Zemanta Made My Blog Fun Again…Kinda

Blog better using Zemanta

Image by chucks via Flickr

Zemanta is a plugin for Firefox (also for Flock) which suggests images and links to articles that you may wish to insert into your post. It has support for WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Typepad.com, and self-hosted WordPress installs v2.0 and up. The concept is awesome because this would make it much easier to provide more valuable content to your readers.

What’s Good?

As soon as you begin writing, Zemanta runs off and grabs items it thinks you may want to insert. These include: context links, images, tags, and links to other articles. All you have to do is click what you want from your sidebar and it’s automagically plopped into your content. All the content suggested is checked to make sure you don’t violate any copyrights.

I can’t stand filling in Tags for my blog posts. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong. But, as Jeff points out in a recent post, you should always tag your posts. Zemanta handles this for me, so I don’t have to think about it anymore. This is a huge plus if you are thinking about SEO.

Also, you can simply highlight a word (SEO above, for instance) and click the suggested link in Zemanta, and it makes the link for you. Pie and Cake.

What Kinda Sucks?

Zemanta uses a proprietary algorithm to figure out what you want. They do index your posts in order to improve their engine, but they say they won’t share with anyone outside the team. I could care less since I’m posting to a public blog.

Whenever you insert an image from the Gallery, you will be linking back to the source of the image (I’ve no clue who this “chucks” guy is, but I appreciate his photo). This could possibly be a concern for those who are trying to avoid sending user’s elsewhere. It could also affect your PR depending on who you ask.

Also, I’m not sure how many bloggers just randomly link to other blogs, so I’m not sure how useful this Articles feature is. I guess it all depends on how free you are with your link love.

There will also be links to Zemanta on items you insert, but you are free to remove them according to the Zemanta home page.

A lot of shady spammers may try and use Zemanta for evil. Don’t let this be you. Write original content and use Zemanta to take it up a notch.

Moral Of The Story?

Zemanta will allow you to easily take your posts to the next level by providing your readers with relevant images and links at the click of a button. Unless you enjoy hunting for these things on your own, you should definitely give it a shot.

The 7 Great Half-truths of Network Marketing

There is a great ebook I read once. You have probably heard of it and if you haven’t read it, you should. I think some of the points of that book are somewhat dated or I guess just don’t apply to the businesses I do, so I decided to express my opinions on those points.

1. Everyone is your prospect

No, Everyone is not a potential prospect. However, everyone you come in contact with could possibly know someone that is a good prospect for your business. This means that you should still make it a point to tell everyone about your business. The trouble comes when you become a walking commercial and nobody wants to hang out with you. Don’t be “that guy”! Don’t try and shove your business down anyone’s throat.

2. This Really Isn’t Sales, We Just Share Products With People

This is total bull. Of course this is sales. You want money in return for goods or services. However, this is not a door-to-door-sell-a-refrigerator-to-an-Eskimo type business. You can’t go around overcoming objections and forcing people into things. You will be wasting your time, you will lose all the people you sponsor, your returns will be ridiculous. Don’t Be A Sales-Weasel!

3. Anyone Can Do This

Anyone with a true desire for success can do this. There are no real prerequisites. If you are willing to learn as much as possible and share that passion and knowledge with others, you are more than halfway there. You don’t have to have sales experience or be able to give an excellent presentation. Ultimately, people will listen to you because you are honest and confident in what you tell them.

4. We’ll Build Your Business For You

Of course “we” will, but this is usually only going to happen when it directly affects the success of your upline. Obviously, anything you make helps your upline, but you will get the most assistance in building your business when your upline needs you to get promoted in order to get them promoted.

5. We Have The Best Product Ever

If you think the product is crap, then it is crap. You can’t represent something that you don’t believe in. However, the product itself is pretty much irrelevant. Think of every network marketing product as a gun. All guns can shoot stuff, but some do it a little better than others and it always depends on who is doing the shooting. Use Common Sense.

6. You Just Don’t Have Enough Belief

Actually, as silly as it seems, this one is more true than false. You have to truly believe in what you are doing to be successful at it. I could hook you up with the “best” company with the most lucrative, turn-key, automated system. You will still fail if you don’t believe it actually works. Everyone you contact will run from you because they will see that you don’t believe in yourself or your product.

7. The Proven System

There is definitely a proven system with most companies that you join. This system has probably worked for most of the people in that company in making a little money on the side. This system is how things have always worked. Eventually, though, every system has to be upgraded. Don’t just blindly do what “they” tell you to. Do your research. Network and learn from others.

So Much For Leadership From My Upline

Last night I decide to jump on a conference call and get some leadership and direction from those higher up in one of my companies. It’s very important to stay connected with those who are successful because, well, it actually does tend to rub off.

