Get Fresh Leads By Promoting Your SplashPlan site

10362286_1420343261571590_1005938937_nWith SplashPlan.com, you can get fresh leads… Exactly what do we mean?

Your SplashPlan site: When you sign up as a member on our SplashPlan.com site, and fill out your profile, you will get a SplashPlan site similar to SplashPlan.com/yoursite.

Promoting your SplashPlan site: We offer you several ways to promote your SplashPlan site for free.  Mainly you add a link to your SplashPlan site on other web sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and so forth.  Participate on these sites to make your link more powerful.

Leads: A lead, in the case of SplashPlan, means that somebody signs up as a SplashPlan member after they visit your site… You want to provide your lead with quality support for using SplashPlan.  A lead changes to a prospect when they ask for information about your network marketing program.

Prospects ask for information about your network marketing program: Once they become a prospect you can send them information online or by mail, then follow up with them by your chosen method until they ask you to stop or they sign up in your program.

Fresh Leads: Mailing lists tend to be a little stale, but you will get SplashPlan leads at the moment they sign up as a SplashPlan member.  Again, you will want to build trust with leads by providing top quality support for using the SplashPlan site.

Internet Marketing Training: Training included with your SplashPlan membership that shows you ways to promote your SplashPlan site online.

That’s about it… let me know if you have any questions…

How To Build A Big Business In A Small Town

I moved to the Chicagoland area when I was 21 years old. It was much, much different than what I had experienced before that in my life. You see, I had grown up mostly in Oskaloosa, Iowa having moved there when I was in 6th grade. I graduated from Oskaloosa High School and went to Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa where I received my AAS degree as a Systems Analyst. Even before moving to Oskaloosa I had lived in small towns for the most part. I had lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a year and Des Moines when I was really young, but mostly small towns otherwise.

Oskaloosa was a town of about 10,000 people but our house was actually in Beacon, a town of about 50 houses. Growing up in such a small place was a little weird, as everywhere you went people would know you, your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents, your aunts and uncles, etc. Much of my family lived or had lived in the Oskaloosa area so our family was well known. Many of the people who lived in Oskaloosa were senior citizens and or people living below the poverty line, so you might guess there was little opportunity for creating larger businesses. Small, home town businesses yes, but growing up there you could not imagine how big the world really was. Leaving, especially for larger cities, was something pretty scary. The idea that over 2 million people live within the Chicago city limits is just crazy talk.

In Oskaloosa and the surrounding areas, we have a few bigger businesses such as 3M, Rollscreen (Pella Windows), Clow, and Musco Lighting. Musco was founded in Muscatine County and has done some amazing things, like put up the lights at Yankee Stadium. Their website still has their corporate headquarters as Oskaloosa. The others are located elsewhere. But Musco is a great example of building a large business in a small town.

When you grow up in a small town, you really don’t see the opportunities that are out there in the world. That is why I will suggest you travel to Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York City, Atlanta, or other large cities and learn about needs outside of your small town. I am not suggesting that everyone move to a bigger city, but you really should experience what things are like, what opportunities exist, what people value throughout the country in both urban and rural areas. If you can, travel internationally to learn what things are like in other countries. It really is an eye opener. If you cannot travel like this, at least research what different people are like in different parts of the country and world.

Like Musco did with lighting, create your own dream and develop a product to appeal to people of all types or businesses of all types. The great thing about living in a small town is that there are a lot of great people who will pitch in and help you build your dream into a reality. Of course there are going to be people who know you and don’t believe you can build your dream, but that’s ok, just keep your eye on the prize and keep working for it. If you break down all your barriers, you will be surprised what you can accomplish.

When I decided on my career, I thought that working with computers and creating software was my way out of the factories. What I didn’t know is that my dream was still pretty small and that I could do much greater things. Here’s a small town boy that did pretty good in the “big city”… but my kids are going to do things far greater than I ever could have imagined. Make sure not to sell yourself short.

Originally posted 7/18/2011 on businessfizz.com

Starting A Business Too Much Of A Gamble?

