What I Do When I Get Bored

Regardless of how motivated, dedicated, and focused you might be when doing a project, eventually you’re going to get… bored.

If I were a child nowadays, I’d probably be diagnosed with something like ADHD and pumped full of drugs. Granted, I’m 99.8% ignorant of the subject, but I think this hurts our society in that it prevents a lot of people from learning how to control and channel that kind of behavior into something useful.

In my case, I can focus for a while, but I’ll eventually get to the point where I need to work on something else. Thankfully, as a Passive PWAH quasi Internet Marketer, there’s always something to do. And if there isn’t, I heard that my house doesn’t clean and maintain itself…

I have a list of little projects that I’d like to turn into products. My plan is to throw them on a few special offer forums (like the Warrior Special Offer forum) and see if they sell. The cash will be nice, of course, but the main purpose will be to get to know some people and let them know about what I have to offer.

So what’s the first product I want to create this way? I want to show people how I manage stuff.

I’ve created a simple little system that allows me to create “Dashboards” that make accessing any of my sites extremely easy. And my so-called “upsell”…

I just hit on the idea to buy a domain to host these dashboards for members of my premium content sites.

So I’m off to create a product, along with all that premium content for my blog posts on The Business Protector. I’m a bit behind on that, primarily because I’m enjoying a few baseball games this afternoon while I write (and the background noise isn’t conducive to recording videos!).

Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy

As I look back to the days when I was trying to maintain multiple blogs (in a way, I still do that), I used to wonder why I didn’t really make any money. I think I know now; I didn’t allow any time to create products that would provide passive income.

Now that I better understand both passive income and Passive PWAH, I think it’s going to work much better this time. But the work…!

Even with only maintaining a handful of blogs, there’s so much work involved in just The Business Protector! It all goes back to the focus I briefly talked about in my last post.

You. Have. To. Focus.

  • Stop chasing every idea that comes down the pipe.
  • Once you’ve decided on a path and are confident that you can make it work, stay on it.
  • Work it consistently.
  • Work on it as if your future depends on it (because it probably does).
  • Know when to quit, i.e. if it isn’t going to work, throwing more effort at the same thing isn’t going to change anything.

So while this post was a fun little distraction, it’s back to work for me!

And of course I’ll post here when the product is ready…

All My Eggs In One Basket

Focus.

The more I read, the more I realize just how important it is, especially if you still have a job (like me) and have a limited amount of time to work on your business.

I’ve come up with a very intense, very slow growth model for my business. I’ll give you the basics here in a minute (including a link to the site) and I really don’t see it growing to the point where it will fully support me for at least another 2-3 years, but I’m satisfied with this model and am happy about the prospects.

The only “risk” (if you want to call it that) is that I’ll be putting most (not quite “all”) of my eggs in one basket. Some consider that to be risky, but since I don’t plan on using manipulative tactics to obtain and retain business — tactics that might cause companies like Google and Facebook and PayPal to ban me — I think it’ll work out just fine.

In other words, I don’t think anybody will be scrambling my eggs anytime soon.

Hey, it worked out pretty well for Bill Gates and Sam Walton, didn’t it? 🙂

“Path With A Heart” Passive Income

What do you get when you cross Steve Pavlina with Pat Flynn?

The above headline. 🙂

Sorry, not much of a joke, was it? 😉

I’ve already talked about my Path With A Heart post enough to nauseate some people. But in order to make PWAH work, there needs to be some kind of passive income model.

Of course, I’ve talked about Pay Flynn before, too (like here and here and here — speaking of which, it might be time for an updated “this is what I’ve decided to do for now” post — which this post kinda-sorta is. Like the 99:59 project. Oops… And I’m not going to pursue a Niche Site Duel site for now). I like his passive income model and he really does give away some awesome free stuff that’s actually useful.

So I’ve taken The Business Protector and I’m going to “rapidly and slowly” build it out to be what I call a “Passive PWAH” site. Here’s what I mean by that:

  • “Rapidly” means that I’m going to focus on creating large quantities of high quality, free (and premium) content.
  • “Slowly” means that the strategy doesn’t have to pay off for several years (i.e. I can focus on giving, not content).
  • “Passive” means that I make all of the basic content available for free. The income will come via other means, which I’ll discuss in a minute.
  • “PWAH” means that I want to get it to the point where it simply brings in more than enough money to support my desired lifestyle and I don’t have to “hard sell stuff” to pay the bills.

