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Behind The Scenes Of Making a Podcast – Episode Highlights:

  • The 30 tools & resources that we use every week to systemize the Inspiring Innovation Podcast
  • The system behind Inspiring Innovation – the actions we take, step by step, to go from “We should have James Schramko on the show”, to a released episode

I get asked very often what resources we use on Inspiring Innovation for creating our episodes, editing and post production, social media, and for managing all of our tasks and projects.

I feel it’s time for a behind-the-scenes look – where I will walk you step by step through all the steps included in our episode creation process. Basically, you’re about to see everything that happens from the second an Inspiring Innovation Podcast episode is created, to it being released, downloaded, and being played in your earbuds.

Setting Up The Podcast Interview

The first step, when we set up a podcast episode, is obviously to get an interviewee.

I often get pitched by people who want to be on the Inspiring Innovation Show. We also work with several media agents that pitch interviewees to us.

HARO logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We use resources like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where people can pitch themselves to the Inspiring Innovation Show. But let’s pretend that for this episode that we’re talking about – I wanna get a real big name on the show.

While most people have a contact form on their website (and that’ll be the first place I would go to pitch for an interview), there are plenty who don’t.

So how do you contact these people?

And let’s say they do have a contact form on the site, but it goest to their VA or their gatekeeper…and you can’t get past them?

In these occasions, I will retreat to one of my secret weapons, which is called Rapportive.

Rapportive

rapportive logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Rapportive is an add-on (or an extension) that you install for Gmail.

Once installed, whenever you start typing an email to someone and you put in theur email address, Rapportive will find and display their information inside the Gmail window:

Where do they live? What state? What country? What is their Twitter account? What is their LinkedIn account? What is their Facebook account? What do they look like?

Yes, it even pulls up a photo. It’s that cool!

Now, it doesn’t work for all emails in the world, but it works for a great percentage of them.

How I use Rapportive on a day-to-day basis:

  1. When I write a reply to an email, Rapportive will pull up their photo and personal details.

    This allows me to reply with a much more personal touch – because now I know what the person I’m emailing looks like, where they work, and where are they from.

    If you’ve received an email from me and wondered, “how the heck did he know I’m in Austin?!”… Rapportive is my secret icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

  2. But much more jedi-like, I’ve used this to find the emails of some really big entrepreneurs.

    How? I open Gmail, and click “Compose”. The I guess an email address based on the name of the target interviewee. If Rapportive updates and shows his personal details – I know I found his personal address. If Rapportive shows nothing, I try other variations ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. etc.). It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough! icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

In any case, wether I pitch someone, or someone pitches himself to me – the next step is to schedule the interview.

ScheduleOnce

scheduleonce logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I was first introduced to this by Antonio Centeno from Real Men Real Style. It was love on first sight, and I since referred many of my friends to this service (including John Dumas, who now uses this tool to schedule all of his interviews!).

With ScheduleOnce, you define your blocks of availability – which times of which days are you willing to have interviews on. Then it integrates with your actual Google calendar. So everything that is already scheduled in your calendar is blocked out.

The available times that are left in the intersection between the times that you defined and the times when you don’t have any meetings in your calendars, are the times that ScheduleOnce will show to your guest when he comes to schedule an interview.

The cool thing is, that no matter where you are and where they are around the world – ScheduleOnce will only show them your actual availability in THEIR Timezone.

No more timezone miscalculations, no more confusion, and no more time
wasted! Your interviewee will just select the time that they want and — BAM — an appointment is added in their Google calendar to your Google calendar and you’re all set for an interview.

SWEET!

IFTTT and Asana

Previously discussed last week on my episode with Erin Smith, IFTTT (which stands for “If This Then That”) is a tool that allows you to define that if a specific trigger happens (example: you receive an email confirming an interview), then a specific action is automatically taken.

IFTTT Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

So I have a trigger saying, if I receive a message from ScheduleOnce to my email saying that a podcast interview has been scheduled, then I have a task is created for me in Asana (the project management software that we use), with all the details of the interview:

  • When is it going to happen?
  • The name of the interviewee.
  • His Skype details
  • Etc.

This task is very simple: Create a project for this episode.

asana Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Now, as I said, Asana is the project management system that we use. Once IFTTT creates a task in Asana, the next day – when I wake up and check out my “to-do” for the day – I will see this task saying “Create a Project for this interview”.

So I will click on my template “IIP episode” project, that has all the tasks that need to happen from the second the interview is scheduled to the second it released on iTunes or Stitcher (or whatever app you’re using to tune in with), including who’s in charge of each step — is it me, is it Rose (my VA) or is it the interviewee — and deadlines.

In one click I duplicate our template project, copy the details IFTTT forwarded, update the deadlines according to the actual interview date and the planned release date — and the project is ready to go.

From this moment on, me and my team will basically follow the Asana project, one task after the other, until the episode is ready. We don’t need to think about anything. We don’t need to plan anything. It’s all there, pre-planned and actionable.

If you think about it, the only manual action I needed to take to make all this possible, was pitching for the interview – because once the pitch was accepted, I send my ScheduleOnce link, they schedule, IFTTT automatically creates a task to set up the project in Asana, and from there onwards – everything is streamlined.

Here’s a screenshot showing a part of our Asana project template:

Asana project template producing an IIP episode Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Preparing For The Interview (& Making The Podcast Much Better!)

Background Research

Looking at my podcast episode project template above, you’ll see that the first step is defined for my VA and it’s called, “send interview briefing.”

So my VA will see this task and send my interviewee an interview briefing (based on a template that we have), that explains the format of the interview, what kind of questions are you gonna be asked, and some legal stuff.

The next day, again – as you can see in the screenshot above – she will send an email requesting them for a high resolution profile photo that we can use in the Inspiring Innovation Magazine and in the podcast show notes.

Then, she will conduct background research about the interviewee. We have a complete checklist for how we research an interviewee before he comes on the show, and she will simply start working through that.

Once she’s done with the background research, I will be triggered with a task of outlining the interview.

4MAT and SPIN Framework

Once I read the background research, I go ahead and outline the interview.

These days, I use two frameworks for my outlining, both recommended to my by James Schramko.

James Shramko Internet Entrepreneur Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

First, I outline the interview using the 4MAT framework – breaking the interview down to 4 sections WHY (are we talking about this), WHAT (is the story / are we talking about), HOW (will you do it) and WHAT IF (answering questions).

For the WHY section, I actually dig deeper using another framework James has recommended, called SPIN. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need, and was developed by Neil Rackham.

I use SPIN to describe (at the beginning of the episode) today’s subject – why we are talking about it, and why should you listen.

spin selling Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

How? It’s quite simple.

I take a piece of paper and write:

  • Situation:
  • Problem:
  • Implications:
  • Need:

Then, next to each letter, I add some bullet points that I want to remember to talk about.

For example, for my interview with Erin Smith last week, where we discussed monetization, my SPIN was:

  • Situation:
    • You are an entrepreneur
    • / side hustler
    • / aspiring entrepreneur
  • Problem:
    • You have ideas, maybe even some products, but aren’t sure how to monetize well
  • Implications:
    • You cannot leave the 9-5
    • You cannot create the business of freedom that you want
    • You’re feeling stuck
  • Need:
    • A step by step plan on how to take an idea and turn it into a prosperous business.

