Posted on

[BLACK] TOOL: Stripe Payments


Making Money

Charge it. Cha-Ching.

Are you looking for an easy to use credit card processor for your company?  Look no further. One of my favorite business solutions is Stripe, a software tool for collecting credit card payments.

Positioning itself as the ‘payments infrastructure for the internet,’ Stripe is the perfect solution for those looking to build a marketplace, mobile app, online storefront or subscription service.

Stripe Features

Do you need to accept payments quickly and easily? Stripe is not only easy to set up, but it doesn’t entail a long application process. You can be up and running same day. Do you need to accept payments from anyone, anywhere? Stripe currently supports businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and many European countries.

Do you need recurring payments? With their subscription APIs and webhooks, storing customers’ cards on file is easy. Go ahead and collect the customer card upfront for background billing later. Stripe also offers flexible billing periods, coupons, trials, secure checkout (SSL) and more.

Pricing:

It only takes minutes to get started and there are no setup, monthly or hidden fees. It’s just 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge. Transfers arrive in your bank account in 2 business days.

Sign up:

Visit the Stripe website.

Posted on

[GREEN] TOOL: Freshbooks

Do you need a simple accounting software?

If so, I highly recommend Freshbooks because of it is so easy to use. Freshbooks makes your accounting tasks easy, fast and secure — three descriptions that every entrepreneur desires.

I have been a customer of Freshbooks for over two years now, and I can say that the service they provide constantly exceeds my expectations.  As a matter of fact, of all the software programs I use to run my businesses, Freshbooks is my favorite.

The best part of Freshbooks is that I really never have to think about it!

Save Time. Freshbooks claim that their customers spend less time on paperwork, saving up to two days per month to focus on the work they love. I can attest that’s true.  Once I set up a customer profile, it’s so easy to navigate the few steps needed to send out an invoice. Better yet, once you set up recurring billing, you can receive email alerts directly in your inbox for when an invoice is sent, paid, viewed, etc. It really is “set it and forget it.”

Get Paid Faster. With Freshbooks, you can easily invoice clients from your desk or on the go (with the app). Freshbook customers are paid an average of 5 days faster than other software solutions. The thing I like most is that you can set up automatic billing.  That means that a customer can enter a credit card (one of their partners is Stripe) and click a simple check box for future payments and voilá – you have recurring revenue you can count on!

Grow Your Business. Freshbooks indicates that, on average, their customers double their revenue in the first 24 months. I can happily attest that is indeed true.

Other Features. Not only is it intuitive, Freshbooks will make your business look more professional. You can brand your invoices. Send out auto-payment reminders. Accept online payments. Track time (billed and unbilled) and manage team time sheets. Import expenses. Customize project rates. Review P&L, Tax Summary and Expense Reports. Import expenses and attach receipts (even photo images of them) to invoices. Get alerted on client activity (viewing invoices, paying invoices, etc.).

Partners.  From expense tracking and online payments to time tracking and proposal design, Freshbooks connects to many complementary and valuable apps and addons that help entrepreneurs run all aspects of their business. Some of those integrations include: Mailchimp, Basecamp, PayPal, Stripe, etc.

Support. I can attest, they have an award winning support team. And they are real human beings!

What’s the Cost?

You can start with a free trial which is perfect because Freshbooks really can grow with you as your business grows. Prices range from $9.95/month to $39.95/month depending on number of clients and staff. Compare pricing plans.

Finally, you can cancel at any time.

More Information

Website: Freshbooks.com

Live and Learn.

Posted on

[Plugin] UpdraftPlus

Plugin for Backups

Positioned as the world’s most trusted backup plugin, UpdraftPlus is the world’s highest rated and most-installed plugin. UpdraftPlus can back up WordPress sites of any size. It runs wherever WordPress does, has more storage options than any rival and makes cloning simple.

Your WordPress backups are worth the same as your entire investment in your website. The day may come when you get hacked (or your hosting company does or they go bust) — without good backups, you lose everything.

Do you really want to entrust all your work to a backup plugin with only a few thousand downloads or to one that has no professional backup or support? With a 4.9/5.0 rating and over 3 million downloads (500,000+ installs), UpdraftPlus is the backup plugin we use and recommend.

Key Features:

Easy Storage: UpdraftPlus offers many remote cloud storage options: Dropbox, Amazon, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, FTP, etc.  With ‘Updraft Vault’, you get the zero hassle option. Manage and download backups for all your sites at one central location. No complicated setup or fiddly keys, no accounting hassles. Just press a button to make the connection, and you’re done! UpdraftPlus Premium gives you 1 GB of Vault storage for free, with the option of purchasing more.

