It’s the goal of every business to grow and expand and to increase their bottom line – cash flow – but what happens when you go big, will your business cope?
The scenario plays out so many times in so many industries. A once amazing business known for its customer service or product quality soon gets so popular they are struggling to keep up with demand. The struggles bring about poor quality, missed opportunities and sometimes negative press and complaints.
act like a big business from the start
When starting my business, I was once told to act like a big business from the start. By this they meant have processes in place for everything, action plans and a solid business plan and outlook. I knew what I wanted to achieve and to this day, I still aim for the same key goals.
Starting and running a business without a plan for when things do go big, and your brand can be called a success, is like running a 10km marathon when you struggle to walk briskly. You need to be prepared. There must be a plan set in place for when things get busier. Will you put on more staff, will you limit your intake of work, is there an option to franchise or open other locations for your brand?
Go Big or Go Home
In the end, the goal is to run a successful and profitable business, right? I will add to this. Not only do you want it to be profitable, I believe you also need it to be healthy.
By this, I refer to the coping mechanisms built into the business structure. What happens when work load increases, is there extra staff on call, do you have the raw materials to increase production and most importantly, is your staff and management happy? Happiness is a huge factor these days when running a business.
The most successful business owners and entrepreneurs enjoy what they do. This can be tricky, depending on the business. Many business owners like to keep a finger in every pie so they know the ins and outs of daily business. Others prefer a manager that reports to them with updates on business progress, problems and news. Your individual traits can affect which scenario works best for your situation.
It Starts at the Top
Happiness flows from the top, just like a waterfall. If management are happy, there is a good chance they will endeavour to ensure the employees are also happy. Happy, or satisfied employees will be more productive, and in turn will affect the bottom line of the business through quality work, customer service or loyalty – maybe all three.
To be happy at the top, you need to feel like you are in control. The best way to be in control of your business is to recognise where it is currently, where it is heading and what hurdles could be expected along the way. An action plan, strategy or business plan with key indicators of goals and milestones will help with this.
Don’t Kill your Brand Before It Blooms
Most importantly, make sure your brand has a game plan. When things do get busier, don’t let what made your business the success it is today wither away. Strengthen it through smart staffing, better processes and goal setting.
I am sure we can all think about a business that was once great and now is just another brand. When it comes to the success of your business, sure it could be all about the money, but that won’t last if you ignore the important factors like production and staff growth, project acquisition limits and happiness throughout the brand.
I hope my two cents has inspired you to go back and look at your brand and see where it can improve and think about what makes it successful, is it the people, your processes, or the product?
As always, we’d love for you to come back and read more about business building and branding. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, read our eBook, or check out the blog. Our focus is on creating a better searchable online presence for brands, as well as improving key sales factors like call to actions, accessibility and streamlined background processes.
It has been a while since my last update to this category and a lot has happened with both the business and our family life since my previous post.
The Princess Factor
As many of you may know from either dealing with us or previous blog posts and newsletters, we had an addition to team awesome at the end of October. Our beautiful daughter Mia Jay Walter was born on October 30th and didn’t she rock our world.
Once again I was able to do the delivery alongside the hospital staff, although unlike Veyron who introduced him self to the world slowly and with a Superman pose, Mia was out in to this world faster than a champagne cork! (excuse the comparison). We reached Maitland Hospital at 5pm, and she was out by 5.50pm! After an overnight stay in Maitland’s maternity ward, both Mum and bub were home.
Arriving a week earlier than expected pushed the business schedule out the window and we had some very accommodating clients who rearranged appointments and deadlines. Thank you to everyone who did this, as well as those that sent their best wishes, congratulations and gifts.
Back to reality now and business has been steadily growing with a nice growth of projects bringing us towards the end of 2016. With the new year so close, we have been thinking a lot about personal and business goals for 2017. Have you been doing the same?
2017 approaches with a new page for our book
Our business, Xmedia Digital Solutions, has adapted over the years (since 2009) to accommodate the needs of small and medium business owners, changing from a tech support business to introducing our web services. As the years have passed, many websites later, we find ourselves now engaging in more web marketing than ever before.