The Passive PWAH

OK, that all sounds good, but what is my overall plan? How is all this going to create that Passive PWAH income? Here’s how I envision it:

  • Give away everything — but in a basic format. If you go to that site now, you’ll see a lot of great content — but it’s all in a basic format.
  • Sell the premium version of content. While it’s not there yet, I’m creating “premium” content for each post I create. It usually consists of an expanded PDF version of each post and a video demonstrating the task at hand, where appropriate. Access will be via a low-cost recurring monthly “tuition” that will be low enough for large numbers of people to justify the cost. But I’m not going to offer it until I have more premium content ready for consumption.
  • Create ebooks and “premium-premium” content for each series I do, then sell them. This will enable people who are interested in a given topic (i.e. my current cPanel risk mitigation series) the opportunity to have all of the content in one place.
  • Consulting. I’m working on my service offerings at Protector Support (my support site). It’s still in a very basic state and I’m far from satisfied with it, but it will eventually (hopefully sooner than later) be optimized to the point that people can easily request certain services.
  • Traffic generation strategies. I hope that my main strategy will be “word of mouth” from people who see value in what I have to offer, but if need be, I do have some low cost traffic generation strategies in mind.
  • List building. I’d be silly to not build an email list, but I don’t want it to become the typical Internet Marketing “hit ’em with an offer until they unsubscribe” list. At this point, I think I want to use it to simply remind people of quality stuff that I’m offering at no cost, although I won’t hesitate to use it to promote products and services (both my own and others) that offer tremendous value to my “tribe”.

So that’s my current path, what I’m calling “Passive PWAH” (at least this week!). It all hinges on my cranking out great content on a consistent basis.

Since having a job for a while if necessary isn’t an issue for me, this will work just fine for me. While all of us would love to make seven figures from our business starting this coming Tuesday (speaking of which, I need to check my PowerBall ticket from last night!), I’d rather build a strong, loyal tribe that sees the value in what I have to offer and responds accordingly.

Even “get rich slow” isn’t accurate. All I want is passive income that enables me to focus on giving.

I’m not much of an Internet Marketer, I guess — which is fine with me! 😉

Obtaining Brand Consistency

Stephen Covey wrote about the incredible accomplishment of the Apollo 11 mission in his classic book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. But before they could travel the approximately 250,000 miles to the moon and back, they first had to escape the tremendous gravitational pull of the earth. As he put it in his book:

“More energy was spent in the first few minutes of lift-off, in the first few miles of travel, than was used over the next several days to travel half a million miles.” (page 46)

I feel that way sometimes. Often. I’ve been expending energy on my business for quite some time now but haven’t really felt as if I’ve obtained “escape velocity” so that I can soar to the proverbial moon.

Part of this, I think, is due to who I am and what Internet Marketing is. We simply don’t quite line up all that well. It’s taken me several years to realize this.

But far from having “wasted” time, I have learned a lot about business and met some exceptional people — people who have helped me a lot and will continue to do so. A lot, but not all, of these people hang out at the Earn 1k A Day business membership site. In fact, as I write this, they are having their annual conference in Las Vegas.

I didn’t go this year, simply because I couldn’t justify the expense back during the registration period. I could easily afford it but didn’t really see a good “reason why” behind attending, primarily due to being stuck in the gravitational pull of a job and life.

A lot has changed over the past couple of months and I still have a long ways to go, but I think I’ve finally found a model that is going to work for me. I won’t say that Internet Marketing is broken; the “problem”, if that’s what you want to call it, is that, deep down, I’m not cut out for Internet Marketing.

I’m writing this because I’m certain that others find themselves in the same situation, and perhaps my experiences will help those people discover their own path to online success and potential financial freedom.

Opportunity For Whom?

Internet Marketing is based on “pulling” people into buying stuff. Take a recent email I received from a marketer; it was an “opportunity” to purchase a bundle of WordPress themes and plugins. And the email headline urged me to take advantage of this “opportunity”.

