An Online Newsletter

When you start an online newsletter you have the opportunity to collect opt-in email addresses to build your subscription base and establish creditability with your subscribers so that they may want to purchase products from you, a trusting source. The best part about an online newsletter is that it is free to start up. With an online newsletter you can offer your subscribers juicy daily or weekly information and they will love it. It will slowly build up their curiosity and they may purchase a monthly membership or products from you because they love receiving the information you supply. Now, if you send them junk, the complete opposite will occur, so having an online newsletter takes work, but you can always pay someone to do it for you. So, with all this work put into it should you consider charging for subscription. That depends on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to attract visitors and entice them to your main product. Or are you only offering an online newsletter with no products. How often do you send out autoresponders and how in depth and valuable is your newsletter. Is this information easily found free somewhere else on the Internet.

Free newsletters are much easier because you can get a lot of people opt-in and you can sell them a subscription in the future. Everyone loves free stuff. Occasionally, at the end of the email you may want to offer special subscriber only promotions or notify your subscribers of new products or services. You could even offer special subscriber only bonuses with a purchase.

By the way, if you send your subscribers what begins to look like sales letters, they will opt out quicker than you can say wait! Be careful because this is your potential customer crowd and it is like gold to you.

21st Century Business Women

When the first generation of women entered the workforce in earnest in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men. Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of that day’s businessman, and women were not exactly welcomed into the ranks of management. Well ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!

Forget what your mama or your boss told you, because following the rules can be bad for your career. Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap his/her company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style. The 21st century business woman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfill that vision. She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there. Following are 7 Key Characteristics that are essential:

1. Sell the Vision: A leader with a fresh, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talent and investors. Vision is not some lofty ideal, but an obtainable concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.
2. Reinvent the Rules: While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st century leader knows that good girls rarely post great returns. The strong managers/owners today not only anticipate change, they create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.
3. Achieve With A Laser Focus: Go where others fear to tread! Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are key qualities for new leaders. Today’s business woman has the ability to home in on opportunities that others may simply not see, and then excel in that uncharted territory.
4. Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era: When a number of leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a strong, personal, bed-side manner. Today’s business woman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch” which gives her a critical edge and separation from the “pack”.
5. Challenge or Opportunity? – Women are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity instead of using the “slash-and-burn” approach. They are able to make bold strokes, but they also win the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success.
6. A Customer Preference Obsession: In this information age which makes it easier to shop around for the best “whatever”, businesses must work harder to give people what they want before their competitors do. There is no substitute for spending time with clients to become expert at their businesses and learn their demands. Female leaders are almost intuitively adept in doing just that, and without the client even suspecting.
7. Courage Under Fire: Show me any career woman or female entrepreneur today that isn’t able to “stand-the-heat” in any tough-call situation. Their decision-making skills are rooted in a high level of confidence, because they’ve had to weather and surpass any and all “corporate” storms they’ve encountered over time.

It takes a certain mind-set and bravado for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for a female entrepreneur. Let’s face it, ladies! We’ve always had to be twice-as-smart and twice-as-confident as any male counterpart in the corporate world. After all, if we can bear and raise the future generation, how can running a successful business scare us?

10 STEPS TO SUCCESS IN DIRECT SALES

Every year thousands of men and women across America sign on with
direct selling firm-Tupperware, Amway, or a cosmetic
company-hoping to make money enough for new draperies, a new
davenport, or some new clothes. They sell a little merchandise to
a few relatives and close friends. Then they are through. They
quit before they give themselves a chance to learn the basics of
success in sales. “I am simply not a born salesperson,” they
often say.

No one is born a salesperson, any more than one is born a doctor
or born a lawyer. Sales is a profession. To be successful in any
profession one must learn not only the basic techniques, but also
how to apply those techniques. Success in sales makes use of all
the abilities one is born with, plus all those acquired through
education and experience.

If you are looking for a career opportunity or “extra income” to
help with the family budget, direct selling offers you
dream-fulfilling possibilities. However, you must give yourself
time to learn the techniques of sales. Ask yourself. “How long
does a doctor to be study? A lawyer to be study?”

WHAT IS DIRECT SELLING?

Direct selling is marketing a product directly to the consumer
with no middleman involved. Most reliable firms are members of
the National Association of Direct Selling
Companies. They bring to the public fine products that are
modestly priced in order to insure mass consumption.