As I mentioned, 4MAT includes WHY, WHAT, HOW, WHAT IF, and the SPIN framework covers my “WHY” for the episode. Then I’m left with making a few notes for:

  • WHAT
    What is the story? Here I add a few bullet points of interesting facts and important milestones from the background research I’ve read
  • HOW
    This is for the stage in the interview where I try to get a step by step action plan from my interviewee once we covered their background story. I write down all the points that are important for me to make sure my interviewee covers.
  • WHAT IF?
    This is for any questions I might have about the outlined process. Usually I leave this empty, and fill it in with the questions that pop into my head while the interviewee is talking (instead of interrupting him)

This entire outlining process takes me 15 minutes or less, can be done on a post-it notes, and makes the interview well structured and effective. Implementing this outline step has saved my 2-4 editing hours per episode!

Recording The Podcast Interview

Skype, eCamm Call Recorder (Mac) and Pamela Call Recorder (Windows)

When the day of the interview comes, I prepare all my gear. And yes, I have a task in Asana called “Prepare Gear” which has a checklist of all the knobs I need to turn!

Then, I conduct the interview, following the SPIN and 4MAT outline that I’ve made.

ecamm Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Even though we use professional podcasting gear, I still have (on my Mac) installed eCamm Call Recorder for Skype that records the Skype call on the computer itself – just in case our digital recorder fails, and gives me an extra backup.

eCamm Call Recorder is what I recommend all of my students who are getting started as the best Skype recording software. If you are on Windows, you might want to be looking into Pamela Skype Recorder.

pamela call recorder Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once the interview has been recorded, I will take the raw file as it is and upload it into a task in Asana called “Upload Raw Interview.” (pretty self descriptive, huh?).

Once I upload the file, Asana will notify Rose automatically, and she in turn will listen to the entire raw episode, making a list of all the resources that were mentioned. That’s the “mentioned resources” list that you will find in all of my episodes.

Podcast Post Production: Creating Good Episodes and Great Show Notes

Google Keyword Planner, Market Samurai and Moonsy

Once Rose completes the mentioned resources section, the next task she has in our template is keyword research. She uses Google Keyword Planner and Market Samurai for that.

market samurai Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We use Market Samurai to find and choose the keywords that we actually have a good shot of ranking highly for.

If you don’t want to splurge on Market Samurai, you can do some of the research for free using a tool called Moonsy Domain Authority. It will let you know how authoritative are other websites that you are going to compete against for a given keyword.

(Of course, Domain Authority is only one of many SEO factors, but I thought you’d like to know about Moonsy icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week )

At the end of this process, Rose will post on Asana the results of her keyword research – the main keyword we will be targeting with this episode, as well as the long-tail or satellite keywords that are relevant.

All this is done so we can maximize the organic traffic that Google will give us for this podcast episode.

Audacity and Adobe Audition

Audacity Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

While Rose does her part, I will start editing the interview itself, using Audacity.

I used to use Adobe Audition, and I would say that it is a much better piece of software and it’s a lot more fun to use than Audacity. But Adobe wanted me to pay over $2400 for using it (instead of the US price which is $19 a month), so I went back to Audacity.

Adobe Audition Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

With the right plugins, Audacity can actually create some great sound even though it’s 100% free. And if you want to use Audacity to its full potential, check out PodcastIncubator.com – and I will be happy to show you how icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once I edit the interview, I sit down and define two episode titles.

Why two?

  1. First title is the title that will show on the podcast feed (in iTunes, Stitcher, etc.). This title has to be intriguing and make you want to listen to the show.
  2. Second title is the title that will show on our WordPress site. This title has to be optimized for SEO in order to increase the organic reach of the show.

Evernote

Evernote Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once I have the title and the general concept, I will sit down and outline the show notes for the episode:

I will define my sections, titles, subtitles, and add some bullet points for the key points I want to cover. I write this outline in Evernote, and you’ll see why in a second!

Here’s the thing:

I hate blogging.

I don’t enjoy writing.

In fact, when I have a task like “sit down and write”, I procrastinate on it like it’s nobody’s business.

When Srini Rao challenged me to write every day for 15 minutes first thing in the morning, those were the most un-productive days I have ever… ever had. It turns out that not liking to write poses a real problem for a blogger.

One day, my mentor from Australia said, “Just outline and then record yourself talking through the outline, and have your VA transcribe that.” So I thought, “Sure, sounds legit! Let’s try that.”

It didn’t work.

I would write the outline and then try to record in front of the computer. The whole situation was so awkward that I would just get stuck and quit.

Then, Julie pointed out that when my mobile phone rings, I start walking with it while on the call – whether it’s around the house, outside the garden or a 5-mile walk.

I ALWAYS walk when I talk on the phone. So Julie asked, “Why don’t you try that for your show notes?”

And THAT works BEAUTIFULLY for me!

So I outline on Evernote, take my iPhone (remember to charge it!) walk outside, open up the note, tap on the first section, click the record icon, and just start talking. Not from a dictation state of mind, but from a conversation one.

Then I finish a section, click stop, scroll down the note, read the key points, click on the next sub-section, and record again. Rinse and repeat… and 45 minutes later – I have a 2,500 words post done!

I get back home, click on share button, send the link it generates to Rose, my VA, and For me, the writing is DONE.

Rose will take the audio notes, transcribe them, patch them up, and convert them into show notes. She will fix my grammar, break stuff into shorter paragraphs, adds bolds and italics and make everything look nice and sharp.

Ginger

Ginger Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We also use Ginger Grammar Check, which is a free online service that does an amazing work in checking your grammar. It puts me to shame very often icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Unsplash, Deposit Photos and Fotolia

We love having photos in our posts, and Rose has 3 resources that she uses for Inspiring Innovation:

The first one is Unsplash. It’s a website that has beautiful photos that you can use 100% free. It doesn’t have search functionality; it’s not perfect, but it has beautiful photos that you can use right away without any Signup or anything.

DepositPhotos1 Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every WeekFotolia Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

If we can’t find suitable photos on Unsplash, we try DepositPhotos and Fotolia.

Libsyn

So far, we have an episode recorded and edited, we have show notes done, and all that’s left is uploading the MP3 file.

Libsyn Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I export the file from Audcity, convert it to MP3 and add the tagging (the title, the description, the artwork — all of that) using iTunes and then upload it to our podcast hosting, which is Libsyn. There I copy in the show notes that Rose has created, and voilà – the episode is ready!

Canva

In order to great sharable artwork to promote the episode on social media, I go to Canva.com.

Canva Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Canva is my graphic design tool of choice. It’s free and amazing. It comes with great templates for any type of graphics you’ll need online and allows literally anybody to become a genius graphic designer.

I simply LOVE it.

I also use Canva for episodes that include a lead magnet (like the one we had last week). I create both the download image and the graphic for the pop-up window (the opt-in window) within minutes with this tool.

List Building Through Podcasting

I often have downloadable PDFs as part of my episodes, and they double as lead magnets for my list.

I create these lead magnets the same way I’d create the show notes; I outline in Evernote, go for a walk , record it, get it transcribed and edited, and then create a PDF out of it.

iBooks Author

iBooks Author Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

To create the PDF, I will either throw copy the text into Google Drive and export as PDF, or if I’m feeling artistic, I’ll use iBooks Author (Mac only, sorry Windows people!), which creates a drop-dead-gorgeous-looking PDF document for me to give away.

