Entrepreneurship: The Three Little Pigs’ Lessons for Success

entrepreneurshipDo you remember the childhood fable, The Three Little Pigs?  Their mother sends them out into the world to “seek” their fortune.

Until recently, I never realized they were entrepreneurs like us, but they are!

You know the story – the first pig builds a house made of straw.

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

“No, no, no. Not by the hair on my chinny, chin-chin.”

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

The big, bad wolf destroys the straw house. Failure!

The second little pig builds his house from sticks and the big, bad wolf demolishes that one, too. Double failure!

Both pigs escape to their third brother’s house, who built his home out of bricks. Success!

It’s here, safe at last in the third brother’s home, that the three little pigs have a chance to show of their entrepreneurship and wisdom.

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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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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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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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A Sales Strategy to Build Your Business and Serve More Clients

sales strategyGetting your first subscriber, publishing your first guest post, making your first offer – these are moments that every entrepreneur savors.

And rightly so – starting a successful business is hard work!

But after the initial success has faded, most entrepreneurs are left with a different problem. Now that they know what works, how do they grow their business without making more hours in the day? In other words, how do you create a sales strategy?

I’ve been in the business coaching world for two decades now, and if helping business owners grow has taught me anything it’s this: the only reliable way to sustain your growth is to build on the stable base of systems, team, and internal business controls.

Here are five of my favorite sales systems you can use to build your business and reduce its reliance on you as the owner.
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How to Recognize a Genuine Online Marketer and How You Can Be One

online marketerIf you, like me, have been around the online world for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the salesy marketers who promise thousands, if not millions of income. They give a glimpse of something ethereal in exchange not only for your attention, but for your money.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with sales. In fact, sales are the life blood of a business. But as online marketers, should we always be salesy or sleazy to make a sale?

A lot of online marketers go for the traditional sleazy campaigns just to succeed. They have no other way to execute their game plan but to abuse the system and take advantage of new marketers who are trying to thrive.

I happen to think that it’s not supposed to be this way, and I know that Danny and the rest of the Firepole Team agree. We also agree that marketing – in a non-sleezy way – is absolutely essential.

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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Over the Fear of Entrepreneurship

entrepreneurshipYou want to start a business, but you keep stalling. You dream of waking up in the morning, strolling down the hallway in your pajamas, and checking your email over a leisurely cup of coffee.

Or maybe you already have a small business – a side hustle, perhaps, or just a project you’ve been working on from home. You want to turn it into something bigger, but there’s always another activity that takes priority, another reason not to start.

I’ve heard my clients state countless different reasons for stalling, and I’ve definitely made excuses myself. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • You think you don’t have time.
  • Your family is keeping you from taking action.
  • Your job is too stressful/you work too many hours.
  • You think you don’t have the skills to run a successful business.
  • You don’t have enough money to start your business.
  • You’re afraid you might fail.

Any of these sound familiar?
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Discover $10K In Your Business by Turning Frustrations Into Opportunities

business growth strategiesImagine you’re sitting at a bar. Minding your own business. Sipping your beer. Kicking back after a tough day at the office.

A mysterious woman walks in and sits beside you. She puts her briefcase on the bar, opens the clips, and lifts the lid. You see it’s loaded to bursting with $10 bills. Your jaw drops.

“Ten thousand bucks,” she says.

You nod, and look away. What’s she doing with ten thousand dollars? Is she crazy?

“Do you want it?” the woman asks. She hands you the briefcase. “It’s yours. No strings attached. You can take it, right now.”

What would you do?
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