The Productivity Challenge for 2013 has begun! For the third year in a row I am hosting another productivity challenge during the spring for you to get moving forward in your online business. If you’d like to take a look at last year’s productivity challenge, it’s on my other blog at this link.
We began on April 1, 2013 and will continue throughout the entire month with this challenge. You may join us at any time; simply leave a comment to introduce yourself to the group.
What Exactly Is A Productivity Challenge?
This is where I post to my blog every day for at least 21 days in a row (for 2013 it will be a 30 day challenge) to share the thinking, activities, and tasks you need to be implementing in your life and in your business to become a successful online entrepreneur. I like to do it in the spring of the year so that you are ready to be open to new ideas and new ways of building a profitable business.
Productivity Challenge Day 1 – Today I would like for you to find three blogs on your niche topic. Make it a goal to read their posts, to leave comments, and to connect with the authors of these sites. What are they doing that is similar to what you are doing? How are they different? Learn as much as you can about these people and their sites and make some notes on what you like the most about them, as well as what does not appeal to you. We all learn by observing, implementing, and reflecting on what others are doing. This is also the beginning of connecting with colleagues with the idea of having Joint Venture partners in the future.
Productivity Challenge Day 2 – Let’s talk about delegating and outsourcing. I am able to be super productive each and every day because I no longer spend time with activities and tasks that can be best done by others. If you think about it, you’ll see that you most likely already delegate or outsource many things in your life, such as getting your hair cut, repairing your car, or having your shoes repaired. There are some things that you absolutely must handle yourself, such as going to the dentist or getting a manicure, but other things are best done by the people who specialize in that area. This is an example of how I got started with this in a major way:
- A friend of mine used to be a travel agent before her son was born. Several years ago she asked me if she could book my flights when I went to events around the country, and now she has done this for me exclusively since 2009. We bartered for this service during the first year, and since then she has been a part-time independent contractor in my business.
- I write lots of articles. Seriously, LOTS of articles! I love writing them, but submitting them to the directories was tedious for me. A family member began doing it for me for three dollars per article, and now I have two people who do this as part of their work for me as Virtual Assistants.
- When I return from out of town (I travel every few weeks for business or pleasure) I like to have a few perishable food items waiting for me. I have a wonderful lady who lives in my neighborhood who does some shopping for me the day before I return. When I walk through the door I know that fresh strawberries, ripe bananas, Greek yogurt, and a few other delicious treats await me. She also goes to the post office, drops off and picks up dry cleaning, and waters the plants for me, working about ten hours each month in total.
These are just a few examples of what other people can do for you to help you in your life and with your business. Running errands can eat up a sizable chunk of your time, so this is crucial to becoming a successful online entrepreneur.
Today I want you to choose three activities or tasks that someone else can do for you, freeing up some of your time to work on your business. Let us know what things those are and how you will handle the delegation/outsourcing right away.
Day 3 – List building is an activity you must engage in on a daily basis as an online entrepreneur. This starts with having multiple ways for people to join your list. Your hosted WordPress blog is typically the first site you set up, so make sure there is an optin box where visitors can exchange their name and email for your free giveaway.
Next, set up an optin page that caters to a specific group of prospects. This should be a stand-alone page, where visitors have only two choices; opt in or leave. You can see an example of that at my Viral Report Marketing site.
How many sites do you own and control where your prospects may join your list? I currently have almost fifty of these, but it all begins with the first one. Share one of your optin pages with us here by leaving a comment.
Productivity Challenge Day 4 – It’s wonderful to see so many readers participating in the challenge! Congratulations on making the commitment to jump start your online business with this 30 day productivity challenge.
Let’s talk about earning some income if you are just getting started. Affiliate marketing is the way many people get started, but even before you recommend other people’s products and services you can offer your own services to others. As soon as I learned how to set up WordPress sites I started doing it for a fee for people who wanted a custom site without having to pay for it. I continue to do this when someone signs up for hosting through my affiliate link. You can see how I’ve set this up by taking a look at this page.
