How to Work Your Way Out of Corporate America Hell

Yes, this is a post targeted directly at some of my closest friends who are still tied down by the chains of Corporate America. I probably don’t speak to them often enough; it’s not because I don’t like them, it’s simply because each time we meet and begin talking, the conversation turns negative nine times out of ten.

Why is this you might ask?


I personally don’t think I’m a negative guy. In fact, when I worked in “Corporate America” I was given the “Best Attitude” Award…ha ha!

The reason things tend to turn negative, in my opinion (IMO), is because my friends know that what I’m doing as a self-employed entrepreneur is EXACTLY what they want to be doing…but they’re afraid to take the leap from that “security”.


It’s also because, due to the “chains” that have tied them down, there really aren’t a lot of positive things for them to share with me.

In an effort to give you more than just my own biased opinion about self-employment, I reached out to some of the people I look up to in this world of self-employed freedom. Here’s what they had to say:

I worked as a consultant for two years, in those two years I saw my dress sense, hygiene, sleep patterns, health and body go to complete shit. I was working all the time I wasn’t sleeping, and I wasn’t sleeping enough, I would wake up and start working often without showering or dressing, often without having breakfast, never at the same time, I would order in and eat unhealthy foods, and I was almost completely sedentary.

So my advice, have a room in your house that is a dedicated office space. Make sure you wake up at the same time every day and start work at the same time every day, make sure you have breakfast, shit/shower/shave and dress appropriately. Cook your meals, take frequent breaks and go for walks, do stretches, etc.

Do everything the opposite of what I was doing. I was young and learned it the hard way. I was wide-eyed at the prospect of working from home but honestly, you have to pretend you’re not at home so you work smarter if not harder, work in an office space (don’t forget it’s tax-deductible), make sure you don’t let yourself get distracted by kids/wife/tv/anything else.

Muhammad Saleem

To get all of the influential people in his/her life on board with the decision being made. You need to make sure that everyone understands the decision you have made, why you have made it, and that you simply can’t deal with detractors and doubters over the next couple of months/years.

Dave Mink

In the words of Nike: Just Do It – make sure and have a plan though, set goals and work your ass off to achieve them. Leave all fear behind. There is no room for fear in self employment. Network. Use your connections and social media to let the world know what you are doing and how they can help. If you do, you will realize quite soon how much money you were losing by limiting yourself to a 9-5 … Be prepared for trials, but know after much adversity comes much success.

Mat Siltala

  • be out of debt
  • be willing to lose
  • have the funds to make educational “gambles”
  • be smart, if someone can do it better than you, hire that person to do it
  • stay connected with your market
  • be flexible
  • and work with your pants off


Paul Barker

From time to time I get to work with clients who are classic “Corporate America”:

  • They have to asked permission to speak in turn
  • They have to bring in 5-7 people to make simple decisions and get everyone’s complete buy-off
  • They have to use lots of acronyms and corporate “jargon” to sound more sophisticated
  • They use lots of cliches like “Win Win” and “ROI” and “High-Level”

Granted, there may be some “Corporate America” jobs that are to die for. But in my experience and in talking with many others, they are definitely few and far between.

So what can be done?

Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my favorite social media rockstars, shared this advice:

The key concept you have to take away from all of this advice is you have to WORK; you have to WORK; you have to WORK! Continuing to work at your crappy day job and doing your self-employed dream on the side for a while is ok.

But don’t fall into the trap of “someday I’ll take that leap” because that someday may never come.

I took the self-employment leap over a year ago. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learned a lot of things.

Here’s my list of suggestions on how you can take that leap and work your way out of “Corporate America Hell”…

The Hell-Hole Release Formula

  • keep working on your businesses while your at work (or before or after hours if that’s more safe)
  • set specific, measurable, reachable goals and HIT THEM
  • make a list of ALL your contacts
  • make a list of all the special skills you have that you can offer as services
  • set up a freshbooks account:
    • it’s a free invoicing tool that helps you keep books as you do work
    • it also has a timer to keep track of hours you’re working on projects
    • it took me a bit to figure out how to best use it, but now it’s basically something I HAVE to use to keep up on book keeping
    • it will save you money from paying a slimy accountant the beaucou bucks
  • use a tool like to keep track of progress
  • write out what you would LOVE to do if money weren’t an option
  • write out what you’d love to do for work if you could pick one thing
  • learn how to sell, sell, sell
    • EVERYTHING starts with a sale
  • Most Important Tip: go to all your friends who have taken the same path and ask them lots of questions (ie. insurance, accountant, tips, tricks, any partnership opps, etc.)



What do you think?

7 Life-Changing Productivity Tips That Lead to Business Success

In an effort to “practice what I preach”, I was stumbling for ideas last night and came upon one that really hit home.

I’m coming on my one year anniversary of self-employment (November 1st); I’ve learned a lot about myself, my motivation, and mostly about areas where I can improve.

