What to Do When Your Business Won’t Say “I Love You” Back

small business planRaise your hand if you’ve heard the one about it taking five years before your small business really gets up and running. Go ahead. No one’s looking.

Now raise your hand if you actually thought that each year, your business would be one-fifth of the way closer. Yep. Me too.

Some time ago, I decided to spring the “L” word on my life coaching business. I mean, we had been together forever. We’d made it through some pretty hard stuff. Plus, we were already over a year into it. So it was about time we sealed the deal.

But no sooner had I said “I love you,” when it shot me a nervous smile and ran for the door.

How could it just not be that into me?
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The Truth About Writer’s Block: Common Misconceptions, Causes, and Remedies That Actually Work

crumpled paperWhen I was 20 years old, I stopped writing, and not by choice.

It happened suddenly and without explanation (or so it seemed). I went to sleep one day full of words, ideas and creativity, and woke up the next empty.

I was stuck, paralyzed, unable to commit even a single word to the page.

I would sit at my desk, ready to tackle that paper or short story, and nothing would come. I’d freeze. I’d stare at the screen for minutes that became hours, willing my thoughts to come, my hands to move across the keyboard. Still, nothing. So I would cry, give up, and fail again the next day.

Somehow, the writer in me had tied herself into knots. I was frustrated, confused and afraid. What was wrong with me? What if I could never write another word again?

This was my writer’s block. If any of this experience sounds familiar to you – if you feel helpless and fearful in the face of your writing, if you’re unable to move forward but don’t know why – you might be suffering from the same.

The good news is, I overcame writer’s block and you can, too.
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7 Lessons Learned from A Failed Business Partnership

business partnershipDo you often feel that you need a second opinion before doing something?

Have you outlined a great business plan, but you don’t feel confident enough to do it alone?

Would you rather bring your business idea to fruition faster?

Is the workload too big for you, but you can’t outsource, because you don’t have the money?

If you answered “Yes!” to at least a few of these questions, then you might benefit from having a business partner.

I answered yes to those questions just over two years ago, when I met my business partner.

Over the last two years, I’ve learned a lot about partnerships – what works, what doesn’t – and I wanted to pass on those lessons learned. These insights will be beneficial for you if you’re thinking about forming a business partnership, or if you’re already in a partnership.
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CEI 060: Building Community with Steve Kamb

CEI60For those of you who’ve been around Firepole for any length of time, you know that we’re big on building and interacting with an audience. However, many successful online businesses are also built around communities. And, while audience and community are related, they’re not the same thing.

So what’s the difference?

Danny invited Steve Kamb onto today’s podcast to answer that very question. Steve Kamb is the founder of Nerd Fitness, a huge global community of 200,000  people centered around exercise, health, and all things geek-tastic.

Back when Steve started Nerd Fitness, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing. But he knew he wanted to serve nerds who wanted to get healthier, but weren’t comfortable going to the gym or “normal” fitness sites. Over the last 6 years, though, Steve transformed his audience into a community, and figured out how to turn his passion into a business as well.

Just click play on the podcast below to learn more about Steve’s story, including his biggest project to date, and how he designed the life and business that he wanted. If you have any interest in building a community in your own business, today’s episode is a must-listen!

Podcast run time: 26  min 16 seconds
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How to Find Your Next Big Blog Post Ideas – A Primer

blog post ideas Tweet it! Content marketing is like an adventure. It is unusual, exciting and hazardous.

It’s also a minefield; not everybody can navigate it successfully.

You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: the quality of the content you publish that determines the success or failure of your content marketing campaign.

Consistently producing, publishing and marketing high quality content will help build your relationship with your audience in the form of better awareness, credibility, increased website traffic and improved conversions.

I know what you are thinking: “Coming up with interesting, knowledgeable, value-added blog post ideas time after time is a task made in hell.”

You are right. Many hard working and astute content marketers have found their well-crafted campaigns coming apart purely because of their inability to come up with content their target audience will like reading.

