Future Post from the Past:

Future Post from the Past:

This was something I wrote a year ago and though it had posted. However, the scheduler didn’t work correctly. So this is counting toward my goal this month and I’m going to make minimal changes.

Originally written Nov. 26, 2018 Updated Sep. 5, 2019

You know how sometimes things come at you one after another…

Yeah… me too.

So I have been wanting to do a follow-up post on what I have learned about male infertility for months now, but I have also been busy working my behind off…

Sometimes it’s like we make ourselves busy to avoid the things we should do. The funny part is when we are avoiding that one thing it might cause us to become really productive in another area.

So for about 1-1/2 months I have really been knocking out some things that are fairly important but some of them I have managed to put off doing for years. You know the stuff that is “important not urgent”…

Possibly it will make more sense when I take the time to articulate what I am thinking…

On Another Note

For the first time in years I see a few things clearly that I was missing before. I know how I should have structured Better PC Health to grow it at a rapid rate and be able to sell it for a very high price. I think I had thought about this before but could never see clearly how to make it work.

Originally my thought was to make something that made a difference. A real impact. I had this vision of virus writers and bot handlers looking out on their maps of infection and controlled zombie PCs and seeing a huge void in the Tulsa/Oklahoma region. I would imagine them scratching their heads and wondering if people in the Midwest just didn’t have computers.

I now know the vision was and is possible but I should have designed a healthy profit and clear path for growth.

I feel like the plan I have come up with now is decently solid.

[note from 2019: this plan has changed somewhat and will be detailed in a future post]

The plan would be pretty straight forward. 

  1. Offer to partner with shops/providers on an Alpha version 2.0
  2. Charge them 1 of 3 ways either: franchise, license, or 1 time lifetime early adopter membership
  3. Use the money to take the existing system to the next level
  4. Sell franchises and continue development
  5. Or offer the whole system up for grabs as a kind of business ready to go

This plan seems so obvious now. I could do the same thing with the InfoFlow and the myriad of other products and services I have created. Each would be slightly different, but the concept is the same.

I did try something like this with the InfoFlow. I met with or spoke with the providers I could find that seemed to be in the space. I went out and talked with the end users I thought could use the thing.

I did demonstrations and installed a few, but never got much further than that.

What I have learned over the last few years is how important it is to not be the one doing everything all the time. I think that is why we can call these things failures.

[Thanks Todd for that lesson]

I’m still that guy to a much larger part than I want to admit. [Now a year later I think things have improved on this front, but I also think I have learned many new lessons about how to work with and manage other people.]

Example Time

So let’s use some real world examples here and show why always being “the guy” is a huge mistake. It isn’t scalable at all, and when I go down all systems go down, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

When I first went out to sell Better PC Health something interesting happened when I would make a sale. I would become very busy for about 3-7 days. During those 3-7 days no other sales could be made, my time was occupied by cleaning, securing, and setting up the computers I had just contracted to manage.

This sounds great except for there are few problems.

  1. I have to charge more than I designed for the system to account for lost time

For instance I could lose 3-7 weeks selling and setting up a new client. That is because the turn around on new clients was not a quick decision that someone would just jump right on. Of course there is always exceptions, but in general you can count on about 4 weeks before hearing back from someone. To speed up the process I would be in contact weekly and stop by often if I was in the area.

  1. Support calls are much higher when there are new clients

This should have likely been obvious but it wasn’t something I really had a way to plan for… see the service is designed to reduce problems and possibly eliminate service calls. But I would often spend 70% of my phone and computer support time taking care of issues that were not actually covered.

I started doing this due to ignorance on my part and often it could be easier to just take care of the problem instead of trying to explain that they needed to call a 3rd party support. This of course depends heavily on the client and the situation. However, I got to learn of new issues and things to watch for.

I had not thought this through well enough and eventually it became a burden on the system… if we can call it that … aka you can’t call me and me alone a system.

  1. When I’m Sick on Vacation or Just Want to Breath

Then what??? Even after eliminating most of the actual support calls and making the support software run smoother I still had no “out”. I was still too large to sneak away and too small to hire it out.