Productivity is “the state of being productive”. (in case you weren’t sure)

One of the things I’ve learned as a self-employed entrepreneur is that there is rarely anyone watching over your shoulder to make sure you get things done. In many ways this can be a relief from the micro-managing manager who wastes more time trying to “catch” his/her employees doing something WRONG as opposed to working on projects that will make his/her team BETTER.

The down side of not having someone monitor your progress is that it can be easy to waste time and not be productive.

Luckily, for the most part, things have gone pretty well for me in this area, but as I read over the article I found via Stumbleupon, many points hit the nail on the head and reminded me that there’s always room for improvement.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite business productivity tips with you in an effort to help all of us be more accountable in our business success.

7 Productivity Tips That Will Change Your Business Life Forever

1. Get Moving!

Sure, it’s important to prepare, plan, etc. but if you never start a project due to “over-planning” and preparation, most times nothing will happen. We must challenge ourselves to take action sooner rather than later. The minute you start acting (ie. outlining your next eBook, listing potential JV partners, sharing your simple idea with a trusted group, etc.), you start getting valuable feedback that will help refine your original idea and move forward with a more informed perspective.

2. “Small Success leads to Big Success!”

This has been part of my “mission statement” since I started online marketing almost 8 years ago. Ideas in our head are generally really big, pie-in-the-sky concepts. The downside is that such thinking makes the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” break up your idea into small, simple action steps (I call these performance goals). Once you’ve mapped out your idea with small action steps, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.

3. Chip Away at Your Project a Little Bit Everyday.

Again, that “small success” every day really will lead to “big success” as your consistent. It’s incredibly important to maintain momentum. It’s just like exercise: when you run everyday, the exercise gets easier and easier. As Jack Cheng argues in a great blog post, “Thirty Minutes A Day”: “the important thing isn’t how much you do; it’s how often you do it.”

4. What’s Your Routine?

Part of being able to work on your project a little bit each day is carving out the time to do so. Routines can seem boring and uninspiring, but – on the contrary – they create a foundation for sparking true insight.  In his recent memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami writes about how a rigorous routine – rising at 5am and going to bed at 10pm every day – is crucial to his impressive creative output. (In a side note: Alex Iskold derives a series of lessons for start-up entrepreneurs from Murakami here.)

I quoted this tip in its entirety because I’m not the best as keeping a consistent routine: I stay up way too late sometimes and have a really hard time motivating myself to get up before the sun.

Any ideas on how to improve in this area?

5. Most Meetings are a Waste of Time.

Few activities are more of a productivity drain than meetings. I saw this first hand as a middle-manager. Just when I was in a good flow and getting things done, I’d get a notice that we were going to have another pointless meeting about some stupid idea. Not only did the meeting get me out of a rhythm, but it also wasted sometimes nearly half the day and rarely did the crap we talked about ever get truly implemented.

If you must meet (and this should be a big “if”), make sure everyone knows what needs to be accomplished from the outset.

6. It’s OK to Say “No.”

When you’re in execution mode, keep in mind that “unexpected opportunities” also mean distraction from the work at hand. Saying no is an essential part of the productivity equation.

Take author Jim Collins for example. His books Built to Last and Good to Great have sold millions of copies. The well-known author is in high demand. Yet, “even though Collins demands over $60,000 per speech, he gives fewer than 18 per year.” If he gave more of his creative time than that, Collins wouldn’t have enough time to focus on the research and writing that yield those bestselling books.

7. Even Productivity Rules are Made to Be Broken.

Yeah, I talked about following a “routine”. However, this tip and the other tips here should only be followed as long as they are working. If forward motion has become impossible with your current routine, try something else. Whether it’s taking a long distance trip, popping into the art museum, walking around the block, or talking to a perfect stranger, make sure you occasionally shake up your normal routine. Many times, breaking the monotonous routine offers new perspective and helps recharge our creative batteries.

What do you think?

Which tip(s) helps you the most?

Are there other suggestions you implement that help you be more productive?

VIDEO: Can a Non-Techie Person Really Succeed with an Online Business?

Well, can you?

Do you really have to be a computer wiz to be successful with an online business?

I speak from first hand experience – you DON’T have to be a born “brainiack” or a computer programmer to run a successful online business.

To give you some inspiration before I tell you how to get the ball rolling, check out this “motivational speech” from a 5 year old:

“Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself…you will get the hang of it, I know. If you keep practicing, you can get better and better at it…Thumbs up everybody for rock and roll!”

You just gotta believe and give a thumbs up and…VIOLA, you’ll be successful.

Oh how I wish it was that easy and “turn key”. Unfortunately, in most cases, IT’S NOT so don’t be fooled to think otherwise.

Running an online business takes hard work. It takes patience. It takes failure. And it takes more patience.