Scheduled Backups: With the paid option, you can ‘set it and forget it’ with automated backups vs. performing manual backups (free version). Choose exactly when and how often to backup – every 4, 8 or 12 hours, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly – your choice! UpdraftPlus can also automatically run a backup before you update a plugin, theme or WordPress itself – even when WordPress updates itself in the background; so, whatever problems a new update brings, you’re covered!

Restoring Backups: Download backups directly from your WordPress control panel.You can restore individual entities (e.g. just your plugins after a problematic update) or restore everything at once. You can also import backups from other sites, or import them from your remote storage (e.g. your Dropbox).

Migrate (Clone/Duplicate): With their ‘Migrator’ feature, you can easily clone or migrate your website to a different URL all from the dashboard in only a matter of minutes.This feature is useful if you want to clone a site for testing, or if you’re a developer wanting to build a custom site on a local or temporary domain and then shift it all over to a live domain later on. You can even send data directly from one site to another.

Stats:

The UpdraftPlus plugin has been installed more than 500,000 times, so you can rest assured that it’s been vetted by the crowd.

Price:

You can enjoy the free option with minimal storage. Or, upgrade to a premium account with 1 GB of data storage for as low as $70 per year for more small, individual sites (2 licenses) or $95/year for business/multiple sites (10 licenses).

Psst…be sure to check out the Q&A section where you can get a coupon for the upgrade!

You can download and learn more about Updraft Plus here.

 

Get the latest tips and tools!

Posted on

[GREEN] TOOL: Todoist

Are you looking for a new “to-do”?

There is one task manager tool that I use all the time. Not just every day, but every hour. It not only is one of my most used tools, but it’s also a huge help when it comes to keeping my work organized on my computer.

Todoist helps you keep your desktop and your life organized.

First, create a project. Then create tasks related to that project. You can add due dates and set up reminders.  You can reorder them. You can even color code them. This tool is so intuitive and easy, you have to get it.

The main reason I love it, though, is because of the Google Chrome Plugin that allows me to easily save and organize important URLs without having to open up a new browser. This means I can always access my to do list when away from my computer as long as I can access Google.  Todoist offers plugins for Outlook and Firefox too. Finally, if you’re working in a team, they have a solution called “wedoist” as well (although I don’t use that solution).

Watch the Video

What’s the Cost?

Todoist offers a free option; however, I recommend spending the $29/year for the premium product. I did, and it’s worth every penny IMHO.

More Information

Website: Todoist.com

Screenshot: Here is the screenshot of my open Todoist chrome plugin. Note the red “TD” icon upper right which is what you click to add tasks easily):

.

Live and Learn.

Posted on

[BLUE] TOOL: Click to Tweet

Have you seen those click-to-tweet buttons on websites (like the one below) and wondered how to get one for your site?  Fret no more.

Here’s the answer: Click-to-Tweet.

This software service is the best, easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your stuff on Twitter.  As a matter of fact, Twi5.com (the one stop place for users searching for twitter apps) claims that “ClickToTweet can rightly be called the easiest twitter application to include retweet text in a link.”

As simple as 1-2-3 (literally).

All you have to do is visit the Click-To-Tweet website to complete these three easy steps:

First, you just need to write a compelling message (no more than 140 characters) that you would like your visitors to share in the box provided on the Click-to-Tweet website home page.

Click the “Generate” button to create a custom link that you can share on your website or social media channels.  Then, voilá — whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box, then they simply ‘click-to-tweet’!

Your visitors will love how easy it is to promote information to their followers, and you’ll love the added exposure. Why not take it for a spin by sharing a tweet now?

Just click on the button below and see how I’ve implemented this service on my site (because as you know, I only recommend things I use and love!)

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free!

More Information:

WEBSITE: ClickToTweet.com


Posted on

[Plugin] Yet Another Related Post

Plugin for Engaging Readers

YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin) lets you display a list of related entries on your site and/or feeds based on a unique algorithm, drive incremental page-views and provide more value to your reader.

Problem:

You need to encourage your readers to stay on your site and truly engage with your content so they become raving fans, loyal followers and ultimately, paying customers.

YARPP helps you introduce your reader to other relevant content on your site, making it easy for them to discover interesting articles that meet their needs.  Also, you’ll notice increased page-views as well as longer average site visits in your analytics.

Bottom line?  If you’re priority is to build a solid community of followers-turned-customers, you need to proactively ‘draw them in’ by demonstrating your expertise and showcasing your solutions any way you can.

One way to achieve that goal is to install YARPP.