Most direct selling companies furnish their representatives with
a starter kit and essential supplies below-cost prices. In many
instances the investment is under $100.

There is an old adage which says “Give a man a fish and you feed
him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a
lifetime.”

Many of them were able to change their lives for the better. They
took their families on nice vacations. They purchased a piano or
an organ and provided music lessons for their children. They
saved money for college education. They redecorated their homes,
bought needed furniture. One highly successful saleslady built a
new home.

The rewards of direct selling are many

1. You can be your own boss.
2. You can set your own hours.
3. You can own your own businesses with little or no investment.
4. You can pay yourself more than any boss would ever pay you.
5. You can give yourself regular raises as your business grows.

It is only fair to tell you that there are failures, too. There
are people who will not work for themselves. When working for a
boss, they rise early, are well-groomed, and get to the office on
time. However, when they are their own boss, they are still in a
bathrobe, drinking one more cup of coffee at 11:00 A.M.

If you can be your own boss and discipline yourself to do what
has to be done when it has to be done, direct selling offers a
most unusual earning opportunity.

THE TEN STEPS

Here are ten steps that will assure your success:

1. BE A GOAL SETTER. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want
to save for college education for your children? A new car? A
new home? You can have whatever you want, but you must want it
enough to do the things that have to be done to get it. Whatever
your goal, write it down and set a target date for reaching it.
Divide the time period into blocks of achievement that are
reachable. Work consistently toward accomplishing each day, each
week, each month what you set out to do. Goal-setting is a must
in every area of life. Little is ever accomplished without
definite goals.

2. BE A LIST MAKER. Each evening list all the things you want to
get done the following day. That gives you an organized approach
to each day. As each task is finished, mark it off your list. It
is amazing how much gets done when one works with a
“things-to-do” list. Also, have a notebook listing appointments,
potential clients, repeat clients, and referrals, and keep it
with you at all times. You will be adding to it constantly.

3. BE ENTHUSIASTIC. Enthusiasm is the high-octane “fuel” that
salespeople run on. Enthusiasm generates its own energy. Energy
and good health are synonymous with busy, happy people, people
who are achieving.

4. RECOGNIZE THAT THE MAGIC WORD IN SALES IS “ASK.” In direct
sales we don’t have to wait for business to come to us. We create
our own business by asking for it. Ask for appointments, then you
can do business. Ask for business, then you will close sales. Ask
for referrals, then you always have a full list of potential
clients. Be quietly, yet firmly aggressive.

5. EXPECT NO’S. Realize that no’s are not personal. In sales, as
perhaps nowhere else, the law of averages works. Every no gets
you closer to a yes. Keep track of your ratio. It will help
improve your techniques. Are you getting ten no’s to one yes? Is
your ratio five to one? Remember, the yes’s are your income. Also
remember that “no” does not necessarily mean “no.” Often a “no”
is simply a stall for more time to think. It may be a request for
more information about your product or your service. What your
client is actually buying is assurance. Assure here by your
helpful attitude and your complete honesty, that you want what is
best for her. She will most likely respect you and do business
with you.

6. SCHEDULE TIME WISELY. A schedule is the roadmap by which
salespeople travel. It takes the frustration out of the day. It
assures that the necessary things get done and get done on time.
Plan your work then work your plan.

7. BE POSITIVE IN YOUR ATTITUDE. Success in sales, as in all
areas of life is 90 percent attitude and 10 percent aptitude. All
of us must work at developing habits of constructive thinking. I
am proud to be a salesperson. Sales make the wheels of our
economy turn. Bernard Baruch, advisor to several presidents, is
quoted as saying, “If every salesperson sat down and took no
orders for twenty-four hours, it would bankrupt our country!”
Every company that manufactures any kind of product depends upon
salespeople to move that product. Without salespeople business
would be paralyzed.

Remember, sales is one of the highest paid of all professions.
Statistics show that good salespeople enjoy incomes far above the
average.

8. HAVE AN OFFICE AREA. Most direct salespeople work from their
own homes, but it is essential to have a place where you can work
in a organized and efficient manner. An office plus a strict
working schedule gives you dignity. Both are absolutely essential
for efficient operation and accurate record keeping, so important
to the success of any business.

9. BE INVOLVED. Most sales organization offer contests to
stimulate production. Include winning contests as part of your
business goals. Contests make your business fun as well as adding
considerable dollar value to your income.

