What is about relaxation that creates productivity?

TelAvivWhat is about relaxation that creates productivity?

In Tel Aviv, arguably one of the most productive high tech hubs in the world

is also one of the most absolute chill places in the world

And I think there is a connection.

Most people say in order to be productive you got to start your day focused, grab the next meeting, bleed from your eyeballs. And I’m all for that… I’ve always been on extreme over drive with my work ethic (composing this at 2 am with a full work day tomorrow).

But imagine doing that in a backdrop of a city that thrives on it’s coffee culture, street fairs, and nightlife?

Perhaps it’s that vibe of relaxation around you that centers you, allows you to not sweat the small stuff, that is actually responsible for the success of so many in this small vibrant beach town? Yes no maybe?

I didn’t plan on recording this video. I was sitting in a café after taking a stroll around the town. I was eating a healthy meal, enjoying a light breeze, viewing the skyscrapers in the distance, with the sounds of the beach nearby… and suddenly I felt an intense feeling of creativity.

What is responsible for getting your juices flowing? Where do you think you would be more productive – New York City or Hawaii 🙂 ?

Looking over my shoulder – The top 12 web based programs / tools / services I use a LOT

My  top 12 web based programs / tools / services  I have open on a typical day… any other marketers reading this, would love to know your list.

It’s so liberating to have most of your work be cloud based.

I will also list computer based tools / programs that I rely on to work efficiently.

 

collage

 

Mailchimp –  3rd Party email marketing client. (similar to the well known Aweber (where I also have an account) or GetResponse or endless others

  • Start with a small (no) list and pay as you grow.
  • Ready made templates – fill in the blanks of your message, add your logo, queue it and send.
  • Affiliate with Mandrill – Mailchimp’s app for transactional emails…
  • Equipped for mom & pop to big enterprise!

Fiverr – One of the business ideas that everyone thinks to do, and someone else pulled it off. And knocked it out of the park.

  • It’s an Israeli company, which gives me some bonus pride.
  • You need something done… find it here for $5. from absurd to relevant. It didn’t take long for marketers to pedal their wares.
  • The $5 is easily scalable – stack up those services easily to arrive at $20 for one service. But the psychology of getting something done for $20 isn’t that far off for getting something done for $5, so it’s super easy to click ‘Buy Now’
  • It’s a bargain. And people are earning a lot of money in their underwear!

ShareAsale – 3rd party Affiliate company, for ‘small businesses’,  which is why this is now a top 3 from all affiliate companies

  • Their strength definitely lies in selling physical products, although they are moving towards understanding and incorporating CPL (cost per lead) offers
  • Even though it’s an industry giant, there is a very home grown feel to it. Even the site still feels 10 years ago. But it works.
  • As I manage a few affiliate programs here is where I spend my time – uploading creatives,  promoting a certain timely offer (holiday related), sending newsletters to the affiliates (NB – I have a great HTML template for embedding your affiliate banner in the newsletter, individual for each affiliate – happy to share it if you like!)

Trello – An incredibly easy & intuitive project management tool. It may be growing and adding bells and whistles, but it’s brilliance was in it’s original simplicity

  • You list projects as TO DO, DOING, or DONE. Easy peasy. Add deadlines, assets, comments, checklists, & of course tag people for each project. When it’s done, it’s done
  • You can edit the columns as you desire – I created a neat little Trello project for a marketing funnel. One column had all the to do’s for the Landing Page, Copy, Emails, Offer, etc.
  • Can be either used internally or personally. I have trello boards for myself, for business partners, employers, outsourcers, etc.

Evernote – an online management system that allows me to work comfortably across all my devices

  • I have a few running notes on evernote – everytime I receive a good email, cool ad, good pdf – I place them in a marketing materials / copy folder
  • When creating a blog post, I’ll start a note and come back to it as new ideas occur to me
  • When creating a course, I’ll start a note and add references to it, and keep adding to it.
  • No matter what device I am on, I can open up evernote, and add to my ongoing ‘braindump’ – it also can sync with others, so when working on a joint project, we can both work from the same note.