Grand Victoria Elgin, William Hopkins via Flickr

Grand Victoria Elgin, William Hopkins via Flickr

Many people think that investing in the stock market or starting a business is too much of a gamble.  Actually gambling is too much of a gamble, but with proper strategies, investing or starting a business doesn’t have to be a significant gamble.  Of course, most new businesses fail… So this post is going to give you some suggestions for making your new business less of a gamble.

1. Play the right game

While casino games are losing propositions for everyone in the long run, some games give you more of a fighting chance.  In the casino, the closest game to even odds is blackjack, and you can turn the odds in your favor by counting cards.  While not illegal, being a good counter will get you banned.

Most poker games pit you against other gamblers, so the smartest player, as well as the luckiest, will often walk away with extra money.  It should be noted, though, that the house takes a bit from each pot.  No matter what, in each game played, the house is the biggest winner.

In business, you play the right game by finding growing, profitable markets with customers willing to spend money.  From there, you study your customer and learn what makes them tick.  Rather than trying to fool them into parting with their money, we find out what they truly need and provide it for them.  Without good up-front marketing, you are really taking your chances.  However, you can opt for the following strategy instead:

2. Know how much you can lose and walk away after it is gone

When I go to the casino, which is almost never as they mainly take my money, I have a stop loss of about $100.  So nine times out of ten, I will walk away $100 poorer.  The one time out of ten I might walk away with a $500 win.  I figure the casino is entertainment, so winning is a very good night.  Note that a $100 loss is not that big of a deal when I might go to the casino twice per year.

In business, we might do the same thing.  We take $5000 and sink it into a new business and once it’s gone, we move on to the next business.  It is possible to see some promise along the way and choose to invest more, or find others to invest in your idea; but you must really see an opportunity before you do that.  Consider the investment an education in what not to do.

3. Use a methodology

When I play blackjack, I play the same way given the same circumstances.  I might increase or decrease my bet, but my plays are always the same.  I might win a hand, might lose a hand, but I always play the same way.

In business or investing, you create a methodology based on many factors.  A methodology in business might be to create business processes that do the same thing in the same circumstances for all customers.  For instance, you might create an unconditional money-back guarantee and provide exceptional customer service hoping to get word-of-mouth advertising from your customer base.  Maybe each customer will not spread the word, but some will.

When selecting a product or a stock to invest in, you might use methodologies that give you a “yes” or “no” about whether or not to go a certain direction.  Your formulas would be based on sound judgement, but you might not always pick the right product or investment.

4. You will eventually win

When I play blackjack, I might not win tonight.  However, if I play often enough, I will eventually have a winning night.  Even though this is true, my overall net will be a loss.  This applies to all kinds of gambling including the lottery, blackjack, slots, roulette, etc.  Overall, you always lose.  You could have a positive net with poker if you are good enough… and perhaps that is what we should consider a business win… when you are good enough to mostly win.

In business, one win is typically all you really need.  You can have 2000 failed business, yes, but if you keep trying and keep learning, you will eventually have a success.  Again, one is all you really need.

It is tough to try and fail over and over, but in order to succeed we must also fail.  Not trying to be in business because you could fail is a horrible reason not to try, because one success is all you typically need.

So what do you think, is it worth the gamble?

Originally published 6/13/2011 on businessfizz.com

Do You Want To See The Stars?

800px-Elgin_Observatory-300x225The picture to the left is the Elgin National Watch Factory Observatory, a picture from 1994.  I remember going to the observatory while my kids were still small and seeing the stars from inside the building, projected on the ceiling.  It was like being in a cloudless, lightless evening staring at the sky.  It was a cool experience I wish I could share with you, although I believe you can visit the observatory yourself today.  It is at 312 Watch Street in Elgin, Illinois.

Now if seeing the stars within the Elgin Observatory is not good enough for you, there are many places throughout the country where you can look at the stars without having city lights dim them.  Or maybe your goal is to see the stars from outer space.  That dream is possible through much training and sacrifice, but is a much bigger dream.

I say all of this because I really want you to seriously consider going for your big dream.  Especially if you are in high school and dream of a college degree.  You can accomplish this goal, and you can accomplish this at the college of your choice.  Probably the bigger question is what do you want to do with your life?  I am sure that the college education is not your ultimate goal, but a stepping stone along the way.  Would you like to be a policeman or fireman?  Would you like to be an actor or musician?  Would you like to be a talk show host, news anchor, or sports announcer?  All of these dreams are very possible, you just have to pursue excellence in your chosen profession; you have to be the best at what you do.  And you can be… if you really want your dream to become reality, you will try your best to be the best.