Let’s dissect this a bit. Just who really had an “opportunity” in this case?

  • First, the “opportunity” is for the person selling the bundle and his/her affiliates.
  • It could be an opportunity for a purchaser, but only if the purchaser is 100% certain that they can use the contents to recoup the selling price plus at least one cent.
  • It also assumes that the purchaser will actually take action to recoup the price.

So the opportunity is contingent upon financial gain, either by selling the bundle, (the product creator) promoting it (the affiliates), or actually using it to earn income (the purchaser).

Again, this isn’t “evil” or even “bad” — I think it’s just a bit misleading. Since I don’t need the bundle, I did not see it as an “opportunity”, which made the email a bit misleading in my eyes.

PWAH Style Marketing

Getting back to my “Path With A Heart” post, I can easily use an Internet Marketing tactic to put together some good reports and sell them. These reports will help people better recognize and manage the risk they face, and this information will help them save money.

But if I did that, would I be any different from the others? Wouldn’t the opportunity be primarily for me in that case?

I mentioned in my last post that I’m going to give the stuff away for free but will sell a premium, enhanced version. This is, in my opinion, congruent with, and integral to, my PWAH mission. The information will be available for free to everybody and the enhanced version will be available for those that, for whatever reason (and it’s their reason, not mine) choose to purchase it.

I’m OK with that.

But none of that really has anything to do with the title of this post. It was on my mind and I wanted to put it in writing. 🙂

Brand Consistency

What I want to briefly talk about today is brand consistency. When a person lands on one of my sites, I want them to know that it’s a unique, distinct site, yet I also want a consistent “look and feel”, to the maximum extent possible, so that they know that they are on one of my sites.

I want my sites to feel “comfortable”, kind of like putting on a pair of slippers after taking a 20 mile hike in Army boots. I want it to feel “good” to be on one of my sites. I want people to know where to find things; I don’t want them to open the cupboard to look for a plate, only to find dog food instead.

I don’t want one site to say that I’m still certified in, say, CompTIA’s Security+ only to have another site state that I’m not (for the record, I chose to not renew that certification back in April 2014 because I do not need it for my current job and didn’t see the point in paying the renewal fees for no good reason). If you go to Site “A”, then to Site “B”, I want them to be unique, yet deliver the same overall message in a consistent manner.

Implementation of Consistency

While I’m pretty sure more ideas will come later, for now I’m working on physical consistency. To that end, I’m going to be working on several things over the coming weeks:

  • Consistent terms of service / disclaimers / privacy statements / etc. I use Auto Web Law to generate these terms, so while there may be occasions when a particular site needs a unique disclaimer, all of my sites need and use the same basic disclaimers. So now I want to get them all looking the same way.
  • Menus. While menus are theme-dependent, I want all of my sites to at least have the same basic menus in roughly the same location.
  • Themes. WordPress themes are most definitely not a “one size fits all” proposition. Nevertheless, I have decided on a very simple, very basic theme that I will be using on most (if not all) of my sites. It’s very search engine friendly and was created by somebody who knows and understands Google. If you’re interested, you can learn more by clicking here (that isn’t an affiliate link, just a recommendation for something that’s helped me. His language is more than a bit “colorful”; you’ve been warned!).
  • Color. I haven’t quite decided on how to do this one yet. My concern is that identical color schemes could make all of my sites look too much alike, which could lead to confusion as to which site my visitors are on. It’s something to play with.
  • Links. I want my sites to have a place to talk about my other sites and I want that message to be consistent across the board. So I’ve created a “Links” page that I’ll slowly deploy across my network of sites in the days and weeks to come.
  • Procedures. I want a consistent way to build out my sites to help ensure this consistency, and procedures will help me to this. It will also speed up my website development cycle and will eventually enable me to outsource the production of sites once I reach that stage in my business.
  • Google Docs. I’m doing as much of this as I can in Google Docs because it’s so darn easy to simply copy stuff from a Google document to a WordPress page. Google Docs also has a global search and replace function, which makes it easy to change every occurrence of BusinessActionSteps.com with TomBrownsword.com (or anything else for that matter).
  • Message. Perhaps the most important one of all is my overall message. I want to ensure that I say the same thing on all of my sites. I almost said something in this blog post that would have contradicted a promise I made in my last blog post — imagine trying to keep that message straight across several sites! But it’s what I signed up to do and I’m going to do it. Feel free to let me know when I miss the mark; I am grateful for those who take the time to correct me and to point out inconsistencies.