For a business, it is essential to have a web presence. Whether it be by having a website, a simple landing page, or being listed on Google maps and local listings. There are some great websites out there, and I believe a few of them we have contributed to, although I cannot stress enough the importance of marketing your website correctly to get the most out of it. Paying annual hosting and domain name costs for something that is not helping your bottom line is a terrible investment in anyone’s eyes, but what to do?
We have spent the last few months at Xmedia Digital Solutions researching what works best in terms of digital marketing and return on investment. With that said, we now have total package solutions to help get both traffic for your website, and a presence for your brand on page 1 of Google search results.
Using smart text and banner advertising through Google search and display, as well as social media, we can create that much needed web traffic websites need. Combining this with targeted landing pages free of distractions but full of call to action buttons and forms, we convert that traffic into enquiries and sales for your business.
SEO is a term meaning Search Engine Optimisation, which is being thrown around a lot by digital marketing agencies. All I can advise you is to do your homework before engaging in any SEO campaign. Not sure what SEO is? Check out this page.
SEO can be difficult to monitor as it can take time to build up a web presence that raises your position in Google search results. When we offer an SEO package, we tailor the solution to suit the brand and industry. What do we mean by this? If your target audience is the town you are in and surrounding suburbs, a local SEO campaign comprising of local listings, location specific keywords and link building is what will work best. If you are targeting a much larger area, a different link building solution will help.
Google has always loved great content, and this is our focus when building links and trust for your brand online. We create guest posts, blog articles and high quality links in well written English (US and Australian writers) that are on favourable sites. We also don’t saturate your anchor text with primary keywords that can lead to search console penalties.
SEO can be expensive, so we are as transparent as we can be, listing everything we will do for that campaign, and the outcomes we hope to achieve. Does your SEO company offer this?
So for 2017, we have a new SEO tool coming alive that will help those who understand SEO and want to control a lot of it themselves. More about this soon! For others that need SEO done for them so they can focus on what they do best, our SEO packages are getting better every month. Be sure to get a new quote from us, even if just to use for comparison with others. Better still, send me your quotes from other agencies, and I will tell you what is good and bad about it, and what it would cost for us to do it. I guarantee we will beat almost every quote for the same service or better!
Personally, my 2017 goals include more weekend adventures to some great Australian and New Zealand destinations, as well as conquering a desire from my younger years to learn to fly. Hopefully you’ll see Xmedia Digital Solutions flying around sooner than you think, although in the likes of a Cessna rather than a Learjet!
image: Cessna Citation III – photo by D. Ramey Logan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_Citation_III)
So, both in business and personal goals, I want to make things fly. Planes and page ranking for my clients. If you already fly, I’d love to get your hot tips, as I am sure any advice and recommendations would be helpful before I get behind the controls. If you want to learn how your business can get found online, get in touch with us to talk more about SEO and digital marketing. It’s a cost effective solution with measurable results unlike other advertising, and you can adjust your marketing spend between SEO work and advertising campaigns. When it comes to a return on investment, you can’t go past it.
To all our clients, readers of this blog, future clients, friends and family, we’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and best wishes for an amazing 2017! Let’s make it great together!
Ronnie (Veyron) and David in the office. Obvisouly Ronnie is doing more with two keyboards!
Do you travel a lot? Whether its a quick weekend escape, or a trek around the globe, a journal of your adventures is a great way to share your travel highlights, keep in touch with friends and savor your memories.
Free isn’t always free.
A good place to start for many travel adventurers is WordPress.com and Tumblr. Two microblogging websites that provide free blog space for you to start filling up. This is a great start if you don’t want the hassle of monthly or yearly payments, and just want some space online to share your travel blog.
Just remember there are limitations including size of content and layout, links you add and the simplicity of expanding your website.
Many of our friends and family have created a space online only to discover they want to utilise it more, create even more content, or perhaps even moneytise their efforts. In this case, we recommend a self hosted blog rather than your free WordPress or Tumblr options.
The benefits of a Self Hosted Website from Xmedia Digital Solutions.
We set up the hosting on your own domain, or a free subdomain.
We install WordPress ready for you to start blogging.