Key Features:

Some key features include customization via the YARPP template system, which puts you in charge of how your posts are displayed.  You can also showcase related posts, pages and even custom post types.  YARPP organically caches the related posts data as your site is visited, greatly improving performance and accuracy.  Finally you can disallow certain tags or categories, giving you even more customization when it comes to the related posts that you’d like to appear.

Stats:

The YARPP plugin has been downloaded more than 1.6 million times, so you can rest assured that it’s been vetted by the crowd.

Price:

It’s free.  Enjoy!

You can download and learn more about YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin) here.

 

Get the latest tips and tools!

Posted on

[BLUE] TOOL: LaunchRock

Do you need to set up a “Launching Soon!” web page to determine interest, spread the word and build your audience?

What is it?

LaunchRock is a web based application that helps you set up a social “launching soon” page in minutes, share your page and start gathering emails.

With LaunchRock, you can incentivize and reward users for telling others about your project — just use their built-in sharing tools.

Prior to launching your business, it’s important to love each and every single person who signs up.  These interested followers are the customers who are going to either pay your bills and sing your praises, or they are the ones who will move onto a competitor.

That’s why it’s important to find out who they are and then engage with them about your solution as you finish building out your solution.  LaunchRock helps you begin building a relationship with the customers you acquire through email.

LaunchRock is currently a free service, and if you create your account now, you will not be charged in the future for any of the current features.

In other words, LaunchRock helps you ‘Rock your Launch’!

What are the benefits?

1. Create a landing page in minutes

Start building your list in minutes with a custom landing page.

 

2. Promote your launch

Share announcements and news through LaunchRock’s Announcement Bar.

 

3. Get to know your users

Get useful information on user signups, site traffic, and demographics.

 

4. Spread the word socially

LaunchRock users are incentivized to share your project through social media.

 

5. Email your list

Build a relationship with the customers you acquire through LaunchRock.

 

6. Get featured

Your project can be featured on LaunchRock’s discovery network: Coming Soon.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  LaunchRock

 

~ Connie Hammond ~



Posted on

[BLACK] TOOL: Shoeboxed


Making Money

Ready to eliminate paper clutter?

As entrepreneurs, we’re always collecting receipts. Yet, it seems like we never have any spare time to organize them.

Shoeboxed.com is ready to come to your rescue!  Consider Shoeboxed your full time virtual assistant that saves you time and money (especially during tax season)!

Shoeboxed takes the pain out of paperwork.  All you do is send the paper documents (receipts and business cards) by mail via the supplied envelope or upload them via your mobile phone.

Shoeboxed will scan, enter the data and categorize the receipts before posting them into your secure account.

Why I like it.

For me, the most appealing thing is the ability to just ship off all your receipts (in a shoebox!) and have them scanned.  So no matter where you are in your fiscal year, you can bring you receipt organization up to date without scanning one thing yourself.

That means your time as an entrepreneur is free to spend on more important issues.

With Shoeboxed mobile, you can just snap a photo of the receipt or business card on the go and upload it directly to your account.

Watch the video to learn more.

Pricing:

It’s free or you can get a paid account for $9.95/month.

Sign up:

Shoeboxed.com - Scan Receipts and Business Cards

Live and Learn.

If you enjoyed learning about this tool, please share it with others below.
Thank you for your support.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[BLUE] TOOL: Brand Yourself



Do you really need a free and easy way to manage your online reputation, Google ranking and personal branding?

Yes, you do.

We were all taught that a firm handshake, professional attire and a strong resume were the necessary pillars of a good first impression. Unfortunately, this philosophy is no longer enough.

With the advent of social media, making an unforgettable first impression in-person is no longer the only thing you need to worry about.  Whether you like it or not, you’re being ‘googled’ by your friends, families and love interests as well as by the people who do business with you.

Brand Yourself is a great new tool that helps you control your personal brand online.

So, what does your online reputation say about you?

Search engines like Google are an incredibly important part of your reputation, but unless you know how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works — which most people don’t — or unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on a traditional online reputation company, there is nothing you can do about it.

Until now.

The founders at Brand Yourself decided to put the power of SEO and online reputation in everybody’s hands, regardless of how tech savvy or wealthy they might be.  Their goal was to make it as easy as possible to help anyone improve their own search results and online reputation.

Brand Yourself believes people should be able to control their own online reputation without spending thousands on an online reputation company.

The Difference

The problem with most Reputation Management services is that they’re focused on the reputation of businesses, not people, using the same model for both.  For the average person who’s just trying to improve the search results for their own name, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay a reputation service thousands of dollars.