Facebook – I’m a bit over it.  A lot over it. But since I use FB for many ways (listed here), it’s like going to the DailyMail to get my banking info. I have no choice. And I usually work with geeks who don’t get marketing, so I’m always hiding that I have Facebook open because they’ll just think I’m on FB all day.

  • I manage more than a few pages… so I’m hanging out on Facebook going from page to page, and meanwhile seeing your newsfeed, and clicking on all your dumb upworthy links and then crying and laughing non stop F U all very much!!! 🙂
  • There are some really amazing groups on FB, a few marketing groups where literally any spare 10-20 minutes I spend will introduce me to a new resource, a new idea. like the rest of FB, it’s a black hole.

Powtoon – a great little animated video creator. For $99 / year (read below how I got that deal), I can create original animated videos, add tunes, download, etc.

  • There are amazing (& expensive) companies that charge upwards of $5k for an ‘explainer’ video. And then there’s Powtoon which allows you to start off on a much smaller budget and get something good enough
  • When seeking the best pricing option, one of their support staff in the chat offered me a deal ((unsolicited) we couldn’t refuse of $99/ year, instead of over $200 +. So if you are on the fence, talk to them!
  • This site is a new one for me, and not as consistent as the others on this list, but we (I) are banging out video after video.
  • PS – one of these videos + a voice over from Fiverr = affordable professionalism

UPDATE: Since I drafted this post, I actually have moved most of my time to goanimate.com. It’s definitely got a harder learning curve and is considerably more expensive… but has sooooo much flexibility.

WordPress  – I spend a lot of time on content management, overseeing several blogs. Therefore, I’ve always got a bunch of WP dashboards and blog pages open.

  • Checking the daily stats (wp-statistics plugin, although it’s made this site crash twice)
  • Tweaking the posts to attract more traffic (Yoast & All in One SEO plugins)
  • Adding more plugins (sumome – as described in detail here, facebook / social commenting, etc..)
  • Writing posts – Duh!
  • IMPT NOTE: For anyone working in corporate or otherwise, insisting on getting up a WP blog is your first action – it’s the simplest greatest way to see movement in a company. Once it’s up and running, there is no development required, no FTP… requires no resources. It’s a CMS (content management system) and gives you the freedom to add posts, pages,  etc – whether or not you value a blog. It puts some control into the hands of some employees without relying on the whole development, production, QA channel.

Youtube – Not that original, but I’m a Taurus and I’m told I don’t like change. And I just like the reliability of heading over to youtube and finding a playlist I like

  • Usually it’s this
  • Sometime’s it’s this
  • Yes… it used to be this a LOT
  • and when I’m doing copy / paste not much thinking work (not often enough)… then it may be either this or this. Don’t judge me.

EasyVSL – This is a pretty straightforward easy to use program to build simple videos. I’m sure I fell for a great sales pitch and low price ($37), but then I don’t really have an excuse for why I bought the upsell for another $97

  • I’m using this to build online courses. I record in audacity, create the slides in EasyVSL, import the audio, stack up the audio to the slides, and then publish
  • My version (the upsold version) has about 50 background themes + 100 fonts… I can write text or import images. Images can be manipulated to rotate, so there is a lot of flexibility, even with this very simple program.
  • This probably belongs on the list of programs that are hosted on my computer, which is my biggest complaint. I love being able to jump from my PC to Mac to desktop and know I can access and work anywhere.

LeadPages / ClickFunnels – I’ve been getting knee deep in both of these sites lately determining which one will be building our funnel/s.

  • They’re both comparably priced, but way different functionality. I’ll be doing a post on the difference between these 2 soon.
  • I’m overjoyed that the ideas in my head for years are finally coming to fruition with first rate 3rd party technology… not to mention. As I’ve mentioned a few times, the concept of marketing funnels really signifies the merging of the worlds that used to be known as ‘scam marketing’ to ‘legit marketing’ – which probably means that legit marketing is now relying on some scammy methodology and that the scammy methodology no longer works so in order to meet quality standards, it needed to become more legit.

Canva.com – I’m the worst graphic artist ever. But now that doesn’t matter.

