The Three Month Vacation Podcast: Online Small Business|Marketing Strategy Plan| Sean D'Souza | Psychotactics

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No one thinks running a small business is easy. But even so, there are forces that pull you in all directions. These five forces almost seem to tear at us as we go through our daily work. It's not just a question of coping with the forces. We have to somehow make them part of our lives. Let's find out how.

Direct download: 153-Five_Forces_of_Business-Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Articles can be mundane or enthralling. But what makes an article stand out? The short answer is enthusiasm. Yet, it's not easy to know how to create enthusiasm in an article, is it? In this podcast, we learn how to step through the three phases that makes your article pack a rollicking amount of enthusiasm.

Direct download: 152-How_To_Write_Enthusiastically_and_Avoid_The_Dull_Article.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

How do you find a good coach?

We've all done courses that have been a waste of time, money and energy. Yet, finding a great coach isn't easy, is it? There doesn't seem to be any way to know in advance how good (or bad) a coach will be.

Or is there? There are a few benchmarks that make the difference between average and special coaches. And strangely, your first point of due diligence is located right on the sales page in the testimonial section.

In this episode Sean talks about


Factor 1:
 Look for the “End Point” in the testimonials
Factor 2: Why you need to focus on the next play
Factor 3: The Rollercoaster Design Training System

Read it online: Unusual Methods to Find Outstanding Coaches

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I wanted 200 gm of coffee. The Russian behind the counter was only willing to sell me 50 gm.

My idea of a great coffee, was instant coffee, Nescafé to be precise. At which point I was introduced to New Zealand's amazing coffee culture. To improve my coffee taste buds, I first  moved to a slightly fancier brand; a Dutch barista-style coffee called Moccona.

It consisted of coffee granules in a reasonably sized jar. However, that wasn't enough. My journey to becoming a coffee-snob involved buying a pack of pre-roasted coffee called Gravity. Shortly after, I ran into the Russian.

The Russian ran a boutique roasting company not far from my house

When I needed coffee, I'd go over and order about 200 gm (about 7 ounces). Until the day he decided not to sell me that quantity. He was only willing to sell me 50 grams (about 2 ounces). “You live close by,” he said. “What's the point of buying coffee and letting it oxidise for the whole week? When you're out of coffee, you come back and take the next 50 gm.”

A good coach is like my Russian coffee “dealer”.

Good coaches know that you can't consume massive amounts at one go, and so they slow you down so that you get a far deeper, richer experience. Over the years, I've had the luxury of having good coaches. Coaches that take speed up your progress. And there are also the bad coaches, who in their own way, teach you what good coaching is all about.

In this series, we'll take a look at how you pick a good coach that moves you forward on the journey from a “Nescafé” to a delicious “brew of excellent coffee”.

In this series, we'll cover three factors that will help you spot good coaches.

Factor 1: Look for the “End Point” in the testimonials
Factor 2: Focus on the next play
Factor 3: Rollercoaster design

Factor 1: Look for the “End Point” in the testimonials

If the sky is filled with cirrus clouds, what will the next 24 hours bring?

Cirrus clouds are those feather-like clouds you see high up in the sky.

In fact they're so high up at 20,000 feet that they're composed exclusively of ice-crystals. But here's an interesting fact: if you see a sky filled with cirrus clouds, you'll get rain and cooler, if not cold weather within the following 24 hours.

What's fascinating about this fact is that almost all of us have seen those fairy-like cirrus clouds, because they can cover up to 30% of the Earth's atmosphere at a time. Even so, we've missed the obvious—that rain and cold soon follows.

Missing the obvious is something we tend to do a lot when trying to find the right coach—or even the right course to attend—online or offline. And that obvious fact is in the most obvious place of all, in the testimonials. Almost every coach or coaching system will have testimonials, and it's through scanning the testimonials that you're likely to find a lot of incredibly valuable information.

But what does a mere testimonial reveal?

Here are just some of the things you should look out for in the testimonials. Let's say you joined a class to learn to make sushi. When you finish the class, what would you expect to be able to do? Silly question, isn't it? Almost all of us would “want to make sushi”.

That's why we joined the class, and that would be the end point, wouldn't it? Which means that as you scanned through the testimonials, you should see row upon row of words talking about how the attendees were able to make flawless sushi. In fact, we'd be a little concerned if we didn't see testimonials with a clear end result.

Yet when we sign up for courses, we don't bother to check the fine print of the testimonials

Let's say the course makes some bombastic claim like how you can treble your client list in 60 days. Now we know what to look for in the testimonials, don't we? The testimonials should talk about how everyone (yes, everyone) saw a 300% jump in client growth.