What can you do right now that others will be willing to pay you for? Here are some ideas:
- Submit articles to the directories
- Proofread articles, blog posts, eBooks, and books for Kindle
- Set up and post to social media sites
- Create simple graphics
- Contact potential JV (joint venture) partners
- Set up interviews for Internet radio shows and podcasts
- Transcribe audio recordings
- Rewrite PLR (private label rights) content
These are just a few ideas of ways you can earn money from work that is done online; there are even more ideas for offline work. Be creative with your thinking and see what you come up with. Much of the work I am describing here falls under the heading of being a Virtual Assistant; you may end up loving it and decide to continue doing it on a part-time basis as you build your business.
Please share how you are earning some money on the Internet right now while you are learning to become a full time online entrepreneur.
Day 5 – Continuing education is crucial to success, and every profession requires it. As an entrepreneur, take it upon yourself to be an ongoing learner. Reading is the best place to get started with your business education, and I have created a Productivity Reading List to share which books I am reading. I read physical books and books on my Kindle, and listen to audio books while walking, driving, or flying.
You will also want to frequent your local public library to find books and audio books, as I describe in greater detail in this post on online marketing research.
You will also want to participate in online trainings such as this one, attend live events, and work with a Mentor to further your business continuing education.
Be willing to devote thirty minutes each day to reading and learning. Please leave a comment to share your favorite business books and other ways of learning more about becoming an online entrepreneur.
Day 6 – We’ve been discussing many things that are crucial to your online success, but today we need to get back to the basics of what you must have in place if you are going to earn money as an entrepreneur.
The very first thing is your hosted, WordPress site. This is your ‘home on the internet’ where others can find out who you are, what you do, and how you may serve them.
On Day 4, above, I explained how I do this at no cost to you, so if you still do not have a site you own and control you must stop what you’re doing and get that set up. A site on Blogger or Weebly is not a site you own, so take that into consideration if you want to build a profitable business for yourself.
Day 7 – Before we go any further, I’d like for you to log in to the autoresponder service you are using and get to know it better. I use both Aweber (get started for only $1) and Kick Start Cart (it’s a licensed version of 1 Shopping Cart) to send my autoresponder and broadcast emails. I use both systems so that I am able to have greater control over my business, but you do not need to do this during your first year or so online. I also pay for an advanced tool to allow me to do things with my list that make it much easier for me to segregate separate lists and to change subscribers from one list to another, features that are typically only found in much more expensive systems.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend that you use Aweber to set up your first, or next, autoresponder sequence. Spend some time today clicking on everything in the tool bar. This is how you get to know just what is available and how powerful this software is when it comes to building a profitable online business.
Refuse to allow yourself to get caught up in the details of which service is best or how much it will cost each month (I pay by the year to save even more money). If you could spend a hundred dollars to earn ten thousand dollars, would you be worrying about how to save an additional twenty dollars? Of course not! That’s referred to by entrepreneurs and small business owners as ‘majoring in the minors’, which means getting bogged down in the details and minutiae. Rise above that and move profitably forward.
If you already have a site, tell us where it is so we can take a look. Tomorrow we’ll be talking about your free giveaway, so if you already have one set up opt into your list again and see what it’s like for your prospects to do the same. Read over your free giveaway to see how you may want to change it.
Productivity Challenge Day 8 – Today we want to focus on the free giveaway you are offering in exchange for someone giving you their name and email to join your list. Long gone are the days when we would opt in to someone’s list just to receive a newsletter or updates. Instead, we all want to receive something so irresistible we just can’t say no!
The most popular way to compel new prospects to join your list is to offer them a short report on the exact topic they are looking for. This may take you some time to figure out, but once you do then it is just a matter of time before your list grows quickly.
You will also use the same short report as a free giveaway to your social media community, to add to a membership site, and to send as a free gift to the people already on your list. The idea is to repurpose your content over and over again, getting your name out in a big way and building your credibility. Learning how to write and share this reports will change your business forever. I have an excellent training on How to Write Short Reports, and you may pick it up for only $17 by using the coupon code profit. That’s a twenty dollar discount.
I write at least two new short reports each month. Today I’m writing one that Marlon Sanders will be using as a bonus for his new product. When the word gets out that you are able to write short reports on your topic, you will be in high demand.
Another way to repurpose your short reports is to turn them into books for Kindle.
For the purposes of your free giveaway, these reports need only be abut five to seven pages long.
