Closed for Vacation

Grand Tetons National Park

Grand Tetons National Park

Closed for Vacation

Good morning Empowered Pros readers! Just wanted to give everyone a short note to let you know we’re on vacation. Rather than publish our weekly business blog we decided to ask you, our readers, what your favorite vacation is.

We believe wholeheartedly that vacations are essential for business, and life, success. So, we’re visiting Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park this week and getting our nature on!

Now it’s your turn. Are you going on vacation this year? If so, how about sharing your destination. Oh, and while you’re at it, what’s your favorite vacation destination and why?

Here’s to your success!

Interesting and Relevant Content Marketing

Interesting and Relevant—Does That Describe Your Content Marketing?

Interesting and Relevant?

Interesting and Relevant?

You want to build your business by adding interesting content to your website. You’ve read several articles about how today’s markets are driven by “content marketing”.

So what is content marketing how do I get started?

Unfortunately, when most business owners think of content marketing they think it is nothing more than an email campaign. NOT SO, it can, and should, be much more.

The premise of content marketing is that by providing interesting and relevant information to interested people you are developing future clients or customers.

Interesting and relevant are important if your content marketing campaign is to be successful. In a world bombarded by copious amounts of information people pick and choose what they read or watch quickly. If you can’t catch your prospective audience immediately, you are wasting your time.

What’s interesting? Look at what’s going viral on Twitter or YouTube. People today want to be entertained. We don’t surf the net to read BORING…boring, the biggest mistake a marketer can make. Read the rest of this entry

Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last or Take Care of Your People and They’ll Take Care of You

Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last

I have not had the opportunity to read Simon Sinek’s new book, Leaders Eat Last and this isn’t about the book. It is, however, a discussion of the next principle of leadership I mentioned in my last post.

Take care of your people.

If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of you.

I learned about this principle as a young private in the Army. My platoon was on an exercise in the Georgia backwoods. We’d parachuted into a drop zone, gathered our equipment then moved out to a location we occupied for 24 hours.

During that time we went a full day without food. Somehow my comrades elected me to find our non-commissioned officers and find out where our C rations might be.

Imagine my young, impressionable mind trying to understand what I came across. Here were all our sergeants sitting around a fire eating rations, drinking coffee, smoking and joking.

These men who were responsible for the health and welfare of their subordinates had obtained cases of C rations, rifled through them for the best meals then sat eating them while we went hungry.

I swore to myself there and then if I ever was in a position of leadership, I’d always eat after my men.

You can also imagine how my platoon mates took the news when I arrived with the much-needed chow. Needless to say our respect for these so-called leaders was completely lost.

Any person in a position of responsibility has just that, a responsibility to his or her subordinates. Whether in the military or in business we MUST take care of our people.

How hard can it be you should ask? Train your people so they understand what is expected of them. Pay them a meaningful wage. Guide them, advise them and council them on their path ahead.

How much better do you feel when someone who you’re responsible to treats you as a human being? Remember the golden rule, “Treat others as you would want to be treated.”

When I was placed in a leadership position I took it upon myself to get to know my people. Who are they? What are their aspirations? What are their goals? What can I do to help them reach their goals?

The payoff has been people loyal to me and to my cause. I had subordinates willing to follow me in good times AND tough times. Absolutely necessary in military situation—just as necessary in a non-military situation.

In business I work with my employees and contractors to help them achieve their goals. By achieving those goals I achieved my goals. A win-win situation to say the least.

While I haven’t read Sinek’s book, I’d certainly suggest you do if you want more information on how to take care of your people so they’ll take care of you. A good friend of mine HAS read the book and considers it the best book on leadership he’s ever read. It’s definitely on my “to read” list.

Here’s to your success!

 

The following is from my friend Will Newman at AWAI and courtesy of The Golden Thread


The Golden Thread

The Myth of the “Road to Success”

I want to debunk a common myth.

I decided to write to you about this myth the other day when I got an email from Circle of Success member Cecil … an email much like others I’ve gotten from AWAI members.

“I’m really concerned, Will. I hope you can help me. I was really excited when I started out in The Accelerated Program. I still am. I want this new career to work, but I’ve run into a bunch of problems that have stopped me in my tracks. I don’t want to give up. I love what I’m learning. But I’m stuck. Please help!”

The power … and problem … of metaphors

When Cecil says he’s stopped in his tracks, that he’s stuck, he’s using a common metaphor about success. This metaphor envisions the journey to success as being along a road. We even talk about the “road to success.”

This metaphor is all wrong.

We use metaphors in our speech and writing because they help us understand complex situations in simpler terms. We use them because they work. That’s the power of metaphors.

When talking about success, it’s as if we start out in San Francisco on a drive to New York. Straight line. Few changes of direction.

Seems harmless enough.

But there’s a danger here. Metaphors not only give us a simpler view of reality; they also shape reality. Talking about success like a journey along a road leads people to feeling “stuck” like Cecil did.

A blown out tire. A burned out fuel pump. Worn piston rings. These problems stop you in your tracks. They halt forward progress.