Parents, please support your young dreamers with their dreams of choice.  The scary thing is that they just might make it.  They just might be excellent at what they do and raise the next generation to new heights.  It is worth the risk you have to take to get them there.

My dream is not nearly as glamorous as my childrens’ dreams.  I have three children and one is an excellent salesman, one is a promising actor, and one is a promising musician.  My son Jeffery graduates from AMDA in Hollywood next month and has already been an extra for Glee and CSI.  My daughter Chelsey heads to Belmont University this fall and is hoping to be a songwriter and musician.  Big tough dreams.  But I have to tell you that falling short of a big dream is much better than falling short of a small one.  Maybe they will or maybe they will not get their ultimate dream, or maybe it will be even better than they hoped.

I have always felt that I have exceeded my expectations for myself.  But what if I had gone for a larger dream?  Where would I be today?  I am not saying that I regret the path my life has taken, I do not.  But it is always curious to think about what might have been.

Originally posted 6/23/2011 on businessfizz.com

How To Get Massive Traffic To Your Website In 30 Days

Can you get massive traffic to your website in 30 days?  Sure… it depends on what you are willing to do to get it.  If you want to build consistent traffic without spending money, it may take a bit longer than 30 days.

Our SplashPlan.com site will help you build your network marketing business.  Mainly all you need to supply is traffic.  So getting traffic is the challenge, and the battle, and the victory.  If you can get traffic to your SplashPlan site, you can get all the leads you will ever need.

How can you build traffic?  Here are some ways:

  • Set up a Twitter profile and consistently participate on the site.  Make sure to include a link to your SplashPlan site in your public profile.
  • Participate on small-business-forum.net daily.  Make sure to fill out your profile and include a link to your SplashPlan site.  Set up a signature with a link to the SplashPlan site so it will be included when you post a message or response.
  • Respond to blog posts on problogger.net and copyblogger.com daily when it makes sense to do so.  Find other popular blogs and comment daily.  Make sure to use the link to your SplashPlan site.
  • Advertise if you can… on facebook, twitter, google, bing, or any number of other places.  It will cost money but you will get visitors.

I would advise you to avoid spending money for advertising.  Go the slow route and you will generate consistent daily traffic.

There are any number of other ways to generate free traffic to your blog.  Make sure to do a google search.  If you have time, the possibilities are endless.

Now, if you want to improve the quality of your visitors, you must do one of the following:

  • Make sure they are looking for exactly what you are offering
  • Make sure they know and respect you as a leader

So in comes attraction marketing.  Warm up your leads by promoting yourself and or your expertise.  You can do this by:

  • Creating how-to youtube videos
  • Write a blog about things you know
  • Put your face and resume on linkedin
  • Make sure people know who you are and what you can do to help them

Attraction marketing is about attracting people to you based on: them knowing who you are, them knowing some of your skills and abilities, them knowing about your company, and so forth.  Create a brand – you!

Let me know if you have any other ways to generate massive traffic… beyond link bait of course.

Similar stories:

Just Getting Started With SplashPlan.com

Our SplashPlan.com site is nearly two years old, but we are really just getting started.  The reason is: We are just not promoting it enough to get it off the ground.  We have had some really good members that are just starting to promote their sites, but the second-level ramp up is a little slow, as expected.

Now I could whine about how it is too hard and just give up.  Some would do this.  But I have a vision for the site and it really is going according to plan.  What I did not expect was the last two weeks of a huge number of signups per day.  Apparently from robots.  Because when I put in Google’s reCAPTCHA, the signups stopped.  Is it a bad thing that the signups stopped?  Not if they were all robots.  I would rather see reality as it is than think I am doing great.

We do continue to get good signups but they are far in between, which is ok with me.