I’m expecting to gain some knowledge from this call. Maybe a nugget of wisdom to help me to press on with my business. Something inspirational that I can pass down to my team.

The guest speaker was some motivational-speaker-guy that became a millionaire at age 26. He wasn’t very eloquent, isn’t a rep in my company, and didn’t really say anything important. He just kinda spouted a bunch of things you would expect to hear from your average motivational speaker, nothing exciting or ground-breaking. I was a little disappointed.

So, the call is almost completed and the guy is starting to wrap it up when he says that he wants to do something “special” for the people that are on the call. My ears prick up because I thought I had simply wasted 30-minutes of my life that could have been spent watching the Season Finale of House.

He says that he is going to give us his CD set at a huge discount. A set that usually sells for around $250 and he is going to give it to us for…get this: Sixty-Seven Dollars!

Imagine my excitement! I can buy this guy’s entire CD set for just $67?! That’s obviously something I gotta act on right now! Of course, that’s what I would be thinking if I was a network-marketing NOOB.

This is not the first time that my upline has tried to sell me and I really don’t appreciate it. Why bring some guy in that is not even in my company to motivate me? Why have this guy that’s not in my company and not even a good speaker try to sell me his crap? Why do this to me on a regular basis? Why do I feel like the financial leaders in the company are trying to gang-bang me?

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t trust anyone in this business. Like I said, it’s necessary to network with others in order to succeed, but that doesn’t mean you have to trust and believe everything they say. Watch their actions over time. It’s normal for your upline to recommend resources for you to learn from, but if it starts to seem like they are just milking you for all your worth….you are probably right.

Just Say No!

Everyone remembers this phrase from back in the day. It was supposed to help deal with the large number of young kids abusing drugs in the 80’s and 90’s.  I’m afraid it didn’t really work, you want to know why? because back in the day there were no rehabs like the holistic drug rehab around. This is proven by the fact that a lot of network marketers and home-business owners to this day refuse to say “No.”

Let me explain. How many times have you been on the phone with a prospect and you could tell they would NOT be a good addition to your team? Maybe they sounded lazy, not really interested, asked too many negative questions, or maybe they even asked you outright if you were trying to scam them. What did you say? Did you try to overcome their objections or did you do what a pro would do and tell them to kick rocks?

As I stated in a previous article: You Are NOT a Salesman. You are not out to change everyone’s mind about joining your business or buying your product. You are here to help those that want to be helped. When you are prospecting, you are interviewing people and sorting them to see if they will be able to benefit your organization.

If it seems like you are putting in too much work to enroll someone, just tell them straight up: “I’m sorry, I don’t think you would be a good fit for this position. Good Luck!” and end the conversation there. Time is your most important resource because you can NEVER get it back. Never Waste Your Time!

If you are going to be successful in this business, you have to be a leader. Maybe you don’t feel like one. Maybe you’re kind of shy. Maybe you didn’t hang out with the “cool” kids in high school. Who Cares! You are running things now. This it YOUR business. Own It!

You are the one offering help to someone else. You already run your own business and the person on the other end of the line wants what you have to offer. You do not need them to sign for you to be successful. You are already a success! This person will not make or break you because you keep your pipeline filled in many different ways.

I would like you to perform an exercise I read about in Mike Dillard’s “Essential Reports” e-Book (bundled with the highly-recommended Magnetic Sponsoring System). The next time you’re doing calls, make it a point to tell at least 5 people “No.” Just pick any old excuse and tell them that you don’t think they are going to work out.

This exercise will change your mindset and your posture instantly because it gives you all of the power and it will help you adopt a mindset of abundance which is a critical trait that all Alphas share. Your mind will finally understand that you are the leader, and that the success of your business is not dependent upon any one person or handful of leads.

-Mike Dillard

You Are NOT a Salesperson

People seem to have a huge misconception about network marketing and the people who are involved with it. They seem to think that this is an industry of salespeople. This is a perception that not only prevents many people from succeeding in this industry, but it prevents many people outside of the industry from benefiting from it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a business about making money by selling some type of product at some point. It is about building a network of people around you that you earn money from. It is about promotions, marketing, and sales. The problem is that it is NOT an industry of salespeople. This is not about convincing someone to buy stuff they may not even want or need.

This is a service industry. If you don’t understand that the goal is to help as many people as you can, you have already failed. On the one hand, you are charged with providing people with a quality product that will enrich their lives in some way. On the other, you are able to give people the power to make a positive and significant change in their lifestyle.