MailChimp and LeadPages

I use MailChimp as our mailing list provider.

MailChimp Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

The good thing about MailChimp is that you can start for 100% free. We used to use AWeber and I don’t have enough words how much a despise it. I strongly recommend that you start with MailChimp.

To deliver the lead magnet itself, as well as the opt-in form that works from within the show notes, I use LeadPages, and more specifically, a feature called LeadBoxes.

LeadPages Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

LeadBoxes are that pop-up box that pops up and asks for your email address when you click on a link to download one of our PDF resources.

When you fill-in the email and click “Download now”, LeadBoxes will add your email to the Inspiring Innovation mailing list on MailChimp, and then deliver the PDF you requested right away to your inbox.

Nifty icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Spreading The Word

dlvr.it

After all this, Rose goes through all the information we have (keywords, final show notes, etc.) and creates a suggested social media swipe file — basically create a list of suggested tweets and Facebook status messages.

I will go over them (again, there’s a task in Asana reminding me to do that!), tweak them, and approve for scheduling.

Once I do that, she will take that swipe file and schedule it via dlvr.it – our social media scheduling tool.

Dlvr it Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

The good thing about dlvr.it (and what made me pick it in the first place), besides allowing us to schedule all of our outgoing tweets, is that it also allows us to automatically tweet about new blog posts and new podcast episodes of anybody we want.

Automatically tweeting about new episodes of market leaders and friends is a great way to keep yourself on the top of their mind as someone who’s always looking to support their brand.

(To be honest, usually dlvr.it will pick up on their new episodes and tweet about it from my account even before they have a chance to tweet about it from theirs! So my tweet is almost always the first one they see. You could imagine the impact it has!)

Gmail Canned Responses and Boomerang

With all the social media scheduled on dlvr.it, we are almost done with an episode. The only thing left is to let my interviewee know that the episode is live.

While I want them to get an email from me once the episodes is live, I actually write the email to the interviewee ahead of time.

Boomerang Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I have a template that I wrote and use through Gmail Canned Response and then I use another add-on called Boomerang, which allows me to schedule an email to be sent from Gmail on a later date. I simply set it and forget it!

Podcast Social Bookmarking

Finally, Rose will do social bookmarking on sites like Bibsonomy, Bitly, Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Folkd, Jumptags, Newsvine and Technorati.

And that’s how we make an Inspiring Innovation Podcast episode!

Your Thoughts?

I would truly appreciate if you could leave me a comment, letting me know if this was helpful or if you’d like me to review in the future some of other tools that I use on a day-to-day basis.

Just leave your comment below.

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!Note: click here to download “3 Foundational Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business” PDF Now

Episode Highlights: Creating A 6 Figures Business

  • The three most important steps in breaking free from corporate and the 9-5 and creating your freedom business
  • The number one thing to remember when starting to monetize your business
  • Networking events that don’t suck
  • Why you’ll never be an overnight success (just like nobody else ever was!)
  • The most important trait you could develop to become a successful entrepreneur
  • The 3 foundational steps every successful entrepreneur takes, and every failing entrepreneurs misses

Today’s Guest

headshot smaller 214x300 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

Erin Smith, founder of ‘The Starters Club’, knows a thing or two about starting successful businesses from scratch; In her early twenties, just getting started in corporate America, she realized that the only way to create true wealth and freedom is through being the owner – and not the employee.

She didn’t feel she was ready to own a business yet, so she decided to focus on becoming an owner in the realm of real estate. She did quite well, and bought her first home when she was only 22. After a few years, she decided to give business a shot – and started a pet-sitting company.

With no background (besides the background that Google could offer her), she got started. Within just a few years it grew to a 6-figure income, 12 employees business. BOOM!

A bit later, after burning out, she sold that business.

Her next business reached 6 figures within its first 9 months, and right there Erin found her passion and talent for starting successful businesses.

When people kept telling Erin how amazing her success is, she replied, “You can do it too,”. When enough people answered, “I wouldn’t know where to start.” – she saw the need, and decided to provide the one thing she never had when she got started in business — mentorship, directions, and guidance.

‘The Starters Club’ was born, and today it offers various resources that teach the steps, tools and strategies entrepreneurs need to follow in order to create a successful business – quicker and easier, and without figuring things out alone.

In today’s show, she lays out the 3 pillars, or foundational steps, that have been the secret sauce behind her meteoric success.

3 Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business

Before I give you the 3 major steps that Erin outlined in the interview, I have a few caveats:

It Isn’t Going To Be Easy

While there has never been a time in history where it was easier and cheaper to start a business, it doesn’t make it easy. You need to put in the hours and you need to do the work. No one, and no system, will ever replace doing the right things, and doing them NOW.

Erin worked incredibly hard to create her businesses. Whether it was working into the night, early in the mornings, or during what her friends and family might have considered “free time,” – she did it all, and her dedication and determination is behind her success.

No One Is An Over Night Success

success IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

No success story has ever been a true overnight success. The greatest entrepreneurs that we are inspired by, and sometimes awed by, didn’t just “come out of nowhere” and start making 5 and 6-figure incomes a month.

Think about it. Nobody has heard about Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker or Rand Fishkin when they just got started and were side-hustling and making ends meet. They became famous when their beard fruit.

Any exponential growth success story has a background of slow, step-by-step and frustrating linear growth, which brings me to the next point…

You Got To Start Somewhere

You got to start somewhere, and there will never be a better place to start than where you are right now.

Sir Richard Branson started somewhere. Bill Gates started somewhere. Steve Jobs started somewhere. They were all nobodies when they got started.

If you have no aspirations to create the greatest tech company in the world, become the richest man on the planet, or launch the biggest software company — you’re in luck! Your job will be much easier than theirs! icon smile IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

“Every master was once a disaster” says my good friend John Dumas in every chance he has. Dumas has a very good reason; Only 2 years ago, nobody knew who he was. Today he’s the face of podcasting, and runs a $2M business.

Bottom line, wherever you are right now in life — you are perfectly positioned to start. Stop waiting for the perfect moment and make it happen!

With this out of the way, let’s get started with Erin’s steps.

To make it super easy for you to consume today’s episode, I created a free PDF that summarizes everything we talked about. You can download it by clicking on the icon right here:

 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!Click here to download the “3 Foundational Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business” PDF

Once you download the PDF, scroll to the top of the post and listen to today’s episode. You won’t regret it – Erin has an amazing story and many,many fantastic lessons, tips and tactics to share.

Once you’re done – please consider leaving a comment below and let us know how we did icon smile IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

Other Mentioned Resources:

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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 IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His SecretsNote: Click here to download your free copy of The Human Conversions Guide

Episode Highlights: Conversion Optimization, List Building, and Audience Engagement

  • The difference between making money and being successful
  • Why focusing on your conversion rate is often the wrong decision
  • Good conversions vs. bad conversions
  • How building a small list that is worth more than gold is much more valuable than building a huge list that doesn’t care about you
  • Design 101: Design DO’s and DON’Ts that apply to any website and will help you make sure your readers will be more engaged and take more favorable actions rather than stare at their screen confused!
  • How your homepage would look like
  • The 3 most important pages that you need to patch up on your website — today!