But the best news is, you can do it! Yep, I’m talking to YOU. And here’s how in five simple steps:

The Five Simple Steps to Success with an Online Business

Step 1: Start with something you’re passionate about


As some of you know, my first website was built in 2004 with the help from Mat. I still run that site today selling clogging shoes and taps to people all over the world. Has it made me a million dollars? No! But it makes money and has taught me so much about what it really takes to run an effective online business.

I’ve been clogging since I was 6 years old and have been all over the world. I know lots of people in the clogging world. Yep, there are actually a lot of cloggers out there. The passion I have for clogging and business have gone hand in hand as I built this ecommerce website. Not only did I expect to succeed from the start, but I knew I wouldn’t give up because I was using a website business as a way to stay involved in something I already knew a lot about.

Take Away: Don’t chase after the hottest selling product online. Most likely you don’t know ANYTHING about it and there are millions of “competitors” trying to ride the same short-lived trend.

Step 2: Begin making connections with your target audience even BEFORE you officially launch your website


This may sound a bit odd, but connections are what it’s all about. About 4 months ago, a friend and I decided to follow a trend. We jumped on the Jimmer Fredette band-wagon and created a website. But before we did that, we started reaching out to some of our contacts. We made a list of people we knew that may help us get in the right doors.

About 3 weeks ago some of those connections really paid off as we were able to have an official photo shoot with the Naismith Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette. Our connections helped us get officially licensed to sell Jimmer Fredette T-shirts and are opening doors every day. Often times, business is not about WHAT you’re selling, but more about WHO you’re selling to. The more you can start making contacts, getting feedback, and building business relationships, the quicker you can start moving product when the website is officially “open for business”.

Take Away: It’s never too early to start making connections and sales. Ask questions, take notes, and the deliver what the client wants.

Step 3: Don’t be afraid to ask what seem like stupid questions


My motto since I started teaching other people how to start an online business has always been “There’s no such thing as a dumb question except the one you don’t ask.” Even though some questions leave me wondering if the person has really even thought through things, I still stand by this motto. If you don’t know something, ask someone that does. It’s a good idea to look for answers too, but from my experience, I’d rather ask a few questions from people who know and get the answer right away than search around, find an answer, test it out, find that it doesn’t work, and finally give up and ask someone later on.

Take Away: Let go of your pride and ask the experts in your field. Not only will this help you achieve your goals quicker, but you may form a contact that will help you get to a new level you hadn’t imagined.

Step 4: Don’t be afraid to fall on your face (aka FAIL)


If anyone tells you that running a business is not that difficult and that their business has been perfect with no pitfalls, THEY’RE LYING. Seriously. All businesses make mistakes. The ones that are most successful are just better and learning from their mistakes quickly and making the necessary adjustments so they don’t repeat the same mistake over and over again.

All new businesses have the possibility of not working out. However, those same businesses also have just as much chance to succeed if they are following the other steps we’ve already talked about.

Take Away: Expect Success! Know that failure will come but do your best to recover quickly and not repeat the same mistake over and over again.

Step 5: Celebrate the “Small Success” – it will lead to “Big Success!”


This is my mantra for my business: “Small success leads to Big Success!” And it does. I still remember the first sale I ever made online – it was a pair of worn out jeans that sold on eBay for $0.99. I remember thinking “Wow! I actually sold something…” That first small success has led to some pretty substantial “Big Success” that I would have never even seen had it not been for the mindset that every small success will lead to bigger success – I just have to duplicate what’s working.

A classic example of this concept is with our city league softball team. We’ve been playing together for about 3 years now. We have always had about the same team and played in the same division. Our name pretty much sums us up – “Basura Blanca” which is Spanish for “White Trash”. We haven’t ever really had “sluggers” that could hit the ball out of the park whenever they wanted. We’re not the youngest or fastest either. But this year our captain started something that I feel has improved our team dramatically – he started recording our stats for hitting. To many, this may mean nothing, but to most of us who grew up playing some form of competitive sports, it has turned on the competitive juices. We talk about our hits, we post our stats on a Facebook Fan Page, and we give each other a bad time if we count a fielders choice or an error as a base hit. Anyway, the point is this – by monitoring our “small success” we’ve all focused on hitting for AVERAGE and not just for power. By doing this, we’ve 10 (or 20) runned almost every team we’ve played this year. And trust me, none of us is getting any younger. To me, this is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of the power of monitoring and recording small success – it leads to big success, even in old men’s softball. :)

Take Away: Record your small successes in a business journal or on a blog and review them often. Not only will this help you SEE the progress you’re making, but it will lead to big success sooner than you think. Sharing them with others can also be helpful to hold you accountable.

How do you plan to use these simple steps to speed up the success of your online business?

Are there steps I’ve left out that have been beneficial to your success online?

Thanks for sharing this with all your friends and family!

Nate Moller works with businesses who want to improve their online business. For over five years, he’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

11 Questions That Will Define Your Target Audience

I’m preparing to teach a group of authors, both newly published, and veterans, about the importance of effective online marketing.

As I’ve mapped out some of the different topics I’ll be covering, the one that continues to come to mind is about the importance of defining WHO you’re marketing to.