  • Basic templates to select from, replace your text, your images. It’s hard to mess it up, but I’m sure I’ll come close.
  • Here’s what I”m working on as a cover for the kindle book I’m working on to accompany my course on Udemy 21-mistakes

 

TWO bonus tools for productivity and warm fuzzies.

Idonethis.com – new to this, and trying to get the team on board here. As so well said on their own site: “Progress, Every Day. Reply to an evening email reminder with what you did that day. The next day, get a digest with what everyone on the team got done. Get stuff done, and celebrate it with your team.”

Thoughtback.com – here you submit and categorize all sorts of quotes and sayings. Thoughtback will randomly send you an email. So imagine if you took the time to submit like 200 affirmations, and then everyday you get an email with one of those affirmations.

 

The quickest way to write a blog post

What’s the fastest way to write blog post?

In my opinion the fastest way to write a blog post is to first record your blog post. I’m not being ‘tongue in cheek’ here because I’m trying to only push video, I sincerely mean it to be the quickest way for me to get pen to paper and complete an idea… at the very end of this you’ll see the actual math

Actually you don’t have to use the recording. Ideally you should. Vanity is my problem 🙂

So I record the video, then compose the key points and flesh it out into a piece.

The reason I think it’s easier to record a video than it is to write a post is because most blog posts are thoughts that build up over time  – most of us have more time to think about what to write (when driving, on way to sleep, etc)… than to actually compose. An idea starts as a seed and then grows and marinates and I start jotting down some notes in an evernote. It gets bigger and bigger until It’s ready to get out.

Then I sit down ready to compose, but it doesn’t come out, the words just don’t flow.  This is often my experience. However, if I were to share the idea or message with someone verbally,  it would definitely come out easier.

Therefore, I started recording ideas and posts via voice memos or videos. Video is preferable as if you’re satisfied you can use it, and many people prefer video to reading and google loves them both. Then simply transcribe the video and edit it along the way (as I am doing right now).

The math:

The idea – can’t put a time on that… as it cultivates over time.

Video recording is 2 minutes +

Transcribing is around 5- 10 minutes

Editing it another 5 – 10 minutes

So a total of under 20 minutes to write a blog post…

Which to me seems faster than if I were to sit and write it from scratch without pre-recording.

Agree or disagree?

 

 

 

How I made $2137 in one week on Udemy.com

Momentum:

In marketing momentum is everything.  No matter what you do, you need to earn a dollar. One dollar energizes the 2nd dollar.

Actually in LIFE momentum is everything. A diet must see a pound loss. A relationship must move in a forward direction.

Otherwise, you are just interested.. and not committed.

Whenever I’m asked the question of the fastest way to make money online, I’ll always say to purchase an existing web property earning money because then you start off in a positive cash flow. Sure,  It may set you back some cash, but to see money coming in gives you the momentum to keep going.

Creating a course

In February, as a long time gig came to an end, I found myself in the position of needing to replace the lost income. While it’s relatively easy for me to jump to another client, I was determined this time to keep that time for myself and build up some passive income.

I’ve had multiple ideas racing along my braing for a long time, so I decided to create a course. I started with an area that is very natural and comfortable for me. Telling people why their website sucks 🙂  and how to improve it

So I created an outline for a course. I decided to call it the “21 mistakes you are (probably) making with your website”

After creating the outline and mind-mapping it, I needed a nice block of time to complete it. Which is extremely hard to find.

But then there was this week in April when my entire country goes on vacation and the kids were with their Dad. I went to Crete both determined to complete the course and have a good time! Mission accomplished on both counts.

I decided to start marketing the course initially on Udemy, with the ultimate goal of hosting the courses additionally on my site.

After finally getting approval from their pretty strict course submission team, my completed course went live sometime in the first week of May. Apart from sending out a coupon to some family members with a plea to join, I got busy and let it sit. I was also probably more than a little insecure too (read more about that soon)

$2137 in one week

Then 2 things happened simultaneously:

  • I gave a free coupon to the udemy FB group looking for some feedback. This is common and was crazy responsive to this. Which gave me a small clue that this class had wide appeal.
  • A friend of mine with some online influence posted a coupon to his FB page and to his own list.