10. LEARN TO HANDLE MONEY INTELLIGENTLY. A regular nine-to-five
job usually means a paycheck at the end of the second week.
Direct sales “reps” handle money constantly. Direct sales is
instant income and constant income. Therefore. it is absolutely
necessary to become an efficient money manager.

Deposit every penny collected from
clients into a checking account set up especially for its
business. Since bank statements show an exact record of all
monies collected, and business expenses can be verified by
canceled checks, record keeping becomes simple and accurate.
Everything except a few “petty cash” transactions can be directly
taken from bank statements.

Money saved regularly and put at interest, soon develops a second
income in addition to earned income. A long-term goal, which is
realistic in direct sales, is to be able to live in retirement
off the interest earned on savings.

Would financial security mean a lot to you? If so, ask yourself
these questions:

* Am I honest?
* Do I really like people?
* Am I willing to learn?
* Am I willing to work?
* Am I capable of being my own boss?

If your answers are yes, to find a good product
for the direct sales market, one that you like, one that fills
the need of a lot of people, and go to work for yourself! .You
can turn dreams into reality.

Get What You Want in 7 Powerful Steps

In my most recent columns we’ve covered issues about improving your business and marketing, but today let’s start right at the beginning.

You’re really getting tired of the 9 to 5 “rat race” and are thinking about chucking it for your own business. All your friends keep telling you that you could do for yourself just what you’re doing now for your boss. Why shouldn’t you profit from your ideas instead of him?

You keep thinking about it because you know that you’ll never be financially where you want to be with a weekly paycheck, but what business would you start?

Before you pack in that weekly paycheck, this is the time to evaluate yourself and your future and it takes some real, down to heart honesty. You want to change your life for the better, so let’s start.

Did you know that you have the potential to do and be anything you want? People have different perceptions of the ideal life, and it ranges from obtaining financial freedom to as simple as owning a new pair of sneakers. Unfortunately, many fail to reach their aspirations because they can’t get a solid, clear picture in their mind of what they want.

Take the next few days and embark on a fact-finding journey that will be a life-changing experience. Get a pad and pencil and start with this first step:

STEP 1 – KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT – Be specific in your passions, then focus all your efforts on that particular desire.

Those who always change their minds and those who give up easily when the going gets tough will never get anywhere. If you’re a bit confused and aren’t sure what you really want in life answer these questions:
1. What makes your heart beat with excitement?
2. What makes you happy?
3. What are you constantly thinking of day and night?
4. What do you want to do with the rest of your life?
5. What do you enjoy doing?
6. What are your obsessions?
7. What things make you jump for joy?

Write down all your possible answers to the above questions. Write down everything, no matter how silly or unimportant it seems. Put all your desires on paper that answers any of the above questions.

When that’s done, go back and circle five to seven items that interest you the most. Then evaluate and choose with your heart, not your mind, the one and only thing worthy to spend all your time and resources on and that brings out the best in you.

Now you may wind up with something like, “I want to play quarterback for the RAMS.” If you’re over 20 I’d say that isn’t too viable a choice, but you could do something related to football or sports. How about starting a sports publication? Or perhaps a sporting goods retail business, sports memorabilia business, or even a gym could be the answer. You can always read books and surf the net to help you in your search.

The most important thing to remember, no matter how “pie in the sky” it seems, is to USE YOUR HEART. Others may disagree with you, but you should be firm with what you really want. Others may offer comments or advice, but the final decision is always yours to make. You should concentrate on what you want, not what others want.

Remember you only get one shot at living your life. There are no replays and you don’t get to do it over. You may not do it right, but at least you’re doing it. Too many lives have been lived in quiet desperation waiting until – until they had saved a nest egg, until the children are out of school, until I retire, and they depart this life before “until” ever arrives.

Don’t go to sleep tonight without making a decision on WHAT YOU REALLY WANT IN LIFE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
Then spend a few days evaluating how to make it possible and make a living at it. Begin living every day as if it were the last day you had – never leaving anything to be done next week, next month, or next year.

There will always be bills, things will always break down eventually and need replacing, there may be storms and earthquakes and repairs – but there will only be one life for you to live. It can’t be put on “hold”!

The final outcome of your efforts may be in the future, but you’re living each day by taking steps toward that outcome.

5 Tips For Identity Theft Protection

This is that time of year when we all start getting those emails that want to purloin our secret codes and passwords. You know the ones that have subject lines like: “Your Account Is About To Be Closed,” “There’s A Block On Your Account,” “Could You Help Me Claim My Funds,” or my all-time favorite “Congratulations – You’ve Won The UK Lottery.”