Instead, you rarely see any talk about 300% growth. Most of the testimonials seem to talk about the amazing quality of the videos, about the stunning modules in the course or how the person conducting the course is a great teacher. Almost none of the clients talk about the fact that their list numbers have gone up 300% or more. And if such a testimonial does sneak in, it's probably just one of the many testimonials that seem to say little or nothing.

The reality is that every client should reach a clear “End Point”

If you're about to sign up with a coach, your goal is not vague, is it? Which is why if you run into a coaching program, whether it be offline or online, ask to see the testimonials or reviews. Peer carefully through them and you'll find the first clue to locating a coach that's focused on results instead of just another barrage of information and blah-blah.

But that's just one of the points to look for, in a good coach. The second is “the focus on the next play”. What's the next play all about?

Factor 2: Focusing on the “next play”

Think of a GPS for a moment and you'll get an idea of how a coach tends to work.

A GPS knows your starting point, and knows where you need to go. Yet, at all times, the GPS is tracking where you are. It's focused on your current situation and the the traffic that's building up or easing around you.

Good coaches are like walking-talking GPSs themselves

They are focused on the next turn, not something that is going to come down the road. They have that end point in mind, but right now the only thing that matters is the next left or right turn; the next play.

One of my earliest coaches in New Zealand was Doug Hitchcock

Doug was a coach who focused on the next play. He got me to do my goal setting and I wrote down half a million goals. Doug was the one who pulled me back and got me to get the tiny bit done, then the next and the next. “Keep to just three goals”, he'd say and then he'd get me to work on the first one.

This concept of focusing on the next play is what I use today almost 17 years later. When I write an article, it's not about the article, it's about the stages of the article. First the idea, then the outline, bit by bit, play by play. When I look at projects that I haven't finished, it's because I didn't pay attention to Doug—and every brilliant coach's simple advice—focus on the next play.

When looking for a coach look for someone who has a GPS-like functionality

And to be like a GPS, that coach can't have too many clients. If you're considering a course where you can't see the number of likely participants, you're probably signing up for just another dose of information. A good coach is likely to have a fixed number of clients, not an endless number.

You can't watch the next play of a client if you have 500, 200 or even 50 clients. That's just too much activity for a coach to handle and it's almost certain that many clients will simply slip through the net and not do as well as they hoped to do so.

There's a difference between a rally and true coaching

You wouldn't send your kid to a class with 200 other students—let alone 50 students. So why sign up for a coaching program like that yourself? If your goal is to hide among the other students, then it's a good strategy. However, if you want to dramatically move forward, find yourself a coach who can help you focus on your very next move.

In my early twenties, a good friend of mine taught me to do the dance called the “jive”

I wanted desperately to go out and dance well. My parents are great dancers, but that wasn't helping me at all on the dance floor.

So great was my desperation that I joined a dance class, but I was just one of many at the class. Many sessions and months later I was no better than before. I have come to realise that the same story plays itself out for the all the classes where I failed. Whether it’s photography classes, the Spanish class, watercolours—pretty much every class where I hadn't learned skills was simply because I didn’t do my due diligence.

In every situation, I was crammed in with others and the only goal of the coach was to get to the “End Point”. In every situation, the end point wasn't a clearly defined scenario, but merely a point where the class term ended.

It's not like no attention was given to us at all, but it's impossible for a trainer to do what Doug Hitchcock did. Or to get the same level of support that Phelps got from Bob Bowman.

Like a GPS, every turn is just as important as the final destination. And good coaches, pay close attention to these points. Even so, a great coach has one more trick up his or her sleeve. It's the system of “rollercoaster design”.

Factor 3: Rollercoaster Design of Training

My first tour of New York was done at a screaming pace.

I was with my friend, Mark Levy, Author of “Accidental Genius”. Mark is a great guy, but he also wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything in New York. We set out early that morning from New Jersey and went through New York at breakneck speed.

I guess I remember the day so very clearly even though it was back in 2004 because it was all go-go-go. A frenzied tour through a city, with no stops, is sometimes the way to go when you want to see all the sights and have little time. However, when you're looking for a coach, one of the main factors to watch for is what can be called the “roller coaster” learning design.

So what is the roller coaster design?

Even if you've never been on a roller coaster, you know somewhat how it operates. It sets off gingerly, then takes you up slowly and then throws you into a few screaming loops. What's important in roller coaster design is that there's a time to scream and a time to get your breath back. A coach should have “rollercoaster” modules in place when designing a training regime as well.

