It’s Time for Your Blog to Thrive

This is the last post in the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog series. If you would rather watch this series, then click here to access the video course. Click here to download the FREE It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

It's Time to Launch Your Blog Post Template

This is the last post in the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog series. If you would rather watch this series, then click here to access the video course. Click here to download the FREE It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

Phase 3: THRIVE

Quick NavigationShow me the money!Create a productHost a virtual workshopCreate an affiliate marketing programJoin an affiliate marketing programIt’s a wrap!

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My friends, we are almost at the finish line! Today, we are going to discuss the THRIVE phase, which also happens to be the last phase in your online journey. Please do yourself another favor and do not compare your journey to someone else’s. You will be tempted to do so, but take comfort in the fact that you will make it here if you continue to consistently create content that your audience finds irresistible.

Show me the money!

I feel ya my friend! That’s how everyone feels when it comes to monetizing their site. The main three ways to monetize your site are the following:

  • Create a product
  • Host a virtual workshop
  • Affiliate marketing

Create a product

I am a huge advocate of creating your own product. This is your chance to shine, so make the most of your moment! In my opinion, some of the best online products to create are elearning courses.

I love learning by video because I’m a visual learner. Oftentimes, there are concepts that are difficult to explain without using images, charts or diagrams. Plus, videos enable me to learn at my own pace. Clearly, I’m not alone in my line of thinking.

According to elearning industry, by 2019 video content will make up 80 percent of internet traffic around the world. It’s estimated that U.S. adults consume over 5 hours of video a day.

If you’re interested in creating your own online course, I highly suggest using Thinkific ( stay tuned for our upcoming course creation workshop!). It’s a free, extremely user-friendly platform, that enables you to set your own prices. One of the BEST parts, is that you don’t have to worry about hosting your own videos. They truly created this platform with keeping creators in mind, so you can focus on what you do best–CREATE!

Host a virtual workshop

People want to continue their education, but they might not always have the funds to attend an in-person workshop. One of the things I love about virtual workshops is that you have a chance to ask questions live and interact with other folks that are taking the class via the chat box or by phone. Virtual workshops and online courses are definitely a formula for creating an ideal successful learning environment.

Create an affiliate marketing program

You can create your own affiliate program and pay people to market your product or promote someone else’s product in exchange for commission.

Again you will always make more money creating your products. Think of this as your opportunity to create your own marketing team to help you promote your product. Of course, you need to provide enticing commission incentives to encourage others them to do so.

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Join an affiliate marketing program

I’m not big on advocating other people’s products unless I’m absolutely thoroughly in LOVE with that particular product. In order for people to trust you, you must make sure that you are being honest with them. The only way you can accomplish this feat is by making sure that you actually use the product you’re suggesting to your audience. You always need to keep in mind how the product will benefit your audience. If you can’t, then you risk losing your audience’s trust. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite affiliate marketing programs and sponsorship opportunities in a later blog post.

It’s a wrap!

Congrats on completing this series! If you made it this far you’re ready to thrive online. Below is a quick recap of everything that we covered 

  • Determining your niche
  • How to conduct market research
  • Learning the SMART goal setting approach
  • Creating your business name and determining your structure
  • Develop your brand identity
  • Setup your hosting information
  • Choose your website platform hosting company and theme
  • The importance of lead magnets and elements of a great marketing campaign
  • Ways to monetize your website

Now, if you’re a visual learner like me, you may need to see what was discussed in this series in much further detail. No worries, we got your back! All of our online courses go into extreme details in how to perform every aspect of the steps you need to take in launching your business. The courses are divided into three distinct phases:

  • Phase 3 Thrive: Keep the momentum going by learning various ways to monetize your site.
  • The Ultimate DIYer: This is a course that comprises all of the three distinct phases.

You will find more detailed explanations of each course by clicking hereI TRULY hope you found the information in this course to be helpful. If you have questions about this series, feel free to contact me. 