Having worked with lots of internet start-ups, I’ve realized that defining your target audience is probably the hardest and most overlooked aspect of online marketing.

It really doesn’t matter WHAT you sell. What matters most is the “WHO”.

The cool thing is, if you know a clearly defined target audience well, you can sell them lots and lots of different products and services because they’ll see value in what you’re offering over and over again. Plus, as you help solve their problems, you’re building a business relationship – and that’s what successful business is all about.

In other words, selling products and services online is not just about creating a product you think would be cool and then pushing it out and seeing how good it will stick. Sure, sometimes you have to test, and test, and re-test, but hopefully that’s BEFORE you invest lots of money in product, advertising and all the costs associated with running a legitimate business.

In an effort to teach this concept to these authors, I’ve compiled a list of questions about defining your target audience that I’ve used throughout my internet marketing career.

I’ve formatted the questions so they are not just for an author. Instead, they can be implemented for ANY business owner that needs to define, or re-define, his or her niche market segment(s).

How I break down the questions:

a. For an inventor or someone creating something new or innovative.
b. For an entrepreneur who wants to sell a product or service that already exists in the market.
c. For the authors that I’ll be speaking with.

12 Questions to Help You Define Your Target Audience

1. When you

a. came up with your idea
. decided to sell this product
wrote your book, etc.],


a. did you think it would help?
b. did you plan to sell it to?
c. were you writing to?

2. Does this audience currently buy

a. something similar to what you’re creating
b. this product or service elsewhere?
c. your book or books similar to yours?

3. Why specifically

a. do you want to create this product or service?
b. are you interested in selling this product or service?
c. are you writing this book?

4. How does your

a. idea
b. product or service
c. book

help your targeted audience or what problem does it solve for your audience?

5. What are your marketing demographics?

Income Level
Education Level
Marital/Family Status

6. How do you currently determine who buys

a. an idea like yours?
b. a product or service like yours?
c. your book?

7. What specific things do your buyers have in common?

8. What are your marketing psychographics?


9.  How do you determine if there are enough people that fit your targeted criteria?

10. What drives your target audience to make buying decisions?


11. How can you best reach your target audience?


12. Where is your target audience “hanging out” online?


These are questions I’ve gone over quite a few times throughout my online marketing career. They’ve helped me broaden my scope in some areas of my business; they’ve also helped me narrow things down substantially.

Are there questions I’ve left out?

How do YOU define your target audience?

Nate Moller consults with clients about how to start an online business. For over five years, he’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

10 Super Simple Entrepreneurial Success Tips You Should Practice

I shared 25 awe-inspiring tips about self-employment a few weeks ago.

This list of entrepreneur success tips elaborates a bit more on a few of those initial suggestions and shares a few more I’ve learned, some just recently:

  1. SALES: In my strong opinion, you have to have a sales mentality to succeed at any business endeavor. I’ve written articles about sales in the past; I feel even stronger about this topic now. Everything I do in regard to running a successful business goes right back to what I’ve learned about in over 15 years of sales. If you can’t make sales, even the best product or service won’t get very far in the market. You have to be willing to open your mouth, meet the right people, and ask for the sale if you plan to get anywhere with your business. And no, you DON’T have to be a shady sales person to succeed:
  2. VISION: If you don’t have a clear vision of where you want to go, you’ll waste a lot of time going nowhere. I think the hardest part about this discovery is that sometimes, probably more often than any of us would like to admit, we don’t really know where we want to go.
    What are tips you’ve used to help you determine where you want to go with your business?
  3. TIME MANAGEMENT: Playing soccer with your kids at 1:30 in the afternoon is a great reward and worth all the time.
  4. VACATION: Going on family vacation is totally different as a self-employed entrepreneur. Nope, there is no PTO as a self-employed entrepreneur. However, what I’ve learned about vacation is that, if you work really hard the week or two before you go on a family trip, things can happen that are pleasantly surprising while you’re away. It’s also a great idea to build a team as soon as you can: independent contractors that can be working on projects while you’re taking in the sun.
  5. ROUTINE: Get in to a routine as quick as you can. Although it’s nice to work on your own schedule and “free-lance”, a routine will really help you stay on course towards hitting goals and objectives for your business.
  6. NETWORK: Create a list of ALL your contacts and contact them via “in-person”, phone, Facebook, email – in that order. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you’re doing and ask if there’s anyway you can help them. You’ll be surprised at some of the opportunities that will come around, even if they’re not working directly with friends or people you know.
  7. INSURANCE: Your “corporate job” didn’t really take that good care of you in regards to insurance. I don’t mean that they ALL are like that, but in my experience, my “benefits” were really just a PR stunt and so so at best. One of the biggest fears my family had when I declared “self-employment” was what we’d have to pay in insurance. Rumors of $2,500 per month were thrown out there. I realized pretty quickly, though, that although it can be a bit of a headache to get everything in place, there are self-employment insurance plans that are, in many ways, BETTER than what your “corporate benefits” package paid.
  8. PA$$ION: The more you love what you’re doing, the easier it will be to see success with your business – just make sure what you love to do will pay the bills. I recommend working on short-term projects AND long-term projects. By short-term I mean having things you can do (services, small jobs) that will make quick money. The long-term projects may take more time to develop, but the overall pay-off should be promising. The error I’ve seen in focusing exclusively on the long-term project without having any short-term money makers is that you can lose confidence (or your shirt) before anything positive really happens. For me, this would be an invitation to be forced to go back to the rat-race – which is not a short OR long-term goal of mine.