Today’s Guest

Jakob Schweighofer IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His Secrets

Jakob Schweighofer is an Austrian entrepreneur. In just a couple of years, he went from installing WordPress themes to becoming a sought-after expert in optimization of websites and conversions. He’s been involved in several projects that made incredible amounts of money in a very short period of time.

As it often happens in business, early stage partnerships don’t hold forever. Not long ago Jakob’s partnerships disassembled and now he’s turning the page and starting afresh.

“I heavily changed my definition [of success] in the last few months, from I-get-a-lot-of-money-out-of-it [to] success is doing the things I like with people I enjoy doing it and be able to live from it.”

I met Jakob at Tropical Think Tank 2014 in the Philippines and was blown away by his knowledge. Since then, I’ve been talking to him at least twice a month about my business and branding and I’m excited to starting to apply all of his ideas.

When it came to conversions, following his ideas has often tripled conversion rates for both Julie and me in our businesses. But more than that, I look forward to follow his advice on creating a strong online personal brand — something he was incredibly successful in creating for himself in the German and Austrian market.

Today’s talk about website optimization is unique, because unlike other experts – Jakob isn’t as excited as about finding that one little tweak, changing the color of a button in just one shade, moving a button by 10 pixels, or making a title a lot more shocking.

Jakob has grown tired of such internet marketing manipulations, and now he focuses on converting the right people the right way in order to build true and lasting brands and businesses for ourselves.

Is It Truly A Good Idea To Improve Your Website Conversions?

This might seem like a funny question. I mean — how could improving your website conversion be a bad idea?

All things being equal, of course you want the highest conversion rate possible.

**But things are not equal, and here are some questions to consider: **

  • How are you going to improve your conversion rate?
  • What kind of audience will you be attracting due to that change?
  • How engaged is that audience going to be, compared to your existing one?

All these questions affect the effectiveness of the work you’re about to put in improving your conversions.

Conversion Optimization VS Your Core Values

If improving your conversions means installing pop-ups that your audience will not like, e-mail gates that they will not appreciate, or changing the way you write in a way that doesn’t represent you and your core values — Jakob’s verdict is: It’s not worth it.

Think about it: If you could have a list of a hundred people that are absolutely rabid about what you do and buy every product you put out there, compared to a list of 10,000 people that opted-in for all sorts of lead magnets that don’t really represent what you are about and don’t give a rat’s ass about your e-mails and offerings after they got their opt-in magnet. Which one would you take?

Suddenly, the obviousness (let’s pretend that’s a word) of the equation “more conversions = GOOD” is put to doubt.

So what should you be doing to get more bang for your buck? How can you get more engagement and build your e-mail list without filling it with the wrong people? Read below to find out.

Website Design: Do’s & Don’ts

In today’s episode, Jakob covered his Human Conversions Guide Manifesto – how websites should be built in this day and age to create effective and engaging personal brands.

The information below is a quick summary of everything we discussed, but for more information, make sure you listen to the interview as well as download Jakob’s free PDF: The Human Conversions Guide.

Do: Stop Worrying About Conversions

If you read through this post up to this point, you must have seen this first commandment coming.

In order to create a personal brand that’s human, relatable and engage-able you need to put aside the internet-marketing-conversion-optimizing mindset, and think of your website as your meeting place with other human beings that might be interested in you and your services.

The less internet marketing tricks that you play on your audience, hell — the better!

Don’t: Write To An Audience

Following up on the previous commandment, this one distills the way of communication even further: Don’t write to an audience; write to a single person.

The way I achieve that, by the way, is by not writing at all:
I only outline the text I want to write, and then I go on a walk and record it, pretending I’m speaking to one of my readers. Then, my VA transcribes it and turns it into text format, but in case you don’t have your own VA — you can have someone from Elance do that for you for pennies. Or you can even transcribe it yourself!

The point here is not the process as much as the hack that I found to work for me to get out of the “I need to write a post for my site” state of mind and into a “Hey man, here’s some cool stuff I learned from my latest episode”.

See the difference? Your audience (sorry, people) will see it too.

Do: Avoid Complexity

The next thing Jakob tackles is complexity. As you might recall from my interview with Kary Oberbrunner “clarity attracts, complexity detracts”.

Here are just a few ways people are getting clarity wrong:

  1. Every single page on your site needs to have one single job.
    People (myself included) almost always get this one wrong.
    Whenever you write a blog post, ask yourself: what’s the one thing I want this page to do? Build my list? Educate? Entertain? Inspire? Encourage to join my list? Sell my product? Sell my event? It can only be one.

  2. Your homepage is one of the first pages people see.
    Traditionally, it was THE FIRST page that everybody saw, but with today’s social media, many people reach a specific post in your site. Guess what they do then? They go and check out your homepage.
    Here’s the job your homepage was hired to do: Quickly, effectively and clearly communicate who are you, what’s this website about, and what will I (the reader) find here (what’s in it for me?).
    Do that and you help every single visitor who gets to your site understand if you are a good match, and what’s the next action they should take.

  3. Stop giving people so many options.
    I get it, you want people to opt-in to your list. Who wouldn’t?
    So like many others, you think to yourself, “let’s put 5 lead magnets on the sidebar and then at least one of them would apply to every visitor.”
    While that might sound like a good idea, research shows that having too many options actually leads to anxiety, paralysis, confusion, and worst of all, to postponing the moment of decision. **Unfortunately for you, that is postponing the moment of deciding to join your e-mail list… until they leave your site and forget about you altogether.&&

Bottom line:

  • Keep it clear
  • Remove as many elements as possible
  • Don’t bombard people with too many options
  • Make a clear path for visitors to walk through your site

(I really need to apply these for me site, too!)

Don’t: Ask For Stuff You Wouldn’t Do Yourself

Last but not least is the real deal breaker: Whenever you consider putting a new pop-up lead magnet ad, a new welcome gate, or replace your homepage with the only option to get past is for me to give you my e-mail address, ask yourself this:

“How would I feel about this? Would I be willing to take the action I’m being asked to take? How will taking that action make me feel? Do I trust this guy with my email at this stage?”

It’s easy to develop a blind spot and rationalize to yourself stuff people are willing to do – when in fact it might make them uncomfortable.

I’ve done that mistake with my Sign-up process to my membership site back in March 2014.

The solution to this blind spot was incredibly easy: Send it to someone else and ask them: What do they think? Would they opt-in? Would they take the action that is requested on that page?

Final Words

As I said, in the interview Jakob went into much more detail than this summary. For the full story and more information listen to today’s interview (there’s a player at top of the page) and download Jakob’s free PDF: The Human Conversions Guide.

I hope this has been useful for you. If you have any questions to Jakob or me, or if you think we got it wrong, leave your comments and thoughts below.

Mentioned Resources:

 IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His SecretsClick here to download your free copy of The Human Conversions Guide

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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Episode Highlights: Time Management And Becoming An Effective Entrepreneur

  • Why time management won’t solve your time management problems
  • Why being productive or efficient doesn’t necessarily make you effective
  • Why the biggest difference between you and the most successful entrepreneurs is effectiveness — and how can you become an effective entrepreneur by spending 10 minutes a day (the right way)
  • The 10-Minute Get Clarity And Take Control Over Your Time Exercise — the only time management system you’ll ever need
  • Why doesn’t time management work and how time hacking solves it

Why Time Management Is An Entrepreneur’s Biggest Problem

Whether you are an experienced entrepreneur, a side hustler, or even only an aspiring entrepreneur, there are two resources that determine your chances of success. Running out of any of the two would mean the failure of your entrepreneurial business.