Day 9 – ‘What’s For Sale?’ Today let’s discuss making money online. The question you must ask yourself each day is ‘What do I have available for sale on the Internet?’ This means that in order to make money while you sleep, which I do every day, you must have opportunities available for people to find you, click on your links and make a purchase.
If I sat in front of my computer today, credit card or PayPal info in hand, how could I make purchases of your own products or affiliate products where you would earn money? I currently have at least five thousand opportunities available, and I continue to add more each day.
May a list of every place you can think of where there are links that belong to you. Start with your blog and see what number you can come up with. This is what I explain in the Special Report I just created for Marlon Sanders’ new WP Leads and Sales Dashboard.
Share your thoughts with us here so that we can discuss it further.
Day 10 – RECAP
Let’s take a look at where we are on this tenth day of the challenge:
- You have a hosted WordPress blog on your niche topic
- This site has an optin box, where visitors may sign up on your list to receive your free giveaway
- You are reading three other blogs on your topic and making comments where appropriate
- You have identified three tasks that can be delegated or outsourced to others, freeing up some additional time for you to work on your business
- You have purchased another domain name and set up an additional opt in page
- You are offering a service to others to earn some additional income
- You are spending thirty minutes each day reading books on business, success, and entrepreneurship
- Your initial autoresponder sequence is in place for when someone opts in to your list
- Your free giveaway is a compelling one
- You know exactly what you have for sale, of your own or through affiliate links
- Your thank you pages offer new subscribers an additional product or course
Thank you pages are the topic for today. Opt in to your own list and see where you are taken. This should be a thank you page that you or your tech person has created, specifically for your offer of a free report or other giveaway.
This is a simple thank you page I had created:
Can you see what I have added to it? This is someone else’s eBook, through my affiliate link. Small changes like this will increase your bottom line exponentially.
Day 11 – Your autoresponder messages are an important, yet often overlooked, part of your online business. Today I would like for you to write three additional email messages to add to your autoresponder sequence after people have received your initial welcome email. This is what I am suggesting:
Day 1 – They receive a welcome email from you, thanking them for subscribing and requesting your free giveaway. Include a link to where they may access the giveaway, even if you have already given it to them on the thank you page. You most likely have already written this email message.
Day 2 – Include some information about yourself, in relation to your niche topic. This is where storytelling comes into play, and it is very powerful. No one has dropped out of the sky, so be willing to share a little more about yourself with your prospects. Include a link to one of your blog posts so they will a) know you are blogging regularly and b) see what else you have to offer on your blog in the way of content, products, affiliate offers, and more.
Day 3 – Include information on how they can further engage with you, such as on social media, with a teleseminar (I always have http://AskConnieAnything.com ready), or with an eCourse or upcoming training. This may be yours or an affiliate offer.
Day 4 – Send them an offer – either to one of your products or to an affiliate site. The offer must be relevant to why they joined your list in the first place. Include a link to the page you are sending them to three times throughout the email. This works!
Writing autoresponder messages may seem tedious to write and prepare, but they are gold when it comes to building your business as an online entrepreneur.
Day 12 – Let’s discuss what to include on your ‘About’ page on your site(s). This is a separate page you add to your site. There is no right or wrong way to approach this, and you may take a look at mine at Huge Profits Tiny List and here on this blog to get some ideas. How are these two pages different? How are they similar?
Include the link to your ‘About’ page so we may get to know you better and give you some feedback. I’d like to know what you think about mine as well.
Day 13 – Allow your prospects the opportunity to hear your voice! Today I’m going to challenge you to host a fifteen minute teleseminar on your topic and to invite everyone you know to attend.
I can recall just how frightened I was when I first did this in 2007, but I also remember how it made me feel while I was on the call discussing my topic with others. For an eighteen month period I hosted a free teleseminar each Wednesday at 6 pm EST. Even though the call was free to my subscribers, I earned money each week by recommending my own and affiliate products. Even now I continue host two ‘open’ calls each month. You can get a better idea of what I do on my teleseminars by going to Ask Connie Anything
I continue to use the Instant Teleseminar service for this, and you can get started with a 10 day trial for only $1 to see how it works. You may have noticed that all successful entrepreneurs use teleseminars to communicate with their community on a regular basis, and that’s because allowing people to hear your voice works extremely well in building relationships.