  1. There Can Only Be One Ring to Rule Them All

Me… Yes, when you’re the only guy showing up and the one doing the work. Suddenly you are the only one they trust to service their computers. I mean for most people computers are still a great deal of magic and mystery.

For most people they are “private”… I even read an article recently about how our brains operate differently in our hyper connected world and most of our computers and phones have become extensions of our minds. Try telling someone you are going to have someone work on their computer systems they don’t know or see…

I’m still not diving in as deeply as I could, but I think you can start to see the picture.

The Fix

Let’s talk about the first thing on my list for creating a solution and then go through why it solves nearly every issue I outlined here.

Ok, so we are starting out and call or visit every computer shop in town. This is our up-front work. We make an easy offer. This is my pitch:

“You join my program, and I will give you software and teach you how to use it to clean computers faster than you ever thought possible. You will be able to make them more secure and give your clients peace of mind while charging them monthly or quarterly or even yearly as opposed to when they occasionally bring their computer to you or call you for a service call.

“Further you will be notified preemptively of hardware issues that are detectable, network and virus issues that are detectable, and this can prompt a call or email to your client giving you business. In other words you will see before their hard drive fails that it will happen and be able to call them up and say something like, ‘Mr Client, I can see in my system that your hard drive is about to fail and lose all the data, why don’t you let me take care of that before it is a costly disaster that we both want to avoid’

“Now because you are cleaning computers faster, taking preemptive action and have a new recurring revenue stream you can support more clients and you can afford to advertise to get those new clients!

“If you don’t sign up then Computer Shack down the street will and in 1 or 2 years time they will get all of your clients and you will be closing shop because my product makes your service so much better you can’t do without it.”

Following this road problems 1-4 have just been automagically solved. Our new partners find the clients. They are already taking the support calls and should actually see a drop in calls. It’s not me. Last the clients already have built-in trust for the computer guy they have been working with for years.

The influx of money from the new partnerships can be put 100% to development, and new and long planned features can be built on top of the existing system rather quickly.

Conclusion

Now that I have typed this out I do actually like it better than when it was just rolling around in my head. It is kind of exciting to see how a plan can come together. Think about the possibilities. If current owners were not willing to partner it could be sold as franchise to people in their mid 40’s to about 55. It could be sold as a retirement vehicle like a McDonalds.

[Interesting to see this a year later. I say this has some merit.]

The Best Money Making Strategy I Ever Stole

The Best Money Making Strategy I Ever Stole

First I must clarify I do not think all the people selling a “system” or offering wealth in exchange for a small training fee are out there coning people. Some people that are making great products and services and truly changing lives exist, but this strategy won’t work against the “good ones” anyhow. It will only mop the floor with the scum of the new age. Also, on purpose, I wrote this against the grain of what we are told and even what we have learned gets more people to read… Call it an experiment.

 

For years I have been watching these guys… gurus and alike making these outrageous claims and standing in front of their Ferraris and surrounded by beautiful things. You know the ones you have seen them in many different settings they are always around claiming they can teach or train you to do the same.

Sometimes I think a few of these people are sincere in their efforts and intentions. I think a few of them could even help the budding entrepreneur or struggling business owner but what I never understood was why and how they justified charging someone that is struggling $5,000, $10,000, even upwards of $100,000 and higher.

Remember the person they are getting to pay them is often in a hard position. These people are using strong emotions and in a way praying on the weak. 

“I can help you”

“Your business won’t grow unless you invest in it”

You won’t grow unless you invest in yourself”

These gurus all have the same battle cry. They are so cookie cutter. What’s crazy is it seems right for the time. In our social media-addicted world, you can see business owners checking their Facebook more often than their workers. And everyone knows the couple, they have seen them (or been them), checking Facebook and texting on a date night (I know I’ve done it). 

What a better time could there be for someone promising quick riches, and an easy path to wealth? 

Truly the last 50-100 years have been prime time for these scum to grow. Never a better time for them to thrive and become powerful and wealthy. It begs the question, could this be the thing to do?

No!