Can you guess the resources I’m talking about?

If you guessed time and money, you are correct.

Since money is what puts food on the table, it’s kind of obvious why running out of it would spell “game over” to your business. Time, on the other hand — is a pretty interesting resource.

The thing about time, especially for entrepreneurs, is that we always seem to be running out of it. No matter how much time we have it never seems to be enough to fit all the projects, tasks, errands, and obligations that we have.

Running out of time means we don’t get our projects done when they should be done, we don’t get them done to the quality want, we miss out on business opportunities, and then — when we finally have time for them — it’s too late.

Running out of time means we don’t sleep enough, we don’t function as well as we could, we can’t afford spending time with our loved ones and doing the things that actually matter to us the most.

While business acumen, marketing strategies, sales page theory, and social media marketing are indeed important for a business to succeed, when a business is run as successfully as possible in all of the above except time, the owner has no way to actually enjoy it.

This is why today, we tackle the biggest question entrepreneurs have been struggling throughout entire history: How do I make it happen with the time that I have?

From Time Management To Time Hacking

Time management is generally the title of all the systems, processes, and methods that aim at shaping the way you run your business, your calendar, your projects, and your tasks into a rigid structure that will supposedly would fix all of your problems, reduce stress, eliminate confusion, give you focus, and make you a master of your own time.

The only problem with that concept is that we are all adults. Whether you are 25, 35 or 55, it’s probably too late for you to change your habits and their triggers to fall into place with someone else’s system.

Let’s face it — most time management strategies were born because someone was doing something that worked for him, and when asked how they do that, they try to teach others to replicate the same.

Srini Rao and I discussed this on IIP023: Confessions Of A Corporate Misfit — the problem with spreading best practices starts when people follow them blindly instead of learning from them and customizing.

This is where time management comes into play. Instead of reshaping the way you manage everything in your life, time hacking is all about getting clarity, about what needs to be done, and then reshaping time to fit your goals, aspirations, and lifestyle.

At its very core, time hacking is inherently customizable. In fact, time hacking is more of an ideology or a framework rather than a method. And from New York Times bestseller to some of the internet leading entrepreneurs, it’s making huge waves right now.

Today’s Guest

Julie Sheranosher IIP074: How To Manage Your Time Like An Entrepreneur Super Hero!

Julie Sheranosher of The Time Hackers Podcast

Today we are joined by Julie Sheranosher; entrepreneur, author, ex-captain in the Israeli Defense Forces, and the creator of time hacking.

For full disclosure and in order to make sure I don’t annoy my friends in the Federal Trading Committee, I will also mention that she’s my personal time coach as well as my girlfriend for the last five years.

When Julie and I started dating, she was a captain in the Israeli Defense Forces, in-charge of systems that are crucial to the nation’s safety. She had a good dozen of subordinates that sought her guidance not only in their professional lives in the army, but also in everything else. As you could guess, she was quite busy.

The “I’m Busy” Syndrome

By Aleksi Tappura IIP074: How To Manage Your Time Like An Entrepreneur Super Hero!

In fact, she was suffering from a severe case of the “I’m Busy” Syndrome.

We’ve all been there; we have so much work to do, whether it’s for our full-time business, our side hustle, or our corporate job — that we run around like headless chickens.

We don’t have time to answer e-mails, we don’t have time to spend with our families and friends, we don’t have time to take care of ourselves, to do sports, to eat right or to unwind. But the worse part of it is that we take great pride at being so busy (at least I did).

Being busy makes us feel important. In the western world, being busy makes us feel fulfilled. It’s not surprising that the being busy syndrome is the number one enemy of time hacking. As I mentioned above, in time hacking, there’s an emphasis between productivity, being efficient and being effective:

  • Productivity: The art of scratching things off of your to-do list, with no specific regard to their importance or urgency. Often the most practised skill of time management/time hacking as it simply makes us feel great.
  • Being efficient: Being efficient takes productivity to the next level, and basically means that not only we are crossing things off our to-do list, but we are actually doing it as quickly as possible while completing each task within the best context to get it done (for instance, using our commute time to answer e-mails, make calls, etc.).
  • Being effective: Being effective is the holy grail of time hacking and the one thing truly missing out of most “time management” systems.
    Being effective means you’re not only crossing stuff out of your to-do list, and doing that in the best context possible and in the shortest amount of time, but you are also doing only the right things (something James Schramko mentioned as one of the three key things to becoming a successful entrepreneur and running a successful business).

Mission Impossible

So as I mentioned, when Julie and I started dating she was a very very busy person. Working for 16, sometimes 18, hours a day, she couldn’t imagine herself leading her life differently. For her, she was doing everything right. Being honest, I wasn’t much different: I was running my software development business and probably working the same hours as her if not more.

Until one Friday, the accumulated stress of being over-worked for so many years in the army, being in a sedentary job with no time to take care of herself, broke Julie. Literally.

She herniated a disc, and instead of going to her soldiers on Sunday, she had to go and see an orthopedic. Taking a look at her x-rays and CAT-scan, the doctor had a simple piece of advice for her: “You need to start working four hours a day.”

For Julie, and probably for you too, switching from a full-time job (or an over-time job like Julie had) to four hours per day is simply impossible. She thought the doctor used four hours as a figure of speech. “I thought he meant I need to work like all the normal people, like nine hours per day.”

And so Julie started working only nine hours a day and trying all the time management techniques she could find to try and fit her 18-hour workday into 9. It didn’t quite work.

Time Management Not Working

By Sonja Langford IIP074: How To Manage Your Time Like An Entrepreneur Super Hero!

Trying as hard as she could, it didn’t work. Julie started failing on deadlines, on projects, feeling she’s failing her subordinates and her commanders. For almost any workaholic that I know this is a terrible hit to the ego and to the self-confidence. Unfortunately, she would have to fall even lower before she’d find a solution.

Mission Impossible II

Three months after her first injury, Julie herniated two more discs. By then she needed help to get off the sofa and into the shower. She was in constant pain, unable to enjoy neither time at home and especially not at work.

Back at the doctor’s office, he told her: “You might have misunderstood me. When I told you you need to work four hours a day I meant no more than four hours a day. That is, unless you want to reach the age of thirty in a wheelchair.”

Working 4- hour shifts are completely unheard of in the Israeli Army, and probably in any major corporate around the world. Suddenly Julie became the ugly duckling, the one that people talk about behind their back, whispering and pitying. And she felt that she was failing more than ever. If she couldn’t get eighteen hours of work done in nine, how can she ever get them done in four?

Giving Up

Frustrated with failing and facing the impossible, Julie just gave up.

She gave up on her dream of becoming a great, acknowledged and respected commander. She gave up her dreams of promotion and prizes. She gave up everything she thought she had to offer.

Out of complete frustration, and trying not to lose herself, she decided to toss aside everything she knew about managing her time, her job, and her life, and focus on one simple thing:

Choose the one thing that has the biggest impact every day and do only that.