Suddenly I went from 3 students (thanks to my siblings) to 1000 students + and ironically the timing of this was PERFECT! Because if I had just given the freebie coupon and not had a promotion, as my revenue would have remained zero, Udemy may not have paid attention.. but with the numbers of students, and revenue, and then positive reviews coming in, Udemy started paying attention and gave the site better placement, added it to it’s own ad program, and udemy affiliates started promoting.

See my site placement here for searching for the terms website and marketing / digital marketing:

PS – want my course for only $25? Click here 🙂

 

How I made $2137 from Udemy in one week

 

 

And:How I made $2137 from Udemy in one week

So what’s next and lessons learned: 

My original plan was to immediately take the content from the course and re-purpose it for a kindle book. My challenge is that now I have the word “MOMENTUM” and that includes people sending me messages, and asking questions … and based on this feedback, I now have more clarity where the next steps are for new courses.

So the irony is that even though the feedback will facilitate a new course, my strong advice is to have a few courses pretty ready to go that feed off each other… because I’m looking at a month or more (definitely more) until something else is complete. By then, I’m fully aware I’ll have to wait for another windfall via someone promoting, a Udemy promotion, or doing some of my own heavy lifting  to get these new courses to create their impact. However, I wouldn’t create them, if I didn’t think it would be successful, so yes. I’m sold.

Another IMPT piece of advice:

Don’t search Udemy for similar courses.

I know most courses on ‘how to succeed with Udemy’ will tell you to do research in your category of interest to determine interest level, competition, choosing titles, etc  BUT I would strongly advise against this. As soon as I started searching to find my own course (which I originally couldn’t find in the first  50 pages), I was floored with the numbers of options, and courses that sounded – to be honest – like I wanted to take them! And don’t get me wrong…. I have about 50 Udemy courses already (and I’m not exaggerating), but that was before I decided to become an instructor.

Having my course succeed did wonders for my confidence, and I think had I see the wide variety of available classes beforehand, my confidence would have been totally shaken and potentially could have put me off thinking “how can i possibly compete with all of them” As I mentioned above, as soon as I went live I couldn’t find my course in the first many many pages, I just saw all these other marketing courses… so that insecurity definitely upped my inhibitions and set me back a little.

In other news: 

My new favorite site – https://thoughtback.com/ – you can add tons of personal or quoted sayings. Thoughtback will randomly send you emails from yourself.

So Andrea provides the Andrea of the future (perhaps even tomorrow!) a little nugget, or a laugh, or a smile… anything to help give myself something back. Because I work hard, and I deserve me doing nice for me. Hmm… think that’s going in my thoughtback.

In seriousness, this is super poweful, because while it’s totally random, you are in control. When my photo filing service sends me weekly emails of “this is what you were doing 4 years ago” Or “8 months ago” 50% of the time it’s a bittersweet memory… but with thoughtback,  it’s 100% what I give in, will give me back 100%… and then some.

 

 

 

Weekly Round Up May 2nd

Marketing:

Sometimes being ahead of the curve is actually REALLY frustrating.

I’m talking so ahead of the curve that you don’t know what you’re sitting on because it’s so underdeveloped.

Step back for a moment and imagine…

Have you ever seen your life before your eyes…

but it’s not your life.

It’s someone else living your life?

The life you might have had, if you made different choices.

So you witness other people being your potential, but you’re still just a spectator.

Once again I’ve been a witness to the ideas churning around in my head well ahead of their time, come to fruition by switched on marketers.

This isn’t a whine, in fact- it’s validation.

I am well aware that there is a huge gap between ideas and execution.

So instead of being annoyed with myself, I’m just going to be enthralled with my marketing clairvoyance.

The latest trend is marketing funnels, and giving people what they want based on their actions and what they tell you.

in 2006 I created a web property designed to use questions and logical sequencing to come out with a plan for the individual user. I was working with a coder on freelancer.com to craft this type of questionnaire that could handle complex variations. I had to do it all manually… it became too overwhelming, it was in addition to my other jobs, and like the shiny red object syndrome – the promise of money faded too quickly, and I let it sit.