Let us know when and where your teleseminar will be so we may join you.
Day 14 – Today is all about the relationships you have been building with people in your niche and in niches that are complimentary to yours. How do you start the process of building a relationship with a successful entrepreneur? Here are some ways to get started:
- When you purchase something, send a card to thank them; put in a support ticket telling them why their product was beneficial to you; give them a testimonial
- Write a product review on your blog; make a short video that explains what you liked best
- Join their affiliate program and tell others about their product
- Connect with them on social media and thank them publicly
- Attend a live event where they will be speaking or attending
I started doing this several years ago without even thinking about it and now it’s just a part of how I do business. Some of the people I have connected with in this way include Dennis Becker, David Perdew, Marlon Sanders, Ryan Deiss, Armand Morin, Jason Fladlien, Wilson Mattos, and Ray Edwards.
Who will you be connecting with to build a relationship for your online business?
Productivity Challenge Day 15 – Congratulations on making it to the halfway point! Less than 10% of the people who started on Day 1 will make it this far, so no matter when you join us in the challenge you are now in the top 5-10% for entrepreneurial productivity if you’re working through the training each day. That’s why I’ve always said that there is very little competition on the Internet; most people give up, make excuses, or find something else to occupy their mind. If you’re still moving forward you have an excellent chance fir great success.
Today we’re going to outline an idea for a new product. Spend about an hour on this and let us know what you’ve come up with. Purchase a domain name for it through my discounted affiliate link at GoDaddy and get your ideas down on paper. My new product will be on how to learn to be a virtual assistant. I bought the domain name, have made some notes, and will have it ready to go as a live course within the next 30 days. Speed of implementation is crucial to success.
Make sure that a membership site is part of your new product. Geoff Hoff and Paul Taubman are starting a new course on setting up membership sites that I highly recommend. This will ensure that your new product brings you residual income so that you work once and get paid over and over again.
What’s your new product? How will it serve your target market?
Day 16 – Today we are revisiting the Day 13 tip on hosting your own teleseminars.
Let’s talk about the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. It’s not your WordPress site, your list, your products, or even your relationships. No, it’s something even closer to you every moment of the day – your voice!
The power of the spoken word is how you will connect with people all over the world, most of whom you will never meet in person. I started hosting my own teleseminars in 2007, and soon after began interviewing others this way. The technology is simple – everyone can use a phone! You can record your calls and use them as products, to recommend affiliate products, as podcasts, and as a way to try out new ideas with your audience. I have used the Instant Teleseminar service since it came out in 2007, and was in a Mastermind with its creator, Rick Raddatz, for a while. Sign up for a 21 day trial for one dollar, and invite us to your 15 minute call!
After you have recorded your talk, have it transcribed into a short report. This can be used as a free giveaway, a bonus for one of your own or for someone else’s product, or as a stand alone product. The combination of audio and written content is a winner!
Day 17 – Today is all about connecting with other like-minded people. The easiest way to do this while working from home as an online entrepreneur is to join a paid forum. I am a member of three forums, and the one I’m recommending here is the Earn 1K a Day forum, created by Dennis Becker.
Introduce yourself first, and then take a look at the thread entitled ‘Breakthrough Challenges’. Also, connect with me there and I’ll introduce you around. This is where you’ll find JV partners, have access to valuable trainings and downloads, and be able to ask questions on anything and everything you’re working on. Some of my biggest goals have been met due to the relationships and information I have access to here.
Day 18 – It’s back to reading today with books from the Productivity Challenge Reading List. I highly recommend reading each day for thirty minutes, and this would include books on your niche topic, books on business, marketing, success, leadership, time management and productivity, and anything else that inspires you to achieve your goals as an online entrepreneur.
I stopped reading fiction when I came online and got serious about building a profitable business. Now I will occasionally read a mystery or novel, but I have come to love the education I receive by reading books from experts in my field of online marketing and business.
Reading enriches your life in many ways, and as a former classroom teacher you would expect for me to feel this way. Share just one of your favorite books with us here, and I will add some of them to the Reading List.
