3 Signs That Your Business (or Blog) Idea Won’t Work

stopYour spouse, family, and close friends have faith that your business (or blog) can become a success story. Or at least, they’re trying to keep their doubts to themselves.

But you have suspicions.

You thought you would’ve seen good results by now. And that’s making you question your business idea and maybe even your ability to succeed.

So, did you make a huge mistake that took months or years (and possibly thousands of dollars) from you?

All of these three signs are bad—even on their own. But if you see all of them, it might be time to change the idea, start fresh, or pack your bags completely.

On the other hand, if these signs are nowhere to be seen, your idea is likely to be very good.

If that’s the case, now is the time to figure out what’s holding you back and turn your business or blog around. [Read more...]

The Ultimate Guide to Business Productivity for Couch Warriors

Portrait of a businesswoman when working. Shot in studio.This post is a finalist in our Ultimate Guides Contest. Show your support for this, or any of the finalists by commenting, sharing and joining the conversation!

As a solo myself – web developer, writer, and aspiring novelist – I’m fascinated by the nexus of the solopreneur (I call us “Couch Warriors”) experience and the question of increasing productivity.

How we get our stuff done, why we don’t get our stuff done, how we make our choices about what gets done and when, why sometimes it seems so perfectly impossible to get it all done when others seemingly breeze through even busier and more jam-packed-with-stuff-to-do days … these are topics that endlessly intrigue me.

That fascination led to my creation of the Pajama Productivity site a few years back. It dawned on me that the Couch Warrior experience, by its very nature, creates an intensified set of obstacles to getting our crap done. Simply put: we’ve got it harder than your average cubicle dweller.

However, Tweet it! we also have some unique tools and assets that your average cubicle dweller lacks.

The stakes could not be higher. [Read more...]

CEI 021: The Entrepreneur’s Wife and CFO

Today’s podcast is a touch more personal than usual – our interviewee is one of our own employees at Firepole Marketing – and she also happens to be married to Danny!

This week we are happy to introduce to our podcast series, for the first time, Bhoomi Pathak. Bhoomi comes from a dynamic past mostly as a business consultant in the corporate world. She plays a unique role at Firepole Marketing for this reason, and she brings her particular expertise to our crew as our Finance Lead.

Bhoomi’s corporate past, and her marriage to Firepole’s CEO – Danny, make this interview particularly great. While Bhoomi can make comparisons between the corporate business world and the world of entrepreneurship drawn from her personal experience, Bhoomi and Danny together offer some great perspective on how to manage the ups and downs of running a business and a relationship!

Tune in this week for an insightful interview that is jam packed! We’re sure this will be interesting and relevant for everyone who runs their own business and is in a committed relationship.

[Read more...]

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Training Manuals To Super-Charge Your Business

Reading ManualThis post is a finalist in our Ultimate Guides Contest. Show your support for this, or any of the finalists by commenting, sharing and joining the conversation!

You have a business. You have a site. You blog. You promote. You reciprocate. You try all the suggestions you read about on growing your business. You have all kinds of methods and procedures.

You finally get a rhythm down and find certain things that work. So naturally, you want to repeat them.

So you sit down, and begin trying to remember what you did that worked. There was a certain method you had for getting people to share your latest post. Oh, what were the steps?

Or, you had a step by step procedure you used with a few clients that produced amazing results. So you try and repeat this process with your new clients. If only you could remember what you told your past clients to do!

You had part of the procedure in your computer files… where are they? And where are the notes you took when you were helping your past client?

You spend more time trying to REMEMBER what worked with previous tasks than you do on anything else. It stresses you out. You tell yourself over and over that you’ve got to get organized. If you could just get these things that work organized so they’re handy when you need to do them again…but HOW?

Does this sound like YOU?

Are you a solo-preneur wearing all the hats? Or maybe you’re a more established business trying to become more efficient. Either way, there is a way to set up your business so that it can prosper and grow tremendously.

The single most effective tool for growing your business is the process of bringing together different ideas and developing a system that saves time, money and stress.

Regardless of how big or how small, training manuals are the crux of productivity, growth and success. The general idea is ‘automaticity.’ The more you lay out in step by step form, the more useful the manual is. [Read more...]

Tempest in a Guest Blogging Teapot? (Why Matt Cutts Has ZERO Relevance to REAL Guest Bloggers)

blog-stormSo Matt Cutts started a bit of a firestorm today, with a post on Search Engine Land titled “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging is Done”.

And of course, my being the Freddy Kruger of Blogging and all, I promptly got about a hundred emails from friends and students asking what this means for all of us.

Well, I saw the same post, and I’ll be honest… I rolled my eyes a little. ;-)

[Read more...]