Yes, you can get them repaired and start moving forward again, but …

All too often that feeling of being stuck in our quest for success keeps us from starting up again.

A new metaphor for your journey to success …

I wrote Cecil back and told him I no longer think of success this way. I use a different metaphor for this journey.

If you’re traveling from San Francisco to New York by plane, that airplane doesn’t stay on course. Cross winds, updrafts, down drafts, and other unforeseen events push the plane off course.

But the plane keeps moving forward and makes it where it’s going. Why?

The pilot and navigator constantly make mid-course corrections.

So, as simplistic as it sounds, I told Cecil that he is not stuck. He needs to make—and continue to make—mid-course corrections. And, so do you as you travel toward your inevitable, undeniable goal of copywriting success.

Putting meaning into metaphor …

The airplane metaphor works. But only if you take these two steps to keep yourself making those mid-course corrections.

First, find yourself a good “navigator”

You need someone who’ll guide you in your mid-course corrections. AWAI’s forums are the best place to find that navigator. Many of your peers have gone through the same problems you might be having. Or, that crop up later along the way.

Or, you could choose a particularly close friend who wants you to succeed as much as you do.

Regardless of whom you choose for your navigator, find someone who can give you support and guidance all along the way to help you make the mid-course corrections.

Second, keep moving forward … no matter how small the movement

I’ve heard from AWAI members who have faced serious illnesses (their own and family members’), job loss, increased work at their jobs, hurricanes, and any number of daunting events.

One member stands out, though. She faced a number of personal disasters I won’t go into here. She wrote me and apologized for being behind on her Circle of Success program work.

But, she also told me that, while these problems had slowed her down, she wasn’t giving up. She’d put aside 15 minutes a day to study The Accelerated Program and do her COS work.

She wanted to do more. She’d planned to do more. But she was doing as much as she could.

She kept moving forward, slower than she’d hoped at first. But she didn’t stop. She kept her momentum going.

So, this is what I told Cecil. And, this is what I tell you. Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. If “life gets in the way” (boy, how many times have I heard that?), take a mid-course correction around it. Do something—anything—that moves you forward.

Read a book that will help you be a better copywriter. Study an AWAI program, even for 15 minutes a day … or a week, if that’s all you can spare. Write as much as you can—letters, emails, notes to your coworkers—using the skills you’re developing here.

But keep moving forward!

Yours for a successful copywriting career,

Signed

Will Newman

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Lead By Example

Lead By Example

Lead By Example

Lead By Example

The first leadership principle I ever learned was to lead by example. Although it sounds simple, it never ceases to amaze me how few so-called leaders actually lead by example.

Remember the old adage “Never ask your subordinates to do anything you wouldn’t do?” It’s one completely ignored by many in leadership positions today.

Here’s a question: When Mr. or Ms. Leader did you ask one of your people to work on a weekend but you yourself won’t work on weekends?

How about working on holidays or at certain times of the day? Do you take the initiative to work all schedules you ask your people to work?

Are you the type of leader who takes all the good deals but gives the bad deals to your subordinates? Read the rest of this entry

What’s the Best Leadership Style?

What’s the Best Leadership Style?

What's the Best Leadership Style?

What’s the Best Leadership Style?

It’s probably a pretty good assumption that as a business owner you’ll never have to give an employee a life or death order. Or make a life or death decision. Thankfully very few professions compel leaders to make decisions and give orders that could lead to a subordinate’s deaths.

A military leader and a business leader are not faced with the same extremes, yet they are faced with life and death matters. In the military decisions about life and death refer to human beings. In business, decisions about life and death refer to your business.

It would seem therefore, that leadership styles needed for the military would be different than those needed in business. I don’t agree with this assumption. Read the rest of this entry

Leader or Manager or Both

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Leader or Manager or Both

Leader or Manager or Both

Leader or Manager or Both

We had a saying when I was in the service, “What the Air Force needed was more leaders, and what the Army needed was more managers.” The joke was every officer and noncom in the Army considered themselves a leader, while every officer and noncom in the Air Force considered themselves a manager.

Is there a difference between a leader or manager? Absolutely, there’s a big difference between the two. Over the next couple weeks we’ll look at that difference and see how it impacts your business.

Leaders lead people and managers manage things. People versus things is the big difference between leading and managing. As a good friend of mine puts it, “No one ever managed themselves out of a crisis.” It takes leadership, leaders to get out of a crisis, not bean counters.

How to Know the Difference

As I mentioned we manage things. Work schedules, benefit packages, training programs are all part of management. All necessary to any business. However, plugging a name into a schedule or designing one size fits all benefit packages isn’t leading.

Leading is knowing your people, their needs, wants, desires. Leading is knowing what makes them tick and being the leader who inspires them to achieve more. Read the rest of this entry

The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

The Triumph of Hope Over Experience
By Clayton Makepeace

Without it, there would be no second marriages … no cheering crowds behind Hillary, Obama or Jeb on the six o’clock news … and, of course, no Las Vegas.

The fact is, no matter how cynical, negative or worldly wise each of us wants the world to think we are, all of us want to believe. Desperately.