Day 19 – Show me the money! This is what most of us are looking forward to when we make the decision to come online and build a business. I’ll never forget how I felt in April of 2006 when I found out I had earned $21.60 in affiliate commission from the sale of an eBook through Clickbank. I jumped up and down and danced around, knowing that if I could make this happen once, I could do it over and over again.
Sure enough, I have continued to earn money as an affiliate marketer, and that income stream continues to bring me about half of my overall income. In addition to the cash I earn, there are also many prizes to be one. I’ve now won fourteen iPads, and just last month I won two iPad Minis over the course of just one weekend.
I do teach this several times a year, but for now I’d like for you to pick up my $7 Special Report, called Affiliate Contest Secrets. This is excellent if you are just starting out, as it includes the exact emails I send, the strategies I use, and the system you can put into place to start earning your own commissions and prizes. It’s 60 pages long and gives you a detailed, step by step plan to move forward right away. If you already own it, go back and read it again, word for word.
One free tool that makes affiliate marketing much easier is the Pretty Link plugin. There is also a paid version, but start out with the free one (called Pretty Link Lite) for the first six months.
What questions may I answer for you on the topic of affiliate marketing tips and tricks?
Day 20 – Are you ready for your close up? Create a short video and upload it to YouTube. Use OneTrueMedia.com or Animoto.com to get started, have a friend record you with a Flip or other simple camera, or record a screen capture with you doing the voice over. Videos are easier than ever before, it’s fun to create them, and people will be able to find you easily by the keywords you use. Leave a comment here to give us the link to the video you create. Take a look at my YouTube channel and also be sure to subscribe to get updates so you may have a better idea of how I’m incorporating videos into my online marketing strategy. Share the name of your channel here so we may subscribe.
Day 21 – Today I’d like for you to reach out to three people who are successful in your niche. These should be people you have been following for six months or longer, ones you have purchased from, and also people you’d like to do a JV (joint venture) with in the future. Make every effort to contact them through their support desk, via email, on social media, or on the phone. Express your appreciation for what you have learned from them so far, and ask them how you may be of service to them with something they are currently working on.
I know this is not as easy thing for me to ask you to do, but remember that I never ask my students to do anything I would not do myself. When I was first asked by my Mentor to do this in 2008 I felt like there was no one in the world who would be interested in working with me in a JV relationship. I contacted about fifteen people, about half of them responded within a week or so, and withing a year I had done JVs with four of them! I then saw that if I had the confidence to reach out to successful people and start a relationship with them, anything was possible. Let us know what happens.
Day 22 – Are you increasing your visibility online? The best way to measure this is to ‘Google’ yourself. Go over to Google and type in your name in quotation marks (mine is “connie ragen green”). Print out the first page or two and keep it in a folder. You want to note which of your sites is listed first as the most important for your name (in Google’s humble opinion).
Over time this number will grow exponentially if you are spending some time each day in getting your name and information out to the world. Some excellent ways to help this along include blogging; article marketing; setting up additional opt in pages; creating products; writing and publishing eBooks, Special Reports, and books for Kindle; through social media; and with teleseminars and interviews.
Another important reason to do this is to see exactly what people will find when they do a search for your name. I was recently on a call with a top marketer and I innocently asked him about his new book on Amazon. I had found out about this in my search, and it turned out someone had copied his work and published it under his name. Within a few minutes he had contacted Amazon to begin the process of having the book removed, but he may not have become aware of this for quite some time if it had not been for my Google search of his name.
‘Google’ my name to get an idea of how this works, and then do it with your name so you can print it out for your files.
Day 23 – Most of the successful people working today on the Internet got their start with affiliate marketing. By recommending what you love to others, you serve them by sharing what works for you while also earning some income.
So, where do you find products to promote through an affiliate link? Start with what you have been purchasing for your own needs. You can become my affiliate at Affiliate Links and Tools. I also recommend purchasing a membership to the NAMS online forum and membership site, as well as Dennis Becker’s Five Bucks a Day book and audios. By doing what I am suggesting here you will have an inventory of more than fifty products to begin recommending to others.
What questions do you have as you get started with affiliate marketing?