From my wife:

  1. ORGANIZATION: Organization is Key. I’ve been reading the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen – FYI: it’s not a skim-it-over book, it’s a study. This book has been really helpful in creating a strategy that is effective. Having a clean office space has also helped me turn some corners and see almost immediate positive results. Finally, a white board with day to day tasks and overall outcome goals has been helpful. I thank my wife for her help in “cleaning house” when it came to a ton of CRAP I’d collected over the last few years, most of which I had intentions to use but honestly never would have. The trash was a great place for all this unused stuff.
  2. PACE: Take things one step at a time and don’t get overwhelmed. The biggest money won’t come overnight (beware of companies that promise the “pie in the sky”), but it will come if you’re consistent, hard working, and are not afraid to set goals and monitor your progress. Don’t forget that creating a team of people can actually be really helpful to get you where you want to be even quicker than doing this completely on your own. Just be selective and don’t rush into things (ie. get things in writing ALWAYS before forming partnerships).

How do these tips help you in your entrepreneurial pursuits?

Nate Moller, a self-employed entrepreneur, has been teaching clients how to start an online business for over five years. He’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

Why Business Plans Suck for an Online Business

A month ago I was in Arizona where I got a sun burn from swimming in the pool without wearing sunscreen.

Just last week I was looking outside and watching the snow glisten off the top of our fence.

Tomorrow, it will probably be 70 degrees outside.

My question to you:

Have you ever actually changed travel plans or family activities based on what happened with the stupid Ground Hog?

I sure hope not!

I’ve decided that Ground Hog day is a scam and I’m wondering what is the hidden agenda behind this stupid holiday. Any ideas?

This weather rant doesn’t have much to do with the title or content of this post, but hopefully it gets you thinking about BUSINESS PLANNING and causes you to ask yourself the question “Who really is in charge of planning out my day?”

There are a few reasons I want to share information on business planning with you today:

Reason #1 – Many newbies to the world of online marketing think about “Business Plans” and it scares them so bad that they never move forward.

Reason #2 – A business plan isn’t what it used to be, especially for an online entrepreneur who has to deal with an ever-evolving world of Google changes, Facebook flops, and Twitter Success Stories.

Reason #3 – I’ve realized through the school of hard-knocks that if you “fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Luckily failure is an important part of success, but the most successful people I know recover from their failures pretty quickly.

Reason #4 – One of my favorite online entrepreneurs, Brian Clark, had some great feedback about business plans that I agreed with 100%.

First question then:

Does an Online Entrepreneur Need a Business Plan?

Here’s what Brian Clark thinks about business plans:

I’ve never written [a business plan].

With the kind of businesses I start, that are 100% powered by online marketing, it’s a little bit different.

Doing a business plan is not really helpful…

You don’t really need any outside money to get rolling.

That doesn’t mean you don’t do business planning.

Setting projections is really kind of a waste of time, though.

You’ll notice that Brian said business plans are not very helpful. However, he also said that it doesn’t mean you don’t do business planning. So what does he mean?

Personally, I’ve never written a formal business plan either, but I do practice “business planning” in the form of goal setting: I write Outcome Goals and Performance Goals.

What’s the difference between Outcome and Performance Goals?

This is a question I had as I did research about setting and achieving goals as a self-employed entrepreneur. Of course, like you, I want outcomes: results, money in the bank. But before that happens I’ve realized that I have to take the necessary steps to get everything in place. This is where “Performance Goals” come in to the picture (aka “Business Planning).

Here’s an example of how I “business plan” with performance and outcome goals:

Outcome Goal: Make $100,000 this year with my online business.

Let’s break it down:

  • To make $100,000 this year, assuming I start today, Thursday, March 31st, means I have 9 months.
  • $100K / 9 months = $11,111.11 per month
  • $100K / 39 weeks = $2,564.10 per week
  • 39 weeks X 5 business days = 195 business days
  • $100K / 195 business days = $512.82 per day
  • $100K / 3 Quarters = $33,333.33 per quarter

Notice that there are lots of different break downs you can do. One is not necessarily better than the other, the point is to create an accurate picture of what it’s going to take to hit your outcome goal.

By doing this break down I can actually see what it’s going to take on a day to day basis, a week to week basis, a quarterly basis, etc. if I want to achieve this financial goal of $100,000 by Dec. 31, 2011 (assuming I start today).