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If you haven’t already done so, please click here to download the FREE It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

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It’s Time to Launch Your Blog – Drive

This is part 2 of 3 in of the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Series. If you would rather watch this series, then click here to access the video course.Click here to download the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

It's Time to Launch Your Blog Post Template

This is part 2 of 3 in of the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Series.If you would rather watch this series, then click here to access the video course.Click here to download the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

Phase 2: DRIVE

Quick NavigationIt’s time to build your house (aka your website)!Where will you live?What does your house look like?Managed WordPress vs. Regular HostingInstall WordPress and upload your Premium ThemeConsistent creative evergreen content is your goal.Make sure your website is optimized for search engines.How else can I attract my audience?What is a lead magnet and why do I need one?Create your marketing campaignJust checking in…

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In the first part of this series, we created the blueprint for our business. Now it’s time to put those plans into action. Enough rambling from me, let’s get to work!

It’s time to build your house (aka your website)!

If you’re launching your online business on a shoestring budget, one of the best ways you can reduce your operating costs is by creating your own website with a killer blog. Now before you start saying, “I don’t know how, “or “That sounds too hard,” you need to kick that negative mindset to the curb.

You got this! You can and you will create your own website. Just stay calm and carry on to following the below steps.

Where will you live?

Think of your website as your house. Where do you want to place your website? It’s important to decide where you want your website to be hosted. I would seriously think twice about moving into any “EIG neighborhoods.”

Check out the articles below and you will see my cause for concern.

In case you are experiencing difficulties choosing your hosting company, below are some non EIG recommendations:

  • Siteground **(They are fantastic!)
  • WPEngine
  • GoDaddy

What does your house look like?

Think of your website as your house. It’s important to build your house on a strong foundation. This same principle applies to choosing your website platform. The platform that you choose must be responsive (the website looks great regardless of what device it’s being viewed), user-friendly and affordable.

There are several types of platforms to choose from, but if you are looking for the two best options that meet the aforementioned criteria, then consider the below options:

  • WordPress: It’s a powerful content management system that many people use to develop their websites or blogs. Plus, you will be in good company because 26% of the web is powered by WordPress. I always use WordPress when I build my websites because it’s powerful and user-friendly.
  • Squarespace: In the event you do not want to use WordPress, this is the only worthwhile user-friendly alternative. Please note that maintaining a Squarespace site is more expensive than WordPress.

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Managed WordPress vs. Regular Hosting

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m #TeamWordPress all the way. So please note that even though the rest of this series will be centered on WordPress, there are still components that may help you should you decide not to use WordPress.

Even though you chose to build your website using WordPress, you need to determine how much you are willing to pay to customize and maintain your site. You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is cost an issue?
  2. How much maintenance are you willing to perform by yourself? Do you want to “outsource” some of your responsibilities?
  3. Do you want to have complete control over your capability of how you customize your website (i.e. which plugins you can install on your site)?
  4. Do you want to have access to EVERY part of your website so you can manually make coding adjustments?
  5. Do you want to assume responsibility for the technical aspects of your website (maintaining WordPress updates, security, backing up your site, etc.)?

If cost isn’t an issue and you truly have no desire to make extensive “renovations” (i.e. customizations) nor wish to maintain it, then a Managed WordPress is the way to go.

If cost is a concern, but you’re willing to do most of the heavy lifting to get your house to look exactly the way you want it complete with your ability to choose your own appliances (plugins, edit your theme, etc.), then purchase regular hosting. I have used both options and highly recommend going the regular WordPress hosting route.

Install WordPress and upload your Premium Theme

Now that you know where your house will be located and what type of house you want to create, it’s time to start building. Regardless of whether you chose managed or regular WordPress, you will need to install WordPress (each method takes about 5 minutes). Once this is complete, you need to “paint” the exterior of your house. You want to make sure that you pick the right colors, decorations, etc.

The way to do this for your website is by purchasing a premium theme. Yes, there are tons of free WordPress themes available online but you don’t want to use these. Spend the extra cash and purchase a premium theme. I’ve seen some as low as $15. Obviously, you need to shop around and purchase the one that best suits your needs. Free WordPress themes can turn out to be an extremely expensive mistake for a variety of reasons (i.e. failure to keep up with WordPress updates).

There are a variety of sites that you can use to purchase your Premium WordPress Theme, but I highly recommend the following themes:

I have built sites using both of these themes. If you’re a visual learner like me, check out the below video tutorial that is apart of our Slay with WordPress course demonstrating how to purchase a domain and install WordPress.

Consistent creative evergreen content is your goal.

