TIP OF THE DAY

TIP OF THE DAY:

Most people don’t make a dime with their Internet based businesses.

They “fake it until they make it” and think that they have to have big numbers to “convince” people. That’s not true.

So, what to do?It is a well known fact that if you have your own TLD (Top Level Domain) that you have better control over the amount of traffic coming to your affiliate site(s), and that you can redirect it to any destination you choose.The problem for a lot of people is finding a domain that is not expensive.  There is a certain domain registrar that I know that has domains on sale for 99 cents for the first year, but there’s only until the end of September 2012.  You’re not limited to one domain, so if you have the need for 10 domains, you can get them all for just $9.99.Now, here’s what you can do: get a domain name that is keyword rich for your business, and get one that allows you to create multiple subdomains and then redirect them to special promotions you’re doing for your business. You can redirect a sub-domain to any destination just like a TLD.Next, create multiple streams of income for yourself and eventually your ancillary businesses will be providing you with more revenue than your primary business.

Let’s face it: most people don’t make a dime on the Internet because they have NOT learned how to master the technology. I will be putting together a free e-course in the next few weeks which will teach you how to take a combination of the “little things” and pile them all together and make you more money than Carter’s Liver Pills!

Make sure your site is content rich and the ad copy is converting on a high ratio and you’ll probably make money. I have lots of ancillary revenue streams and I don’t spend more than 5 minutes a day monitoring them. I will include this information in my next book, and in the free email course.

 

If you would like more information on how to get these low cost domains for the first year, just call me.  You know how to reach me. ~Ernest O’Dell
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Is Social Media Marketing Dying a Slow Death?

By Ernest O’Dell – Guerrila Internet Marketing © 2012

It’s been rumored that social media is dying—and social media marketing along with it. I tend to believe some of it, but it’s dying for all the wrong reasons. If one thing is certain above anything else, social media is losing its “magic” with a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s still a lot of people getting on the Internet and “hooking up” on places like Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Seems like every time you turn around there’s a new social network startup invading the news. What was the latest? Google Plus?

What was once a new and improved way to keep in touch with your family and friends has just become another “sales pitch” to try and convince you buy something, or to sign up to the “latest and greatest business opportunity.” Most of the time you’ll see then masquerading as a newsletter, software product, or a service of some sort. There is no opening or closing, and the ad copy sucks—if there is any…

About the only thing you see in some of these cheesy ads is raw advertisements that is lacking any sincerity. The people advertising their products don’t give a hoot about you or your interests and needs. They’re just obsessed with the idea that you’re going to sign up and turn them into an overnight success!

Yeah, right… how long does it take you to delete the ad? Or the email?

About as quick as you can blink your eye…

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that the advertisements lack taste and real value? Or could it be that the people who want your business care less about who you are and what you are interested in? Or, could it just be that they’re going about it all backwards?

Ahah!

What most “entrepreneurs” tend to forget is that they are on the wrong side of the fence of social media. They are on the advertising end, which means without a real connection to “the people,” they’re getting nowhere—real fast. At some point in their career, you would think they would need to make a real connection to you, the prospect, and address some of your wants and needs. If they fail to established that “connection” then all their efforts to make a sale or spread the word are pointless.

Have you ever felt like you’ve “been there, done that”?

If you’ve been “spinning your wheels” and spending your money on the “latest and greatest craze” then I want you to do something. Put your wallet away, put your money away, and put your credit cards away. Today, I’m going to give you some harsh reality and “hard core truth” that’s not going to go down very well.

The truth?

No one cares about you or your products and services, nor do they care about your relationships—unless you care about them…

ESPECIALLY when it comes to social media.

Let’s say that you’ve just opened up an account with a local bank, and you’ve deposited a substantial sum of money… more than just the “minimum”. Guess what? Depending on the amount of money you’ve opened your account with, and depending on subsequent deposits, this bank is probably going to treat you like royalty. Most of the time they will be literally “jumping through hoops” to keep you happy.

