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Basic Business practices for newbies:

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by aftershock2020, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    I've been around this forum for a number of years now and get asked all the time about anything across the board, however, the most often is about starting a real business structure.

    So, I'm going to post this in hopes that it will cover the basics for those that need them.

    Basic Business Practices for Newbies:

    The internet business world works the same way as the offline business world does. Sure, we have differences that allow advantages and/or disadvanatages for both sides, as with anything. However, in principle and practice, the fundamentals are always the same. Keep an open mind and remember that without a strong foundation, every building eventually crumbles onto itself.

    Real, quality business sites are required to make the level of profit that will change your life. Focus on building websites that will brand themselves in due respect and authority by building them properly and steadily. In building a site on the foundation of a real product/service, authority of relevant content targeted for the visiting traffic and the search engines alike, you will succeed.

    Understanding real business starts with a solid foundation of knowing what bases need to be covered right out of the gate. That comes with setting a solid business plan. However, traditional business plans have a habit of falling a little short. So, I recommend a practice of pushing it to a higher level and making a ' business action plan ', which takes the process up where you map your action steps immediately into each place, rather than just filling in the blank of " I need to do... " and leaving it at that.

    Knowing now what you are going to do then will build the focus and confidence to simply do it rather than pondering the ' how ' to death with typical " WHAT IF? " questions, which cause procrastination, doubt and more importantly, lack of action.

    Set your plan for 3 levels of operation from jumpstreet. Set it for 3 month goals, 12 month goals and 5 year goals. The reason for these wide range of settings is that everything can change in an instant online. IF you are working for the goal of 90 days on your short term goals, you will be more flexible to adapt and see what is working and isn't through your analytics and standard testing practices on sites and business techniques within your daily work routine.

    If you are updating every 3 months, you will be open to easily adjusting your 12 month goals to be met, as well as to adjust for an ever-changing market. The same with the 5 year goals, however, with one ammendment to the rule...5 year goals are for where your company should be in success when you get to that point in your longevity. It should be all about the end result of you meeting all of these goals of the 5 year plan within these 3 and 12 month spans.

    Finally, every time you complete something off the list of your plan, update it by making a side list of what you have accomplished and updating the current business plan with a new goal being added to the 5 year plan to work into your 3 and 12 month plan routines. This constantly keeps you moving forward and your business doing the same. This eliminates the room for worry, doubt and of course, lack of action.

    You will be focused on your goals rather than anything else, which takes up that slack in your life for the negatives to sneak in.

    Setting your professional business and customer service standards are critical at this point. Decide now what you are going to do and how you will handle your customer care, products/services, refunds, etc. This is all about handling the prepared scenario of " what if ? " in a positive light. Every great business person knows that if you have a response/reaction for every unexpected action, you will be calm, collected and able to handle it as a leader should, which solid thought, attention and resolve.

    The military around the world is based on this philosophy. It is grounded in physics and science as well. Every action has an equal countering reaction.

    " Plan for the worst and hope for the best. " is a saying that sums it up best in my opinion. Business and in life for that matter have this rule at its core. Those who prepare and have a response are never the victim of their environment. My practice that I recommend to you today is to make a list of what could be faced not by you but ' by your customer ', from your company. It could be a busted vase or a corrupt program download, etc.

    Whatever it is, think of it from your customer's perspective and ask yourself what you would like to be done if it was you in their place. Then, come up with 3 or more countering responses to resolve the issue to the best of both your positions. In the example case, you could offer a refund apologize, replace the item and apologize, offer them coupons for a discount on their next purchase or on their membership fees, etc.

    Learn real business skills for business operation, business and financial management, business growth and expansion, as well as proper real world investing of profits for generating passive income from your hardwork, to benefit your entire company. Pay attention the this next statement, please.

    Read the great minds of business, both new and old, as well as business manuals and basics to build your future.

    I am not talking about ' guru ' business books. I'm talking real money makers of the world; Donald Trump, W. Clement Stone, Wallace Wattles, among others of the same line.

