Underachiever Secrets

Information Publishing

I’ve mentioned Information Product Publishing in a couple of earlier posts as being a potentially good choice of business. For many years it has been popular as a choice for mail order and more recently it has emerged as a top earner as an internet based business.

Information products lend themselves readily to the internet, which is a perfect information publishing platform, because the products can be produced electronically in a downloadable format. This means that production and distribution costs are extremely low giving a good potential profit on even modestly priced products.

A couple of the early pioneers of information publishing online produced a course several years ago to help others to get started with simple little websites producing information products on a variety of specialist topics, they called it Underachiever Mastery. Why underachiever? Because each website, being narrowly focussed on it’s own topic, didn’t make a great deal of money. But a whole network of these little websites collectively made quite a large amount of money.

Times have moved on and this product has been off the market for a long time. But now another prolific information publisher, Russell Brunson, has picked up the baton and is launching a revised and updated version of this course, together with the necessary software tools to make it work more easily. It’s called Underachiever Secrets and it launches today at 2pm EST (7.00pm UK time).

I’m helping Russell with the launch promotion of Underachiever Secrets and I’ve set up a new website to do this. It gives the history of the product and the concept together with launch information.

If information publishing is of interest to you, and remember many mail order millionnaires made their fortunes selling information products and they are a huge seller online too, take a look at my new site at:


Happy New Year

I would like to wish all my visitors a very happy and successful New Year.

Starting a new business or growing an existing one is particularly challenging at the moment. In all my years of business I have never seen such an uncertain economic outlook. Yes we have been through a number of past recessions, this is my fifth, but there was always a degree of certainty – albeit not always positive!

However, uncertainty creates opportunities for those who can see past the present negative press reports. In my experience an economic downturn can provide as many opportunities as boom times and sometimes even with less risk. Yes, I did say less risk. In a downturn people take more care and are more alert to risk whereas during an economic boom they can be careless, as we have seen all too clearly in the last couple of years or so. But the key business factors never change:

  • Clear and specific business objectives and business plan
  • A hungry market with specific needs or wants
  • A quality product that delivers exactly what they want at an affordable price yet still produces a profit
  • Customer service and reliability that gains trust and a good reputation
  • Active and consistent targeted marketing
  • Fast response to enquiries and systematic follow-up
  •  Sound cashflow and financial control
  • Minimal borrowings relative to cashflow
  • A positive attitude to your market place and your business and a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ to satisy your customers

So, where do you want to be at the end of this year? How do you propose to get there? Whose needs can you best serve? What can you do for them that will please and delight them and ensure that they will tell all their friends?

Somewhere out there are people who need what you have to offer, all you have to do is find them and tell them what you have and how it will help them, then over deliver to the best of your ability.

Good luck and have a great year.

Options for office space renting

One of the great things about working for yourself is that, for most of us at least, you can do it from home! As good as this is, as your business grows and you take on staff, then it’s likely you’ll need more space – even if it’s not all the time, having your own office can help you look more professional and help separate work from your home life.

Buying an office is expensive and risky, plus potentially limiting. If you outgrow it then you have to sell before you move on, an increasingly difficult task with the currently unstable property market. Renting can therefore provide a great solution, offering flexibility in terms of price, office type and length of lease.

If you need a whole building, part of one, a room or even just a desk, there are options to suit every situation and budget.

For truly hassle free leasing, serviced offices provide a great solution: Fully equipped and managed, individual offices or floors are rented out. You don’t have to buy computers, desks, phones and cleaning and maintenance will all be taken care of – some even have a reception service, perfect for giving the right impression to customers. This is a great choice for a business that needs to look flash without the cash – the costs of setting this up from scratch would be prohibitive to most small companies.

Whether serviced or not, different spaces tend to attract different business types and by getting yourself in with the ‘right’ pool of companies, this could greatly enhance your own offering. Creative environments can be inspiring and if you work alongside a complementary business you may be able to help each other out and go for jobs collectively. If you know a number of businesses in the same position as you, why not pool together and share a building.

With risk low on many people’s agenda due to the economic difficulties the country is in, renting a workspace, short or long term, is a great option for any fledgling business. If you expand and everything goes well, you can move on to somewhere bigger and better, but if things don’t work out in your favour, then it’s easy to leave without incurring too much financial hardship.

About the author: Jessica Lowe writes on behalf of Office Genie, the UK’s first proper online marketplace for desk space and shared office space

Selling for the Bashfull

I was reading one of the marketing blogs I follow the other day and, amongst the comments on a post on selling, a number of people admitted to being shy and finding it difficult to hold up a conversation never mind selling to people. This was holding them back in business as they just didn’t have the confidence to go out and sell. They had confidence in their product, just not in themselves.