I once spoke to a prospect who was a car salesman. He was all about “making the sale” and “closing the deal.” He kept telling me that every conversation is about closing a sale. Coming from a sales background myself, I can understand what he is saying. Did I want him on my team? No. Never called him back.

There are a couple of ideas you should definitely take away from this article:

  • If they say “No,” then leave it alone. People don’t like to be sold. All you are doing is setting yourself up for returns and cancellations
  • If you have to “sell” someone to enroll them, you have to keep selling them to keep them on your team

Don’t set yourself up for failure. This industry is not about slick sales tactics to trick people. If this is your strategy, you will fail.

Please Hold All Questions

After dialing about 30 numbers (15 of which were disconnected), leaving about 10 voicemails, and listening through about 4 of the most annoying callertunes ever, you finally get someone on the phone. You are conducting your interview of this potential prospect, feeling them out, when they decide to interrupt you with a question of their own.

What do you do?

Some reading this may have no idea why this is even an issue (don’t worry, I’m going to bring you up to speed). Others are smiling right now because they already know where this is headed. The bottom line is: the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation.

Do police officers or soldiers answer questions? No, they control situations. They ask YOU questions. They slap your questions aside like mosquitoes on a muggy day.

Think of your interview as a fencing match. The person asking the questions is the one on the attack. They are in control. They are looking for a weakness or flaw to take advantage of in their opponent. The other participant is simply defending. They hold no sway in the outcome at this point. Unless the attacker makes a mistake.

So, where do prospects get off interrupting you to ask you questions? You are supposed to be a leader, a master recruiter, an expert in your field. Start acting like one and control the conversation! You do it however you feel comfortable, but you do NOT answer any questions until you are done asking your own. Here’s a couple of examples of things you might say:

  • “That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked it! We’ll be getting to that in just a sec. Now, you said you have 2 kids, right?”
  • “The purpose of this call is simply to find out if you would be a good fit for my company. My time is very valuable, so we can either end the call here or I can continue the interview. Which would you like?”

Notice how both statements end with a question directed back to the prospect. This puts control of the conversation firmly back in your hands. You are probably going to stick with a variation of, “Good question, I’ll be covering that shortly. [insert random question here].”

Of course, you don’t want to sound like a robot and you may want to make sure that “random question” allows you to pick up right where you left off. If someone is consistently interrupting, then you may want to go with the more stern example above and probably end up sending them along their way. One of the best things you can do to avoid battling for control is to tell your prospect to write down any questions they may have so that you can answer them later.

Not only will controlling the conversation help you to maintain your leadership status, but it will help you sort you prospects faster as well.

What is The Matrix? The Thing That Is Keeping You From Financial Freedom

“The answer is out there, it’s looking for you and it will find you if you want it to” – Trinity

It’s Sunday night and, if your household is like mine, someone is watching a game on TV, someone is checking to make sure the kids have done their homework, there are baths to be taken, laundry to fold or iron, and everyone is worn out from the weekend. And someone somewhere in your house (maybe it’s you) is dreading Monday morning.

This is where my household differs from yours – no one in my home dreads Monday morning: getting up early, the long or short commute to work in the cold or the heat (our commute is from the bedroom on the second floor to the office on the first floor or maybe the studio on the terrace level), making sure there is enough money in your wallet or purse for gas and lunch, facing the continuation of that project you sort of started last week and that your boss wants on his desk this afternoon….facing your boss. We don’t do that around here.

That is your Matrix, the thing that has you. The thing that keeps a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your bellies. It is a trap that is as soft and warm as velvet, it will use you like currency and release you once you are spent. If you are lucky you will get a nice severance package or a retirement check, along with a pat on the head and a “you’ll do great out there”.

Sadly, chances are that you do not know that you are trapped. Sure, sometimes you dream about a life where you work when you want to, answer to no one, take vacations to exotic places and don’t even think about what it costs. But then you wake up, because you know that this lifestyle does not exist for normal people. You know that any claims to the contrary are, more than likely, some sort of scam to get at your hard earned dollars. You know that there is no way in the world that you can work hard for 4+ years and live easy for the rest of your life. You know for a fact that you can’t pay the mortgage and spend more time with your kids. It just can’t be done!

You are one of “millions of people living out their lives-oblivious”, thinking that the trinity of pain, pleasure, and misery are all that define life itself; but the fact that you are reading this (still) tells me that you are ready; it tells me that something is tugging at your soul – screaming to be free. I know that you know that you are caught in the “Matrix”. And I know that you want to be freed.

Denise Porter is a former Marine with an MBA who worked in corporate America for almost 30 years. She is a huge fan of the Matrix movies and believes that they have a lot of lessons for Network Marketers. She is passionate about helping others to make a positive change in their lives.