However, if you open up an account with a minimum of $100 to $300 dollars, and you don’t keep much money in the account, or make regular substantial deposits, then don’t be surprised when they roll their eyes at you when you start making “demands” of them and acting like Mr. Big Shot. If you don’t have a lot of “skin in the game” at this bank, then you’re probably going to be treated nicely enough I guess, but don’t think these people are going to fawn all over you.

Well, how does this bank analogy apply to Facebook, Twitter, and social media marketing and advertising?

If you don’t have a lot to offer in the way of a relationship—FIRST—then don’t be offended when people delete you from their networks when you try to “hard sell” them something through your channels. The fact of the matter is this: you don’t like to be “hounded” by hucksters, do you? Neither does anybody else. Develop a friendship with your peeps on social media first, and then add value to that relationship, and they’ll usually come to trust your opinions or recommendations for certain products and services. And when they do, you can offer them something from which YOU will make a commission or profit.

Each day when you see those tiny red notifications on Facebook, or those constant tweets from Twitter or Klout, you’re almost sure that they signify a message from your friends or family.

Right?

Unfortunately, you open your inbox and all you see are loud advertisements. What do you do? You delete them, and you do so automatically without any interest whatsoever about what they say.

Guess what else?

So does everybody else!

Advertising gurus are no longer “gurus,” they are simply annoying spammers who have no clue what they are doing. They are clueless as to how much of an annoyance they’ve become; not only to you, but to everybody else.

A lot of business owners are completely missing the point. If their emails are getting read, it’s only by other advertisers just so they can compare tactics, methods, strategies and techniques.

Another sad part of it all is that no one is coming up with new techniques!

Everybody is following someone else who they think is successful, but in reality, no one is making any money because of their lack of effort and knowledge.

I hear this a lot from my business clients because they don’t know how to maneuver and operate in the online world of social media; which is why I manage their accounts and pages to the tune of $5,000 a year. I know five thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but when you have 100 or more clients paying you the same annual fee, then it’s easy to see how you can easily turn a half million dollar a year revenue stream out of it.

If they paid an advertising retainer to a big ad agency, I can guarantee you they would individually pay a whole lot more than a mere five thousand dollars a year: they would pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 50K to a million dollars a year!

Just something to think about…

If you haven’t noticed (and you most likely have), most—if not all—online entrepreneurs go about advertising their businesses in the same way:

  • First, they request you as a fríend on Facebook or become a “follower” on Twitter.
  • Second, some of them might greet you with “thanks for adding me to your network” or some other similar phrase.
  • Third, others will jump straight to the point and start bombarding you with their “winníng” sales pitch.

Let me ask you a question: Who are you more likely to communicate with?

Nothing screams “delete” louder and faster than a sales pitch!

I think it’s rude as hell, and since I don’t know these people personally, I don’t mind “unfriending” them and blocking them as fast as I had previously connected with them.

And if you’ve been on social media for any amount of time, you probably do the same.

Some of the “thanks for the request” people might actually remain in your network, as long as they don’t jump the gun too quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of them end it right there and automatically go on a link-posting frenzy, and immediately begin flooding your wall and inbox with details about their products with no mention of how they might benefit you individually. It’s almost as if they are “demanding” that you purchase from them without any clear reason as to why, or solely based on the fact that you allowed them into your “circle of friends”.

That’s NOT how to “win friends and ‘influence people’”… unless they’re just trying to negatively influence everybody they come into contact with…

They could probably learn a lot by reading some of Dale Carnegie’s old books… ya think?

On the other hand, some people are—indeed—making sales. They are the ones who take their time in getting to know people. They ask questions and take a true interest in their prospects. Developing customer relationships is the most important part of advertising on social media because in the real world, customer relationships are a must.