You have access to email accounts to match your domain name.
WordPress is super flexible and expandable.
We can add Global CDN to make access in different parts of the world easier.
You can post by email to your new WordPress blog.
If the future needs a bigger website, you have options. Think SEO, Landing Pages, Affiliate Links and more.
Video and Images look great on WordPress, and there is an image editor built in.
Costs start as low as $15/month, depending on what extra features you want setup.
We are great to deal with, and you have 24×7 email support.
So think long term before you setup your travel blog for your next adventure.
Have you already got a WordPress.com blog site? We can discuss options to transfer it to a new self hosted site.
Expand your horizons today with a self hosted WordPress travel blog from Xmedia Digital Solutions.
Hey guys and girls. It has definitely been a while since my last post, and there has been a reason for that….. I’ve been super busy!
I am sure you all know the feeling, especially those small business owners out there, you get all caught up doing work for clients and family and next minute, you realise you have run out of time to pay attention to your own business. Shock horror, how did this happen?!
Easy, you set priorities. For me, its simple. When it comes to my family and the clients that are helping my business grow, I know they get my attention first. Anything I get to do later for my business in terms of online marketing, lead building and networking is a bonus.
This is why I believe it is important to have systems in place that keep running even when you cannot pay them attention. Online ad campaigns are great for this, as well as squeeze pages and scheduled social media posts. Do you use automation and processes to keep your business running even when you feel like you have come to a stop?
What has happened?
In the last few months, I have spent a lot of time with a few new clients that have increased their online marketing spends and campaigns to reach more people, and the time needed for research and campaign building can be quite large. I have also been busy organising the house and our routines with my beautiful princess for our new bub due in November. Super excited! My 1 year old and 13 year old are showing signs of excitement, especially now with the baby bump really showing.
As for the business, we have had our best month in June taking on a host of new clients and campaigns, as well as creating some really nice websites. To top it off, the amount of quotes I am doing is growing, especially since launching our new landing pages. Check out the new sites at www.xmediads.rocks and let me know what you think. I have kept the pages simple, with minimal distractions. Would love your feedback, and thank you to everyone who has commented to me so far. Love your positive words!
What to expect…
So with my business growing up into the star I knew it was destined to be, as well as my family about to welcome a new member, you can expect me to be working my butt off. I have been super lucky to have my partner for life and princess Brydie by my side, and she keeps me heading in the right direction and motivated. With her new ventures taking off as well with herbalenergy.com.au and Herbalife, we are focusing on lifestyle changes and the big picture.
For us, the big picture has always been about making our careers streamline with our family and social life, whilst still allowing us the freedom of time and travel. It has taken a while to get to this point, but finally we are starting to notice the changes. No longer are we tied to set work hours during set times, or having to work out of the one location. Both our businesses allow more of a laptop lifestyle. The more time we put in, the more we get out of it. Does this mean we are tied to our electronic devices? Well, sometimes, but we are in the freedom of our own time and adventures. I could be blogging or creating an ad campaign sitting in a cafe in beautiful Newcastle, or closer to home at one of the beautiful Hunter valley vineyards or cellar door eateries.
My love is sharing what I do, how I do it, and how I can help you with your online marketing adventures, so I guess you can expect more helpful posts on here, as well as across our Facebook pages and social media presence. I make a habit of keeping my business pages personal and not all about business. I’m real, my business is real, and I want my social media pages to come across that way.
What to do next..
If you are reading this, you either are interested in what I have to say, or intrigued to see where this is leading to. Well, either way, it leads right back to this blog. Be sure to bookmark my page and check out my latest articles. The next few will be about using online marketing tools like UnBounce and AdRoll to create better sales funnels, automated lead generators and how to create an online audience interested in your brand. Sound good? Stay tuned. Same bat channel. But probably a different bat time. Dave out.
You are probably wondering what running a home office and being ready for a zombie apocalypse have in common? Read on and I will explain it.
When it comes to creating a successful home office, it takes a lot of separation, motivation and goal setting. I run my business from a home office, as previous posts have explained, it works best with my type of work, office times and family life. I wouldn’t change it for the world but it was never going to be easy.