Day 24 – Today is a ‘social media’ day. Change your profile on Twitter to reflect the new site you set up during the first week of this challenge. Send a tweet announcing your new site, and ask people to take a look. Do the same thing on LinkedIn. Better yet, connect your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts so that you can write it once and post to both. Then go over to Facebook, make sure you and I are friends, and tell me about your new site on my wall. Mention the Productivity Challenge so I know who you are and what you are referring to. Now go over to your YouTube Channel and edit your profile. Your final stop will be at Google+ to see what you need to add to your profile on that site.
Productivity Challenge Day 25 – Is all of your data backed up? I woke up this morning ready to join a 7 am webinar, write a new blog post, and work on my next book, only to find that there had been a major Windows update during the night that changed everything on my computer. My hard drive was wiped clean, and all of my files were missing. After closing my eyes to keep from hyperventilating, I calmed myself down to see if I could reverse what had happened during the update.
Once I realized that all of my files were backed up in Dropbox, I felt much better and was able to get my computer back to where it had been before the automatic update. Now you can’t even tell what happened. Get a free account at Dropbox so everything you’re working on will be safe and sound, and accessible from anywhere in the world. Whether I’m on vacation in Costa Rica, visiting family in Finland, or even at a friend’s house across town, my files, photos, and other documents are available to me instantly.
If you’re going to run an online empire, make sure you are not dependent upon a specific computer to do what is needed each day. Instead, strive to have everything web-based and accessible from any computer that you happen to be using.
Day 26 – Google Hangouts are relatively new and cutting edge. I was recently asked to be a panel member on Jason Fladlien’s Tube Method Hangout, and during this training we all shared how we could use this technology in our business. My ideas ranged from being to create book trailers for my Amazon books to coaching ‘hot seats’ and technology training.
I would encourage you to give this a try. My two minute Hangout recording is here. Let us know when you record your first Hangout, whether it’s by yourself or with others.
Day 27 – Let’s get back to some basics today. Take a look at your blog to make sure it is welcoming to your visitors. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I posting original, relevant content twice each week?
- Do I have categories that make sense for my topic?
- Is my ‘About’ page current?
- Is there a picture of me on my site?
- Am I promoting more than teaching?
- Do I encourage visitors to leave comments?
- Is there a way for visitors to join my list?
What questions do you have about using your blog to connect with your prospects as you build your online business?
Day 28 – Make sure you have all of your legal forms in place. One lawsuit can put you out of business and destroy your financial life. Most of us don’t give any thought to this, and the truth is that it is quite easy and inexpensive to make sure we have everything we need. I have used a company called Auto Web Law for several years now. It was first recommended by people in my Mastermind, and now all of my high level coaching clients use it as well. This is an important part of doing business as an online entrepreneur.
Day 29 – Make the conscious decision to turn yourself into a writer. This single skill has changed my life completely. When I came online in 2006 I had not written anything for the past twenty-five years. I quickly saw that writing would be a huge part of my success as an online entrepreneur, so I began to write every day, even if it was only a paragraph or two. A year later, during the spring of 2007, I challenged myself to write a hundred articles in one hundred days. It ended up only taking me 78 days, and I had turned myself into a writer during that time. Now I write every single day, enabling me to have an online empire of information products, blogs, short reports, books, and more. You can do the same exact thing, and know that your writing will also improve over time.
Day 30 – We have come to the final day in our 30 Day Productivity Challenge. Are you further ahead in your business than you were a month ago? Was it difficult to remember to visit my site each day during this time? Did you notice that I shared a combination of tactics and strategy with you? These are the questions to ask yourself as you move forward as an online entrepreneur.
Commit to becoming a lifelong learner and reap the rewards this will bring. We are involved in an industry that will be dynamic forever, so we must learn as much as we can to remain cutting edge in our niche. Have fun with this process and you’ll never work another day in your life.
I would love to meet you in person at a live event. My own event, Weekend Marketer Live, will be in October of 2013 in Las Vegas. Between now and then I will be attending several events, Including Dennis Becker’s Earn 1K a Day event in Las Vegas in July, and NAMS in August in Atlanta. I hope to see you there!
Please leave a comment if you will be joining us this year, and share a little about yourself, your business and your goals. You may begin the challenge at any time. Our Productivity Challenge teleseminar was very helpful to all who attended live. The replay is now available here.