I say in fact there has never been a better time than now for what is about to come. You may think it is social media that has ruined your life and they are easy to blame. They higher dopamine experts to manipulate our brains into spending too much time, wasting our lives, to look at a screen or focus on the unimportant minutiae. But this trend started so much further back than that… years ago Radio and Television were designed much in the same way. And a population changed…

I used to have this theory that you could track musical and fashion trends to popular drugs of the time period and others have gone on to show this same thing [1, 2, 3]. I’ve explained my theory to several people in the past but the first time I looked it up on Google I was admittedly shocked at the amount of material that had previously been written on the topic.

[But the link here is not as simple as drugs… the link is dopamine.] All of us crave it whether we know it or not. We look for our little shots of dopamine anywhere we can get them. The person checking their feed to see who liked their latest post or worried about how many retweets they got is after the same rush the addict under the bridge gets… 

Sure we can claim moral superiority based on dosage or the lack of crimes committed. But what are you sacrificing for that little rush?

I say the same thing is going on in business. People, business owners, are buying in left and right to the marketing hype. They are looking for that same dopamine rush and they are doing it such mass they are changing the market. Tons of young guns looking to make a quick buck running out and rushing in… most of them not thinking about what the true effects of what they are doing. 

I would say none of them have a true strategy for the long term. Most of them are using tactics shared in passing and designed to make a quick buck.

And this is where we can use the greatest money-making strategy to steal customers right away from these bottom feeders. It’s super simple, and something you can do ethically. After all part of the thing that will separate you from these people is how committed you are to operating ethically and how devoted you are to providing true value to your customers over marketing hype.

 So what on Earth could I mean?

Simple… take what is broken and fix it. Fix it so well that your customers and their customers could never see any need for an alternative. It’s beautiful really. Ethically stealing the idea of your competitor but through better execution, better design, and more attention to the customers’ needs you can build something that blows them out of the water. 

If you do it right people won’t even see the competition as competition at all. In their eyes, you are on such a different level than what you have vs what they have are not even in the same ballpark. They aren’t the same game.

Now you have the greatest money-making secret in the world. 

 

How to Run Your Online Marketing Like a Boss 2017 [in development]

How to Run Your Online Marketing Like a Boss 2017 [in development]

Online Marketing

Over the last several days while considering edits to make where to head next I realized something very important. This guide will not serve anyone as well as it could or should unless I make an effort to niche it down enough that it is not only simple but effective.

For this reason, I have determined this first guide will cover Online Marketing for Service-based businesses such as consultants, web builders, and marketers. In the future, I will develop more guides that will incorporate the changes needed for each industry.

The reason I have picked the industry I have is that they will see the greatest immediate impact from getting to know and understand their customers. This could also apply to some local services such as law firms, coaches, and alike. We shall see as the guide develops.

The Challenge

Your company, startup, or even personal brand needs a solid plan for marketing online. Each path leads to its own challenges and needs. I am working to design this guide in such a way that you will be able to plug in the parameters of your needs and then see the path you should follow. Until this guide is completed with that ability I will be posting everything related to online marketing in a start to finish fashion that will allow you to build your own solid plan.

Where to Start

As I develope this guide you will see major changes, but some tenets of marketing shouldn’t ever be changed. Some of these have only been learned more recently while others take on the form of almost an ancient knowledge. The first tenet you will learn is simple:

Start With The Customer

*Additionally I will be working to ensure what I write about is implemented on this blog at a minimum. Each thing I will talk about will be tested somewhere if not here. To see the latest changes check out my change log (bottom of the page for now)

Customers: Who is your Dream Client?

Understanding who your customers are or who you would like them to be is a large part of the battle. The best resource for working through this I have ever found is Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid. He has developed an entire process that will take you cleanly through understanding who it is you would like to work with, server, and overall deliver results to.

We are going to take a stunted approach to this here and simply ask a few questions:

  • Who would you love to work with?
  • What kinds of problems do they have?
  • Where do these people hang out? Where do they get their information?
  • How can you help them?

Now we need to match this to your current business. Are you working with the people who you would most like to work with? Sometimes the answer is a very hard no. Personally, I have been down this road and it begs you to ask some specific questions such as:

  • If these are not my ideal clients how long do I want to keep this up?
  • Am I making enough money that it is truly worth it?
  • Do I love what I am doing?
  • Can I do what I love while serving the “right” clients? (Hint: The answer is nearly always yes)

Next, we will look at building your customer story and how it is going to help you find your ideal clients.