Conclusion

I think you can see why “reaching escape velocity” is on my mind so much at the moment. I want to reach escape velocity. I want to create free content that will help people while knowing that my monthly cash flow from passive income is more than enough to meet my needs (and yes, in some cases, they are “very expensive needs”, as Bob Lachman said in “For Richer or Poorer”…).

I also know that I’m not alone; many of you who are reading this are in the same situation. Understand that you have to overcome gravity and inertia before you can fly. As long as you have a solid plan, I am confident that you will get there.

I hope you’ll continue to take advantage of the information and value that I create for you. I appreciate your continued support of my business.

My “Path With A Heart”

It was 2003 (or 2004) when, like many, I ordered a copy of the late Cory Rudl’s Internet Marketing course and decided to get started on a path to a business. For several reasons — laziness, contentment with my current situation, etc. — I never really progressed to the point where I had a full time business. There were times when I’d have a four figure month, but the “whatever” was never there to sustain it.

In spite of the lack of true desire to create a full-time business, the thought has never left my mind. I continue to buy “stuff” and study it. I’d say that my knowledge is above average, in fact, due to all that “stuff”. Yet I could never pull the trigger and actually build my business to the point that I could quit my job.

Just this past week, I found an article that I want to share with you in case you are in the same situation, i.e. you simply haven’t gone full time in your business yet in spite of wanting to — and you’re not sure why. This article helped clarify a lot of things for me:

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2014/05/money-and-your-path-with-a-heart/

Put simply, I don’t want to have to have to do “stuff” for money. I want to do stuff and have the money come as an extension of that.

I love to give. I love to teach. I have lots of great stuff to teach people (i.e. how to best secure your business). But I really dislike hammering a list with promotional email after promotional email, posting a Warrior Special Offer a couple times a week (with the required product creation to go with it) to keep cash coming in, etc. I don’t think you want it and I definitely don’t want to do it.

So I’m going to take what to me seems to be a huge risk; I’m going to try the passive income route. I have a HUGE project mapped out in my head (soon to be mapped out in FreeMind). And I’m going to do it.

And I’m going to give it away.

I’ll have some affiliate offers for quality products and services and I’ll offer some services myself, including a low-cost premium version of what I’m giving away. But “price” is not going to be a barrier.

Everything I have to teach will be on that web site.

It might not be in the most optimal format and there may be ways to get it in a format that makes it easier to consume (for a price), but I’m going to give it away.

I want to connect with people.

I want to see 1,001 people with changed lives because I helped them make an extra $1,001 every month.

I want business owners to be able to focus on creating value and taking care of customers because I’ve taught them how to integrate the best possible, most cost effective form of security into their business and problems leave them alone.

Will this work? Well, I know I can create the content and deliver it. I’ll be honest; I don’t know about the rest. I’m trusting that people will see the value in what I’m doing and support it in the ways I’ve chosen.

But is it really risky? In the end, if I can’t support myself from the content, I’ll still have the content, which I can re-purpose and sell in more traditional ways. But I’m hoping I don’t have to do that.

Got an opinion or an insight about this or the article I linked to? If you do, I’d love to hear about it; please leave a comment.

What I’ve Decided To Do For Now

In a recent post, I talked about how I’m not 100% sure of what to do during my 99:59 time. I also talked about how I wanted to do something that would create value.

I think I found what I want to do, at least to get things started. It should, in the end, create great value for some people but it’s going to be a lot of work.

Pat Flynn started something he calls “Niche Site Duel” (NSD) back in 2010. He revisited the concept last year with NSD 2.0. So for now, I’m going to investigate building a NSD 2.0 site.

It’s going to take a lot of work.

First, I have to find a concept, a group of people whom I can help and serve. Then I have to build out the site and do a lot of other things.