You mastered crafting your brand’s identity and created your WordPress website so now it’s time to start creating content that will engage your audience. The struggle is real when it comes to producing high quality content. There are way too many folks regurgitating the same common sense information.

Obviously, you don’t want to be that person. Even though there’s nothing new under the sun, if you want to be viewed as unique, then you will need to find a different angle to approach your subject.

In order to keep your audience engaged, you need to G.R.A.B their attention. This is an acronym I created to help me organize my content regardless of the format of your content (blog post, video, etc.).

Generate a thought provoking headline

Relevant topic that addresses the problems your audience is facing

Actions that your audience should take to resolve their problems

Be empowered to put those actions into practice

We go into much further detail in our Master Your Niche course about creating content because it truly does play an integral role in your business. Creating valuable content can be time consuming. One of the main ways you can tackle this feat is by creating an editorial calendar.

The main purpose of a content calendar is to plan out your content and social media activities. Don’t let the thought of creating a content calendar scare you. It will save you from hours of sitting in front of the computer trying to figure out what to write or share. It definitely keeps me from going insane and I’m confident you will find it to be beneficial. 

Make sure your website is optimized for search engines.

Your content deserves to be seen, so we need to make sure that it is optimized. If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, search engine optimization (SEO) is going to be extremely important for you. In order for your website to receive the attention it deserves, you have to make sure that it appears in the search engines. This is where the marketing research that you conducted back in Lesson 1 is really going to get a chance to shine. You will need to think like your customers.

If you want to gain free (aka organic) traffic to your website, then it needs to be optimized with the keywords relating to the topic of your website. When people type those words or phrases into the search engine the goal is to have your website appear within the search results. If your customers were in need of XYZ, what terms would they use to help them get their answer?

Now, this is NOT an easy feat. Especially when it seems like Google changes their algorithm every five minutes…However, I don’t want you to throw in the towel. There are still things that you can do to help improve your SEO. The top three things I want you to right now are:

  • Get your blogging game on: This is why every website needs to have a blog (if you’re using Word Press this can easily be configured into your site). Blogs not only allow you to establish your expertise but the additional content will help increase your chances to getting recognized by search engines.
  • Download Google Analytics: This is the main tool companies use to measure their traffic, conversions, etc.)
  • Install the free WordPress YOAST SEO plugin: This plugin will help you make sure your target key words are being addressed in your content.

You can’t just rely on Google to bring traffic to your website. Therefore, we need to explore other additional alternatives to entice your audience to your website.

Are there other ways I can attract my audience?

If you build it, they will come,” is advice that only works in the movies. In the real world, savvy business owners are all too familiar with the fact that customers aren’t going to “magically” appear.

If you want your business to grow, you have to find them. Easier said than done, right? This kind of pressure can be extremely overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.

There are a variety of tactics that you can do to make this happen, but below are some of my favorites:

  • Lead Magnet
  • An awesome marketing campaign

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What is a lead magnet and why do I need one?

A lead magnet is amazing content (guide, cheat sheet, video, etc.) that you offer in exchange for that person’s contact information. This is where the magic happens! You need a lead magnet so you can build up your email list. The degree of success that you can expect to attain will depend on the engagement of your list. Just because you have a small list does NOT mean that you can’t make any money.

If you have a small list of folks that you took time to cultivate a relationship with is definitely going to increase your chances of having those people purchase from you. Your goal should be to have a large list of engaged customers that will be more susceptible to purchasing from you.

One of the main ways to do this is to offer your audience a “taste” of what you have to offer. Your lead magnet should be FREE and address a problem that your audience is experiencing that your lead magnet will help resolve. In case you couldn’t tell, this course is a lead magnet. 😉

There are people struggling to launch their online business because they don’t know where to start. I created this course to help resolve that issue while allowing my audience the opportunity to get to know me.

People don’t purchase products or services. They purchase from people that they trust will provide value and are more likely to help them grow in their endeavors. If your lead magnet sucks, then it really shouldn’t be a surprise when you don’t see any sales.

Times are hard. People don’t have money or the time to waste on products that they don’t envision will help them reach their goals. Please understand I’m not saying you have to give away everything away for free. That’s definitely not what I’m advocating. I believe that you should get paid for your knowledge. However, you will need to determine the balance that will allow you to showcase your expertise and ability to help them while encouraging them to explore your paid product offerings.