    Make choices on living cashflow for today and retained retirement for tomorrow as your personal financial goal, purpose and lifestyle. Business professionals run their home finances just as they run their corporate business finances. This is why they have non-stop cashflow to do what they want. Making money doesn't stop when you cash the check and put it in the bank. You absolutely must know where your money is going and account for it. Manage your own personal expenses as you do your business, recording the purchases you make in a notebook or journal for a month. You will see exactly how much money you are losing in ' homebound overhead ' per that month.

    The goal should be to put your money in your account and then move it to target areas. All business people have multiple bank accounts, 99% of the reason is NOT because they have so much money but to simply better manage and keep it seperate.

    " Out of site, out of mind " is the best phrase to represent this. IF you don't have the money in your pocket or instantly available on your debit card, you aren't likely to spend it. Same principle here. IF you have all of your money in one general account, it is going to spend all for that one purpose - general stuff.

    Put your money into multiple savings accounts. A bank you work with will happily give you as many of them as you want. They are cheap to open and gain secure interest while building the funds for something better to invest in.

    Donald Trump stated that he has multiple accounts for various things; retirement for any unexpected issue that causes forced retirement on him, as he has openly stated numberous times that he would retire when he was buried and gone...

    home maint/management for his bills, vacation account for his vacation, travel account that manages his personal cars,yauchts, plans, helicopters, etc, etc, etc....right down the line.

    Plan your home business plan as well. Know where your earnings are going and then you won't have to work so hard to get more for replacement. Study on what you need to be doing and where you need to be putting your money for it to not only remain in place for you in the future but to work for you instead of your working for it.

    It isn't making money that is hard, people...it is keeping it. That's the challenge.

    I hope this motivates you to gain insight and if nothing else, take a moment and think about your future and where you want to be from where you are now. The only thing holding you back in this world...is you.

    Best of luck with all your ventures.
     
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  2. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    This is a great topic aftershock. Thanks for bringing it up. :cool:

    So many people get into IM, because they got hooked by the hype of 'Quick and Easy Riches'. It doesn't take long before they realize that it really was just hype, but they still keep operating under the concept that they just need figure out the real 'trick to making money'. Because of how they were introduced to the idea, they never went back to look at what IM really is. IM is a business, and the sooner someone can realize that, the sooner they can start operating it as such.

    Just as in any business, planning things out is essential. It's good to see a really well laid out explanation of how to go about doing just that.
     
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  3. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    It is interesting to say the least. The biggest issue that I see is that people buy these things and then jump in all hyped up saying " I can do that!!! " and then never do or do it all wrong, for a number of reasons. However, this post is about bringing it all together on your own solid foundation and understanding of how business really works and what you need to make it happen within reason.

    In ' get rich quick ' products, the only people that get rich are the creators. Business people run real businesses. The internet is absolutely no different and I hope that starting this thread will shed some light on the matter properly.

    Business action plans are a must. People don't succeed for a few common reasons:

    * They don't take action.

    * They don't know what to act on and fall into information overload/overwhelm.

    * They don't follow through out of fear of failure, success, responsability and accountability, as well as ' the end of the project '.


    With a business action plan in place, people are too focused and busy taking action to complete the current project within the timeline of the goal and posting new ones thereafter to stop and think about any of those things.


    Knowledge is power. Power is energy. Focus directs that energy.

    If you don't know how to do something, ask yourself what it is you don't know and learn it, plan it, then act on it. Make learning what you need an immediate goal to achieve. Making the first step is always the hardest, then the next and all that follow do so because you know you can already do it because of the first.