It helps to wear the shoe on the other foot sometimes…

Imagine walking into a store with workers that aren’t friendly and don’t seem to have your interest anywhere in their top priorities. You’ve probably been in a few stores like that; I know I have…

You walk into a department store, find something that fits, and then you stand around looking like a “bump on a log” waiting for someone to ring up your purchase. You almost feel like you’re interrupting the kid behind the counter because they’re busy texting their friends on the phone, or they’re talking to them.

Makes you want to peel the skin off their heads and tell them, “HELLO! I’m the guy who’s writing your paycheck!”

They’re anxious for you to purchase something and then leave… so they can get back to chatting with their friends. They don’t care what you purchase or why, they just want your money. When you leave, they want you to come back over and over, even if you’re not interested in what they’ve got. It’s a horrible experience for you.

When you look at it from a different perspective, it helps to see why social media is dying for a lot of businesses. What people want is warmth and a display of interest in who they are, not lousy sales pitches. As soon as business professionals establish a connection, then they might have a chance, but until then, it’s best to just stick to more familiar means of advertising and leave social media to what it was always meant for. Bring common sense back to your marketing.

When businesses learn how to use social media properly, and drive traffic to a regular newsletter through an autoresponder series, and couple that with interactivity with blogs, Facebook fan pages, groups, and Twitter groups, then—and only then—will people begin to feel like they have a relationship with you, and they will become loyal customers… because now, you have their confidence and trust. You’ve earned it.

About The Author

Former Software Engineer, Author and Writer, turned Internet Marketer, Ernest O’Dell shows you how to use creative marketing methods to create a full time income online. Ernest is the original creator of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing system that teaches businesses how to build a Lead Capture System and convert them into income producing revenue streams. Ernest O’Dell’s primary industry base is real estate and insurance professionals, with a growing base in the health care and government agency sectors. He can be reached through his website at http://www.ernestodell.com

Is Social Media Marketing Dying a Slow Death.pdf

Privacy Groups Push FTC for Facebook Investigation

New post on Dice Blog Network

Privacy Groups Push FTC for Facebook Investigation

by C.S. Magor

Mark ZuckerbergTen privacy and consumer rights groups have requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the business practices of Facebook. It’s the second such request after two congressmen took issue with the social network’s cookies, and follows the announcement that Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner intends to conduct a privacy audit.

The new request is from EPIC, a consortium of U.S. consumer and privacy groups that has a number of grievances, namely that Facebook tracks its users even after they logout (apparently this has been fixed); the “frictionless sharing” feature on the new Ticker; and the Timeline and Open Graph features that were announced last week. Regarding the Ticker and Timeline, they’ve also asked the FTC to determine whether the two features increase privacy risk to users because it arranges personal information chronologically.

The chronological biography that the Timeline produces has the potential for misuse if people aren’t careful about their privacy settings, and aren’t careful about what they post. Potential employers will often check a candidate’s Facebook profile. That’s more or less tolerated. But would people feel the same way if an insurance company did it?

At present, the most serious issue for Facebook would seem to be the Irish privacy audit, which has been described by Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes as the “most detailed, challenging and intensive audit ever undertaken by (this) office.” The bulk of the network’s users reside outside of the U.S., and are the responsibility of Facebook’s international headquarters, which is in Dublin. The results of the audit are due to be published by the end of the year.

C.S. Magor | October 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Tags: Facebook, privacy, social networks | Categories: Business, Social Media | URL: http://wp.me/p1sQpq-6CP

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Three Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

Take a look at your inbox. Chances are it’s packed with emails… like mine. And, they’re all screaming for your attention: “Read me! Read me! READ ME!!!”

As a marketer, your job is to cut through all the “noise” and clutter and engage your reader’s attention so that your email gets opened and produces results. Here are a just a few tips that will help you do that:

1. Get to know your readers!

I know a lot of marketers will tell you to “give your subscribers what they want” but they’re going about it all backwards. They’re putting the cart in front of the horse. You have to get to know your readers FIRST and find out what they want before you can deliver it. And if you don’t know your subscribers, well… then, you’re not going to have any subscribers.