To make my office life successful, there had to be a degree of separation. Separation from family interaction, online distractions and noise. To do this, I created an office from an unused bedroom space. It has a door I can keep closed, a window that opens to a nice view and a work space that inspires motivation. Motivation is a biggie too, especially if you are also running your own business.
When you work for an employee, you have your tasks to do, and also someone to answer to whether you get them done or not. When you work for yourself, well, sometimes it is easy to relax a bit too much. Of course there is benefits of working for yourself, but relaxing on project deadlines and scheduling cannot be one of them.
This is where goal setting comes into it. My business takes on projects as well as regular work. The projects consist of website design and development and advertising design. The regular work consists mainly of social media content creation and scheduling, checking brand reputations and advertising progress. There are lots of reports to look through, especially for traffic analytics, SEO and online advertising campaigns.
I find it best to treat every week like a new journey. An itinerary works best in this case.
Create a list of projects, meetings and deadlines, as well as calendar appointments for new goals. We can then schedule this in to time and day order on our itinerary. This is a great place to start when planning the week. Of course, there is not a week that goes by where I do not amend or add to this list.
Scheduling time is super important, especially in a home business, or internet business, as we don’t always work the usual business hours. I find what works for me is 3 main zones in the day. I wake up at 5am to get in 2-3 hours of solid work. I try not to look at my emails at this time either as it creates that D word – DISTRACTION. This goes for Facebook too!
I then take a break to spend the morning with my boys and my princess. Having brekky together and getting my boys organised for the day. This also makes me eat properly, another thing that you can lose track of when working from home.
I then get back into the day from around 10am through to about 3pm. This is where I usually have to deal with school pick up and other family commitments. Now depending on the day, and how much I got into those 7-8 hours, as well as project deadlines and workload, I then decide whether I need to add the extra hours in the evening. If I do, then I usually do this after dinner and when my boys go to bed. This gives me a few good hours in silence to finish work off or prepare for the next morning.
Motivation for me comes from wanting to keep my lifestyle I have created, as well as the need to build up the bank balance. Of course, this is not something to think about during work times, so to distract my thoughts I use music. I usually either have Spotify or iTunes streaming on my workstation. I have three computers in the office – PC Server, 27 inch iMac and Alienware 17 inch laptop. They each have their duties, and for this task, I utilise the extra computing power my server has in reserve to play music in the background. I can then use my laptop for my workload.
The early morning starts were hard at first while my body adjusted to the crazy hour to wake up at, but now after several months of doing so, I find I wake up without an alarm.
As I usually have two boys and my princess asleep, I try to be super quiet when getting up and ready for my day. This is where Zombie Apocalypse training comes in to it.
Our bedrooms are on one end of the house, at the end of a long hallway. To tackle this battlezone of noises, I use the following tactics: socks and stealthy ninja moves. Having just woken up, this is sometimes harder than it sounds, trust me!
I might also mention at this point my rabbit training of eating lots of carrots and not turning on the lights. To coincide with my stealthy ninja moves, I usually try to keep all the lights off. This just makes navigating that little more difficult, but I love the challenge. My thinking is that this is good training for my eyes and other sensory devices.
Now I’ve got to the right end of the hallway it is time to get the blood ready. My blood that is. It craves caffeine!
The kitchen presents it’s own battleground with so many things to knock, bang or drop. Some mornings just turn to chaos. I will admit it, sometimes I haven’t even braved the kitchen till after the boys wake up.
The biggest killer is noise. The amount of doors that need to be opened and closed and lights needing to be on but only after doors are closed, and then ensuring the noise of my computer cooling fans is the loudest thing in the room. All I can say is lucky that my morning ninja training has paid off. My family often don’t even realise I have been up for so many hours.
Now when it comes to working for long periods in my office, I find it best to set the room temperature slightly below what I am comfortable at. Am I crazy??!? Maybe, but I find working out of my temperature comfort zone keeps me alert and also keeps my body working hard to maintain my body temperature. I feel that if we are always in our comfort zones, our bodies get lazy.