Now I have to ask myself this important question:

“How much control do I have of that outcome – to make $512.82 per day?”

If you’re answer is “I don’t know…” that’s not necessarily the wrong answer.

However, I’ve come to the conclusion that there ARE things I can do every day that will improve the likelihood of hitting these specific goals.

What are they?

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Weekly or daily promotions
  • Testing different wording strategies
  • Client feedback and referral systems
  • Offline marketing
  • Joint ventures

The list can go on and on. But look at this list:

“How much control do I have of [these] outcomes?”

All the control!

AND, how much control do I have of keeping track of what I do on a daily basis?

All the control!

I can set a goal to make X amount of phone calls today and send Y amount of emails to my database. Then, after doing these things, I can monitor my progress.

Maybe today I called 20 people and 5 of them purchased for an average of $50. That means 25% of my contacts purchased something and I made about $250 today. If I contact 50 people tomorrow I have a chance to sell to 12.5 people for about $625 in sales.

The numbers won’t always be perfect every day, but by keeping track of my progress (what was working, what didn’t seem to work), I can then duplicate my successes more and more and more (and hopefully eliminate the things that aren’t working)!

The Business Planning Take Away

If goals are based on outcome and outcome only, motivation may be super high at first; but,  as we achieve the initial goal, the benefits of further achievement at the same level are reduced and motivation will decrease.

Sometimes we don’t have complete control of how much money we make on a given day, week, month or year. If we set goals that we have control of, our mindset and motivation are not going to be in the hands of others. There’s nothing worse than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond our control.

True business planning in the online marketing world is different than traditional business planning.

Setting goals you have control of and keeping track of your progress is critical to your overall success!

Brian Clark’s podcast really confirmed my belief that business plans in their traditional form are a big waste of time.

What are your thoughts on business plans vs. business planning?

Nate Moller, a self-employed entrepreneur, has been teaching clients how to start an online business for over five years. He’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

25 Awe-Inspiring Tips About Self-Employment

  • Is self-employment for you?
  • How long have you been thinking about it?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Have you started testing your ideas in the marketplace?

For many, “Corporate America” is the end all cure all, the reason we get a college education. These “purists” love working 60-90 hours per week, not seeing their families very often, bowing down to their “master” boss who is all-knowing and who walks on water. The “security” they have far outweighs any ideas they have to do something bigger and better on their own. These people hope to stay at the same job for 30+ years, get paid a decent retirement, and “live happily ever after”.

For me, this is a load of SH$#!

I became officially “self-employed” on November 1, 2010.

I left a company I’d been working with since right after college where I was making a decent salary (salary being the keyword).

Luckily, I’d been doing quite a bit of business on the side while working with my former employer and this was something they recommended (sort of).

Throughout the course of the last 5 months, I’ve learned a lot about being a self-employed entrepreneur, things I was never taught in school and things that I hope you can avoid as you take that leap into the dark abyss of self-employment.

25 Awe-Inspiring Things About Self-Employment

This guy found a niche worth pursuing :)
  1. Self-employment is a dream come true!
  2. Taking the first step away from “corporate America” is probably the hardest step you’ll take.
  3. Continuing to move forward every day can be difficult, especially if you’re not for sure where you’d like to end up.
  4. The benefits of self-employment far outweigh the risks.
  5. The more focused you are on a niche, the quicker you’ll see success.
  6. Being your own boss is not necessarily easy.
  7. Making mistakes (and learning from them) is a KEY to success as a self-employed entrepreneur.
  8. Assessing what errors you’ve made and not repeating them will help you take giant steps forward.
  9. When you first start, or maybe even before, make a long list of ALL contacts you can think of – this list will prove to open doors you may not have even considered opening.
  10. Update your social media profiles using specific keyword phrases of the services or products you’re offering.
  11. State in your social media profiles that you are taking on new clients.
  12. As soon as you can, find something you can do consistently to bring in even a little money every day/week while you work on bigger projects.
  13. There’s not really any “secret sauce” to success as an entrepreneur. Like anything, it takes hard work, creativity, and a willingness to not let fear hold you back – instead let fear MOTIVATE YOU.
  14. My college degree helped me learn how to study, but it hasn’t helped me much as a self-employed entrepreneur. A lot of the process is a “learn as you go”.
  15. 4 Self-Employment Questions to Ask Yourself: 1. Am I able to get organized and keep a consistent schedule? 2. Can I get things done without answering to someone? 3. Am I really dedicated to solving a specific problem or need in the marketplace? 4. How much do I really want this?
  16. Quitting your day job before you’ve thought about some of these concepts can cause so much stress that you’ll doubt your decision the entire time and go back to working for the man – plan as much as you can before you tell your boss to SHOVE IT!
  17. Begin working your idea part time, in the evenings or early mornings, to see how things go. Obviously the online route is the best way to get started since there are minimal overhead costs and it’s a 24/7 marketplace.
  18. Keyword research will really help you understand if your idea has a chance to succeed.
  19. Defining WHO you’re going to sell your product/service to is probably the most important question to answer.
  20. The sooner that you can create a scheduled routine, the better. Although having your own hours is awesome, you can waste a lot of time if you’re not careful and don’t have things planned out.
  21. A SALARY SUCKS, bottom line. Determining how much you’re going to make for the work you do is so rewarding. The secret, though, is to set an end goal, an Outcome Goal, and then track it backwards via Performance Goals.
  22. Go to events, network, and meet with clients and friends on a fairly regular basis. Working from home can be ideal, but it can also be really lonely. Interaction with others will give you new ideas, keep you motivated, and help you continue pressing forward.
  23. Partner, Partner, Partner! Find other businesses that are already established and do business with them/for them. This will give you some footing as you grow your own ideas.
  24. Put your goals on paper and place them in places around your home/office where you’ll be able to review them frequently.
  25. Ask for referrals!

