Watch your costs and don’t spend $300 each month to send out 45 emails.

Everyone is online now. Set up your smart phone to record a video. If your business is refinishing dinner tables, create a twenty-minute video on how to refinish a dinner table. If your business is tearing out the old carpet from cars and installing new carpet, make a video showing how you do that. YouTube is about to become your friend. Set yourself up a schedule on making one new video each week. Start building your library and channel on YouTube so people can see what you do.

Offer to do a visit over to a non-profit. Go read to kids at the library. Better yet, donate a couple of dozen of children’s books to the library and go read those. Stop by your local senior center with a couple dozen doughnuts and see how you can offer your expert services. If you repair crutches, walkers and wheelchairs, offer to do a free mechanical check. Make sure to leave your card with everyone.

 

I have a friend who drives around with one of those magnetic placards on her car door. The first time she was followed off the freeway and into the parking lot of her grocery store kind of spooked her.  Then, after a hesitant conversation, she realized that the follower wanted to buy what she was selling, she felt relief. Now she is used to people following, honking and waving.

customer relationship management

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

If you sell cotton candy at the county fair, you probably plan on having hundreds of one-time customers. Yet, some of them may come back in the same day and buy more. That’s great for cotton candy and the county fair, but what about the real world?

 

You must coordinate and manage the seller/buyer relationship between you and the buyer. This is customer relationship management.

 

Let’s say that you custom make those huge fan banners that hang on the football stadiums during games. You have seen on TV the 8 foot by 15 foot waving in the breeze with the team nickname. You have pictures of your banners up on your website and people contact you to make their custom banners throughout out the year. You have found some people have come back to you time and time again to get unique banners made. 

 

Congratulations, you have repeat business. Hopefully, you have a software program on your laptop or personal computer that keeps track of all the little details on your customers.

 

You need a calendar with all the major sports seasons starts and stops. That way you know when your banners will be in high demand.

 

You need a historical calendar of the past year showing when the customers bought.

Basic information on customers includes name, address, city, state, zip, phone, email, birthday, fan of which sport, etc.

 

Keep track in a separate spreadsheet of all order details such as size, which team, colors and quantity. This should be cross-referenced with data from your customer software program so you know who bought what in which area.

 

In the customer software program you should set up a product sheet featuring all the benefits of your banners. 

 

You will also need to keep track of who is selling what so make a spreadsheet so you know if Bob is selling more Oakland Raiders banners than Cindy.

 

If Bob sells in the five western states and Cindy sells only east of the Mississippi you have got established territories. Make up a territory map and a reciprocal agreement for any sales made by someone else. That helps keep everybody calm.

 

Make up a spreadsheet of the money you bring in.  Your basic bookkeeping software like QuickBooks should be able to provide you with a report and you should be able to tweak out how the report looks. You will want to identify your top sales leader, what is best selling, what doesn’t sell and who is not selling.

 

Now for the competition: search on “custom banners” over the Internet and examine sites until you find the ones that will build custom football banners. These are your competition.  Make a list of their names, prices, etc. Remember that you are unique. Your competition is unique also. Keep track of them.

 

This is customer relationship management in its most basic form. How you customize it, like your banners, is up to you. It is the one tool that will keep your business going. Use it wisely and care for it like a newborn baby.

your personal sales assessment

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Do this in the privacy of your home or away from prying eyes. Be honest with yourself. Be candid about your own sales skills. The object here is to sort out your strengths as a salesperson. The old adage is that there is always room for improvement and this assessment will highlight where that is needed.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Read each statement through and be sure you understand it. Is there an incident where the statement is true and an incident where it was not true? Think about the middle ground and how you operate on a day to day basis. Just get through it.

Below is the one through ten scale.

1 is seldom true for me

5 is sometimes for me

10 is this is how I operate daily

 

______ I have discussed the needs and wants with the prospect and I know the general basic interest.

This can be in person or over the phone. You have become aware that the prospect has many buying options and has decided to look at yours. You know that you start to lay the foundation of the sale here.

 

______ When I first talk with the prospect, I gather the key points and factors for their interest.

This really pertains to being there in person. After the handshake and the smiles are exchanged. Now is when you listen to what they have to say.

 

______ I make myself appear relaxed and friendly when I meet prospects.

This is the first good impression time. People buy from those people they like so you make yourself likable right here. Get that tenseness right out of you.

 

______ I make it a point to be sincere with a smile in my voice.

People can hear a smile over the phone. When you meet them in person, make that smile shine and they will remember and connect to the voice on the phone.

 

______ I can distinguish between an interested fact gatherer and a decision maker.

You get to do the guessing game here. Is this the end user engineer?  The VP of engineering or the purchasing manager?