This is the time of year when we are all shopping for gifts for family or customers, and the last thing we need is for our bank or credit cards account to be hindered. That is exactly what these “cyber grifters” are counting on, and unfortunately some of us are tempted to follow the instructions sent to investigate.

First and foremost, DON’T FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE EMAIL! If you think there might be a problem, access the account in question as you normally do on your PC and not with the link supplied in the phony email.

I’ve had some very authentic looking email supposedly from banks, that even went so far as to copy the colors of the bank logo and stationery style. But, don’t fall for the scam. In fact, don’t even open the email, because many are just set to loose a virus program on your computer by being opened. Simply forward the suspicious email to the “spoof email” address supplied by your bank, or credit card company.

Nearly 10 million Americans fell prey to identity theft last year, costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars. Here are some other tips to help you:

1. Understand debit card dangers: Greater liability than credit cards. When it comes to fraud, debit cards carry much greater personal liability than credit cards, depending on how quickly you report the loss of the card. If you fail to report unauthorized use within 60 days of receiving your bank statements, you could lose all the money in the account and be held responsible for the amount of money that has been tapped from your line of credit.
2. Rethink check writing: That little slip of paper has way too much information. Some experts advise against check writing because it gives away your address, bank account number, signature and license number to complete strangers. On top of that, there’s no federal legislation to limit your liability for forged checks (each state has its own set of rules). Experts advise that you look into automating your bill paying.
3. Secure your mail: Your mailbox is a goldmine of information. Between bank statement, bills, and all those pre-approved credit card offers, your mailbox is loaded with personal data which identity thieves can use to easily apply for a credit card in your name. Unless you diligently check your credit report, you may never even know about it. One way to avoid this is to have your mailbox under lock and key, but most of us in Santa Clarita have our mailboxes at the curb in front of our house and the postman frowns on carrying dozens and dozens of keys around. The other solution is to have a rented mailbox, or to foil “dumpster-diving” thieves by buying a shredder and destroy documents before discarding.
4. Go virtual: For shopping online, there are “virtual” card numbers. These are randomly generated credit card numbers that are disposable and that on-line shoppers use once and throw away. It’s linked directly to your real credit card account so purchases show up on your monthly bill. The service is easy to use – and it’s FREE! All you need to do is register with companies offering the virtual card, and they are MBNA, Discover, and Citigroup.
5. Create an emergency identity kit: Would you know how to contact your credit card company in an emergency? Create an emergency kit that contains: your account number, expiration date, issuing company name, and emergency contact number for each card you own. While you’re at it, make copies of your driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate and passport and store them in a locked box or file cabinet, or a safe deposit box. I like the safe deposit box best, because this gives you protection in the event of a catastrophe such as fire, earthquake, etc.

This may all seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but if you’re ever the victim of identity theft – even just once – you’ll realize that it’s well worth the effort.

Many of us forget that were it not for what we carry in our wallets or in our purses, we’re all John and Jane Doe’s if we can’t speak due to injury or are unaccompanied by someone who knows us. How much less stressful is it to know that in a bank box, no matter where you are, there are items that can verify your identity. Better to be safe, than sorry!

SECRETS OF MILLION DOLLAR SALES LETTERS – FOR MAIL CAMPAIGN & INTERNET

Regardless of what you’re trying to sell, you really can’t sell it without “talking” with your prospective buyer. An in attempting to sell anything on the Internet, the sales letter you send out is when and how you talk to your prospect.

All winning sales letters “talk” to the prospect by creating an image in the mind of the reader. They set “the scene” by appealing to a desire or need; and then they flow smoothly into the “visionary” part of the sales pitch by describing in detail how “wonderful” life will be and, how “good” the prospect is going to feel after he’s purchased your product. This is the “body or guts” of a sales letter.

Overall, a winning sales letter follows a time-tested and proven formula: 1) Get his attention 2) Get him interested in what you can do for him 3) Make him desire the benefits of your product so badly his mouth begins to water 4) Demand action from him – tell him to click the right button or send for whatever it is you’re selling without delay – any procrastination on his part might cause him to lose out. This is called the “AIDA” formula (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) – it works.