Once you find that “sweet spot” you are good to go!

Create your marketing campaign

In order to promote your company, you need to create a marketing campaign. Based on your buyer persona and marketing research you need to choose the appropriate content format (i.e. a great lead magnet) and platforms (i.e. social networks, forums, etc.) to share your content. Depending on the industry that your company belongs to your marketing campaign will benefit from having a mix of online and offline activities.

Regardless of whether your company is new or established, gaining exposure for your business can be a daunting task. The amount of noise in the marketplace may leave you feeling defeated before you even started your marketing campaign.

In case you’re looking for ideas, be sure to check out our Over 125 Amazing Online and Offline Marketing Ideas Checklist. While everyone else is shouting, the marketing ideas contained in this document are going to help you get heard.

Just checking in…

Kudos to you for getting through the DRIVE phase of your online journey! How are you feeling? I don’t want you feeling overwhelmed, so if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Don’t forget to download the It’s Time to Launch Your Business Workbook.

Click here to download the It’s Time to Launch Your Blog Workbook.

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Why is it important to have character?

I had a bad case of writer’s block this weekend. I wanted to write something great and profound but was unable to do so because at the moment I had the attention span of a child-LOL

So I decided to do some spring cleaning and came across this gem of a speech I had written in high school for our speech team. “There’s nothing new under the sun,” is something my mother often says to me. Reading this speech made me realize how true this saying is because even though I wrote this speech many moons ago,  but it still rings true today. See for yourself and I am sure you will agree  (there is an audio version as well)…

The Importance of Character

Everyone has it. Some more than others. You have it. I have it. We cannot escape from it because it is who we are and we must strive to improve it in order to gain acceptance from others and ourselves. It is the only valid thing we have by which to judge someone. What is it? It is character. Character can simply be defined as moral or ethical strength. But when you see a handsome young guy walking down the street you don’t say,” That guy has a great…character!”

Character is not a physical thing. It is not something you wear. To some character is a quaint little idea based on what we learned in kindergarten, but it is much more than that. It is the culmination of who we are. Character comes as a result of life and it doesn’t come easily. In order to know where we are going, we have to know where we have been in the struggle to achieve character.

During the forties and fifties, teachers and parents were the moral leaders that students admired. Hard work and patriotism were strongly affirmed in schools.In the sixties and seventies, America’s youth rejected the previous generation’s conformist attitude and opted to adopt idealism. The nation took John F. Kennedy’s statement to heart, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” America’s adolescence along with their teachers accepted this challenge by participating in the Peace Corps and later the Teachers Corps.

In the middle of America’s rebirth, Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King was gunned down in Alabama, and Kennedy’s brother, Robert saw the end to his life in a hotel kitchen in Los Angeles and with that came a transformation in schools attitudes. The Scholastic Aptitude Test scores started to drop after 1963 while school vandalism, violent crimes among young people, and teacher absenteeism ran rampant.

[ctt template=”5″ link=”9lkXI” via=”yes” ]Character comes as a result of life and it doesn’t come easily. [/ctt]

Distrusting the government and increased focus on individual rights gave way to students using slogans such as, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” People over 30 said, “Don’t trust anyone under 30.” Almost everyone just thought, “Don’t trust anyone.” Society at this time was so anti-authority, teachers dominating influence declined. Teachers were just as puzzled as the rest of America’s youth over issues like the limits of protest, sexual mores, and patriotism.

The eighties brought a rekindling disposition to a society fatigued by transition and inward strife. This brought a resurgence of national reports associated with the failing of moral nature in schools by displaying the poor discipline, vandalism, and physical abuse of both teachers and students. Students used drugs and television as an escape. America was in strong need of moral behavior. Schools questioned themselves in whether they could be the only ones who could teach kids to act morally correct. Administration and public officials turned to the thoughts of Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson in trying to reinstate America’s right and responsibility to teach the traditional values of patriotism, and respect for adults.

For years, this debate raged. It went on during the “me generation” and the “X-generation” and the effects on society could be witnessed by the loss of trustworthiness, tolerance, and lack of accountability. In a recent article done by U.S. News and World Report on cheating, it seemed as if “immoral behavior” was everywhere. Eighty-four percent of college students believe cheating is the way to get ahead in today’s world. Ninety-percent of college students believe that cheaters never pay the price. The poll also found that one in four adults believe they must lie to get ahead. When people are dishonest, immoral, or that they are displaying poor character, the last thing they want to be told is that they are unethical.