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Perfect Virtual Back Office

Sensoric keyboardAhhh….. the good old days.

Opening a business was as simple as setting up a folding table in your local park. You had a shoebox to collect money and sold the lemonade that your Mom helped you make. If you were particularly on the ball (or had parents who worked in local government), you might have spent $10 for a permit to sell lemonade in the park. Otherwise, the mechanics of running a lemonade stand are pretty cut and dried.

Fast forward to 2013, you now run (or are starting) a virtual business with clients all over the world. Just like a lemonade stand, you need basic infrastructure – but the mechanics are slightly different when your business is primarily online.

Of course, you can do anything more easily if you have the right tools for the job. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in a sort of analysis paralysis when it comes to choosing the right tools for their business. Don’t let that happen to you. Read this article and get the answers you need to choose a system that will work for you.

What do I really need? [Read more...]

2014′s First Best of the Web!

bestHere at Firepole, the new year is a big jump for success, and we want to help you jump, too.

We’ve launched a huge campaign to grow our audience for the Audience Business Masterclass. Two new team members, Felicity and Sid, are helping out with student technical support and learning.

In our daily meetings, they’re smiling in the sun and laughing at us (kindly) from Florida and Oregon as we burrow through the snow of another Montreal winter.

We may be in separate climes, but when it comes to Firepole, we’re in it together. January is full of Webinars where we’re sharing ABM with more people than ever. Our January webinars are about passion, purpose and prosperity, because we want to help you all create a business that you’re passionate about, realize your purpose in the world and the purpose of your work, and prosper in that business.

The Best of the Web this month is about passion and purpose, too. We’ve pulled together several articles and resources to give you inspiration and practical tools to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
[Read more...]

How to Play Well with Others (Even if You Don’t Feel Like It): The Ultimate Guide to Why, When, and How to Deal With People

This post is a finalist in our Ultimate Guides Contest. Show your support for this, or any of the finalists, by commenting, sharing and joining the conversation!

How to Play Well with OthersDoes dealing with the human race ever remind you of a movie? We all have days when we imagine ourselves as Clint Eastwood and repeat that famous line in our heads: “Go ahead, make my day.

I get it. There are days when dealing with people makes you want to… well… exterminate them. Days when you say it with a visible shudder and a foul look on your face like it’s a dirty word… people.

Don’t get me wrong. I love people, in general. However, certain people can push even the nicest, most tolerant person’s buttons!

In this series of Firepole Marketing contest posts, you will learn tips, tricks, and myriad ways to be an expert at anything. It’s the Ultimate Guide book for any business-minded individual, to be sure.

That being said, the most important thing in business isn’t how to master SEO or how to set up a killer website. It’s – people. It’s relationships.

Come on, let’s face it. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns out there. This is the real world. People just plain suck sometimes.

But, wait! There’s hope. Just dial 1-800-take-a-breath.

After many years of working in sales, customer service, and other capacities in corporate America, I’ve dealt with some very difficult customers, co-workers, and even employers.

The good news is that a ticking time bomb can be defused. Sometimes you are the one in need of defusing. Other times it’s a customer, or even a rabid fan you managed to rub the wrong way.

Are you ready, class? Let’s begin. [Read more...]

CEI 020: Email Copywriting with Ben Settle

Today Danny interviews Ben Settle, email marketing specialist and creator of the “Email Players” newsletter.

Ben is known for his extraordinarily effective email copywriting skills. If you’re not completely certain what email marketing is, our inspiring interview with Ben explains exactly how he got started down this successful path and the do’s and don’ts if you like the sounds of what email marketing could do for your business!

Ben started out after college in network marketing and just couldn’t make it work and admittedly he didn’t enjoy it either! During a period of struggling with how to move forward, something clicked when he read an anecdote about classic ad-industry giant Bruce Barton, and he knew copywriting was the direction for him.

So what exactly is email copywriting you ask?

Listen to the podcast to find out… ;-)

[Read more...]

How I Got Banned by MailChimp (Without Sending a Single Spam Email!)

OK, so I’m not technically banned, but I can’t send any email through MailChimp – and without that capability, I might as well be banned.

MailChimp Account Status Disabled

Here’s how I got into this predicament – without ever sending a single spam email – and how you can avoid the same fate.

Building My List… in all the Wrong Ways

When I started my first website back in 2005 (ancient history in Internet time), the experts and gurus hammered home the point that I must collect email addresses and begin “building my list.”

“The money’s in the list,” was the chorus I heard over and over again.

So I asked my developers to add a small opt-in box to the site. There was no “subscribe bribe” or anything. It just said, “Sign up for our newsletter.” [Read more...]