     
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  4. chockomonkey

    chockomonkey Regular Member

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    I know that my efforts have been personally squelched multiple times because of the lack of any business plan. I'll have a great idea and start to work on it, but before long I'm bogged down with 100 tabs in my firefox pointing to all different kinds of research and/or ways to do things, and end up just giving up on the idea because it's become such a clusterfuck. That's usually how my keyword research goes too. Thanks for the thread. i'll draw up an action business plan next time i set out to do something and stick to the actions i plan out... maybe i'll actually finish something D=
     
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  5. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Glad I could help. Main thing is to break your concepts/ideas down into plans as well, taking them in chunks. Do a process, then do another and do another, until you have the whole picture put together. PEople get great ideas and then try to tackle it from all sides, in one shot, which is where overwhelm has room to settle in, doe to lack of focus on the clear goal, which isn't so clear at the time.
     
  6. Squarix

    Squarix Newbie

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    Thank you for that. I've noticed it's really hard for me as well...there are so many ideas on this forum, that I just seem to jump from one to the next, without really trying out any of them fully. A business plan should definitely help! :)
     
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  7. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Be sure and check out another great post by Wiz for a product called " The Action Machine " and make use of it. You can find it here:

    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/member-downloads/121128-get-action-machine-stop-procrastinating-get-great-tool.html

    Make your business plans, then schedule their accomplishment within a timely measure. The software has a goal timer that counts down with an alarm to warn you of the task time running out.

    If you need serious motivation and focus, you are going to love the combination of a solid business plan and the time pressured clock counting down to getting it done. Your inspiration and motivation will gain leverage to build on. Be sure and give proper thanks to Wiz if you download this outstanding share from him.

    The focus of beating the clock will clear and dedicate your attention to nothing but the project and finishing ahead of that timer.

    Not to be gross about it but as we are all adults here...here is an example that if you think you aren't a winner and can't do something, you are seriously mistaken.

    Scientist have said that every one of us has a unique winning instinct in us and are winners from the time of our physical conception. This comes from the fact that the single sperm cell that activates the egg that became who you are won the race out of millions of other competitors, all charging for the same goal. You are you because you are infact a winner.

    Like I said before, a little gross for some but, still a fact none the less.

    Now, you have no reason to say that you have no experience at winning, being a winner nor that you have never won anything in your life.

    To speak it would be a lie.

    Get serious, motivated and take action to continue winning more experiences from this great existance we call life.
     
  8. NotTheDude

    NotTheDude Regular Member

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    Does anybody know of a good Business Plan template, map, or software tool to help?
     
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  9. dotocom

    dotocom Registered Member

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    Thanks for the great post!

    On a note about productivity, I use the Pomodoro technique which keeps me focused on my task at hand.

    Just use a timer and set it to 25minutes. Focus ONLY on that task with full concentration. Rest for 5minutes. Repeat.

    For every 4 Pomorodo's (approx 2hrs), rest for 15~20min.
     
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  10. plasmaflux

    plasmaflux Registered Member

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    Great post. So many people end up in a jam because they study 'million-dollar-methods' without ever studying 'business-common-sense'.

    Master Business Practices first, implement Million-Dollar-Methods second.
     
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  11. *Candi*

    *Candi* Regular Member

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    Great discussion about to start a new business.

    I think this discussion may help them a lot.
    It really working for me too.
    Thanks a lot to all.:focus:
     
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  12. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Here is a really decent one:

    http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html?gclid=CNPI9d7draICFVD75wodIgvl3g

    Also, in a crash course version, here is my own business plan formula that I use:

    Business Action Plan Outline:

    1. Write out what you want to achieve as goal. Be descriptive and specifically detailed in the present tense, as if it already exists.

    2. Write the bullet point list of the steps you need to accomplish to complete the overall vision of the primary goal. These are generic but, essential pieces to the puzzle as a whole.

    3. Write down each bullet point on its own page, as an individual micro-goal, with a list of very detailed steps, timeline of how long each step will take and a deadline to achieve the overall micro-goal.

    This should hold EVERYTHING you need in these micro-goals. Examples are from getting a merchant account, having a product developed, down to learning a new skill, technique or craft to accomplish your overall vision.