A con about working from home is sometimes you can forget to eat properly. I usually get a ‘friendly’ reminder from my Herbalife princess that I haven’t eaten yet (I just got one then as I was writing this!) but have gotten better. The important thing here is eat right. On days without meetings where I usually start the day off working in my pyjamas, it can be too easy to be lazy and snack on high calorie foods like chip packets. This is not good, for both your health and your work.
Both my partner and I work from home and have worked out that preparation of snacks such as carrots and celery sticks, fruit and nuts and creative shakes is what works best. It must be working as I have also managed to feel healthier and lose 13kg off my body weight.
Combine my ninja moves, stealthy house movements and in the dark navigation along with my cold office space and healthy eating, I find my day becomes very productive for both my business and my overall health. It also means I am that one step closer to being ready for a zombie apocalypse!
Now there are two more things that help me to work successfully from a home office – podcasts and princesses.
Not actually princesses, just one. My partner has always supported what I do, and this helps so much. Not only knowing she supports what I am doing and my lifestyle, but also when I need to run something past someone. Working from home can often leave people isolated as they do not have work colleagues around them constantly. This is where having someone else in the house helps. Not always essential, but I truly believe this has helped me.
Podcasts are a great way to replace music in the office. I usually use music on projects where I need to focus on wording and content, whilst a podcast from the greats like Shawn Stevenson, Jill and Josh Stanton and Pat Flynn helps create motivation, positivity and tips for progress. As I listen to them though, I often find myself focusing on what they are saying so it can be difficult when typing up content. Do you listen to any podcasts? Let me know what you recommend, I always love expanding my podcast list.
So there you have it, my take on working from home and how I manage to keep it positive and productive. What tips have you got? Be sure to share them below.
I am hearing more and more about digital entrepreneurs, affiliate marketeers and successful individuals and couples living the “laptop lifestyle”. Some use the tagline “the new rich” whilst others just create their own title like freedompreneur, travelblogger or lifestyle affiliate.
Whatever you choose to call them, they have taken advantage of the new ways to create an income that does not need a set physical address. The beauty of this being that it allows you to earn an income whilst travelling or even on the side of your normal everyday job. Sounds too good to be true, is it?
For many, the answer to this is yes. With the amount of hype around this new found phenomena, and big results being shown off across the net, many people are taking the leap towards financial freedom. Many engage in online courses or webinars that promise this new lifestyle. Unfortunately, an increasing amount of these “courses” that promise the new rich lifestyle of travelling and enjoying life are simply big pyramid schemes. The person who signs up more people, whose signups then sign up more people, is the winner as he or she gets commissions or royalties from all signup sales. I have seen courses range from a one off $49 to an ongoing $499 per month. Big money to outlay when a lot of the time the opportunity is not creating an income stream.
So how do you make money online?
There are many ways to create an online lifestyle, and no, they are not all network marketing or pyramid schemes.
Let’s start with the one off profits, the methods that bring an income from sale of a product.
When you sign up as an affiliate for a product or service, you are becoming a salesperson or representative basically. You have a unique code/web address to the product or shop site that you can share through ads, blog posts or email. When people like your sales pitch, click on your link and end up purchasing the product, you will get a certain percentage of the sale or a commission. For bloggers who already are writing about products and services, this is a great way to add moneytisation to your blog, just by customising the links you have to the products.
Of course, this can become an ongoing stream of revenue when we look at subscription models. Many affiliate programs include an ongoing commission of sale as their product or service is paid for monthly. Shopify is an example of this. Check out the link I have put on the word Shopify. You will see the reference at the end of the URL. This is reference to my Shopify account. When people click on this to visit the Shopify site, and then sign up, I receive a commission of the sale. This is great for me as I was already a Shopify partner creating shops for clients, but now, this link also allows me to get commissions on sales to people who wanted to do the shop themselves. Along with my partner payments, I can now get this little bonus too without doing too much extra.
Selling products without actually having the product is either fraud, or dropshipping. Dropshipping is totally legitimate and legal and has been going on even before it was given the title dropshipping. Many of the listings you now see on eBay are from dropship suppliers. What this means is that the seller does not have stock of the product. Not even on order. No warehouse. Nothing.