Right?

In order to deliver relevant content to your readers’ needs, you need to understand what they want and care about. If you don’t already know that answer, then, perhaps you can find out by conducting online surveys or by asking for specific information on your web forms.

2. Give subscribers what they want.

Okay… now you can deliver what your subscribers want after you have found out their needs. The biggest impact you can have on your email marketing results is to send relevant and interesting emails.

Why?

Because when your subscribers know that there is something valuable on the other side of the subject line, your open rates will improve.

So offer something of value in every email you send, such as industry research, tips and tricks, discounts, or a free report. Not only will this establish your authority as an expert, it will also reduce spam complaints.

Once you know what your readers want, you can segment them into groups based on their interests. This knowledge will help you send relevant messages to each person. If you don’t have the resources (or inclination) to manually track this data, you can use a customer relationship management tool or an autoresponder to do it for you.

3. Be consistent.

This is the biggest killer of email lists: inconsistency. People gravitate toward things that they’re familiar with. If you change up your email campaign “mid-stream” on your subscribers, you will experience a lot of unsubs. Campaigns that have a consistent “look and feel” — AND A CONSISTENT MESSAGES — will be more effective in helping your prospects absorb information — and stay with you.

That’s not to say you can’t get creative and mix things up a little every now and then. But, you should maintain standards in design, tone, and personality, and use the same sender name and address throughout your campaigns.

For example: if your list is about real estate investing, you don’t want to send your readers an email about dog grooming products. Not that some of your real estate subscribers won’t be dog lovers, but the message will be “out of sync” with your normal email campaign.

Another example is if you’re writing about affiliate marketing and then you drop a bomb on your readers with an ad (or article) about some off the wall GRQ system. Boy! If that doesn’t come across as smarmy and scammy, I don’t know what will…

Conclusion:

Follow these simple three tips and you’ll see improvement in your numbers and in your ROI. Disregard them and you’ll soon go the way of the Dodo bird.

The Job Boards Are Broken

If you’ve been looking for a job recently, you’ve probably already discovered the ugly truth: the job boards are broken.

Or, at least if would appear to be…

Let’s face it: if they’re not broken, then they’re just ignoring you… right?

Online (or off-line) job boards don’t work. I’ve really never found one that was worth a pinch of salt. They just don’t help, and they’re not getting you where you want (or need) to go.

Yeah, I know… it’s nice and easy to apply online, and that’s how most of them want you to apply these days anyway. In theory, it’s easy to apply to jobs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But, it’s also easy for the automated HR system to delete your application when it doesn’t match up with certain key words.

A “human” in Human Resources WILL NEVER SEE YOUR APPLICATION. And, if they do, you’re just lucky.

The Internet has made it too easy for anybody to apply to any job. But, it has also made it too easy for thousands — or hundreds of thousands — of others to compete with you by applying for the same job listing. Which is another reason why you’ll be lucky to get “seen” by anyone.

You’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell…

The typical job posting on the big name boards can get hundreds — or thousands — of applications, which means talented professionals like you can’t stand out from the crowd of student drivers, stand-up comics, and late-night janitors who have also thrown their hat into the ring.

Recruiters and hiring managers have discovered it as well. Job boards are broken for them because when they have an important position to fill, and only a little bit of time to do it, they don’t have hours and hours and days to sort through all the inappropriate applications that come to them over the internet. That’s why their systems are automated and keyed to pick up certain key words.

How many folks do you know in HR with tons of extra time on their hands these days?

Figures… I don’t know any either.

With all of the budget cuts and layoffs over the last couple of years, they have less time than ever for each job they’re working on.

Job boards are broken

…I know, I know… it sounds like a broken record, huh?

Well, that’s why you need to re-invent yourself.

You have unique talents and capabilities that you need to exhibit to prospective job openings, and most jobs are not even advertised any more. Like a lot of people who have just given up on looking for work, a lot of companies have also given up advertising for quality help these days.