    4. Once you know where you are going with the vision and goals, and how you are going to get their with the finished steps layed out ahead of you...then, comes the most important part of the whole thing.

    YOU MUST TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO COMPLETE ONE OF THE STEPS!!!

    If you fail to follow through with this step, you will fail to follow through at all, for you will have never taken the first step of the process.

    5. Rince and repeat with any and all goals in your life, not just business goals.


    Mental Rules of the game of business:

    1. Keep an open mind and always communicate.

    2. Keep people that are better than you at what you hire them for but, never that know more than you do about what they do.

    Example: IF you have an accountant, know how to run your books, just let someone that enjoys it more do it for you, with you signing off so that you don't become Willie Nelson.

    3. Prepare for the worst but, expect the best. Everyone habitually worries about the worst outcome, intending it and then are surprised when they actually get it. Don't do this to yourself. Have a backup plan in place for all of your goals to result in the same desired outcome. IF path A doesn't take you where you thought it would originally, then turn left instead of going forward and take a different approach to getting there. Think of your plan as your own Tom-tom, ( that actually works and is up-to-date). If you don't like where you are, just remember that you can/will simply change direction and do something else. There are no road blocks in life, merely detours.

    4. Be successful, happy and profitable simply because you know there are going to be tough times ahead but by having them accepted in your own mind as part of your plan already, you are more than able to handle it.

    Please understand by this, I don't mean wonder around like a grinning idiot and be numb to the world and fake that everything is okay. I am seriously speaking about keeping an understanding prior to having it beat you over the head, that there are going to be tough points. Think of it as you are a martial artist. Being prepared to defend yourself allows you to walk into any situation and hold a confidence and comfort level as such.

    Run your business and all of your life that way, for that matter. Be prepared and you will never be surprised nor worse, in shock under any situation. IT is perfectly natural to feel fear but, it is not natural not to respond at all and let come what may.

    Hope this helps you out with a solid starting point if nothing else.
     
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  13. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    That is an outstanding technique, however, I have insomonia and can only sleep 3-4 hours per night, as my body chemistry is set that way. Get the same rest during that time as a person with a regular 6-8 hr night.

    With that issue in mind, I have a much more productive lifestyle working in a solid 45 on/15 off time setting. IT is a huge motivator to try and beat the clock while still having the task completed professionally and properly.

    Even though I do HIGHLY recommending customizing that technique to meet your own personal requirements and focus range, I absolutely agree with your recommendation.
     
  14. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Glad you enjoyed it.
     
  15. bizroot

    bizroot Supreme Member

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    Thanks! People know all these but still don't follow it... Like people know ciggerate is not good for health but they still smoke...

    LOL i am doing same in both case but seems it's high time that i organize every thing... Your post is great share and certainly it's gonna help me in re-organizing every thing.. Goal management on timely fashion and Finance management appealed me most...
     
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  16. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    You are welcome. I'm glad it inspired you to take action. Be sure and do something immediately from your steps list to make it happen, otherwise, it will be nothing more than a bunch of ' plans ' and not action steps.

    Use the timer and such as well. IT is crazy fun to beat the clock on projects.

    Reminds me of that Jeff Foxworthy bit, talking about the roadtrip relatives coming in the door " Made it in 14 hours and 18 minutes " or whatever it was.
     
  17. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Okay guys.

    Part 2 of the major posts to this thread is here. Going to cover the main business rules. I get asked all the time about the following question:

    " Now that I have a plan, how do I keep ahead of it to keep my business successful, profitable and growning ? "

    ...or something to that effect.

    Here is the answer.

    Basic Rules of Business for Newbies:

    The first thing you have must know are the rules of maintaining and managing a profitable and successful business. Once you have established your business and have the setup out of the way by following the first plan, achieiving all of those goals, you have to keep your business alive. A business is like owning a pet, it is a living breathing thing and if you don't take care of it, then it will surely die.

    The rules are guidelines to keep you in balance for keeping your business healthy and more importantly, making you money.