And, the simple fact is, hundreds of billions of dollars are earned each year by marketers who do little else but:

Identify a deep-seated desire that is resident in a particular market niche,
Create a promo that suspends their prospect’s disbelief, and
Step back and allow the prospect’s desire to believe to do the rest.

Take Vegas, for instance. We all know it’s the world’s greatest fleecing machine. We know that there are no games of chance there – that the odds are heavily weighted in favor of the casinos.

And yet, even those of us who never expect to beat the house happily fork over thousands for travel, lodging and food – and then blissfully lose thousands more at the tables, knowing from experience that we’re being played for suckers.

Now I ask you: Is this anything a sentient, self-respecting, intelligent creature would do?

No. And that’s the whole point.

We are NOT sentient, self-respecting intelligent creatures. We only tell ourselves that we are. The truth is, we are driven by emotion. We only use our thinking brain to rationalize those emotional decisions after they’re made.

Think that’s an overstatement?

Don’t tell me; tell one of my former crackerjack copywriters. A while back, she found a medical study you should consider …

Seems some people who suffer minimal brain damage retain their cognitive ability – their ability to reason – but lose their ability to feel any emotion. And, when a major medical institution studied these poor souls, they found something fascinating …

When deprived of their ability to feel emotion, these still-intelligent, rational, thinking people were incapable of making ANY decision. They couldn’t even decide which shirt to wear … what to order in a restaurant … or how to manage their money!

I’m thrilled we found that study. Because it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt something I’ve been talking and writing about for years:

If we made our spending decisions on the basis of logic, nobody would buy a new car – suffering the massive depreciation that slams you when you drive it off the lot. Heck: We wouldn’t buy any kind of car – new OR used – for that matter. We’d all be riding the Metro. Or the bus. Or a bicycle.

The same is true about designer clothing … makeup … expensive watches … high-calorie food with low nutritional value.

And, who in his right mind would spend more than a few hundred bucks a month on a place to live – especially after seeing what happened the last time housing prices collapsed?

Frankly, I’d be hard-pressed to think of much that we spend money on that makes any logical sense at all. We buy all that stuff simply because we want to believe.

We want to believe – so desperately – that these things will make us feel more confident … more successful … more secure … more fulfilled … happier … that we spend our entire lives mindlessly pursuing them.

Just get up early tomorrow morning and turn on CNBC – or just about any cable channel that runs infomercials at night – and you’ll see what I mean.

Put on your thinking cap, now …

If I told you there’s a non-prescription pill – made entirely of vitamins and minerals – that will grow hair on a cue ball … would you believe me?

Preposterous – right? After all: If vitamins and minerals reversed male pattern baldness, only anorexics and bulimics would lose their hair.

How about “the size of a certain part of a man’s body”? Would you believe that a few vitamins and minerals will magically transform a water spout into a fire hose?

Wouldn’t obese guys be the most “blessed” of all?

What? You don’t believe this stuff? You know what? Nobody does!

But you know what else? There’s an infomercial on TV that’s generating millions and millions in sales for an all-natural hair-regrowth product and another that’s making some scam artist rich selling vitamins that supposedly make your thingy bigger.

Why would anyone with an IQ larger than his shoe size buy such an obviously stupid product?

Because we desperately want to believe. We want to believe so much that a few simple testimonials and/or a floozy batting her false eyelashes at us causes us to suspend all disbelief and crack open our wallets.

You don’t have to prove your case beyond the shadow of a doubt. But you do have to give your prospect an excuse he can give his spouse for spending the money. A reason why – although he’s surely a sentient, intelligent person, it was logical to suspend his disbelief – just this once.

Hope this helps – I’m going to spend some time brushing up on my basic blackjack strategy now …

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Squirrel! or Another Shiny Object

Squirrel! or Another Shiny Object

Squirrel! or

Squirrel! or Another Shiny Object

If you’ve ever seen the movie UP, you’re familiar with the dog with Attention Deficit Disorder. The puppy would be in the middle of something and a furry little critter would pop up. The dog immediately yells, squirrel!, and is distracted from his primary task.

I don’t have ADD…well at least not diagnosed but there are times I act just like that dog. I’ll be in the middle of something then…SQUIRREL!

I have to admit it—I love to chase shiny objects. If you like to chase shiny objects then you know what I mean. I’m the guy the online gurus are after, and you probably are too.

Symptoms of a Squirrel Chaser

Read the rest of this entry

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Positive Customer Experience — Competing with Amazon

Positive Customer Experience-Competing with Amazon

Positive Customer Experience-Competing with Amazon

In a recent article on Direct Marketing News, Senior Editor, Al Urbanski breaks the code on how to win against Amazon!

Well, not really.

What Mr. Urbanski points out is, like Google, Amazon uses an algorithm to rank queries in their search box. Google’s algorithm is looking for the best answer to a question in its box. Amazon gives an answer based upon three main areas including customer experience.

I have to admit that came as a surprise to me. We own an online retail business that sells on Amazon. Like most sellers we believed we were competing against lowest prices. Read the rest of this entry

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