Brand Yourself is the only product concentrated solely on helping individuals control the search results for their name.  They’ve cut out needless complexity and focused squarely on creating a simple, effective solution that’s easy for anybody to use.

Why Do I Like It?

I was actually blown away with how easy their user interface was.  When I signed up for my profile, I had to stop and take notes because it was so incredibly easy-to-follow. They walk you through, step by step, the different ways you can improve your rankings, starting with declaring whether or not your current Google search results are legit or not (positive or negative).

I love the simple online profile that you create which is easily shared with others or placed in an email signature (not to mention that the profile becomes another positive addition to your search results).

Also, the tool lets you submit links that you actually want people to find when searching for your name.

Finally, Brand Yourself helps you improve your search results the right way (no black hat tactics).  You can view their SEO philosophy here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Their basic features are 100% free and their premium features are incredibly affordable (just a few bucks a month).

More Information:

WEBSITE: BrandYourself.com

LEARN MORE ABOUT SEO:


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[BLUE] TOOL: Smore Flyers

Do you need to get the word out about an upcoming event?  If so, you should know that the days of posting a flyer around your neighborhood are long gone.

What is it?

Meet your new event coordinator: Smore.  This online service helps you create amazing online pages that you’re proud to share.  Smore allows you to quickly and easily create beautifully designed flyers and publish them instantly online for all to see.

That’s right.  You can create beautiful web pages with NO coding background and  NO design experience.  Smore offers multiple event flyer templates to choose from and easy-to-follow directions.

The event flyer you create with Smore will look so professional that everyone will think you have a full-time designer on staff.

Check it out:

Why Do I Like It?

I like the drag and drop editing so you can arrange your content with ease.  You can embed text, images, videos, tweets, products and even reviews. Easily share your event flyer via social media. Smore offers multiple styles and themes that require NO installations.  And Smore flyers work flawlessly on your smartphone and tablet.

I tested it out last night on an event I’m planning for a client, and it’s awesome. In about 20 minutes, I had the flyer ready to go.  You can view the yoga retreat mockup I created here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

My Example

I tested it out, so consider this tool (like all the tools I recommend) tried and true.  Check out the event flyer for a Maui yoga retreat I created on behalf of my brand building agency, Smiling Sherpas.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  Smore


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[Plugin] Welcome Gate

Plugin for Capturing Email

A Welcome Gate™ is a cross between a popup and a squeeze page.  But it’s far less annoying and aggressive than both (while still delivering serious results).

Problem:

Markets are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and that’s why you need to shake things up and try new things to capture emails.  The jury’s still out, but I’m thinking that pop-ups may be getting a bit stale (although I do the Qoate Scroll Triggered plugin (keep scrolling and you’ll see it fade in, lower right).

Bottom line is that if you’re going to generate a solid community of followers so you can generate income both online and offline, you need to be smart about building your email list…and building it sooner rather than later.

Solution:

The new Welcome Gate plugin helps you capture those much-needed email addresses. According to the Clay Collins, of The Marketing Show and plugin creator, Welcome Gate outperformed pop-ups by 20 times. It was 10 times more effective than their side bar opt-in box and it was 3 times more effective than a feature box.

Here’s how a Welcome Gate works . . .

  1. When someone goes to your home page, they’re redirected to a squeeze page (the page is at a url like http://www.YourSite.com/Welcome/).  You can see this sites live example here: http://www.resortentrepreneurs.com/welcome.
  2. Your Welcome Gate has a “skip this step” link, so folks aren’t required to opt-in.
  3. Folks are only redirected to a welcome gate when they go to your home page (i.e. if someone links to a specific blog post on your site — from twitter, or their blog — your Welcome Gate won’t display)
  4. If someone goes to http://www.yoursite.com, they’ll be redirected to your Welcome Gate at http://www.yoursite.com/welcome. But if they got confused and type in your home page URL, they’ll simply be taken to your home page
  5. A visitor will only see your Welcome Gate once in their lifetime (unless they go to your site again with another computer or browser or clear their cookies).

Setting up this plugin is somewhat simple, although it does take a bit of time to get everything right (it took me about 20 minutes). As you know, I only recommend things I know, love and use.  You can see a version of Welcome Gate in action on my site here, or view a different version used on Barack Obama’s website (no joke!).

Price:

It’s free (for now).  Enjoy!

You can download and learn more about the Welcome Gate Plugin here.

 

Get the latest tips and tools!

Posted on

[BLACK] TOOL: Meeting Ticker


Making Money

How much is your time worth?