    Rule 1 - Sales MUST Exceed Expenses.

    Once people get their businesses started, 9 times out of 10, they will lose it due to expanding too quickly, over spending, taking on more than they can handle, etc.

    The way around this is by a simple practice of keeping your business expenses in balance and protected with what I call ' advance payment planning '. Here are some points to get you started on this.

    $ Set aside double your payment, as your profits allow for it.

    Double your expenses where your profits allow, to get ahead of the curve should you have a down month. Everytime you make more profits than required, save/invest it back into your company by building financial stability to maintain during off seasons, down markets for your niches, etc.

    $ Set yourself on a salary, based on annual company income plans and adjust accordingly to meet your living requirements as well as your business operating expenses.

    This is a big one, guys. If you aren't making enough money in the company profits, then don't take as much. Adjust your profit earnings/salary rate with the quality level of the company. If your company is only making $50k per month, that doesn't mean that you pay your internet service, website hosting and a few odds and ends, then spend the rest. Take a responsible salary of 10%, giving you $5000/month for ever $50k your company earns. As it grows, so will your wealth. This gives you a stable investment and motivation to push for proper, stable growth.

    Make your company grow as you do...day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. I know skeptics will say " This is the internet and people make millions over night all the time, this is B$! ", and to them, I simply say this...

    All of those overnight success stories are great, however, they are as limited as winning the lotto. They are rare, extreme examples of what is possible, but they are also proving that all of those guys that hit it with the big, powerhouse paydays are left stranded, building the next big payday,while forgetting to build a business, instead of mere projects.

    Would you rather have a business you build once and then work to perfect, expand and grow for a lifetime of income or a one-time paypay that you have to keep building over and over and over, with the same result - you building a paycheck to spend it, only to do it again and again.

    Sounds a lot like a JOB to me. I will stick with the prior and keep taking vacations and having fun with my family, while doing what I do for work remotely.

    What will you do?

    Rule 2 - Collect Your Bills.

    The number 2 largest reason for loss in business concerning residiual customer sales is due to lines of credit, outstanding bills and refund/return requests. It comes in all forms, from friends getting favors to credit lines collapsing and not being paid off properly.

    Here are some pointers that I practice to prevent such issues.

    $ Setup a policy to allow a repeat customer to be required to make a preset number of purchases before being established to get a line of credit.

    I use a virtual punch card on this one, as my BEST working example. I got the idea from a barber shop. The woman that owned it is an old school barber, not a beauty salon stylist. He dad and grandfather were both pro hair-hackers, so it was a perfect fit for her to follow suit.

    Anyway, she gets the card and each time you get it punched, you get a discount coupon on the next one and then last one with a full card is free...In my concept, I give a $250 line of credit and allow it to grow $25 per new card fulfillment thereafter.

    That brings me to the second point.

    $ Setup established customer discounts and LIMITED lines of credit for small sums that are required to be paid off in 30 days time.

    Secure these accounts with credit cards and expand them on the trust and accountability the client shows over time. Make them invest in you as you invest in them and they will stay with your forever.

    That rounds us out to the next rule...

    Rule 3 - Take Care of Your Customers

    I know on this particular forum, some people are of the philosophy that states " break 'em and burn 'em " but, for those that seriously want a business, this is instant death. The number 1 reason for loss in business concerning residual customer sales is due to their bad expense with you, your staff, your product, your service, etc...all which lead to the worst kind of reputation you can have...one of bad word of mouth stories of experience from a former customer.

    It is like your ex girlfriend/boyfriend making friends with your new love interest. You know it isn't going to go well, as the bad experience of your ex becomes the experience of your new partner's fear of repeating on them in their interaction with you.

    Giving your customers great service is outstanding, however, 100% of your services can/will be duplicated. You have to seriously up your game to make an EXPERIENCE for your client. That experience is where you will win their loyalty.