SplashPlan.com is for network marketers of all kinds to promote themselves and their businesses.  There are tons of network marketing companies too… Amway, Melaleuca, Avon, Tupperware, Watkins, Plexus, Isogenix, ACN, Ambit Energy, Amsoil, Beachbody, Longaberger, Pampered Chef, Forever Living, Primerica, Shaklee, and many others… and you can be a member of SplashPlan.com to promote any of these companies.

Network Marketing is great because you can grow your business to a very large size.  But it usually starts out very slow.  With SplashPlan.com, you can use our affiliate programs to get current income while you also build your network marketing group… rather than trying to find some way to sell the company’s products to customers some way, some how.  Yes, most companies will not allow you to advertise or promote online… another good reason to join SplashPlan.com… you do not show your network marketing information until sombody signs up as a member.

If you have any suggestions for the site, please let me know.  We are looking to make it as good as possible for you.

References:

Online Security – My Journey Down The Rabbit Hole

You think you are safe and secure online?  You are not.  You are smart, you learn all about how hackers can get at your websites, exploit your data, change your pages, or extort you as I read in this article:

If you are outraged after reading, I just want to let you know that Naoki did get his Twitter handle back after much effort.  So ultimately extortion is illegal and companies will try to help you out after they check every last detail.

Preventing security problems is what we really want.  We want to prevent somebody from getting into our Paypal, Amazon, or Godaddy accounts.  We want to prevent somebody from spending on our credit card after they extract it from an online database.  We want to prevent somebody from phishing our password then using it to post on our facebook account.

All I can say is good luck.  My understanding after much research is that hackers are getting smarter all the time.  But you can take some basic steps to improve your odds:

  • Use a unique password for each site that has your credit card information
  • Use two-step authentication with your cell phone on every site you can
  • If you have a Godaddy account (or any other web hosting), avoid using the same credit card from Godaddy on any other web site
  • The bigger websites are the biggest target for hacks: Amazon, Paypal, eBay, Google, Facebook, Walmart, etc.  Be the most vigilant with them.
  • Banks are usually very good with security but make sure your bank requires more than just a password to get into your account.
  • Never, ever click on a link in an email then sign into any web site.  In some cases, password resets may be the exception, but only if you are expecting them.

As far as our website security, we take the following precautions:

  • We do not take your credit card for any reason on our site.  We do not even do paypal.  Note that our partners do take payments.
  • We use an SSL certificate for splashplan.com.  We do not use one for The SplashPlan Blog.  You do not sign in on it.
  • We store your password and password reset codes in encrypted form in our database.
  • Our form fields are escaped to prevent SQL insertion.

Nothing we can do will entirely prevent a hacker from getting in.  But we have very little sensitive information. Please make sure to use a unique password with our site.  Nobody can see it on our site, not even me, but it is a good idea anyway.

Is there anything you can add?

Google reCaptcha Saves My Butt

Before I get going, please make sure to see the links at the end of this post.  I could include them within the body here but I am going to be lazy.

I spent the last two weeks fighting with the bots to try to get a good indication of how well we are doing on the splashplan.com site.  I thought up a number of possible solutions to the problem but ultimately the bots were smarter than me.  Nothing I came up with eliminated fake sign ups; and anything that would cure the problem would get in the way of the user experience.

I was very concerned about using captcha to solve the problem because it added one more silly field that the user would have to fill out to sign up.  Adding more steps or more fields meant losing good sign ups, and I only wanted to lose the bad ones.

Enter Google’s reCAPTCHA.  It basically has the visitor check a box if they are not a robot.  Simple.  Effective. Doesn’t get in the way too much.  Ok, give it a shot.  But it will be difficult to install right?  Wrong!  Using an article I found, it was simple and straight forward and I did not have to install a code library on my web site.

It really was very easy and solved the problem.  Now I am back to having a hard time getting sign ups.  At least the ones that do sign up will be real people who will get good use out of the site.

Links you can use:

10 Reasons I Did Not Create A Video In The Past Week

I am not sure if this is a compelling headline but here goes…  The top 10 reasons I did not create a YouTube (or any other) video this week:

#1. 350 unique visitors per day on splashplan.com

We continue to have a large number of unique visitors as well as 15 – 20 new member profiles created per day.  I am still grappling with what that means as far as security, bad data, and possible software bugs.