Almost any skill acquisition will have really tough sections

Which is why a coach must draw out the sequence of the course in advance. The coach or trainer must intersperse tough tasks throughout the training, but always go back to the easy wins. That way the person being coached doesn't feel like they're on the scream machine all the time.

Too much screaming is terrible for learning, but then so is too easy learning. If there isn't a scream session, the roller coaster is not much of a roller coaster. And while not one of us wants to battle it out through a course, there are going to be tougher sections in any sort of training. Sections the coach needs to figure out well in advance.

But it's not enough to have the roller coaster alone

The training system needs to have some sort of breathing space as well. Let's say you're learning to write articles. The course may start out nice and easy but then run into some difficult concept. Concepts that may need more time, understanding and practice.

Is there any leeway in the system or does the coach just barrel through? Is there room for an additional amount of practice? Can the coach take the participants on a detour for a while before getting back to the syllabus again?

Most training rarely has any breathing space. Instead, it's just like the NY tour. The coach takes the clients at breakneck speed across from one point to another.

And this need for getting mindlessly to the other point has real ramifications

You find that people drop out at a high rate simply because they can't cope with the intensity. However, the impact has far greater implications than just dropping out of a course or training. If you drop out of enough Spanish classes, for example, you tend to get the erroneous idea that you were never meant to learn Spanish.

Which is when the “give up” sign flashes madly in your rearview mirror. Granted, just putting in the roller coaster design isn't going to solve every problem. Clients can still go off track for many reasons, but having breathing space in terms of “easy assignments” as well as just “breathing space” to catch up, is critical.

Which brings us to a crucial juncture about how to do our investigations about coaches

It's easy enough to look at the testimonials for any coach. Almost every website will tend to have a string of testimonials that allow you to do your own due diligence. A quick look through the testimonials will clearly tell you whether there's an end point in place.

But how do you find out about whether the coach has a next play or some sort of roller coaster design in place? Unfortunately, there's only one way to tell, and that way is to call or email some of the people who you see in the list of testimonials.

The best way would be to e-mail them first, then get on the call and ask questions about how the course is conducted. Remember that what works for them won't necessarily work for you. If they became rich, famous or acquired skill, it doesn't mean you'll be bestowed with the same shower of goodness.

Which is why you should stick to the questions that involve the structure of the training. The structure is what shows you whether this is just a random run of endless information from start to finish, or instead, a well-thought out, well-executed course.

Finding a coach isn't easy.

Finding a great coach is a lot harder. However, in a rush to grow our business or improve our skill, it's easy to avoid doing the appropriate amount of due diligence. Or we may simply not know what to look for in a good coach. Many elements mark a good coach, but the easiest way of all is to get to the website and look for the testimonials. Then once you're there, read between the lines and the story of the coach will reveal itself to you.

One more thing: don't be afraid to bail out

I once went for a community college photography class. No, I didn't do any due diligence. I figured it was just $200 or so for the tuition and I failed to do my homework. In the first session itself, the trainer went off on a tangent. He talked endlessly about his family, and we learned almost nothing about photography. I didn't go back again. My brother in law also signed up for the course with me.

There wasn't any way to get a refund, so he continued to go for the rest of the sessions

As it turned out, they were all a waste of time. Trainers tend to show their colours very early. Sloppy coaches are sloppy right from the very start.

It's a good idea to bail out very quickly and to spend the time doing something else. Even with all the due diligence, you can make an error of judgment. However, once you've figured out your mistake, get out there quickly and use the time to learn something more constructive instead.

Next Step: Have a look at—Good to Great: How To Take Your Small Business To Greatness

 

 

Direct download: 151-Unusual_Methods_to_Find_Outstanding_Coaches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

The biggest problem with article writing is the exhaustion factor. It's write, delete, write, delete and the endless cycle goes on. So how do you go about article writing? Can you really write articles and not get exhausted? In this series you get to see how I went from getting really frustrated, to writing 800 word articles and then 4000 word articles. What's the secret to such an enormous output? And how do you do it without getting exhausted? Let's find out how spacing the writing and the timer play an incredibly important role in writing.

Direct download: 150-ReRun-6-How_I_Write_4000_Word_Artlces_Without_Getting_Exhausted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Why do others seem more talented than we are? Is talent innate? Is it just practice? Or is there something else. Incredibly the key to talent is in the way you define talent. Change the definition and you see it in a whole new light. In Part 1 of this episode on talent, you'll see how mere definitions change the way you see the world of talent (and how it can get you talented faster than before).