 

______ I have a wants and needs ranking list and criteria in my head as I talk with the prospect.

You know what the right answers are that you want to come out of their mouth.

 

______ Every prospect knows that I take interest in their success.

You are not in sales for the one-time or lone buyer. You want that prospect to come back again and again as long-time client.

 

______ I have learned to ask the hard or tough questions by using diplomacy.

Sometimes you can sense the prospect is holding back information. Make the attempt to ask the question with sensitivity to bring out those words.

 

______ I make sure the benefits of my products and services match the needs of the prospect.

Here is where your words paint the picture of life easier after they buy. You can describe how other clients use your products and services and how that translates to your prospect.

 

______ My presentation technique inspires prospects to dig deeper past the needs to their hidden wants.

You have learned how to make a statement followed by an open-ended question to see if they reveal more wants and needs.

______ I have a set of words and tools to keep the prospect’s attention to my descriptions.

I’ve created a clutter free environment where the prospect can focus on my products and services. I don’t answer the phone or tolerate outside interruptions. The building has to be on fire before I abandon the sales process.

 

______ Each prospect becomes confident that they are important and vital to me.

I can sense when the prospect relaxes by body posture and the words used. Eye contact increases here.

 

______ I always use anecdotes from other clients to showcase my descriptions and to emphasize a benefit.

I have five small stories ready to tell the prospect about how my products and services were used by previous customers.

 

______ I have a minimum of five solid and powerful proof statements about my products and services.

If necessary, you can walk the prospect into the warehouse and show them or bring it up on the computer screen so they can witness it.

 

______ I practice overcoming sales objections every day and use that practice in my sales process.

They don’t have the money, they don’t have the time and they just don’t need it right now. You have the answers ready.

 

______ I have a set of genuine client and customer testimonials that I offer as supportive proof for my products and services.

These are sterling testimonials printed onto individual sheets or video recordings of forever grateful clients.

 

______ I am sensitive to the body posture and mannerisms of my prospects and clients to determine their likelihood of buying.

The prospect who asks for your opinion and advice is giving you a signal of trust. When they make the statement of their own decision that is another signal.

 

______ I have five statements prepared that help a prospect and client agree with my points.

The sky is blue today, right?  Traffic is light today, right?  You can see how my products and services will benefit you, right?

 

______ I practice asking for the sale every day and I am confident of my ability.

I know to ask for their time frame, who else needs to be involved in the buying decision and the start date for the contract.

 

_____ I know I can close a sale and sign the prospect.

I can move the prospect to a mutual agreement and set up the next step so the prospect can move to being a paid client.

 

Add up your score.

20 to 50 = You have work to do before you get in front of a prospect. These are the topics to work on until you raise the score.

51 – 100 = You have the general idea about what to do, but need improvement.

101 – 150 = Your confidence is showing in your attitude and effort. Don’t lose ground and keep improving your skills.

151 – 200 = Go back and be honest as you go through the scores. Make sure you haven’t overstepped the assessment.

 

Now go back and look at those statements where you scored at a 5 or lower.

  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________

 

Are you weak in questioning? Do you have a low score on personal comfort?  Get out a small notepad and record your strengths and weaknesses on each statement above. On the back of the sheet, list the improvement that you want to me. Now start working on it.

 

perfecting your target customer

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

It is time to create a target customer profile. For business to consumer marketing you will want to know male or female, age bracket, income bracket and location. For example, professional women 35 to 65 with income over $50,000 per year in the United States.

 

For business to business marketing you’ll need business size, years in business, approximate revenues and number of employees. For example, carpet stores in business for at least 5 years, grossing over $1 million per store with 5 employees per store.

 

Segment Marketing

These characteristics are called segments. The more segments you can identify, the more prospective customers you can go after. Take a few minutes and look at your current consumer customers. Do any of them fit a segment of age, gender, education, job, income or ethnicity? Do any of your business clients fit a segment on length in business, number of employees, number of homes built or units sold?

 

If your product is targeted towards a preteen boy in India, you do not want to try marketing it to Land Rover dealers in Boston. Think of who are the typical customers who use your products and services right now. Customizing your marketing efficiently towards your target segment gives you a better chance of reaching the right customer and making a sale. Narrowing down the characteristics of your audience lets you present an appealing message to people who are more likely to buy.

 

Intricate Marketing

Let’s say you need a decision maker to sort through the benefits of your product or service before a final sale. For example, buying manufacturing equipment would involve financial analysis, depreciation analysis and other complicated processes.