How Badly Do You Really Want It?!

A wise man once said, “To get what you’ve never had, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done,” which is true to this day. Many of us, hell, all of us, want financial freedom, but we’re afraid to do something different from what we’ve always done. We all know the definition of insanity, so I won’t rehash that old saying, even though it is true.

Everyone is working longer hours for less pay, fewer benefits, and getting far less satisfaction. Now companies are telling their employees, “Screw your happiness, you should be happy just to have a job!” Is this really what you signed up for? Really?! Right now, the only ones who are finding financial freedom and satisfaction through your hard work are your bosses, and when they figure out how to get your job done cheaper, guess who’s going to be shown the door?

Think about it: after numerous years of service and dedication, you’ve been reduced to carrying your personal property out in a box, while wondering what you’re going to do for an income now. I’ve had people say that they prefer the safety of a job. Does that sound “safe” to you?

If you’re happy with getting paid weakly, instead of weekly, then by all means, keep doing what you’re doing! If not, how about doing something different to get different results? How about doing something you’ve never done to get what you’ve never had? Better yet, how about doing what you want to get what you want?

First ask yourself, “What do I want?”, and then ask yourself, “Will I get it by doing the same thing that I am doing now?” After you come up with the answer, then ask yourself, “How bad do I want that?” If you know you’re not going to live your dreams by doing what you’re doing, allow me to introduce you to the “Something Different”:

http://ms.sheenonline.biz

Doh! You Forgot to Close!

You are having a great conversation with a prospect. You have related on many different levels. You’ve laughed, you’ve cried, you’ve discussed personal issues. You even find out that you may be related or once lived in the same neighborhood. Everything is going great. You really feel like you can help this person to succeed and that they would be an excellent addition to your team. You hang up the phone feeling good about that call. You feel as though you have accomplished something. So what’s wrong?

You Forgot To Close the Deal!

You let that person go without: adding them to your team, getting a committment from them as to when they want to join you, or even scheduling a definite callback!

What are you doing?!

This is probably one of the most common failings of many marketers and it is actually a very simple one to fix… Continue reading “Doh! You Forgot to Close!”

WordPress 2.5.1 Migration and Redirect

So, I decided to go ahead and upgrade WordPress since I was tired of seeing the damned reminder in the admin area. In the process, I figured I might as well move WP to my top-level (if you recall, it was stored at /blog) and slap on a snazzy theme.

Still working on the “snazzy theme” part. I looked for hours while watching TV and just couldn’t find anything I liked all that much, so I just picked one.

Of course, now we are left with the problem of redirecting from /blog back to the root directory. A quick search on Google turned up this site, which gives you the code to do a proper permanent redirect with HTTP 301 in various languages. This will make sure that Google knows I moved and I don’t lose any Rank (as if I had any to begin with).

If you know where I can find a good theme site and not one that just recycles what’s already out there, let me know.

Get Your Blog Google-Ranked In 30 Days or Less?

WebProNews has an interesting article about getting your blog ranked. They tell you to forget about PageRank. Hey….I’m down with that.

“Blogs have been around long enough to become standard elements of the web landscape. They’re easy to construct and manage, they create fresh, user-generated content and, if well-executed, blogs draw crowds and the attention of search engines.

Whether starting out with a new domain name, or a domain that’s been around for a decade, you can rank your blog on Google if you just do what Google wants you to do. So here are 25/50 tips to get your blog ranked by the world’s biggest SE.”

Read the full article here.

Red Monkey Jeans

I haven’t got a new pair of jeans since…well…I don’t even remember when, so it’s great to finally get a fresh new pair of Red Monkey Jeans. They have some cool little designs on the back pockets and left-front pocket and feel pretty good. Quality seems up-to-par for a pair of $800 jeans and the gold buttons just add a little extra flair, although I have no clue who is ever gonna know I have gold buttons on my fly. I was also told by the distributor that I have to remove these buttons if I decide to wash the jeans, but who washes jeans anyway, right?

Red Monkey Jeans are apparently one of the hottest and fastest growing brands out there and, according to Google, they are highly sought after in the Southeast.

There are only 3 locations in the United States that sell these jeans. One was in Atlanta, but that distributor has since been revoked. The other 2 are in DC and LA. A new distributor has just been activated in NY as of a week or so ago. Bottom line here is: If you have purchased a pair of Red Monkey Jeans in a place that I have not named, they are fake and I hope you paid under $100.

There will be a new Atlanta distributor coming soon so check back for details. I will also be posting some pics of official Red Monkey Jeans and info on how to spot the fakes.

http://www.rmcjeans.co.uk/