Understanding she’ll never get the job done, Julie put aside the to-do list and started living by this new mantra. She would get to the office, do the one thing that was most important for her that day, the one thing that she felt would put a dent in the universe, and only after that try to do anything else.

Suddenly things were changing: A few weeks later, she was sitting in front of a computer on a Tuesday morning, realizing that she completed all of the tasks that she planned for that week. For her that was the beginning of time hacking. For us this is the beginning of becoming an effective entrepreneur.

Finding Success Through Failure

Following the surprising finding, Julie started documenting everything she was doing: What kind of tasks was she completing, at what times were those tasks, working the best for her, what was her attention span, what stuff was she getting far time quicker in the morning rather than in the afternoon. Slowly but surely she figured out her personal time hacking framework.

This is why time hacking is nothing like any time management framework you’ve seen. It’s 100% customized to the time you actually have to the way you work and with what’s available to you. It builds upon your strengths rather than having you fighting yourself around your weaknesses.

In today’s episode Julie shared the first step you need to take to become a time hacker and your own master of time. It’s a 10-minute exercise that will help you get clarity and learn how to prioritize your goals, project, and obligations and make time work around them instead of you chasing after time.

Listen to today’s episode for the full story of how to make it happen, or simply check out Julie’s Daily Planning Toolkit on her website.

Mentioned Resources

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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Everybody knows that “build it and they will come” doesn’t really work. And thus, for the last few years, every entrepreneurship podcast worth its salt has discussed ways to get “them” to come.

On today’s episode we discussed an exciting way to quickly build your credibility, reach, and most important — bottom line: speaking engagements.

As you’ll see today, speaking engagements create the perfect opportunity for you to be seen as the expert, deliver value, solve problems — and get paid for it.

Business Building Strategies We Discuss In Today’s Episode Include:

  • How to use speaking engagements to deliver value, help your audience, AND make sales
  • How to create your speaking engagement opportunities
  • How to become a speaker at the conferences that matter the most to your audience
  • How to pitch yourself as a speaker, and more important — how to follow up!
  • How to steer clear of the “friend zone” when speaking, and maintaining a professional presentation… without boring people out their minds!
  • How to sell from stage without being a douchebag

Today’s Guest

Joleene Moody IIP073: How To Build Your Business With Speaking Engagements

Joleene Moody of JoleeneSpeaks

Today’s guest is Joleene Moody, an expert in breaking into the world of paid speaking and entrepreneurship. For a former TV reporter and anchor, she turned into a transformational speaker, a business coach and an author.

Her expertise are: how to convert the room to high-paying clients, how to generate sales and profits through speaking engagements, how to create your own speaking engagement opportunities, and how to become a better closer.

In today’s episode Joleene shares her journey from TV anchor — bored out of her mind and feeling she’s not serving her purpose — to a purpose-driven entrepreneur bringing change to the world and helping others create the freedom they always crave for.

From Sedentary To Extraordinary

Joleene’s journey from sedentary to extraordinary wasn’t easy (and in today’s episode she shares many of the struggles that she faced, as long as documented them in her book, Memoirs of Normalcy: Journey from Sedentary to Extraordinary).

While many people think that being a TV anchor is an incredibly exciting job, in reality, according to Joleene, things could not be more different. Worst of all, Joleene felt she’s not living up to her calling and potential. She didn’t have the fulfilling life she wanted, nor the freedom she craved for.

First Time On Stage

While Joleene had many opportunities to be on stage in her previous career, in all sorts of professional conferences and gatherings, the first time she was on stage as an entrepreneur was truly memorable. Unfortunately, it was memorable due to how bad it went.

A few hours before her first-ever speaking gig as an inspirational coach, Joleene pass a kidney stone. “I couldn’t even make it to my first speaking gig. I thought I blew up my speaking career even before it started!”

Today, Joleene has been a speaker for over five years, and the first three of those were not easy. The only way she made it work was to carry on, show up and do the work.

I felt the same about my first business engagements (whether it was speaking gigs, webinars, or creating my own video course): things don’t go that well the first time (and thank God I didn’t pass any kidney stones!).

Reflecting on all guests on the show so far, it truly happens to everyone. The one thing separating the successful from the unsuccessful is showing up again the next day.

Creating Your Own Speaking Opportunities (And Making Money On Stage)

Depositphotos 7479169 original 1 IIP073: How To Build Your Business With Speaking Engagements

In today’s episode, Joleene outlines several ways you could create your own speaking opportunities right now. These include:

  • Retreats
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Speaking at networking group/events
  • Hosting a live webinar
  • Hosting a live teleseminar
  • Etc.

For one of her first retreats, she simply picked a date and contacted personally the people she thought would make a good target audience. She charged a few tens of dollars just to cover Facebook ads, renting the place for the day and food/beverages.

She kept the event at 15 people, and most of her expenses were covered by the Signup fees. She ended up selling in services and products throughout her retreat and making 5-figure profit from sales of products and services throughout and as a result of that day.

That’s why Joleene challenges every listener of the show to open the calendar, pick a date three weeks from now and just invite a couple of people that would be interested to learn about your services.

If people show up to the event, she explains, they have a problem that they think you can solve. It’s your responsibility to show them how you can solve their problems. Sure, you might feel awkward about taking their money, so focus on the serving instead of on the selling.

Would you accept the challenge? Comment below and let me know!

Podcast Starter Kit

As mentioned in today’s episode, I’m really excited to announce my new free course: The Podcast Starter Kit.

The Podcast Starter Kit is a 7-day video course that will take you from knowing nothing about podcasts, to planning, recording and launching your successful podcast show, ranking in the top of Apple New & Noteworthy ranking, building your list, your brand, and your authority in whatever niche you’re in.

Click here to get immediate access to the Podcast Starter Kit.

Mentioned Resources

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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What Is Business Acumen?

Business acumen is incredibly important to entrepreneurs, but why?

From a detailed survey that I conducted this morning, by asking the first 3 people I saw online (okay, maybe it’s not that detailed…). It turns out that many aren’t sure what exactly the word means. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure myself. I knew it’s important — I just didn’t know how important it is.

Acumen: the ability to make good judgements and quick decisions in a particular domain.

When presented this way, I don’t need a survey to know that every entrepreneur would understand the importance of having the ability to make good judgement and make quick decisions in business.

While business acumen is traditionally something spoke of in large corporate and MBA programs, I believe it’s time for entrepreneurs to catch up. And this is what today’s episode is all about.

Business Concepts In Today’s Episode

In today’s episode we will cover:

  • The 5 performance metrics that drive all Fortune 500 companies, and how they apply to every entrepreneur.
  • How to build your business acumen without getting an MBA and without spending tons of time on it.
  • How to become the CEO your entrepreneurial business needs.
  • Why growth can sometimes be the worst thing for business.
  • A free giveaway of my guest’s book.

Today’s Guest

Kevin Cope of Acumen Learning IIP072: How To Make Great Business Decisions As An Entrepreneur

Kevin Cope of Acumen Learning

Over the last 12 years, Kevin and his company had helped 18 of Fortune50 companies train and educate their employees on business acumen — on understanding what makes a business succeed, on what makes a business work, what makes a business money.