If you’re anything like me, when your work day comes to a close, you find yourself asking this frustrating question “Where did all the time go?” Even more so, you’re probably exasperated by the fact that you didn’t get a lot more accomplished — in spite of the fact that you were not only ‘cranking out’ work all day long with not so much as a lunch break, but you were also attending worthless meetings. If you recognized yourself above, then there is a tool that I guarantee will help you save time … and money.  Because, in business, time is money.

Stop the bleeding.

I recently came across this free online tool that’s a real eye-openers when it comes to monitoring time.  That tool, which stops the bleeding when it comes to wasting time, is the Online Meeting Ticker. All you do is enter in the number of people attending your meeting, the average hourly rate of the attendees and then click start.  You can even enter “one” attendee if you’re on a conference call and want to see if it was really “worth your time” at the end of the call. Trust me, after you freak out, you’ll want to stop the bleeding. And I’m guessing that if you have this ticker up and running during a meeting where attendees can view it, they will get to their point a lot faster.

Pricing

It’s free!

Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

Posted on

[BLUE] TOOL: Google +

What is it?

If you’re not using Google Plus yet, you really should ask yourself why not?  Google + is a social media channel similar to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  By combining the best features of the top social media sites; Google Plus is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

And then some.

If you are going to get serious about building your brand via content writing and distribution, then building a Google + community must be part of your strategy for a myriad of reasons, one of which is its 90 million users.  (BTW: it took only 88 days for Google + to get to 50 million users…how’s that for growth?)

Furthermore, if you are time strapped and don’t want to start yet another social media channel, then my recommendation is cutting another one out (if you’re not truly engaged there) and choosing Google +.

Why Do I Like It?

It’s one of the best ways to build your brand and engage with all sorts of interesting users.

You can create circles made up of anyone from from industry thought-leaders to prospects…competitors to media…vendors to clients.  And then you can send them information ranging from product launches to company updates.  The best thing is that you’ll tap into incredible conversations.

Google+ is more than just another social media channel — it has been thoroughly integrated into Google’s other products: Google Docs, Chrome, Google Reader, Gmail, and YouTube, and Google + is the glue that holds them all together.

Search

One of the main reasons I like Google + moreso than other channels is the fact that their +1 functionality directly impacts search results.  So if your content is ‘plus-oned’ or interacted with in some way (for example, shared or commented on), then Google search takes that action as an indication that your content is meaningful and relevant.

Also, Google announced that they will give greater authority to Google Business Plus pages in their search results.

So what is the risk if you have no Google+ presence and your competition does?  You actually may lose existing search traffic going forward.  That’s scary.

And now, Google just announced Search, plus Your World, which is the merger of personalized search with social search, including the addition of relevant Google+ results.

In other words, building your community on Google+ may be one of the smartest thing you can do to improve your search rankings.  Why is that important?  Because people are searching for your product; they’ll either find you or your competitor at the top of that result when they do.

It shouldn’t be the be all, end all for your business (dependence on any social media channel for your business survival is too risky), but it should be part of your plan.

Google + is a channel made for building your brand, pure and simple.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:

Google +

HOW TO: 

Create a Business Plus Page

Posted on

[Plugin] Fast Secure Contact Form

Plugin for Building Forms

We all know how important having a contact form on your website is.  Adding a contact form is actually one of the first things you should do when starting a new WordPress site.

After all, it’s one of the biggest ways to capture much needed customer information.

But what if you need a form builder to capture more than just someone’s contact information?

The Fast Secure Contact Form plugin makes it easy for you to create customized forms on your website in order to capture much needed data.

Problem:

You need your users to do more than just submit an email address on a simple contact us form.  For example, you would like your user to upload a logo, picture or file…you’d like your user to answer questions in detail with more than a yes/no answer …you’d like your user to not be spam.

Solution:

The super customizable Fast Secure Contact Form plugin by Mike Challis allows a webmaster to easily create and add contact forms to WordPress.  It lets the user send emails to a site’s admin and also send a meeting request to talk over phone or video. An administration panel is present, where the webmaster can create and preview unlimited forms.

Features a super easy admin panel, multi-form feature, autoresponder, no templates to mess with, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. It includes CAPTCHA and Akismet support to block all common spammer tactics, so spam is no longer a problem.

You can add extra fields of any type: text, textarea, checkbox, checkbox-multiple, radio, select, select-multiple, attachment, date, time, hidden, password, and fieldset.

Setting up this plugin is so simple.  Each field on the admin panel has user-friendly descriptors attached in case you have questions, making set up quick and easy.

As you know, I only recommend things I know, love and use.  You can see a simple version of the Fast Secure Contact Form in action on this site here, or you can see a more complicated set-up on my sister site ResortLocals.com here.