You must do something to stand out from the crowd, and you’re not going to “get there” with the traditional resume and application approach. This is where you’re going to have to “re-tool” yourself, dust off your knees after you’ve been knocked down, and wear out some shoe leather and go “door knockin’.”

No, I’m not talking about cold calling on the phone. It’s too easy for the proverbial “gate-keeper” to give you the brush off.

You’re going to have to spend a little money on some professional business clothes, if you don’t already have some. Another thing you’re going to need to do is get some business cards printed with your name and contact info on it.

Under your name, put the title to what you’re good at. If you’re a programmer, say so. If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, say so. If you’re a writer, or a consultant in a specialty industry…

…well, you get my drift.

Each and every one of us has special backgrounds, a twist on our experience, or insights that nobody else has. It’s this special background, after all, that makes you so valuable to employers. Put a “mini-resume” on the back of your business card highlighting some of your skills in a bulleted list. List 3 or 4 key points that would be of interest to an employer.

You don’t want to put EVERYTHING on this card: just enought to get your foot in the door and get the interview.

Also, on the front of your card, make it easy for an employer or prospect to get in touch with you. If you have a cell phone, a home phone, an office phone, an a fax number, don’t go listing all the phone numbers on your business card. Keep your business card clean with just one phone number.

Why, you ask? Because if you give them more than one number, they’re going to trash your card, because they’re not going to waste their time “chasing” you down.

Get a “follow me” type toll free number then set up your system to “roll over” to the numbers you assign it. You can plug in your cell number first, then your home number. If you’re employed, you DON’T want to put in your office number as that is not only unethical, but can cause you problems if your employer knew you were “looking” outside for other work.

Are you doing the most to make yourself stand out? Are you taking the right steps to make yourself more attractive? With a toll free “follow me” number you will stand out “head above shoulders” everybody else.

Set up your greeting to introduce yourself then give them instructions to “press zero for operator” to connect directly to you. And have that information printed on your business card.

Everyone I know that has followed this formula has not been out of work for very long. And if they didn’t get a permanent job, they got a lot of contract work out of the method.

Good hunting!

Virtual PBX and IP Based Office Phone Systems for Small, Medium and Large Enterprises

By Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications

In the growing industry of global telecommunications, small, medium and large business enterprises need a competitive edge to become successful. Traditional PSTN systems will soon be replaced by Virtual PBX phone systems as more and more companies are rapidly embracing Virtual PBX business phone systems as an economical alternative to expensive enterprise class office phone systems.

How Does Virtual PBX Work?

Most Virtual PBX systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to transfer calls. There are still some systems which rely on traditional T1, T3, SIP or MPLS to relay their signals within a regional dialing area. But, for the most part, as VoIP has dramatically improved over the last decade, most “hard wired” systems are transitioning to Internet protocol.

On the transmitting side, codec is used to convert analog audio into digital data packets which is then transmitted over a high speed protocol, such as the Internet. At the receiving side these digital data packets are again converted back into audio speech signals.

Since a single line is used to transmit voice and data, it makes this system more efficient than the traditional premise based PBX systems. In traditional PSTN, there is a dedicated line between two callers which cannot be used for any other calls as long as the call is connected. But in a Virtual PBX system, the same line can be used to transfer more data during pauses between speeches to optimize efficiency.

A Virtual PBX and Office system offers more benefits than the traditional hardware based telecommunication systems at competitive prices. All the data, hardware and software are maintained by the service provider, relieving businesses from the hassles of buying, installing, monitoring and upgrading the costly equipment, and hiring staff to maintain it.

There are a number of calling features that usually come as standard with the Virtual PBX systems which are generally not available with the traditional PSTN like call conferencing, call forwarding, 3 way calling, speed dial, dial by extension, dial by name, find me, follow me, Caller ID, regular fax, virtual fax, fax on demand and Internet.