    It may sound tongue and cheek but I promise you that they will remember you for sending them a ' thank you for being our customer ' coupon package at random, or giving them a christmas card. A 100% heart-crusher - a birthday card from their customer service rep.

    Think about your own original ideas here. There are so many little things you can do outside of the everyday expectation. Start thinking about it and playing with ideas unique to your company and site ventures.


    Rule 4 - Take Care of Your People.

    Take care of your staff. I have all of my staff members use all of these techniques that I've described above, as well as many, many, MANY others. I have my management team work bi-monthly staff meetings with their teams, to set the goal requirements of the 2 week period. If there are any adjustments to be made, my management team brings it up with me in our meeting of the same time frame. I consult and we adjust to make immediate changes in all areas.

    My staff, right down to the customer service reps in my call centers are 100% informed of what their dept. is doing and where we are statistically, we well as financially. I do this in keeping records of their progress, interaction with clients, as well as an incentive bonus for achieving the goals of the 2 week window, which happend to be their pay periods as well.

    Here are some direct points I recommend you put into practice for this stage of your company development.

    $ Setup an open door policy.

    Make OVERALL management available, where the staff knows they will be heard. Use an open feedback system, where your staff can make you improve THEIR experience as well as that of the customers.

    I guarantee you that if your staff can post anything as feedback, directly to your office computer through that posting system, your managers will be the best in the world. I know mine are top of the line people.

    $ Setup a fully function management system.

    Create a company where you have micro-management, general management and administrative management, closing out the loop with FULL staff awareness and company accountability.

    $ Show your SMILING face outside of just passing through, annual reviews or hire/fire situations.

    The most important power a business owner has is ' interactive presence ' in his/her company. IF people can't see you, you become the building/business itself. IF you reserve yourself for passing glances only, then you are untouchable and nothing more than someone that throws a paycheck at your staff and don't care about them - IN THEIR OPINION, which is what matters and as a result, what your customers deal with on a first contact level. That is a scary thought when you think about the risk of that situation on your livelyhood.


    In closing, I recommend you take these rules, practice them and build your company to a high that no one can touch. You are your only real competition in this world and it is up to you to take your game to the ultimate extreme, as no one else will.

    Use the plan outline, enforce the rules as your policy and standard. Be happy because you can be and truly are, knowing you have built a business the proper way. I hope this helps you become a solid, stable and profitable business person. It isn't the entire big picture yet, as you only have the tools and canvas here. You can go and paint the vision to be whatever you desire most.

    Hope this has been useful to you. These points are all techniques that I personally use in my business life daily. They are age old rules and will not change - ever. Apply them and find your own success.

    Best of luck in your ventures.
     
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  18. wpbacklinks

    wpbacklinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Great post OP, i knew you have posted a lot of useful posts... Get Focus on the business whatever it is! so can you give us the lists of useful sites? i like site like fiverr.com i thought how to make more money everyday. from $1 a day, then $10 a day, then $30 a day.
     
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  19. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    There are great lists of sites to work with in this forum.

    As for ' dollar for dollar ' earning, I don't do that type of work. I build businesses with products/services that bring residual income.

    You can use the business plan model to plan to build a $1/day method and then build on that by repeating the process. However, I would recommend against it, as you are doing the exact thing that I recommend against in the latest post, which is creating a job for yourself. When you limit your efforts to making a set ammount of income, you will only work to reach that mark.

    In that, you limit yourself badly.

    Instead, I suggest that you work on focusing on building a successful and profitable company, with the bonus benefit of profitable income. Building it to the point of setting it strictly by the level of income will always leave you wanting more from it and investing more than you ever get out of it.

    A real business is all about making you unlimited income and is flexible enough to compensate as you are able to with expansion and growth develoment. Building a project just to meet an income goal is locked only to that effort.
     
  20. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    @aftershock - Thanks for a lot of great advice. This is another great post in an already valuable thread. I have this saved so I can go back over it to keep it fresh in my mind.

    Thanks again.
     
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