Plus, with over 1 million downloads, you can rest assured that this award-winning plugin is safe and secure.

You can download the Fast Secure Contact Form WordPress Plugin here.

 

Get the latest tips and tools!

Posted on

[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TOOL: Mixergy.com Entrepreneur Interviews

Get the right mindset for your online business.

Are you frozen by fear, scared to make a move and wondering what the heck you should do next on your entrepreneurial journey?

There’s one place I go to learn from others who have come before me, and that’s Mixergy.com.  Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts what works for them, and what doesn’t.

The people who speak on the Mixergy web site or at live Mixergy events are well-known business people who take time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences.

You’ll find over 725 interviews and 66 courses on all things entrepreneurial.

For example, you’ll find interviews ranging from how to systemize your business so everything runs smoothly and finding great mentors to building a passionate online community and bouncing back to $100 million-dollar success after losing everything.

Take a moment to visit the site and scroll through the interviews with exceptional entrepreneurs, and you’ll be hooked.

Mindset: Are You Playing to Win or Playing Not to Lose?

One of the things I love most about these interviews is hearing about the mindset of these entrepreneurs — what they did when they found themselves in crisis mode and how they broke through to the next, better level.

For example, in the clip below, you’ll see how one entrepreneur, Verne Harnish, got back on his feet and into the ring when he was knocked down in business.  He opened up about his dark days in business, how he snapped back, and how you can too.

It’s interviews like this one that keep me going in my own dark days as an entrepreneur.  They don’t just inspire me, the content on Mixergy.com helps me stay focused, think outside the box and get to the next level.

Knowing that I’m not all alone in my experiences is one of the reasons I keep pushing through in spite of my darkest days as an entrepreneur.

These interviews remind me that the sun will rise again tomorrow, as it always does.

A Daily Dose

To help me stay focused and renewed, I start my days with a three mile walk in the woods with two companions: my audio companion Mixergy.com and my sweet black lab, Lady.

I listen, I learn and I stay inspired.

That’s the only reason I wanted to share this incredible resource with you.  Please know this post is not some affiliate link or related to any “kickback.”   I just really like Andrew Warner’s Mixergy website and felt it was worth promoting to my audience.

Mixergy.com has lots of great free interviews readily available for consumption, but if you want to sign up for his premium membership (which I’ve also done), it’s well worth the $25/month expense (or less expensive for a longer commitment). 

A final bonus is that you can choose how you consume the content — watch, listen or read it.

Get the latest tips and tools:


 

Join us on over on Facebook

If you learned something from this post, please share it. It only takes a second, but it makes a huge difference to me! Thank you.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[BLACK] TOOL: Hello Fax

Making MoneyThere’s a new kid on the block when it comes to faxing services, and trust me…this is one tool you want to get your hands on.

Hello Fax.

If you’re anything like me, you hate having to print out documents that require your signature, sign them, scan them and then fax them back.  It’s always so time consuming and frustrating that just the thought of someone asking for a signature sends chills up my spine.

Until now.

If you’re ready to get your contracts and proposals executed asap in order to make money faster, then sign up for Hello Fax stat.

It’s a deal-maker.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s a dream.

Rarely do I get so excited about a new tool.  Yes, there are some that save me time or help with my workflow, but this tool is a dream come true for entrepreneurs, especially eco-friendly ones.

Did you know that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year?  Hello Fax was started by Joseph Walla who had a vision of a paperless office, and that’s another reason I love it.

It saves trees. And it will save you time, money and stress.  Check out this :60 second video that shows just how easy it is to use:

With Hello Fax, you not only sign, edit and fax documents entirely online (no more printing!), but you’ll save money too.

Pricing

There are four package options available.  Pricing ranges from $0.00 to $69.99 depending on your needs.  I use the basic package, but envision upgrading to the next level soon as my business grows (I’ll need more fax pages for all those contracts!).

You can view Hello Fax packages and pricing here.

If you enjoyed learning about this tool, please share it with your friends.

Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[Plugin] Qoate Scroll Triggered Box

Plugin for Building Email Lists 

We all know how important building your email list is.  After all, that’s one big way you turn prospects into customers.

One of my favorite plugins to use is: Qoate Scroll Triggered Box plugin.  This plugin makes it easy for you to create scroll triggered call-to-actions on your WordPress post pages and build your email list.

Problem:

You need to build your email list.  Yet, you don’t want to overwhelm your website visitors with a call to action until you’re fairly certain they like you and your posts (in other words, they’ve actually started reading your posts!).