I don’t even remember how Kevin and I got talking, but I have seen Kevin’s latest book titled “Seeing The Bigger Picture”, and I have seen some reviews about it, saying that it’s a 180-page MBA. And I thought, “Maybe that’s a great idea for the Inspiring Innovation Podcast.”

If you’re anything like me and you never had an official business school education, I thought you could benefit as much as I could from having Kevin on the show doing Business Acumen 101 and just walking us through the basic and different things that we should be monitoring and paying attention to just like major companies do.

While we might not be a CEO of a corporate, we are the CEO of our own entrepreneurial business.

Unlike corporates that have their investors’ money, the money that we have is our own — it’s our own savings, our own family’s support or whatever it is — and we need to make it work. We need to be good CEOs to our entrepreneurial businesses.

So this is what today’s episode is all about.

Free Giveaway!

If you’re interested in developing your business acumen, Kevin has generously contributed 5 copies of his latest book to be given away to listeners of Inspiring Innovation.

How can I win a copy?

All you have to do in order to receive one of the free copies, is leave Inspiring Innovation Podcast a 5-star review on iTunes (you can do that at iipodcast.com/itunes) and then e-mail me at [email protected] to let me know you’ve done so. The first 5 listeners/readers to complete these steps will receive a copy free of charge.

For those interested in a more detailed approach, Kevin has also made his online course available to listeners of Inspiring Innovation at a 50% discount that you can claim here: http://seeingthebigpicture.com/innovation/.

But I’m An Entrepreneur! Do I Still Need To Develop Business Acumen?

I would argue that in most cases, being an entrepreneur means that business acumen is actually more crucial to you than it is for a corporate employee. While lacking business acumen will slow you down in climbing the corporate ladder and would limit how high can you climb, lacking business acumen as an entrepreneur increases the risk you take and hinders your chances of success.

I’m not saying you need to get an MBA in order to become a successful entrepreneur, but it does make sense to know the 5 key metrics every business, whether it’s your corporate job or your entrepreneurial business, should be paying attention to.

After all, while your corporate employer has the backing of banks and investors, your backing is your savings, your checking account, and perhaps some help from family and friends. For me that makes the best case why every entrepreneur needs to spend the time understanding how companies make money.

The 5 Performance Metrics You’ll Need

In today’s interview, Kevin shared the 5 performance metrics that you’ll need in order to get the full picture of how your entrepreneurial business is performing financial-wise. While many experts would recommend 5, 10, 15 more metrics to monitor, the following 5 are the most crucial and simple of them all, according to Kevin.

  1. Cash
  2. Profit
  3. Assets
  4. Growth
  5. People

As you’ll soon see, these 5 metrics are all interconnected. Affecting one of them always affects the others, but often in unexpected ways (at least until you think about it).

For instance, many entrepreneurs believe that more growth equals more cash and bigger profit. Not necessarily so: Depending on the engine of growth, growth may actually be achieved by spending more money on marketing, which immediately cut cash and profit.

If the growth is too fast, quality of service might decrease, causing a further loss of sales and existing customers and making the business take a hit in cash, profit and people (in this case customer).

If I mentioned people already, rapid growth might also take a hit on your employees, who might become too overloaded with work and provide a work service or simply leave. Employees are another aspect of the people metric. And in fact, rapid growth is what caused the people of my first software business, in that case me and my 2 employees to burn out and leave.

Cash

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When it comes to cash there are two measures you’ll want to pay attention to.

  1. Cash-on-hand
  2. Cash flow

Cash-on-hand, basically means the amount of money you currently have on your savings or checking account. That’s the amount of money your business have in order to run. I don’t believe I need to explain in detail why this is a key metric since it’s pretty obvious that when cash-on-hand goes negative, the game is over.

Cash flow basically stands for how much cash is coming in minus how much cash is being spent. Most businesses end up launching with a negative cash flow. This means that every month, the amount of cash-on-hand decreases steadily.

One of the key things every business strives to achieve is a positive cash flow. In the startup world as well as in entrepreneurship, we need to achieve positive cash flow as fast as possible before you ran out of cash-on-hand.

But even if your cash flow is positive, you’ll still want to be monitoring it to see how you can make the cash flow bigger, which means you’re making more money compared to what you are expending.

Kevin outlined 5 quick ways to increase positive cash flow.

  1. Sell more
  2. Reduce expenses
  3. Better manage your inventory (if that applies to your kind of business)
  4. Pay slower — negotiate your payment terms to allow you to pay slower and reduce the negative cash flow.
  5. Get paid faster — if your business is going under, and you have customers owing you over $10,000 (as I had), it’s not hard to understand that paying more attention to your account receivables and being more proactive in collecting the money you’re owed, can make a huge impact on the success of your business

Profit

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Not too different from looking at cash flow, profit is how much money being made on sales minus how much money is spent on expenses. An interesting metric to look up when it comes to profit is your profit margin. This is basically a percentage of how much more money you’ve made out of each sale compared to the business cost of making that sale.

According the Kevin, a typical profit margin across major companies is around 9% and he has found that to be the case in many other industries as well.

A benefit of monitoring your profit margin is that it’s an indicator of the financial risk you’re taking in your sales. Often, growing companies take a hit at their profit margin and sometimes they go too far.

Your profit margin metric will make sure you’re not only making enough money to float, but actually make enough money to grow. In fact, you’ll find many entrepreneurs you’ll read and hear recommends a profit margin of at least 8% to 12% for an entrepreneurial business.

Assets

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Your house, your cash savings and your investments are all assets that you own. While none of them necessarily is used to produce revenue, they do support a certain standard of living and allow you to pursue your lifestyle and personal growth.

Likewise, your entrepreneurial company has assets that should be used in its growth by producing revenue and profit. Without the right assets, no business can grow; it simply cannot be profitable.

Your assets might be an inventorial product, your laptop/desktop that you bought, or the workroom at your home where you’re building your business from. Assets might be transportation you use, etc. Your account receivables (the money people owe you) are also an example of an asset. Intellectual property and your knowledge can be an asset.

When it comes to assets, there are two metrics you’re looking at:

  • Asset strength
  • Asset utilization

Asset Strength

When it comes to asset strength, you’re looking at 2 factors: Liquidity and the nature of the asset (particularly, can these assets be used to generate revenue versus those that can’t).

Liquidity means how easy it is to quickly generate more cash in order to solve unexpected problems or writing out down market using the assets you have.

The second factor, the nature of the asset themselves, is pretty self-explanatory. You want to have as little amount as possible of assets that aren’t used to generate revenue.

Asset Utilization

Asset utilization. Accumulating assets, even if they are liquid aren’t necessarily very helpful. At the end of the day, explains Kevin, if your accumulation of assets, whatever those assets are, does not directly contribute to making a bigger revenue is probably assets you don’t need.

Growth

Growth IIP072: How To Make Great Business Decisions As An Entrepreneur

Second to cash flow, growth might be the most discussed metric. I’m assuming that I don’t need to explain in too many details what growth is. At the end of the day, it boils down to are you more sales and getting more customers.

But one caveat that Kevin mentioned in today’s interview is this: A few years ago, Toyota was hard on focused on growth while losing sight of their quality control. When the quality suffered and they have to issue recalls, their bottom line suffered heavily.