Self-Employment is AWESOME! It’s hard work. But it’s so nice to get checks in the mail and know that it’s all YOUR money, that you don’t have to share it with your A%#H$%# boss or owner of the company.

As I created this list, I realized there are so many more things I can add to it.

For now, though, I’d like to ask which of these 25 points you would like to know more about.

Leave a comment and in a future post(s) I’ll expound on some of the points you mention.

Nate Moller, a self-employed entrepreneur, has been teaching clients how to start an online business for over five years. He’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

Finding Your Small Business Edge

I had a friend ask a simple question today on Facebook that peaked my interest and caused me to reflect a bit on my experience in online marketing, particularly in eCommerce.

Which is better…to know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot? Just curious about your thoughts…

My reaction:

Knowing a lot about a little is the key to success in online marketing in my opinion. “Niche marketing” is so much more powerful than trying to reinvent Walmart (ie. know a little about a lot).

Starting an online business, or any business for that matter, is NOT a walk in the park.

I’ve become so fed up with the “make money overnight” “get rich quick” “little or no money down” “buy our program and make millions” BULL#*%& that I almost swore out loud while writing this article (and that would be breaking the honor code).

The bottom line to success in ANYTHING is this:

Focus is critical! If we try to do everything at once, we can only expect mediocrity in pretty much everything.

I learned this the hard way when I started by first online business six years ago. My mentor helped me with keyword research, on-site and off-site SEO, etc. I found products to sell. In fact, I started with about 300 products on my site and thought the money would just start rolling in.

What Did I Learn Due to Lack of Focus?

That same eCommerce website today has about 10 total products (with variations of the same product). Why so few products you might be asking? Did I “down size”? No, I learned how important it was to keep things narrow and targeted – to find my “business edge“. That same “niche” site is a leader in a very targeted dance shoes industry.

I also learned that focusing on the smallest possible problem I can solve is critical. Obviously, the solution has to be useful to my target audience. Which means I have to define WHO my target audience is and WHY they need what I’m offering.

Finally, I learned that one of the biggest problems many new companies make is trying to do too many things at once. Not only does this make life really difficult and stressful, but it can impede overall business progress in the short and long-term. Eventually the company will figure out that they CAN’T do everything on their own or at one time, and they’ll have to take a step back, re-focus, and will have wasted time and money in the “learning curve” process.

Why is Focus So Important?

What's Your Business Edge?

Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages:

  • With much less work you can be the best at what you do.
  • Small things almost always turn out to be much bigger when you zoom in.

The concept of focus is really logical too; however, most of us seem to have a resistance to focus, we shy away from sharpening our “business edge”. We want everything right now!

My best recommendation is this:

It’s much easier to broaden your focus when you’ve dominated a small niche than it is to start by shooting at everything and not hitting anything.

What are your thoughts on finding a niche (ie. Finding your small business edge)?

Nate Moller has been teaching clients how to start an online business for over five years. He’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

How to Find New Clients that Are Golden

I’ve talked to clients a lot in the past about one key question:

What have you done TODAY to make a sale?

I’m going to take it a step further today and ask another simple question:

What have you done TODAY to find a new client?

Some might ask at this point, “Isn’t making a sale and finding a new client the same thing?”

In the past, my answer was yeah, sure. However, as I’ve thought about it more, I realize that I can make one sale today but then never, ever see that customer again. On the other hand, if my goal is to find CLIENTS, I’m really not only looking for a “sale”, but I’m also looking for a long-term business relationship that I can develop, leading to sale after sale after sale to the same client.

I was reading an article today titled “5 Smart Ways to Find Clients“. They mentioned that finding clients is something almost every small business owner struggles with from time to time. There are quite a few ways to do it, but finding new clients really boils down to putting yourself where your clients are, being approachable, and fulfilling a need or solving a problem. It doesn’t have to be much more complicated than that.

Who’s Your Ideal “Golden” Client?