Solution:

This “free” call-to-action plugin provides you with an opportunity to capture emails when you make an offer via the scroll triggered box.  You can choose from a fade or a slide animation, and pick a point where you would like the box to appear. This can be done by filling in a percentage of the page/post read before the box is triggered or choosing to have it appear when visitors have reached your comments.

Setting up this plugin is pretty straight forward. Just activate and choose your content. It took me about 15 minutes to get the plugin installed, activated and then set to the right percentages and box size that makes sense for your offer.  You can change pretty much everything, from box height to placement to animation.

If you choose to use the Social Bookmarks options you just have to check a checkbox, and choose which social networks you would like to use!  I suggest that you don’t pick all of the networks, cause in this case more is less.

Play around a little with the plugin until you get your desired result.  Scroll down now to see the plugin live on this site (view the lower right hand corner until it appears).

You can download the Qoate Scroll Triggered Box WordPress Plugin here.

 

Get the latest tips and tools!

Posted on

[GREEN] TOOL: Lynda.com Online Training

What is it?

Lynda.com is online software training videos that really work.  Really. They offer classes for the very basic beginner who’s clueless about software all the way through to the expert who needs to brush up on their skills.

Whatever your line of business, you should get to know ‘Lynda.’

It’s no longer OK to get by in business life without knowing basic computer skills.  Actually, being naive about technology is ludicrous considering how much business is done online these days.  Even if you’re not launching a startup, there’s value for any business owner or manager to have a working understanding of technology as a way to communicate better with their technical staff.

So, if you want to stay current and keep your skills sharp…learn innovative and productive techniques…gain confidence and marketability…and be taught by experienced instructors, then you’ll find all that and more at Lynda.com.  Also, check out the competitor section below for other specialized options.

Currently, Lynda.com offers over 71,000 tutorials.  Yep–you heard that number right.  That’s one big library of learning!

Some of the classes I’ve taken include: XHTML and HTML Essential TrainingWordPress 3.0 Essential Training and Web Design Fundamentals (all of which I recommend).

Even better, if you want to take some business-oriented classes, you can do that too.  Classes such as PowerPoint tips, Online Marketing Fundamentals and Essential Training courses for PayPal,  Excel, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn (and much more).

And you even get a certificate when you’ve completed the course (view certificate example).

Why Do I Like It?

One of the many reasons I love Lynda.com is because you can learn at your own pace.  As we know, being a business owner makes time difficult to come by.  That’s why if you need to stop… rewind…or just come back to it later, picking up where you left off is super-easy with Lynda.com.

It really is the perfect tool for entrepreneurs.

What Is The Cost?

The basic package is only $25 per month.  You get anytime access to the 71,000+ library of tutorials, and there is no long-term commitment (you can cancel or put your subscription on hold at any time).  Or, upgrade to the premium plan for $37.50 per month and receive exercise files with your training.

The annual fees are $250/year for basic; $375/year for premium.

I recommend the monthly option because as entrepreneurs, we need flexibility.  Why pay for months if you’re not going to use them?  I for one have put my subscription on hold twice now, and then re-engage when time (and brainpower) permits.

Who Are The Competitors?

Some similar online learning companies include:

  • Learnable – Online learning for web developers and designers ($17/month)
  • KelbyTraining.com – Online learning for pro photographers and Adobe Photoshop experts
  • VTC.com – Computer software training ($30 for one month access)
  • Digital-Tutors – Learn to make movies and games
  • Tuts Plus – Learn creative and technical skills like design, web design and more
  • CodeSchool.com – Learn how to code
  • Code Lesson – Learn online, but with real instructors.  4-6 week long courses.
  • Udemy – Take a course…or why not create your own course?  hmmm…..interesting way to build your brand.
  • MarketMotive – Internet Marketing Certification Courses (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Analytics, etc. for $299+)
  • Team Treehouse –  Web design, web development, iOS (build iphone and ipad apps)
  • Peep Code – Learn what’s hot and new (Git, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Javascript, iphone, jQuery, etc.)
  • Code Academy – Learn web design, web development, web apps — all for beginners ($6000 and this one is in Chicago for 11 weeks).

Video about Lynda.com:

Posted on

[GREEN] TOOL: Instapaper URL Clipper

Laying the foundation for your online businessWhat is it?

Instapaper is the best thing I’ve come across all year.

It’s been around for quite some time, has 1 million registered users and was named “Best Publication App of 2010,” but I hadn’t heard about it.  So I figured it’s worth sharing just in case you missed it too.

For quite some time now, I’ve been searching high and low for a simple tool that would do exactly what Instapaper does: save webpage urls.

Instapaper allows you to easily save those URLs for later when you do have time to read them, so you don’t just forget about them or skim through them like I normally do.