Direct download: 149-ReRun_5-The_Talent_Journey_and_How_to_Get_There.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Envy isn't something we talk about, or even to admit to openly. And yet it's the one thing that all of us feel. We feel that others are going places and doing more than us. We even feel we need their spot and somehow that spot belongs to us. So how do we overcome this intense envy before it kills us? Find out how even the superstars of the world have to deal with envy. Yes, even people who seemingly have unimaginable wealth and success.

Direct download: 148-ReRun_4-How_To_Deal_With_Envy_In_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

The leap may seem physical, but it's mostly mental. In your head you don't know if it's the right time to jump into being an entrepreneur. What about the mortgage, the family and the bills? And how do you deal with the fear? How do you stay steadfast to your vision? And what about focus? These are the questions that spin in your head over and over again. This episode isn't an answer to your question. No one can answer the questions, but you. However, it helps you understand how to keep true to your vision, how to keep your focus in a distracted world. And then, how to take that leap.

Direct download: 147-ReRun-3-How_To_Make_the_Leap_from_a_Job_into_Entrepreneurship.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Trying to come up with a suitable name for your book or info-product seems like a nightmare. What if you're wrong? What if the name isn't well received? However, there's a way to make your book really stand out. And guess what? It's not the title that matters. It's the sub-title. Find out why we've been tackling things the wrong way and how to get a superb name for your book or information product/course before the day is done.

Direct download: 146-ReRun-2-How_To_Name_Your_Information_Product.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Most of us know of the concept of the "guardian angel". They come into our lives and they take care of us. The "kicking angel" is quite different. The angel shows up just to push us over the edge and then he/she disappears from our lives. How do we know when we're being kicked? And what "kicks" do we pay attention to and what do we ignore?

Direct download: 145-ReRun-1-Why_Kicking_Angels_Help_Create_Momentum_in_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm +12

Can you really double your sales of a product you've created a while ago?

And why are satellite products so very useful to clients and profitable to your info-product business? In this episode we look at info-products as we'd look at a piece of software like Photoshop.

Find out the magic that already exists within your info-product and why you don't have to keep crazily searching for newer clients all the time.

Read it online: Double Your Sales With Versions and Satellite Products

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Most people have never heard of the Knoll brothers, but they've certainly heard of the program the brothers invented.

That program was Photoshop

Developed initially in 1987 by Thomas and John Knoll, it wasn't the sophisticated program like the modern version. Back then it wasn't called Photoshop, but was named “Image-Pro”. It was only when the Knoll brothers decided to sell the program in 1988 that they changed the name to Photoshop.

As the story goes, no one was really interested in the program, except for Adobe. Adobe saw the potential and purchased all the wholesale rights, and by 1990 the first version of Photoshop was released. Today, Photoshop has gone through thousands of changes and 27 versions.

Every time a version appeared on the market, two sets of customers bought the product: new clients and existing ones. And in that version history is a lesson for almost all of our information products.

Photoshop is no doubt, built by its programmers, but who comes up with endless suggestions for the improvement of the program? A large portion comes from the users themselves. And who buys the newer version of Photoshop? Once again, it's the existing users of the program. Today, Adobe has a subscription model in place, where all upgrades are automatic, but for at least 20+ years, the newer versions of the product were purchased by existing users.

A similar concept can be used to sell your own info-products

It's not common in the information products world to think of books, videos or courses as they do in the software world. Most information product creators write a book or create a course and it stays in its original format. Yet your target profile is always looking for an improvement.

At Psychotactics, we create newer versions of info-products as often as we possibly can. As you're probably aware, the Article Writing Course is now in Version 2.0. So is the First Fifty Words course and The Brain Audit has seen many versions since we first released it in back in 2002.

Bear in mind that not all courses or info-products need constant revision, but instead of simply dashing madly into yet another information product, you might want to take a look at how versions will help sell info-products to an existing, as well as new audience.

Listening to the target profile can also help you create more in-depth versions of your products

Take the Article Writing Course for instance. It's an extremely comprehensive course and clients love it—they really do. At first the course existed as a standalone, but the target profile—or clients, in this case—kept asking for in-depth sub-courses.

For instance, writing headlines is already covered in the Article Writing Course, but now we also have a separate eight-week headline course. The opening of the article, or the First Fifty Words as we call it, is also part of the Article Writing Course, but it's also a separate 8-week intensive course. What you're learning from the above example is that even when you have like what seems to be a complete info-product, clients are more than happy to buy in-depth versions of the components of the products.

To make this clearer, let's break up the Article Writing Course into components

– Headlines
– First Fifty Words
– Connectors
– Subheads
– Sandwiching
– Objections
– And so on.