Customers: Building a Customer Story

Knowing where your dream clients are is just as important as identifying them. What good is it to know you want to help veterans if you don’t know where or how to find them. I have not fully introduced the concept of the customer story yet. So let’s take a quick look and I will add more details later. This process helps alot when used properly, and I will get into more details later.

Customer stories are all about making our ideal clients as real as if they were standing in the room with us. Our brains are kind of funny in that if I asked you to tell me ‘what age range is your customer base’ you might look at me perplexed. This is normal.

To get around this problem we build an ideal client then it is easier for us to make more accurate adjustments almost like doing it backwards.

You say:

“my ideal client is a 34 year old career driven marketer that is making progress but knows they could be doing so much more. They have been in marketing for at least 10 years and understand the major changes that have happened over that time while also seeing the things that have remained the same.”

Now it is a little easier to come back and say looking at the ideal client model and say ‘my customer base age range is approx 29-50’. We arrive at that number knowing that is going to be hard for someone much younger to fit inside our 10 year model, and anyone much older might be less likely to keep up with the current trends. (If this offends you then you might fall outside of my ideal client model  😉 )

Customers: How Will You Serve Them?

It might seem strange to start with the customer. You might already be saying, “I’m serving the wrong people.” If this is the case it is time to make some changes. The reasoning is simple here.

You only have one life to life and if you plan on living it effectively that should mean doing your best work.

The key to this is that you define what your best work is. You choose each day when you say no to one thing and yes to another. This applies to whom you choose each day that you will work with as well.

So ask yourself, take some time to think on it: “How am I going to best serve my Dream Client?”

 

Customers: Where “is” Your Dream Client?

Typically we know where our clients are. However, I find it difficult sometimes and more to the point I hear from my clients a often, that they do not know where their dream client is. A better way of saying this is possibly they do not know how they can effectively communicate with their client.

This is one of the major differences in the online vs IRL, In Real Live, when you are IRL you can typically walk right up to the person you need to talk with and have a conversation. Your marketing, or rather salesmanship, in this scenario may or may not be effective, but the main point is you can literally point to and directly talk with the person you need to see.

However, when we are talking about online it is important to realize that the same person you can talk with while you are in the same room will never see your carefully planned out Facebook campaign and advertising if they do not use Facebook.

More than once in helping someone with their marketing campaign some simple questions and a little reconnaissance can go a long way.

Doing Proper Recon Work

For the purposes of moving things along I will fill this section out in more detail later, however here are some prime examples of how you can ensure your Dream Client is where you think they are.

Google/Bing/Other – The engine you use is not important and often I will use different ones in the hopes of getting different results. But you want to start out by searching for the product or service you are about to offer and see if any special groups pop up such as forums, targeted fan websites, blogs, or other interesting results that might help you find your Dream Clients faster. (example to come later) Think of things like:

Have any major news articles were published in this space? Do any peoples names keep popping up? etc

Facebook – Just the same as searching on Google only this time you are looking for Pages, Groups, and Influencers in your space. You may find a few people are posting often about your topic/niche now you should investigate. Are they posting as a potential competitor to you? Are they a fan? For the Pages and Groups which ones seem to be most active? Which has the largest following?

(use this same method for any social network such as Twitter, Linkedin, etc..)

Change Log:

These are the changes I am making to the site as a whole during the progress of writing this post.
*This log was started a little late and represents changes as of 9/23/2017

  • 9/23
  • Added push notification for updates and new posts
  • Integrate Facebook and G+ comments (testing different methods)

Learning New Things: C#, QBWebConnector, & iOS Swift

Recently I started on a project that I thought would be relatively small connecting a web app/Database to QuickBooks desktop edition. Small was not the right thought on this one. Starting out there is so much conflicting information about how to make this happen I don’t think anyone truly knows. They only seem to know what they have gotten to work for them. Beyond that, some people claim that the WebConnector will go away in the near future but I have it on good authority that it is not going away.