Being so reserved actually stops you from being the kind of aggressive or ‘pushy’ salesman we all hate, and that’s a good thing. People are becoming very resistant to the traditional ‘the more you talk, the more you sell’ approach, especially when it’s over-hyped! What people are looking for is answers to questions, solutions to problems and how to achieve eternal happiness :-). And they’ll happily pay whoever can supply what they want.

Now, I used to be shy too, I guess I still can be reserved sometimes. When I first started out selling, friends and family were aghast! “How is John ever going to sell anything?” was the question they all asked. But I had learned that the best conversationalists do more listening than talking.

Most people love to talk about themselves if you press the right button. You do that by asking targeted questions that get them talking. Questions about their interests, problems, dreams etc. then listen, I mean really listen, because they are going to tell you what to sell them. If they start to dry up ask a question about something they’ve just told you, something that will tell you more about what they want out of life. After a while they’ll think you’re their best pal and will listen to your recommendations. Use this technique in conversation, in selling, even in dating (boy, does it work well there 🙂 )

It doesn’t have to be face to face, but it works really well in that form.  You can do it over the phone, in a sales letter or on a website. This is really what Geoff (the guy who’s post I was reading) is doing with his blog. He listens to the ‘online conversation’, posts a comment or a question here and there and people answer him, so he learns what he needs to keep the conversation  going and the sales coming in.

When you know what people want, you don’t have to ‘sell’ them anything, you just have to let them know where they can get it and that’s from you. Everyone is good at something and usually that ‘something’ is being sold profitably by someone, somewhere. If you are good at a particular thing, they might just as well buy it from you, especially if you are better than wherever they are getting it at the moment. Or better still, if they can’t find it at all.

But you do have to join the conversation, go on, just do it!

Good selling!


PS  I  got a great product idea just from reading the comments section and by listening to and  understanding the readers’ concerns. So I’m really glad I joined in the conversation.

Small Business Questions

You want to start or grow your own business or I guess you wouldn’t be here. But getting started these days isn’t easy and growing an existing business in the current economic climate can be a real struggle. Now I’ve been in business since 1978 and I’ve been through 5, yes five, recessions. I’ve seen 3 property price crashes, quite a few stock market ‘corrections’, large and small, and I’ve seen whole industries disappear and new ones appear. Boom and bust, doom and gloom, outrageous conspicuous consumption, cheers and tears, I’ve seen the lot.

The interesting thing though is that, throughout all this, at any moment, someone was making money and someone was losing money! A boom can be a crazy, scary place to be and a bust can throw up some amazing bargains and opportunities, and right now is no different.

The true entrepreneur knows his/her market and is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to serve that market. They can help their customers to enjoy the boom years and help them survive the bad times. Keeping a focus on what you can do to serve your customer well at all times and in all conditions will ensure not only business survival, but growth in both good and bad times.

So, how can I use my experiences to help you?

Tell Me Your Troubles, Your Hopes, Your Fears and Your Goals

If you are trying to start a business, what is stopping you?

If you are trying to grow a business, what is holding you back?

If your business is struggling to survive, what are your problems?

If you are achieving your goals and doing well, chip in with what’s working and what’s not and help those less fortunate readers.

Throw me some challenges and see what we can come up with. Click the feedack link below to join in…

Small Business Crash Course

Small Business Course

This is way overdue but I’ve intended for some time to produce a series of online training courses for new businesses or even those just thinking of starting a business. With two businesses of my own to run and a growing number of consulting clients finding the time has been a little tricky. Now I’m semi-retired and cutting back on my full day business training workshops the time has come to put my courses on auto-pilot.

First up is a simple six day small business crash course via email, one lesson a day. This is intended for those just considering starting their own business or anyone struggling to get started. It answers the key questions about “how do I get started?” Things like:

  • The ins and outs of starting your own small business along with some of the basic steps you will need to take to get up and running.
  • Some of the different options available for financing your small business, so that you can choose the one that is right for you.
  • An overview of how to create a professional business plan for your small business.
  • Some of the basic information that you must know when it comes to paying taxes for your small business.
  • Some of the common mistakes that small business owners make, so you can avoid making them yourself.
  • The importance of having an online presence and developing an internet marketing strategy for your small business

There will be more short courses to come in future but in the meantime find out more about my Small Business Crash Course. You can enroll for the course from that page.

Oh! I forgot to mention, this one’s FREE!

If you take the course, come back here and let me know how you get on. I would really appreciate your feedback on the course. You can also let me know what else you would like to know about starting and running your own business.

Use the comments form below to give me your feedback, or just click the comments link.

Sales Commission Abolished

Before all sales people, associates and affiliates panic let me explain that the above headline applies only to Financial Services Products in UK.

The UK Financial Services Authority have had concerns for some time that financial services products are too often recommended by unscrupulous financial advisers on the basis of the amount of commission they receive rather than being the best product for the client.