When you buy the product from them, they send the order through to the manufacturer or distributor who then packs and ships the product directly to you. It’s a win-win situation. The seller gets the profit margin between the cost of the product and the price they sell it for. The distributor or manufacturer is selling their product without having to market their product. This is why we are seeing so many more cheaper imported products on sites like eBay. The profit margin can be greatly increased, unfortunately, as many sellers don’t ever meet the manufacturer or even test the product themselves, quality control can be lost.
What about passive income streams?
Making a little money from a few one off sales is great, and if we keep doing this, we might make a pretty decent addition to our income. Now, what if we could get the sale of a bigger, more niche product that has a subscription model? The advantage of this would be that once setup right, and your sales pitch and technique is getting customers in, they can signup to the program/service subscription. You will then start getting a monthly commission from this. Why is this better? Lets break it down.
You spend money setting up your website to create your sales funnel. This is where we need to perfect our sales story and build a need for the product. This sales funnel leads to a signup for the product. This might cost lets say $500. Now we need traffic to the site. We might look at using social media to get the word out there. What gets more clicks? Free stuff! This is where we can offer something like a FREE ebook or webinar by signing up now. This might bring traffic to your site and hopefully get you that end sale.
We could also invest in online advertising to create traffic to our sales funnel. If we say that of all the people that visit the site, 2% convert, they sign up to the product and alls good. We can take two things from this. What about the other 98% and How can I increase that 2%.
Firstly, the other 98% are obviously interested in the product, but didn’t go all the way through the sign up/sales process. This is where retargeted advertising can help. You know the ones! They store a cookie on your computer so they know you visited that site, and next minute, you are seeing personalised ads about the product… everywhere! They seem to follow you around the web. Thank you Google, AdRoll and Facebook! This might help get 40% extra back who just needed that little push to signup.
Secondly, how do we increase that 2%. The short answer… you don’t have to. Even if that convert percentage was higher, it all depends on the traffic coming into your sales funnel. If 1000 people visit, the 2% signup would be 20 people. Now if we get more traffic, lets say 10,000 people, then your 2% is now 200 signups!
The best thing about all of this? Once you have the perfect sales page, landing page, squeeze page or whatever you like to call it, you just need to focus on building the traffic up. Now back to these travelling entrepreneurs. The advantage of setting up a system like this is that you can manage it from your laptop anywhere there is internet. Now doesn’t this change the playing field!?! You can do what you love, whether it be travelling or moving to somewhere you always wanted, and not worry about anything apart from internet access. Noice!
This is the tricky part. There are sooooo many products and programs to choose from. Sites like ShareASale and Clickbank have a plethora to choose from. My recommendation would be to stick to what you know. Check out your favourite products and see if they offer an affiliate program, this way you know what you are selling, and you can get paid for talking it up.
Many online entrepreneurs are getting into reselling the actual lifestyle they are living. Digital nomads and marketers are creating programs that show off their lifestyle of travel and freedom and promise to show you how they did it. They usually require you to sign up before you can watch their videos and learn their secrets. You then get access to selling what they just sold you. If you are at the top of this sales pyramid, you could actually be doing nothing and still bringing in an income. Like all network marketing, the more people you sign up under your level, the more income you get as a commission of sale. Now can you see why this has become so popular?
How to get started.
So you have decided you should find out more about all this stuff, where to start?
Research! And plenty of it. If you are planning on selling products or affiliate marketing, research your audience, what they are buying and at what price. Can you compete?
There are lots of online tools to help you with research, be sure to check out Terapeak for market research, as well as Google’s keyword research tool to check your competition. Note you will need a Google AdWords account to use the free Google Research tool.
After that it’s all about getting traffic and sharing your story. I can definitely help you get started here as branding and websites is our thing! We can also look after setup of social media pages and email marketing. Too easy!
If you wanted to chat more about getting started and options for a laptop lifestyle, be sure to book a FREE consultation using the contact form on this website. I will be more than happy to talk to you about how to create your first affiliate website, building traffic and creating sales leads. My business has helped many startups and entrepreneurs build up their web presence, will you be next?