Now everyone is shifting away from the static web funnel (lander / opt-in / email sequence) and focusing much more on being personal and providing the correct value.

Whether it be via asking people what they want via a survey intro, or firing emails based on their behaviours in your funnel sequence, or just piling on relevant value ala Hubspot… this is the new hot ticket in 2015. Just this past week 3 marketers were pitching it.

And as I mentioned in my last post, it gives me such great pleasure to see the world of internet marketing merging with what is now becoming current marketing.

The internet is here.

It’s not scary anymore.

People are aware of the power of the web and the future of the web.

People buy shit online more and more each year.

And while there are still countless and endless amounts of people riped to be scammed out of their money for an idea that may or may not work, now web marketing is legit, and can stand up for itself… because everyone is doing it

Think I’ll do a post on my ventures that never took off…and the ideas I gave others that made them hundreds of thousands of dollars, it will be long . 🙂 This one wasn’t  just an idea on paper, i actually had the landing page with the copy, the opt-in, etc…

But I’ve never forgotten this one, still pay for domain + hosting annually, original page still live, and finally the software is easily available and ready for it. So … anything’s possible! I’ll launch it 10 years after I started it

General:

Make sure you have music in your life!!!

When I come home each day I am able to do one of 2 things. And I do it…

1) Play the demo on my new-ish Yamaha DG650. It’s incredible and uplifting and inspires me to keep plugging away at my piano lessons to get back to how I used to be able to play … and then surpass that.

 

2) My generous bf/f gave me his sandstrom speaker. I bluetooth it to my phone and hit play. It’s great for slow music dancing when the time is right, dance parties with the boys or myself – and the timing is ALWAYS right for that – listening to podcasts while getting ready for work. Simply, it’s a jukebox / speaker in my living room.

sandstrom

Don’t  live without at least ONE of the above. It’s not necessary to go through life without them. I’m really passionate about music in the home, in case you can’t tell 🙂

I grew up with a piano and was such a piano snob that I couldn’t imagine an alternative… so when living in a small apartment that couldn’t host a piano, and the prices were prohibitive, i actually lived for many years without a piano. My electric piano is so much more awesome than a piano because it can be a piano and so much more. I can actually raise some DJ’s… 🙂

Now go have some fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Round up April 25th

Marketing – Artists take control of their paycheck: 

When I read articles like this one on Forbes… about a man earning 6 figures annually from self publishing, I am aware that the rest of the world is slowly but definitely catching up to my version of ‘marketing’. No longer does saying that I work in “internet marketing” get me the quizzical looks it usually generated. But since Internet Marketing has become way too broad, now I’m most likely to call myself an “inbound marketing specialist” – because… it’s true.

So about this Forbes article – in simplest terms – Mark Dawson writes a book, and no one buys it. Then he allows Amazon to promote it for free… and suddenly he has a following. They get hooked on the storyline, and their relationship with the author… and then become purchasers for each successive book and he collects new fans all the time. Props to this author who manages to write 1000’s of words daily as he commutes to his regular job. I always admire someone who can be so productive when moonlighting.

The other distinction is recognizing that Mark is not just an author, he is also an entrepreneur. Many artists have to be in order to succeed. Which is actually a perfectly non gratuitous way to throw in the genius that is my brother Evan’s business StageIt…. StageIt enables performing artists to earn a nice income from selling tickets to online performances…

General – I’m all about that Milk..

I put this whole paragraph under the category of #noone cares. OMG have I ever told you the story of ‘Noone cares’??? I’ll have to do that soon.

Lately my life is about liquid. I’ve been about water and plain mint tea for ages… but now I’ve picked up some bad (good?) habits.