Exceptional Call Handling Features

There are a lot of advanced calling features to keep an eye out for like:

  • Auto Attendant: This gives your business a professional image by routing calls to the correct destination.
  • Multiple user connectivity: You can connect any number of offices, branches and international extensions as one unit and transfer calls practically anywhere in the world.
  • Remote employee support: For business enterprises having many mobile employees it gives a collaborative platform to enable workers to connect from anywhere in real time, to greatly enhance productivity.
  • Virtual offices: You can set up a virtual business presence wherever you go and sound large to clients to get more prospects. Wherever you go, your telecommunication features and services go with you.
  • Toll free numbers: Many IP based PBX providers allow you to have toll-free numbers and/or local phone numbers with anywhere connectivity.
  • Voicemail Transcription: This feature converts your voice messages to text formats like pdfs or docs in client specific formats.
  • Automated Teleseminars: This function allows you to record your training seminars for your staff to listen to at a later time and date. If they weren’t able to attend the first time, now they can listen to it at a more convenient time.

The security of calls and data is a significant factor that greatly affects the decision while making the choice for a reliable Virtual PBX provider. Many service providers use meticulous and updated data security measures to safeguard customer data and user identities. Use of latest firewalls and anti-virus software prevents the data from being attacked by hackers and intrusions. Regular monitoring and updating of data, multiple backups in different locations ensure that all your data is safely secured.

The customized monthly packages, extendable connections, the ease of scalability and customization – all this and more is offered by the Virtual PBX providers which has the potential to meet the ever changing needs of any business enterprise. Companies save thousands of dollars on business communication by switching to Virtual PBX systems. No matter where you go, your services go with you so that you never miss out on a potential business opportunity.

Virtual PBX is a innovative tool for many savvy enterprises and is certainly the future face of business telecommunication. Every day more and more business enterprises are discovering the benefits of Virtual PBX systems and totally embracing this telecommunication tool as the ideal solution to optimize productivity remarkably by improving their business communications.

Ernest O’Dell is the Director of Unified Communications at QuestarTeleCommunications.com. Questar TeleCommunications is an authorized independent agency for iTeleCenter.

Their primary focus is educating the various industries in real estate, real estate investments, morgage, mortgage banks, finance, insurance, direct marketing, Internet Marketing, Network Marketing, Multi Level Marketing (MLM), small, medium and large business entities about implementing Unified Communications, Messaging, Mobile Collaboration, Virtual Office and PBX systems.

To download the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.

Virtual PBX and IP Based Office Phone Systems for Small, Medium and Large Enterprises.pdf

The One Skill That Generates Billions of Dollars in Revenue

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications, Questar PC and The Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“The most valuable skill in ANY business is the ability to sell.” PERIOD! If you don’t learn how to close a sale, you’ll starve. If you learn the skill, then you will earn more money than anybody else. Just ask people like Donald Trump or Joe Vitale… or the late, great “infomercial king” Billy Mays.

I’m talking about a simple skill that, if you learn and apply it, will ensure that you NEVER go hungry. This skill has enabled me to successfully negotiate multi-million-dollar deals. Plus, it has given me a quiet assurance, a pit bull type of confidence in myself. The skill I’m talking about is knowing how to close a sale. Basically, all it takes is asking your prospect one simple question…

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or whether you’re doing it in person, on radio/TV, in an e-mail newsletter, or via direct mail. You can do it through a toll free phone presentation. But, when it’s time to close the sale, you ask your prospect…

“What can I do to make this work for you? How can I make this easy for you to pull the trigger on this deal?”

I know that sounds like a used-car pitch, but let me explain the logic behind it…

The best salespeople in the world know that in order to make a sale, you have to first understand what your prospect wants or needs. When you really understand what inside your prospect’s mind, and what it’s going to take to “make it work” for your prospect, you’ll be able to craft an irresistible offer.

How do you find out what it will take to make a deal work for your prospects?

Ask them!

Most of the time… they’ll tell you. And, most of the time, it will be something that you can deliver. If not, then be honest with them and tell them. They’ll appreciate your honesty and will respect you.