On your website, your sales page should be the length of what it would be
if were doing a mailing, or longer if you’re using bullets to emphasize benefits to build the desire. Of course on the Internet you don’t have to worry about letterhead stationery or the cost of postage, which is a considerable savings. If, however, you want to also do a mailing campaign then the following would apply. The sales letters in mailings that pull in the most sales are almost always two pages with 1 1/2 spaces between lines. For really big ticket items, they’ll run at least four pages. – on an 11 by 17 sheet of paper folded in half. If your sales letter is only two pages in length, there’s nothing wrong with running it on the front and back of one sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 paper. However, your sales letter should always be on letterhead paper – your letterhead printed, and including your logo and business motto if you have one.

Regardless of the length of your sales letter, it should do one thing, and that’s sell, and sell hard! If you intend to close the sale, you’ve got to do it with your sales letter. You should never be “wishy-washy” with your sales letter. You do the actual selling and the closing of that sale with your sales letter – any brochure or circular you send along with in your mailing will just reinforce what you say in the sales letter.

There’s been a great deal of discussion in the past few years regarding just how long a sales letter should be. A lot of people are asking: Will people really take the time to read a long sales letter? The answer is a simple and time-tested yes indeed! Surveys and tests over the years emphatically prove that “longer sales letters” pull even better than the shorter ones, so don’t worry about the length of your sales letter – just make sure that it sells your product for you!

The “inside secret” is to make your sales letter so interesting, and “visionary” with the benefits you’re offering to the reader, that he can’t resist reading it all the way through. You break up the “work” of reading by using short, punchy sentences, underlining important points you’re trying to make, with the use of subheadlines, indentations and even the use of a second color, and leaving lots of white space around it. On your website, the sales letter should run down the middle of the page so the viewer doesn’t have to keep adjusting the screen to see the whole sentence. This is very distracting and more apt to send that client to another website than losing patience reading a long letter.

Relative to the brochures and circulars you may want to include in your mailing with your sales letter – providing the materials you’re enclosing are of the best quality, they will generally reinforce the sale for you. But, if they are of poor quality, look cheap and don’t compliment your sales letter, then you shouldn’t be using them. Another thing, it will definitely classify you as an independent home worker if you hand-stamp your name/address on these brochures or advertising circulars instead of having them printed.

Whenever possible, and so long as you have really good brochures to send out, have your printer run them through his press and print your name/address – even your telephone number and company logo – on them before you send them out. The thing is, you want your prospect to think of you as his supplier – the company – and not as just another independent entrepreneur. Sure, you can get by with less expense but you’ll end up with fewer orders and in the end, less profits.

Another thing that’s been bandied about and discussed from every direction for years is whether to use a post office box number or your street address. Personally, I don’t like Post Office Boxes in a business address – because it transmits an aura of instability or temporary location. If your business is run from home, get a mail box from a post box vendor that has a street address. Then your address looks like, 1234 Willow Lane, #567, Your Town, and the box number could appear to the reader as a Suite number. However, if you live in a remote area where your address is 7890 Main St., RFD 42, Box 123, Your Town, then you have no choice but to include both your post office box number, AND, your street address on your sales letter. When doing it strictly for your website, put your street address, telephone number, and email address at the bottom of the page. More than likely, the customer will contact you by email, but it conveys dependability if that Internet buyer sees that you’re willing to give your address. This kind of open display of your honesty will give you credibility and dispel the thought of you being just another “fly-by-night” mail order company in the mind of your prospect.

Above all else, you’ve got to include some sort of ordering page or coupon if you’re mailing. The coupon has to be as simple and as easy for the prospect to fill out and return to you as you can possible make it. The order page on your website should already be filled out, with perhaps just the shipping left to choice. If your product is an eBook or software to be instantly downloaded, then you don’t have any options to be chosen. A great many sales are lost because this order coupon is just too complicated for the would-be buyer to follow. Don’t get fancy! Keep it simple, and you’ll find your prospects responding with glee.

Should you or shouldn’t you include in your mailing a self-addressed reply envelope? There are a lot of variables, as well as, pros and cons to this question. Overall, when you send out a “winning” sales letter to a good mailing list, a return reply envelope will increase your response tremendously.

Tests of late seem to indicate that it isn’t that big a deal or difference in responses relative to whether you do or don’t pre-stamp the return reply envelope. Again, the decision here will rest primarily on the product you’re selling and the mailing list you’re using. Our recommendation is that you experiment – try it both ways – with subsequent mailings and decide for yourself from there.