 

An independent third party sales agent might supply a separate opinion via comparison of your equipment over another manufacturer showcasing your customer service and previous satisfied clients. This third party opinion works to remove the cost/money/time objection from the prospective buyer and highlights the purchasing benefit for your equipment.

 

Before you start your next marketing activities take time to identify your new customers. Zeroing in on the buying decision makers is key. The more you know about the specific needs of your target audience the better you can shape the message you wish to convey. Innovative and effective marketing goes far beyond analyzing your prospects. It includes research, imaginative brand creation, a solid marketing plan and the discipline to follow through on marketing campaigns. Make targeting your customer foremost.

Attracting the prospect - landing the customer

Excerpt from the non-fiction book, So, You Want to Start a Business. Answers About What to Do. Learn more! Buy the book today!

Press releases:  Did you just get in those fantastic new red widgets? Did your red widgets just solve a problem on the International Space Station?  Write up a press release and send it out to two dozen outlets for publishing. Prospects will see it and associate your exciting news with something they need and want.

Networking Events:  Put on a clean shirt, practice your smile and stuff your business cards in your pocket. Be prepared to shake lots of hands. Sales people attend networking events to find new clients. That is what you are doing there, too. It’s like a helping one hand help another type of thing. Picture it like this:  you may not be a client for them, but you might possibly help them get a client.

Open House and Free Tour:  Ronald builds custom knives. I think they are more like small swords. One year he put up a booth at the county fair and sold out his complete inventory over five days. In the month after the fair ended, Ronald sent out an open house announcement to everyone who bought at the fair.

Forty-five people showed up to see the place where he made those knives. And they put in orders for more.

Partnerships and Joint Ventures:  If you use those black binder clips, you know they come in handy for a lot of things. They don’t just hold papers together. If you look on Pinterest you’ll see where there are 500 Handy Tricks for Binder Clips.

It’s possible that you are using a product in a unique way or method. For example, did you know that WD-40 takes off the cloudy build-up on headlights?

If this is you, contact the manufacturer of the product and ask if they would be interested in a partnership or joint venture.  Chances are you will have to go there to make a presentation or send in a video of what you do. You never know. That little whizzy gizzy that you love just might be your ticket to the big time.

Blogging: This is a time-consuming and creative process. You want to find two dozen websites where your target prospect hangs out. Make sure that each website allows guest blogging. Set up an account. Find the minimum number of words for each blog post. Build those posts and then set your calendar to post them. What is even better is using a calendared system like Buffer where you load in all the posts and Buffer posts them when you want them.

Live Presentations:  Three weeks out from the actual presentation date, send out announcements about your gig. You will want to do your first, second and third presentations at fraternal organizations or clubs so they can bring in the full membership to see your spiel.

Offer a discount coupon to anyone who wants to take you up on your offer.

Have a friend make a video on a smart phone so you can post it up online. Yes, this eventually leads into podcasts and webinars. You know you’ve hit the big time when companies and organizations start contacting you and offering $300,000 on Maui for two hours.

Your Website: The first thing I want you to know is that you are not limited to just one website.  In fact, you should have one for just your personal self, one for your professional race car driver self and one for your silk embroidery self.

Be careful that you address social media via your website to expand your coverage. It does pay to have a consultant tell you how to improve the content on the site.

I’ve had the professionals tell me that 75% of my website should be useful, entertaining and educational information and 25% should be the sales. I think that ratio changes with the season and the professional.

You will want to measure the traffic that comes across your page and have a mechanism to capture the emails of the people who waltz through.

 

Dog bather, bookkeeper, receptionist, customer service specialist, researcher, salesman and file clerk. I have sold cars, insurance, timeshares, compost soil products, retirement plans and assorted research databases and gym memberships. I’ve baled hay, picked strawberries, cleaned houses, pulled car parts off wrecked autos, removed window tinting, driven a tractor while a team put up barbed wire fencing and slaughtered animals.

I have learned something from every job, learned something from every owner, CEO and salesman. I’ve even held the title Chief Trouble Maker.

Looking back on every job, every task, project and temp agency assignment has brought me to the conclusion that I have become a business wrangler. I look for trouble and find a solution.

If you are sitting at your kitchen table trying to figure out what to do about a problem, I’m here to help. You have one last resource in me.

Thirty+ years in business to consumer and business-to-business, thousands of cold calls, millions of direct marketing letters, knocked on hundreds of doors, driven dirt and gravel roads, freeways and gotten lost on the fishing docks in Oakland.

Yes, I’ve had to learn lessons sometimes three and four times, but I did learn them. Now, there are very few things in business that scare me. Send me an email. We’ll find out how scary yours is.