But somebody’s got to do it. What if that somebody is you?
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How to Grow your Business as if Google Search Never Existed

grow your businessThey say that in life there are two things that are sure things: death and taxes.

However, in my business, I’d argue that there is a third: change. Tweet it! The internet is a constantly evolving thing – and Google is a huge part of that change and evolution.

Google constantly changes its algorithms – and when it does, the tactics that websites use to direct traffic must also change. Those algorithm changes have had devastating effects, causing some sites to lose all of their directing traffic overnight.

That said, it isn’t as though Google updates come with a manual. This means that SEO strategists and website owners are constantly left scrambling in an effort to find out how to get their content in the search rankings.

After all, without those rankings, our sites aren’t found. And if they aren’t found, it’s like they don’t exist; and what good does that do? The good news is that there are ways to grow your business without relying on Google search at all.
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Firepole Funnies #004: The Daily Challenge of Working From Home

Comic3

Enjoying the Firepole Funnies?

If you liked what you read here, please let Christina (and the rest of the Firepole team) know in the comments below. Feel free to suggest future comic strip ideas – we can’t guarantee we’ll use your idea, but we’re always open to suggestions!

And if you think we deserve it, please share this comic on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or other social media account!

3 Clever Ways a Card Game Makes People Addicted to Buying More

buy moreShopping can be addictive.

We’ve all seen people who buy the craziest things like their life depended on it! Here’s just one, rather crazy example: fantasy trading cards (no kidding - that’s a $1billion/year business).

But you don’t often come across an explanation on how you can make people more “addicted” to buying your products or services, which probably make more sense – and are much more “useful” – than fantasy cards.

So, let’s take a look at what makes millions of people buy cards (lots of them) and what makes buying those cards so addictive.  And why, may you ask, are we looking at fantasy playing cards? Believe it or not, there’s at least three lessons about getting people addicted to your product or service that you can pick up from card game businesses.

To be clear, none of these ideas are manipulative. Instead, these are ways to make people enjoy your products so much that they get addicted to buying them.

If you incorporate even one of these aspects into your products, people will get hooked. And buy more. Much more.
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Not a Writer? How to Make Writing a Blog Post (And Other Online Content) Come Naturally

writing a blogMany small business owners don’t think of themselves as writers, and they worry that content marketing is for wordsmiths only.

So committing to writing a blog regularly, and creating articles and informational eBooks to engage customers can be daunting. Especially if English was your least favorite subject and you haven’t written anything longer than an email since college.

If you fall into the category of the writing-averse, you could hire somebody to write content for you.

Or, you could develop a DIY content strategy that doesn’t require clever headlines, witty one-liners, or whatever else intimidates you about writing.

In your DIY content strategy plan, think of your content as a stand-in for you. You can’t be physically present when prospects conduct online research to answer their pre-purchase questions.

That’s why your content has to be there instead, engaging potential customers with your authentic voice.

The key is to put your expertise into words easily and naturally, like you do when you’re conversing with a customer in person.
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CEI 059: Pay What You Want Pricing with Tom Morkes

pay what you want pricingPricing is one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur.

And while a lot has been written about how to price your stuff, there’s also a growing movement to let your customers determine how much they’ll pay for a good or service.

This is called Pay What You Want pricing, and to learn more about it, Danny invited Tom Morkes, author of The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing, onto today’s podcast.

Tom’s story is really fascinating, because he’s a relative newcomer to online marketing, and to pay what you want pricing. Just over a year ago, in April 2013, he released his first pay what you want ebook.

He then went on to learn as much as he could about this new pricing model. In the process, he discovered dozens of businesses who are using this model, everything from restaurants and wineries to software, music groups, and online training products.

To learn more about pay what you want pricing, how to do it well, what to look out for, and how to make it work for your business, just click the play button on the podcast below!

Podcast run time: 22 min 12 seconds

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