I love it. It’s free.  And it takes less than one minute to install the “read later” button in your toolbar.

I tried Evernote with all its bells and whistles, but I never took the time to learn it or use it, because I don’t have time to spend an hour figuring out and adopting another tool.

It’s simple.

I wanted an uncomplicated tool to do one task and one task only: save a web page url with the click of a button.

It’s time consuming to sit and read everything my eyes fall upon when I’m browsing through 500 feed items, responding to email, chatting, and watching Dancing with the Stars or some other background noise that only serves to distract me.

Yet, well-written content is out there, and I do want to read it — just not when I’m in information-skimming, speed-overload mode.

How to use the tool.

As the website states, Instapaper is designed to store links you’d like to read once and then discard. There’s no limit to how many articles you can store, and your archive of read items is kept indefinitely (unless you delete from it).

But Instapaper isn’t optimized for keeping track of thousands of pages like Evernote.  This tool isn’t the right solution to collect, categorize, tag, filter, and search the contents of every web page you’ve ever found.  See screenshots below.

It’s compatible with the iPhone and iPad.

Once you’ve found those great web pages, read them at home or on the go even without an internet connection. Simply install the Instapaper app and download your unread articles when you have Wi-Fi or 3G coverage, then read them on the train, on the bus, in an airplane, at the bank, or in your favorite chair.

The universal app for both iPhone and iPad costs $4.99.

Like Instapaper’s web interface Text option, the app downloads a mostly-text version of each page, using ideal formatting for maximum readability on the iDevice.  You don’t need to zoom in to read the text, and you can’t accidentally side-scroll when reading a long column.

Screenshots.

Here is the screenshot from my account that depicts how simply the articles appear.  Notice you can archive your article, edit it (edit the title and add a summary), share it, move it (to a folder you can choose to set up) or delete it.

Here is the screenshot of how your saved articles look on the iPhone and iPad:

Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

Posted on

[BLACK] TOOL: Amazon Associates

Making Money

Do you write blog posts (you should) about your business?

If so, you have an opportunity to create another revenue stream for your business by recommending Amazon products which apply to the subject at hand.

What is it?

Amazon Associates is one way to make money when you advertise the products on Amazon.  When you sign up to be an “associate,” you’ll be given a unique associate id which is embedded in the URL for tracking and payment purposes.

Links and Banners

One way to use Amazon Associates is by posting links and banners.  When you add these links and banners to your web page and visitors click on them from your page, you can earn up to 15% on all purchases made during their shopping session. 

So, not only would you make money if they bought your recommended item, but if they continue to shop during that specific online session, you’ll keep earning a commission.

There are three options for promoting the Amazon product: text links, image links and enhanced image links.  Your links will include your unique Associate tag for tracking purposes, allowing you to get paid for qualifying revenues coming through this link.

Or, link to Amazon product categories and promotions using their stylish, graphical banners.  Banners come in a variety of sizes adn shapes.  They’re easy to add, and you can show special graphics for special Amazon promotions such as Back to School or Mother’s Day. 

Widgets

Amazon Widgets are rich, interactive mini-applications that bring Amazon functionality to your website. There are 14 different widgets to choose from including: search widget, my  favorites and a carousel widget.  You can customize your widget and grab the HTML for you to use on your site.

Site Stripe

If you want to go gangbusters, turn the Site Stripe on so you can build your Associate links right from any Amazon.com page.  It’s a quick and easy way to build links while browsing Amazon.  You also get short-cuts to Associates news and reports, it’s easy to configure and completely compatible with the Product Links.

WordPress Plugin

I use the WordPress Amazon Associates plugin by Matthew John Denton which quickly and easily allows you to monetize your website through the integration of Amazon products and widgets tagged with your associate id.

It’s extremely easy to setup.  All you do is download and activate the plugin, then insert your unique Associate ID.  Once set up is complete, you’ll have the option of inserting relevant product recommendations into your posts while editing.  This plugin even makes product recommendations based on your subject matter.

It really doesn’t get much easier than this.  Below is a screenshot of what the plugin looks like in wordpress.  You just enter the search term and choose which index (ie. books), and then it suggests relevant products.  You can see an actual example of what the enhanced image link looks like at the end of this post.  I’m suggeting the “KaChing” book (one that I’ve actually read and do recommend) about Making Money Online.

Bottom line?

Unless you have huge traffic numbers, don’t expect to make a lot of money.  But little things do add up, and this is one simple way to generate extra money while also providing the additional service to your readers of recommending relevant products. 

Recommended Reading:

[amazon_enhanced asin=”0470597674″ /]