Info On QB Web Connector

I will post more details as I can but if you are looking to get started read the SDK for both web connector and for the QBXML/Desktop SDK. Beyond that, I am still working through my own issues, but I have found a really cool project on Git Hub and have even gone so far as to get with the developer for a deeper understanding. I’ll post more about that later.

iOS Swift

Don’t ask me why but I have avoided even looking at it since it was announced. In my mind, I had already spent the time learning Objective-C, but never put it to good use. Well, today I have decided it’s time. This is more of a side-project so I don’t expect to make a ton of progress immediately. I know I have enough other things to get done at this point.

C#

The last thing on my list to mention is C# and really Visual Studio. As a JetBrains and Python fan, I thought the transition to Visual Studio and C# would be far more painful than it has been. I’m making this switch for the QB project I am working on. Visual Studio is actually very nice and powerful while C# is similar enough to python that I was able to get rolling on things pretty quickly.

Gonna Try to Blog More Regularly Again

The iOS Swift class I signed up for recommended it and honestly I’ve been wanting to take a little time to bang out an update for a couple of months, but I never think about it when I actually can do so. Well, that is not entirely true as I have written a few drafts, but sometimes I just have to make myself post whatever I come up with for the day or I end up with a long list of drafts.

Other updates I’m behind on Minecraft videos for mrhobbeys, and tech videos for Hektechnologies because I got sick and have just gotten to the point I feel my voice is recovered enough. I plan on getting back on that horse very soon too.

I work for and with AWESOME people!

In Preparation for the Sale

To Prepare for the Sale of Better PC Health

It’s hard work to sell a business. You realized how many things you need to get together and ready for the new owners. That is what I am working on now;. Not only am I seeing the things that I have done but the plans of things to do. It’s kind of cool and a little sad.  Don’t misunderstand I have no regrets, I know for me I have other things to work on.

Other things

Coming soon to a blog and YouTube channel near you 😉

I have several irons in the fire and this all about getting irons out so I can get to the ones I really want to be working on. That is why soon I will be posting more about what is going on, and I will be producing more videos. In general, though I think I will be doing a better job of the things I work on and be able to give them more focus. In theory, this should allow me to my best work.

So in case you were wondering the sale of Better PC Health is here: https://flippa.com/7137327-betterpchealth-com

An Entire Business for Sale – Better PC Health is Up For Grabs

An Entire Business for Sale – Better PC Health is Up For Grabs

Yeah, you saw that right. Better PC Health is up for grabs. There are too many cool things about it that I am not using. The thing that drove me over the edge on it was something random that happened. I got the passing idea to call some schools and churches to see if they would be interested in a product that would lower IT costs allowing budgets more predictable.

The thing is they were very interested… Good news right?

In most cases, you call on people and get a straight, “no” or a very (seemingly kind) “maybe later”. But, the thing was they were really interested. This sounded like a great deal to them. Something I hadn’t considered but looked at later some of these schools were looking to hire IT people. It started to make sense. They need to control the budget and my product might allow them not to spend more than they need.

Now I felt great about this. I had found or seemingly found my missing market segment… However, as the days passed and I just tried to catch up on my existing work at other things I realized 2 things.

2 Things were Holding Me Back

First, I realized that inadvertently in an effort to make the money I need to survive I had moved on to other things. My baby got thrown out with the bath water at some point and I needed to do some rehab on it. My sales copy was (is) out of date. Videos I had planned on making never happened. Email autoresponders sit unfinished. The list of undone goes on.

Second, I realized that I had lost the passion that gave me an edge originally… I used to sit anxiously waiting for the newest release of tech news, the latest breakthrough, or the next big gadget. That ended years ago… Mostly around the time I got married and realized it was much more fun to hang out with someone cool like my wife.

Really along my journey, I found I liked building websites, having a hand in marketing, and ‘doing’ sales. I think I really knew that for much longer, but didn’t have the opportunities or more possibly know how to take advantage if I did.

Bottom Line

Someone is going to get a deal

With a fully working support system. live chat, built-in email system (autoresponder system), and existing customers. Someone is going to get a deal.

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