I’ve been obsessed with frothed milk. From someone who NEVER (literally) never had real coffee in her life, thinks coffee is for “need my fix” losers, here is a potential daily drink list:

  • Several cups of Yerba Matte Green tea – plain with water.
  • 1 ‘cup’ of coffee mixed with enough frothed milk that it turns into 2+ cups of drink. You would call it extremely week coffee… I call it frothed milk with coffee flavor
  • 1 cup of Yerba Matte Chai tea leaves that I either have straight (made with my new french press), or turn into a latte with milk. Oddly enough when milk is added it really affects the flavor and needs a lot more sugar, yielding only one cup.
  • At least 3 bottles of water in this bottle
  •  Mint tea – plain with water. I pretty much always have a cup of it growing cold.

I drink a lot… I pee a LOT, but I’m not losing any weight… go figure 🙂

And I’ve gone from being anti dairy to drinking a cow per day. Makes me wonder – Can I froth my almond milk?

Relationships

Is there such a thing as over-socializing?

Ever since my marriage (which thankfully ended in divorce 4.5 yrs ago), I’ve been pretty non social (which is important to mention in that it’s different than anti social). And I mention the marriage/divorce specifically because being in a troubled relationship closed me off from cultivating existing and new friendships, as you never could predict when the shit was going to hit the fan. Not looking for sympathy… just stating the facts. Perhaps you can relate.

So…a friend came to town, who is part of a larger circle of friends. I’m definitely on the periphery of most of these internal friendships, but as part of the group whatsapp was happy to participate when I could. This included a Saturday lunch (5 hours), Sunday overnight (awesome… at hotel on beach in TLV), and then hosting at my place on a Tuesday night, which included a decent amount of prep time cleaning, shopping, cutting fruits & roasting veggies, setting up, etc.

At around 11 pm that night I felt like my head was exploding. Not a headache, something else… a pressure. Like I became scared for my life that my brain may be caving in. And I live an exhausted life, so it wasn’t that.

I didn’t say anything since I’m not the party pooper type, but was the first time in ages I was glad to be older and have our evening come to a natural close around 1230 am… and not just get started.  I seriously think I experienced too much chatter, too much stimulation, too much social activity. Back at work the next morning, I decided it was anxiety and to just calm the fuck down and the pressure has not returned.

Weekly Round UP April 18th, 2015

Marketing

I built a Value Ladder for one project in my company. This is where you dump your prospects into a funnel –  the more value you add, the more you can charge….

The key takeaway for my techie employers and co-workers –  who are geniuses, but know little about direct marketing – You can’t pitch to a potential client if they are not yet aware that they have a problem.

We have been trying to sell an amazing service, but we are totally positioning it incorrectly. We need to pre-frame that we are there to service them, not them to service us.

The new process. 

identifying the problem our prospects are facing through a series of communication with supporting materials, and consultations.

when they are aware of the problems, move them into our funnel to help them address and solve it

Then move them up the value ladder as they start to recognize the value they are receiving.

Pretty basic, but soooo important.

General

I have a Mac Air, but not in daily use. My work PC is. I’m missing my day one journal app from the Mac. I researched for PC and found these 2 options I will explore:

https://my.diaroapp.com/

and journey – a google chrome extension

I just came back from 2 amazing, but totally different trips – a weekend in London and a week in Crete.

I am working on completing courses towards my goal of generating more passive income

I was away from my 2 boys for 12 days and then reunited

my mom is 2 weeks further into her ALZ life, 50th wedding anniversary plans are underway for her & my dad,

and obviously need to include all the drama my adorable boyfriend delivers.

Things are happening and it’s not being recorded. If I took 50% of the time I text my siblings to journal, I’ll be doing good!

Kids 

Supported this campaign on Kickstarter – I really hope they reach their goal.

My son loves to listen to bedtime stories. To be honest, reading to him is one of my favorite things to do. Particularly since he takes it (and everything else) so seriously. One night when I was super busy (one night = every night?) it was a struggle to find the time to read to him. I usually enlist his older brother, but had just finished listened to the ‘SERIAL’ Podcast and decided to check out podcasts for children. Long story short, we fell in love with “sparkle stories”.

Discovered this DIY computer for kids and want to buy it for my 11 year old or find similar – Called Kano. Looks super cool

Relationships 

I think this one article, which is actually his true story, could save a lot of marriages. It’s just so good.  No, I don’t have any regrets about my failed marriage in the context of this article 🙂