#2. Still working on the new blog at splashplan.net

I edited about three months worth of posts this weekend, and have many more months to go.  I am concerned about content that is not mine… although so far it has been cited correctly when I use a guest blog post.

I have a lot of garbage to delete or edit so it has proven to be productive.

#3. Fixed the member’s area downline list so it no longer breaks its frame.  It was only an issue for my id but still needed it corrected.

#4. As part of correcting the downline list page, I created approvals screens so we can review changed member profiles.

We just wanted to make sure member profiles had good links mainly.

#5. Taxes taxes taxes

It is that time of the year so I have been working on my personal taxes, the business ST-1 (sales tax), the yearly corporate report, California taxes (still owe them one year), and the corporate 1120s.  I figure if I complete one task per weekend for taxes I am doing good.

#6. 40 hours per week for a client

I am still working for a client at 40 hours per week and they need things from me… mostly technology related.  I love the client so its just about getting things done.

#7. I am still married

Paying attention to my wife is a good idea every tonow and then.

#8. I have parents

My mom is concerned because I jump on a jet weekly.  I need to let her know when I am leaving and getting there at minimum.

#9. I have great children

My children are doing great things and like to talk with me every now and then.  I’ve been subbing the wife temporarily but eventually I need to keep up with them.

#10. I have a grandchild

Owen is wrestling tomorrow so I will probably be at wrestling tomorrow.

Is no time to make a video a good enough excuse?  I seem to have time to write…

Derailed By Jump In Traffic, Concerns About Security

It has been an interesting couple of weeks with a major jump in traffic on our splashplan.com website. At first I thought it was great.  Then I got to thinking about the possible setup issues we may encounter and I started getting ready for manually reviewing profiles and link overrides.  Then I started getting concerned that we were getting multiple signups per IP, and we were.  Then I started getting concerned about security.

User Setup Issues

Unlike other sites I have worked with in the past, user setup and or data entry issues are minimal.  The main areas to watch are user profile setup, link overrides, and forum entries.  Forums are virtually unused, as are link overrides so I concentrated on manually reviewing user profile setups.  Nothing much to report here either.  I am working towards an automated system to review and approve changes to user (member) profiles that I can hand off to an employee to take care of.  I am watching the forums for anything myself right now and watching for link (resource) overrides to start happening.

Multiple Signups Per IP

Unbelievable.  We started getting multiple signups per IP.  There is absolutely no advantage whatsoever with doing this.  Nothing to be gained.  So I looked at blocking IPs that have more than 5 signups.  I am doing this manually for now but I have thought of some automated ways to take care of this.  We will see.

An IP is a number that typically identifies a single user or group of users.  I would say that 5 is a lot of sign ups.  17 is far too many for an individual signup.

I researched each IP at first and found that many forums are having the same problem with these IPs.  So blocked.

Security

It looks like security will be a never-ending process of thinking and rethinking my security strategies.  So far it looks like I was pretty good with my user id/password and reset strategy.  I simply ask new members to enter their email and password to sign up.  If they need to reset their password, they can use “I forgot my password” to reset it.

Resetting a password sends an email to the member with a 6 digit random number.  Once the number is used successfully, it is removed from the database.  Passwords and reset codes are encrypted so even I cannot see either in the database.  Even if somehow somebody gets a email and password from a member, there is very little to be gained.  We do not collect payment or personal information from a member.

We could do more.  We could require certain kinds of passwords.  We could require a two-step sign in.  We could follow best practices all the way around.  But even if a hacker got my sign in to the web site, they really would not be getting much.

I have also thought about socially engineering a hack, which is a possibility with a lot of work.  What if somebody got my sign on and password or got it reset?  What if somebody got my email password?  What if somebody got the database password?  Security, honestly, is not paramount.  I would be more worried about getting data destroyed than stolen.  Most of the information stored is public or semi-public, we do not have credit card information or anything that sensitive stored.  People are not worried about being associated with the web site.

Of course this does not stop me from worrying about it.

New “The SplashPlan Blog”

I did also move over The SplashPlan Blog from WordPress.com to our own hosted site here.  I am still working on the stories here, as I merged in three different blogs.  Hopefully I should have it in a good state within a couple of weeks.

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