When you look at the list above, every component could possibly become a separate and more detailed information product or course. Some might be shorter, or take up fewer pages in a book, but they all have the propensity to break off from the mother ship called the “Article Writing Course” and become satellites of their own.

And clients tend to want more of the same good stuff you're putting out. If you go deeper into the satellite info-products, clients are more than happy to buy into your offering. We know this to be true because of what we see at Psychotactics. A client will do the headlines course and then do the Article Writing Course and possibly the First Fifty Words course.

Or they may start with the Article Writing Course and then move to the headlines course. The satellite courses don't cannibalise the main course. And this concept applies to any sort of info-products whether audio, video or text.

And you know this to be true because of the music industry

At some point, we've all bought music in some shape or form. Some of us may have had the pleasure of buying cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs and then signed up to Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music. The fact that we already have access to all the music we need doesn't stop us from listening to it on the radio or YouTube, for that matter.

If the musician rolls into town, we're reasonably likely to pony up anywhere between $100-$500 for concert tickets. In short, all versions and satellite versions work and the client—your target profile—wants you to create updated or at least deeper content on the very same topic.

The target profile is a great boon for a business

If you have a target audience, you can't really do much. If you have some persona stuff, again you're just stabbing at some made up stuff. However, the moment you have a real client in front of you, you are able to learn so much more, because a real client speaks, complains, gives feedback and yes, buys your info-products. Even so, a target profile can be a distraction as we've learned on this target profile trip.

So let's summarise what we've learned so far:

What have we learned so far?

The Knoll brothers: John and Thomas Knoll. We learned they invented Photoshop. But besides that very important point, we also learned:

1) How to create an information product and why you need to leave the target profile out of it

There are times when you might want to include the target profile, but that product might end up like a lot of me-too products on the shelf. To go rogue, you might need to sit down all by yourself and create an information product that is based on how you see the client getting from A to B.

To put this fact into perspective, think about Photoshop itself. No target profile created that program. Instead the Knoll Brothers worked out what was needed to get clients from A-B and off they went into generating that awesome piece of software.

The Photoshop me-too products were largely constrained by the boundaries of Photoshop itself. In short, the me-too were more a sort of target profile driven info-product, while Photoshop itself was a creator's dream.

The target profile is not completely excluded from the creation-process, though. Once you've gone through the early stages and have your content past the early drafts, the target profile becomes extremely useful. I tend to send the draft to the target profile to get their feedback. There's almost something that I have left out, things I've not explained, examples that need more detail, etc. And the target profile will give me that very pertinent (and often, persistent) feedback.

However, the target profile does play a role in pre-selling the info-product.

2) The target profile and the pre-sell

While you shouldn't really get the target profile involved in the early stages of creating the info-product, you should get that client in very early in the landing page/pre-sell process. The reason why the target profile is invaluable in the pre-sell stage, is because you get to know what motivates the client and the main problem they're facing.

Once you have the biggest problem clear, you can create your sales page to tackle that issue. The target profile interview becomes utterly invaluable when you're in the sales/pre-sell phase. To understand more about how the target profile plays a role, pick up your copy of The Brain Audit and read the chapter on target profile yet again.

3) Finally, the target profile plays a significant role in in a version or satellite product creation

Users usually want a sort of upgrade. They'll ask you to fix this and that in your info-product. Most info-product creators nod glibly and do nothing. They simply don't bother to create a newer version of the info-product.

Admittedly not all products need an upgrade, and any sort of update can be as much, if not more work than the existing product. Even so, you're able to sell an upgraded product to existing as well as newer clients.

The other aspect is the creation of satellite info-products

Just because you have a complete and detailed info-product, doesn't mean your target profile won't hanker after even greater detail. This is when you create a satellite info-product. The Article Writing Course has satellite courses, and even The Brain Audit has satellite products.

In short, the user is asking you to create info-products that help them understand your information differently or in an intermediate format. Paying attention to the target profile makes for loyal clients and substantial profits from an existing clientele. Instead of scrambling all over the place to get new clients all the time, you can use this concept of satellites products and versions to run an extremely profitable business.

The target profile is crucial. Or not.
It depends on the activity and the stages of your info-products.

What’s the one thing you can do today? There’s no one thing. This is all about stages.

1. Write the product you want to write to help the customer get from point A to point B.

2. Once finished, have a target profile review it for feedback. Make changes.

3. Interview target profile to help create a sales page:
– Find out the problems they're having and use those problems in the sales page.
– Find out their solution, objections, testimonials, risk reversal and uniqueness. Use on the sales page.

Next Step: If you missed the first part of this series, here is the link:  Info-product Creation Part 1: When to Leave The Clients Out (And When to Include Them In)