Rather than go over them in detail here, I recommend that you check out his list of posts on Niche Site Duel 2.0. Just make sure you’re actually reading the posts for version 2.0 (not 1.0, which appear towards the bottom of the page; while some of the things he talks about in the 1.0 version are probably still valid, I think his 2.0 stuff is more relevant for today).

Also, be sure to read the posts from the bottom up since the older posts appear at the bottom.

Should you give Pat an email to join his site? I think you should. After your confirmation email, you’ll get an email that outlines the entire course. That’s a valuable email; make sure you save it. Outside of that, I’ve only received one email this year.

And two emails in 4+ months isn’t exactly what I’d call “unwanted” email.

You may not be able to access the link I inserted (above) if you’re not logged in, and of course you can’t log in if you don’t give him an email address. You can try, but no guarantees.

So here are my first steps:

1. The first three steps are to listen to interviews. Two of them are podcasts and the other is a YouTube video. I’ll listen to all three of them as I drive to and from work (I can’t stand using “office time” to listen to an audio or video).

If I hear anything that I want to remember for later, I’ll refer to the transcript of the recording to jog my memory (after the car is safely parked, of course), then write it down. I also carry a voice recorder with me in the car in case I want to take a quick voice dictation to remember something later.

I’ll also be sure to read the posts that accompany those three recordings; I think Pat decided to not pursue at least one of the strategies outlined in the interview for what I think is a good reason (i.e. the focus is on SEO tactics instead of providing value).

I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own line between white hat and black hat tactics, or even if you’re going to resort to tactics. You have to do something to get your site noticed, though, so my own project will have “tactics” of some sort.

2. Next, I’ll get into keyword research by reviewing the first post after the interviews (the fourth link from the bottom).

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to purchase the keyword tool that Pat used. On the one hand, it can save me time and potentially give me ideas I might not otherwise uncover, plus it makes sense to invest in good, affordable tools you can use in your business. On the other hand, it might be good to keep things on the cheap side, just to show that building a successful site can be done without spending a ton of money.

Of course, you’ll have to spend some money anyway in the end. There’s no way you can avoid buying a domain name and hosting, at a minimum, but hopefully you can pay for these things out of profits.

OK, let’s make the challenge a little more “challenging”, shall we? I am going to do my best to do things the free way until I can pay for tools out of revenue earned from the site itself. Some things I’m going to have to buy, i.e. I can’t get a site on the Internet if I don’t at least pay for hosting and a domain name, but I’ll do my best to avoid additional purchases until the site has earned the money. And if I have to buy something, I’ll justify it.

That will make the challenge harder, but hopefully it will show people that it can be done. There’s nothing I’d love more than to use as little money as possible out of my pocket to get this thing going.

Hey, I could also make it even harder… If I need more than $25 to get going (which should pay for a domain name and a bit of hosting), I have to earn the money somehow. I either have to sell something, advertise some Fiverr gigs, etc. That’s totally realistic in my eyes.

And if I can do it, why can’t you?

So there you have it. Feel free to “play along at home” as I start working on my own site via the 99:59 Challenge.

P.S. — Lest some of you think that this kind of stuff can only be done by “kids”, keep in mind that I’m closer to 60 years old than I am to 50 years old. That’s right: I’m an official “Baby Boomer”!

That’s part of the reason why I’m so insistent on eating properly, getting exercise, getting enough sleep, etc. If I’m not at my absolute best, I won’t be able perform at my best, which means my project(s) will be delayed — or worse, they’ll never get done and this whole thing will have been a waste of time. That’s not something I can afford.

Like many other Baby Boomers, I’m concerned that my retirement savings isn’t going to be enough to see me through all the years I plan on living. And on top of that, my wife is much younger than I and I also have to look to her future needs, not just mine. So learning how to provide value to others via the Internet is crucial to my strategy; if I can build good, quality sites now that will generate income for years to come, it’ll immensely help both of us in the years to come.

So please jump in and “play along at home”, regardless of your age. If I can do it, so can you!

Especially Baby Boomers… You all have so much wisdom and experience you can offer to others. You can help. You can make a difference in people’s lives. You can add value, and in so doing, you can create some income streams that will serve you well as you enter the best years of your life.