Another example is the dot-com era: So many companies were solemnly focusing on the growth metric alone that completely lost sight of their profit margin, of their cash flow, and worse of all, on their cash-on-hand.

Rapid growth can be expensive and focusing solemnly on growth while ignoring its effect on the other metrics, can mean a deadly blow to your business.

People

Rose Julie Meron IIP072: How To Make Great Business Decisions As An Entrepreneur

Team Inspiring Innovation

The last but not least metric is people. These include both your customers and your employees. It’s pretty obvious the importance of the customers metric: Are they happy? Are they satisfied? Is your customer service quick and efficient?

Are your employees satisfied? Are you helping them grow? Are you treating your employees as well as you’d like them to treat your best customer? Neglecting either your customer’s happiness or your employees’ happiness can bring down the most financially stable company.

So these are the 5 metrics Kevin recommends you to pay attention to. I’d love to hear in the comments section what’s your take on each, and if there’s any metric you really think you should start paying attention to

Podcast Starter Kit

As mentioned in today’s episode, I’m really excited to announce my new free course: The Podcast Starter Kit.

The Podcast Starter Kit is a 7-day video course that will take you from knowing nothing about podcasts, to planning, recording and launching your successful podcast show, ranking in the top of Apple New & Noteworthy ranking, building your list, your brand, and your authority in whatever niche you’re in.

Click here to get immediate access to the Podcast Starter Kit.

Resource That Will Help You See The Bigger Picture

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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IIP071 quote IIP071: Buying Businesses & Life In The Entrepreneurship Fastlane

“Emotion doesn’t make money; Logic does.” Click to Tweet

Episode Highlights:

  • How to join the entrepreneur fastlane by buying successful businesses and making them better rather than building from scratch
  • How my guest, Jock, turned a $10,000 investment into a multi-million dollar business
  • The behind the scenes of online business brokerage
  • How to valuate the worth of your online business, and how to quadruple it
  • The most important entrepreneurship lesson you can teach your children or yourself
  • Creative ways to finance online businesses that you might have never considered

Today’s Guest: Internet Entrepreneur & Online Business Broker

Jock Purtle sml1 IIP071: Buying Businesses & Life In The Entrepreneurship Fastlane

Jock Purtle, CEO and President of Digital Exits


We are joined today by Jock Purtle, founder and CEO of Digital Exits — a business brokerage firm focusing on buying and selling online businesses.

Jock, 24 years old, grew up in Sydney, Australia in an entrepreneurial family. His family has a brokerage business and they made him a part of it by the time he was 8 years old. The foundation that he got from being in the family business, learning how to evaluate the worth of goods and how to resell them for profit, has proved to be extremely helpful for the rest of his career.

At 2009, he bought his first online business for $10,000. That website made most of its money with ads. A few months later, he made his money back and resold the business (website) for just shy of $18,000. From that point on, Jock repeated the process each time with a bigger deal, leading him to 2014 where he expects to complete between 20 to 30 deals, each one with a transaction value between $100,000 to $4.5M.

The Beginning

In the interview, Jock shared how grateful he is for his mom and dad taking him when he was young to every business meeting, sharing the profit and loss sheets, and teaching him how the business works.

He remembers at one time when he was young, he wanted to buy something that cost about a thousand dollars. When he asked his father to buy it for him, his father refused. A few days later, he came back and gave him five hundred dollars: “If you can take these five hundred dollars and turn them into a thousand, you can buy whatever you want with them.”

That exercise taught Jock about the power of putting money to work for you and reshaped his mindset for the rest of his life. In fact, he believed it’s a truly crucial exercise for anyone to do, whether for themselves or giving it to their children. “It doesn’t need to be five hundred dollars or a thousand, it can be as little as twenty. It’s the idea of putting the money to work for you, by investing in something that will yield more than the investment in return — that is the key.”

Today

Today, besides running Digital Exits, Jock also hosts a podcast covering the subject of buying and selling online businesses — whether as a buyer or as a seller or as a broker, frequently writes content for his blog about the same subject and has also released several free e-book guides on the subjects that you can find in the mentioned resources section.

Podcast Starter Kit

As mentioned in today’s episode, I’m really excited to announce my new free course: The Podcast Starter Kit.

The Podcast Starter Kit is a 7-day video course that will take you from knowing nothing about podcasts, to planning, recording and launching your successful podcast show, ranking in the top of Apple New & Noteworthy ranking, building your list, your brand, and your authority in whatever niche you’re in.

Click here to get immediate access to the Podcast Starter Kit.

Mentioned Resources

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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Episode Highlights

  • How my guest made the transition from jumping from helicopters and running convoys into Baghdad to becoming an independent author and publisher.
  • The similarities between army life and successful entrepreneurship (mainly SOPs, systems and teamwork)
  • How my guest started making money by allowing people to download everything he has for free
  • How the Pay What You Want model was born, and how it allows my guest to make 3x more money than he would had he used traditional payment models
  • How to use Gumroad to sell anything online within a few seconds and with no technical knowledge
  • How to make money from attending conferences
  • DO’s and DONT’s When Using the Pay What You Want model

Today’s Guest

Tom Morkes CEO of Insurgent Publishing IIP070: Why Would You Pay For Something Thats Free?

Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing

When Tom Morkes was 22 years old, he was in-charge of 40 guys and a dozen MRAP, when he was running convoys in and out of Baghdad. His role in the US Army required him to come up with new SOPs and TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) for convoys, since the type of technology and environment they served in were new to the army. He had to figure out everything on his own without being able to rely on previous knowledge in the communication.

In many ways, he agrees, there are many similarities between his role in the army and becoming an entrepreneur.

When you become an entrepreneur, you find yourself with no manual. There is no step-by-step guidance and you need to figure it out for yourself. You need to figure out what works for you and in what way. In the army, Tom spent a lot of time planning the worse case scenario and then trying to define best practices in order to avoid, handle and get out of such scenarios. In many ways, that’s what we do in the early days of entrepreneurship.

When he left the army, Tom knew he doesn’t want to answer to other people’s order anymore. He decided to use his skills of writing and started his first website. He sailed forward — meaning he was failing but learning. For the first 6 months, he didn’t make a single dollar.

“But that might be due to the fact I didn’t offer anything to sell.”

He had an idea that he decided to test out: After attending a conference held by Seth Godin with a hundred other people, he decided to take the notes he made and create a small e-book from it titled, 2 Days With Seth Godin. Of course that is already brilliant branding, if you asked me. Since when I heard about it, I figured Tom and Seth are close friends at least, and then realized it was on the context of conference.

At the time, Tom had just short of 150 e-mail subscribers. He sent them an e-mail, letting them know about the book and offered it to them to download and to pay for it as much as they want. People could get it for free or choose to pay some amount of money that would go to contribute for Tom being able to continue to do his work. 80 people ended up downloading the book, half of which contributed money. In fact, on average, the book sold at $15 a piece, which was more than 3x more than what Tom would make had he made his book available on Amazon!

Ever since, Tom has been intrigued by Pay What You Want model. You can learn about it more in his latest book The Complete Guide To Pay What You Want Pricing. And in today’s episode, he shares what he learned.

Tune in to find out how you can start making money with your brand … without asking for money!

Mentioned Resources

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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