One of the things I liked best about this article was how they talked about finding your “ideal client”. It made me think about the clients I’ve worked with over the last few months and years.

To define my “golden client”, I asked myself these questions:

  • Who are my clients, past and present?
  • Do I like working with them?
  • Why or Why Not?
  • If I could pick my best client, who would it be and why?
  • How could I duplicate that client over and over again?

Asking myself these questions helped me recognize that “not all clients are created equal”. Yes, the cliche of the “customer is always right” came echoing in my ears, but is that really the case? I often times disagree with that statement simply because, in order for a business relationship to hit its peak performance, both parties need to be excited to work together or some essential communication (and ultimately success) will be left by the wayside.

Consider working some new activities into your marketing plan that focus solely on putting your name where your ideal clients will see it. Explore advertising on websites frequented by your ideal clients, writing copy that feels more personal and relevant, and repeating some of your marketing messages in different ways to the same group of desirable clients.

After I clearly defined who my ideal client was, the next four action items made a lot more sense:

  • Be Visible: have you ever had the ideal client come to you on their own? This has happened to me a few times, but I’ve always asked myself the question: “How can I make this happen over and over again?” Some of the suggestions were to optimize your website and blog, participate in industry specific blogs and forums, comment on relevant blogs that share your “ideal target audience”, and be active and consistent in social networks where your audience hangs out.
  • Be a Local Networker: yesterday I went to a local conference with guest speaker Peter Shankman. The dude was ADHD on steroids; but overall, I felt an event like that was great for a few reasons: 1) He was an entertaining and informative speaker. Local events like this one get the wheels spinning and cause me to evaluate what specific things I’m doing (or not doing) to maximize my time and energy. 2) I was able to talk to other leaders in the industry, let them know what I was up to, and just “make face”. There is a lot of value in local networking. Some of the best ways to network locally: conferences like the one I mentioned, local industry organizations, speaking opportunities where you can share your specialties and knowledge, offering live classes and seminars.
  • Be a Pleaser: yes, this one may sound a bit odd, but go with me on it. If you have a “golden client” who you wish you could work with every day of the week, TAKE CARE OF THEM. Communicate! Let them know what’s happening. Get their feedback. Make sure you’re on the same page. Focus on keeping them happy and exploring different things you can do to build the relationship. Once you feel like things are going well and they are seeing value in what you’re offering, ask for referrals or recommendations. Most of the time, “Birds of a feather flock together!”
  • Be the Best JV Out There: Joint Ventures are where a small to medium sized business takes a leap to the next level. If you can find clients who offer complementary but not competitive services, put together a proposal that’s great for them and great for you too. Bundle services together, share email lists, simply offer added value to each of your email lists and watch both your businesses grow!

As you’ve read these suggestions, what ideas come to mind? How are YOU going to implement them today, tomorrow, and on-going?

Are you ready to find your next client who will help you make sales over and over and over again?

I’m excited about 2011 and about implementing these tips to take my business to the next level and look forward to hearing your experiences too.

Share tips that have helped you find “golden” clients!

Nate Moller has been teaching clients how to start an online business for over five years. He’s worked with thousands of clients who are at “square one” of their online marketing journey and helped them see six figure results with their businesses online. Follow Nate on Twitter and stay tune for his free ebook about Building on Professional Website in One Hour or Less!

Solo Social Entrepreneurs Who Make Lots of Cash

I’m obsessed with the solo entrepreneurs who are successful leveraging social media to launch a business. They start with a simple idea – like pay me and I’ll wear your t-shirt around LA. They put up a blog, take pictures and video of themselves wearing your shirts and promote it on their social networking sites. That’s the beginning of

The idea caught on and now there are 2 guys (it should be

Then comes a new spin on the idea – at SheWearsYourTee. I really like this one because a model will wear your tee. That means you get some killer product shots you can use on your site.

Another element is how the pricing works to encourage people to act fast and not wait. January 1st the price is $1 and the price goes up every day. It’s the same concept with another one of my favorite businesses using this model called

I figured out the guy who started it made $18k in 5 days and continues to bring in more money and build more value for his customers each day as the word spreads. He signed on Yahoo! to advertise on their anniversary. I also like how he launched it by reaching out to 10 bloggers (I was one of them and didn’t blog about it but wish I had. I’m making up for it now).

Another twist is to make it personal – someone has a birthday or anniversary every day of the year. Someone gets married or engaged every day, has a baby, etc. What could you offer them? People also have news that you could promote in a similar way. You could be their social media billboard. I really like when it’s both online and offline.

Here’s another one with a new spin – product giveaways — Now if the guys at would just use this to market their sites like you can see how this idea can apply to businesses. The site has a deal on ski gear and once the item is sold it’s gone and the next deal shows up. Why not promote the current deal on social sites? At least a button to tweet about it.

Could you add this model to your business? Have any other examples for me? Leave them in the comments. Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind, could you tweet this post? Thanks!