What happens if they ask you for something outlandish?

Well, okay: in some cases, you’ll get an occasional prospect who isn’t a serious buyer. Or they’re not the “qualified” buyer to begin with. That’s how you “weed them out” —by asking that one question.

Don’t waste any time with them. Be gracious and polite, but say something like, “Sorry. The best I can do is…” and let ’em walk away. It’s better to let them walk away so they don’t become “Time Vampires” and drain you. There are plenty of other prospects out there.

Once you understand how to apply the “What can I do to make this work for you?” technique, new opportunities will begin to open up for you—whether you use it to sell your own products or someone else’s.

But selling someone else’s products is the opportunity I want to tell you about today.

Getting Started as a Freelance Sales Professional

No matter what happens in this economy, independent sales reps, and especially closers, will always be needed. Getting started as a freelance sales rep is a lot easier than you might think. Real estate, information and network technology, building contractors, direct-mail services, medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceuticals, vacation rentals—you name it—these are just a few of the industries that desperately need independent salespeople.

Identify the markets that interest you, and start digging for independent sales opportunities.

Very few companies will turn you down if you tell them you can bring them business.

What’s in It for You?

To survive, just about every business needs people who can make sales. And most business owners are receptive to freelancers, because it means less “out of pocket” expenses for them. They don’t have to provide freelancers with such things as health insurance, a pension plan, and paid vacation and sick time. It’s sort of like being an affiliate for a company, whether it’s Internet based or not.

Similar concept…

The downside to working as a freelancer is that you have to forgo the benefits that usually go along with a salaried position. The upside is that your commissions usually far exceed what you could make with a “regular” sales job. On top of that, you have the freedom to work on your own terms.

One of the main benefits you will enjoy working as an independent contractor is being able to work at your own pace, without management breathing down your neck or poking their heads into your office whenever they feel like it.
To this day, I still sell for over 50 different suppliers as a VAR (Value Added Reseller). A “Value Added Reseller” is just another term for in Independent Contractor, Freelance Sales Engineer, or an Affiliate. I began selling telecommunications products and services for a variety of companies over 30 years ago, and have earned more in commissions than they could have paid me in a salary. And, frankly, I would much prefer it that way.

When I started, I had several other business ventures going at the same time, so I did it only part-time, one or two days a week. But my first commission check was all the proof I needed to know that freelance selling was for me.

Did I sell all of the vendor’s products and services at the same time? No. But I had them at my “fingertips” if I ever needed them as a solution to my prospect’s needs. And that’s one of the things you will like about all this freelance stuff: the independence to “pick and choose” what you want, and what your customers need at the time.

Even today, I only promote 3 or 4 “verticals” at any one given time. A “vertical” is just a product or service offering that has an established market for it.

For example, I promote the Virtual PBX and Mobile Collaboration solution to companies that have a mobile workforce, or who have people working remote through telecommuting. Even if the company has people spread out all over the country, they can have one central, toll free number, and assign their staff—around the country—with an extension. That way, the company doesn’t have to print up a bunch of stationery with different phone numbers: just one toll free number with the extension of the employee.

And, the same system can be used by the small, home based entrepreneur to give them the appearance of a Fortune 500 company, thereby leveling the playing field. In these times, “presence” is image, and image can be established and perceived with a Virtual Office.

If you’ve been hit by this recession and have landed on some hard turf because of the economy, you might want to look into supplementing your present job with some part time work. That “part time” work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work a tradition job, working for someone else on a W-2, but perhaps as a freelance.

You might do that as an affiliate for an Internet based company, or for a local supplier in your town.

Let me give you an example:

I had an old friend of mine in Houston, Texas years ago who sold restaurant equipment for one of the stores in town. But, he wasn’t an employee. He made a commission off of everything he sold from their inventory, whether it was a new gas oven, or a half dozen food storage bins.