People have very little tolerance when it comes to criticism. In an age where zero tolerance is a buzz word parents favor the concept but when it is applied to so-called “good kids” they are outraged. Supporters of zero tolerance argue it makes schools safer and unifies disciplinary measures. Critics argue it is a knee jerk reaction to tolerance. However, is it really a knee jerk reaction to the challenge of character and the necessities to develop it?
One of the greatest philosophers in history, Aristotle, noted, “If we want to take credit for our virtues…then we must equally take blame for our vices.” As a society, do we really want to accept the consequences of our actions? I was amazed when I read the story of Regales. My world history teacher introduced me to this character driven man. He was a counsel in the Roman army who had been captured by the Spartans after Rome lost a battle to them. He was taken prisoner and was going to be used as a prisoner swap with Carthage.

[ctt template=”5″ link=”6MAxB” via=”yes” ]“If we want to take credit for our virtues…then we must equally take blame for our vices.” ~Aristotle[/ctt]

Surely, these governments lacked the convenience of modern communication so they could only rely on the message personally delivered. So Regales was sent by the Spartans back to Rome to tell the Roman Senate what was to be done. Before he left Sparta, he promised them he would return and if the Roman Senate did not approve of the terms of the agreement he would allow Sparta to kill him. Regales did return to Sparta. Unfortunately, Rome did not agree to the terms and the story ends with Regales in a barrel into which the Spartans stuck swords and rolled him down a mountainside. Did this man have character or what?

Obtaining character is a daily struggle. We can stress the importance for character by educating people. Aristotle saw in the year 350 B.C. the need for character when he wrote Nicomachean Ethics. In it he tries to define happiness; the virtues of character and determine its place in the happy life. This supremacy of thought is relevant to acquire character. After all, “We are what we think.” This later became the foundation for others trying to win the warfare on character. Michael Josephson, a highly acclaimed ethicist, advocates The Character Counts! program which is based on teaching The Pillars of Character. Together these components encourage the individual to be better and in turn help others improve their character.

Once an individual has been educated in the importance of character, they then have a clear vision, are inspired to achieve success, and when it comes time to experience challenges rely on character to pull them through the situations that they might face. Living without the perception of what you want to do or where you want to go and how to do it, is a life wasted. With a clear vision despite defeat, rejection, and lack of recognition, you can persevere through challenges that may be hurled your way.

When you are able to acknowledge your imperfections, you can triumph over them in order to accomplish your goal. Walter Payton was one such individual. “I want to set the record so high that the next person who tries for it, it’s going to bust his heart,” Payton once said. Despite his 5’10 frame, he was the leading running back in the NFL for 13 years. With focus and determination, we can make our vision a reality. Having a clear vision gives you the ambition to be inspired to achieve success.

When you look back on all the hardships that you have been through you feel a sense of awe and satisfaction in achieving your goal. Character is not just about having the ambition or inspiration to achieve success, but it is about accomplishment and planning. We all possess the skills needed to accomplish our goals, but it is how we utilize our skills that make us talented and successful. You must expect to experience challenges in the long journey toward acquiring character. Having setbacks and restrictions makes us mentally stronger

Enduring these setbacks is what makes our vision seem valuable when obtained. Senator John McCain was a naval aviator in Vietnam.While on a mission he was captured by the enemy, beaten, and offered early release by his captors. McCain declined because he was unwilling to leave his fellow POW’s behind. He instead endured five more years of brutal captivity with them. We all experience setbacks at some point in time, but it is how we respond to and handle them that makes our goal even more precious when reached.

How the turn of the century is viewed by future generations is up to us. If we continue in the direction that we are headed in, we can expect to see an increase in declining ethics. On a survey done by the Josephson Institute on character development, 97% of teenagers felt it was important to be viewed as a person with good character.

Character is what helps people overcome the fear of challenges that we must endure. Perseverance through these obstacles enables us to clearly visualize our ultimate goal. When we know what we are truly capable of, only then, can we expect success. In the end, character is the only lasting trait humans have that enables them to be something more than just merely existing.