Sometimes Sam would sell a case or two of automatic dishwashing solution to a restaurant, and then he would put them on his “route” and call list, and follow up with them about once a week or so.

Sam had been a Viet Nam vet in the Army, and had gotten shot up pretty bad in the war, but he managed to come home with a determination to “make it” —even when nobody was giving him a “break” by hiring him. He faced a lot of discrimination from employers and interviews because of his war injuries, but he had a personality that out-shined any physical challenges he had.

You see, Sam was in a wheelchair, and had no legs. (Yes, they used land mines and punji sticks in Viet Nam.) Landing in a punji trap was worse than getting your legs blown off with an explosive device, believe it or not. A punji trap was like a “dead-fall” bear trap. It had stakes in the ground with the sharpened ends pointing up, so that if you fell through the hidden mat on top, you would basically impale yourself and die a slow death. Even if you were saved by your buddies, and you were lucky enough to get to a MEDIVAC, you could still contract an deadly infection from the stuff the enemy put on the tips of those stakes.
Land mines, like IED’s, would just explode and it would be “all over” but the music. However, falling into a dead fall trap could be a slow and painful death. Not too many soldiers survived a dead fall into a punji pit.

Sam always looked at it on the bright side: he said, “I was one of the lucky ones. I got blown up instead of ‘stuck up.’”

I guess that’s one positive way to look at it.

You see, Sam was a “Combat Engineer.” Not a transferable skill into civilian life. Nobody in Corporate America was looking for soldiers. And, certainly, nobody was looking for “soldiers of fortune” who didn’t have any legs.

However, he still had to overcome a lot of odds and a lot of prejudice. A lot of Viet Nam veterans weren’t shown the respect they deserved. They weren’t treated as well as many of our veterans are nowadays. Many Viet Nam veterans came home to slurs and epithets, curses and slanders. They were insulted and called all sorts of names.

For some people like Sam, who had no way of “fighting back” they had to either make the “best of it” or learn how to fight back against the prejudice. Sam did both.

Eventually Sam made enough money selling other people’s “stuff” that he bought himself a new van with a wheelchair lift built into the side of it. He still, to this day delivers his own goods and is looking to retire someday.

Why do I tell you all that? Why did I bother to tell you about Sam, a physically challenged Viet Nam veteran who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds? Not to get your sympathy, because Sam would never want it.

No, I told you about Sam to let you know that if you have enough “gumption” to get out there and “make your case” and close the sale, you don’t need to be a flashy, handsome dude, or gorgeous lady in a suit, to make a living as an independent contractor, or freelance salesman.
You don’t even need the full use of your legs: Sam certainly didn’t have it. But he didn’t let that stop him. And he didn’t let rejection and the “No Factor” stop him either.

I guess, the one other factor that goes along with being able to close a sale is…

…determination.

That “stick-to-it-iveness” if I can call it that.

Sometimes that puts you into charting your own course and sailing off into “uncharted” waters. For some people, re-inventing themselves is scary: especially if you have a mortgage, 3 or 4 kids, and bills up to your neck.

When I worked in Corporate America, I still held down one or two “extra” jobs. Sometimes they were part time jobs in a convenience store or a hardware store. Sometimes I did some landscaping and gardening on the weekends. I did whatever it took to “pay the bills.”

Did bills always get paid on time?

No, not all the time. But I never went hungry.

Well… once. But that was a long, long time ago, and a whole subject for another article.

Suffice it to say, it was a learning experience for me. And what I learned from it was that if I found out what people needed and delivered the solution to them, I would never go hungry again.

And I haven’t… gone hungry, that is…

So, if you’re facing the prospect of downsizing, or a foreclosure, or have already gone through that, don’t give up: don’t despair. There’s plenty to do and all you have to do is find the needs and then supply the solution.

Look into being your own person and selling for someone. It may just be the perfect fit for you.

To download and read this article in PDF format, click on the link below.

The One Skill That Generates Billions of Dollars in Revenue – GREEN BAR.pdf

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