The majority of professional financial advisers in UK, and elsewhere, take pains to provide clients with the best advice they can but there has been a persistent band of rogue advisers who think only of themselves.

If your business is in financial services you will probably have seen this coming. But read on as I shall be coming back to you later…

If you are not in financial services then this doesn’t affect you, does it?

Well, yes it does! Especially if you have been used to getting your financial advice for free. Or apparently for free…

Most people in UK don’t pay an adviser for recommending life insurance, investments, pensions etc. because the adviser has been remunerated by the life, investment or pension company by way of commission on the sale. Obviously the companies paying this commission have to make it back in some way and that is by some form of management charge built into the product. This means that the client is actually paying this commission indirectly.

Under the new system, the client (you) will be expected to pay the adviser a fee for the financial advice given. This should mean that the product should be better value for money as there are no commission charges to account for and your adviser has no reason not to recommend the best product for your needs.

However, if you take financial advice but take no action on that advice you will still have to pay the adviser’s fee. Unlike in the commission situation where you can just walk away leaving the adviser with nothing.

Now, back to the financial advisers out there.

The good thing about this change is that you will always be able to get paid for financial advice you give regardless of whether the client takes that advice or not. You will be free to advise the client on any course of action you feel is appropriate to their financial circumstances without any concerns about likely remuneration.

Your only problems, if you have not been charging on a fees basis up until now, is one of educating the client in the new ways of financial services and setting up the appropriate contracts and procedures to handle the new regime.

I’ve been talking to a very senior financial adviser about this as he has operated a fees based financial service for over twenty years now. He certainly understands the problems facing commission based financial advisers over the next couple of years.

In fact he has been helping many financial advisers move over to a fees based system for the last ten years or so.

His name is Terence P O’Halloran, ‘ Terry’ to his friends, and he has been a major player in the industry for well over thirty years. Terry first unveiled his Fee-Pac product for financial advisers over ten years ago and has steadfastly kept it up to date, improved, evolved and expanded it over the years into a major package suitable for any fees based profession.

Fee-Pac now includes a full video training seminar on setting up a fees based business, complete client and adviser documentation as well as all the admin files needed to set up a successful fees based practice. This is an extremely professional piece of kit.

If you are a financial adviser or thinking of getting into that business then check out Fee-Pac here. I can’t believe how little he is charging for it considering its potential value to you in the coming months.

Interesting times ahead!

Internet Marketing Reports

More and more people are looking to start their own internet business as a result of this current economic situation. Whether to guard their family income from the threat of unemployment or worse, because they have already been made redundant, or simply to top up their current earnings to give their family a better life, they see the internet as a source of future prosperity.

When I first started marketing my business online back in the late nineties the biggest problem was so few potential customers on the internet. Competition was not a problem so I found it very easy to reach those customers who did have an internet connection. Ten years on and the world’s population has flooded onto the internet, there are so many products and services available online they are all spoilt for choice. The market is huge and the competition is intense, which makes it very hard for the new entrant to internet business to know where to start. A recent comment from Dominic, one of my readers, on an earlier post said it all, “im tryin 2 start ma own business and would like 2 no the best way 2 go.

Well, I started this website some time ago to try to help people like Dominic but now I’ve gone further. After much searching I have sourced a regular supply of Special Internet Marketing Reports. They cover everything from setting up an internet business, including the basic technical stuff, through affiliate marketing (i.e. selling other peoples’ products on commission), setting up a website, getting visitor traffic and building customer mailing lists.

At the time of writing there are 29 reports, each report currently sells for $17 as you will see from the website.

A Penny For Your Thoughts

I was deep in thought about a topic for the blog when my wife uttered that well know phrase “A penny for your thoughts“, “meaning – what are you thinking about”.

The topic I was considering was how to find out what my customers would need next, a preliminary to product creation. Her enquiry gave me the blindingly obvious thought, why not just ask them! Why not just make a list of my best and most influential customers and ring them up and ask “what 3 things connected with telecoms would help you to grow or better manage your business right now?Telecoms is my primary business as you probably already know.

Once I get a selection of typical responses from my customers, I can then look at how I might deliver what they have asked for. But better still, I can then contact prospective customers with the same question. Rather than take the usual telesales route of trying to pitch prospects on a particular service, I can ask them what they want with a fair idea of what their responses may be based on the results of my customer conversations.

Approaching prospective customers is a little trickier so a ‘softly, softly’ approach is best. I would simply ask if they could spare a minute to give me their thoughts on what 3 things about their telecoms would most help their business to move forward in the present economy.

You see, when you ask other people their opinion and express an interest in their business, they open up and are happy to talk to you. The normal ‘sales barriers’ come down leading to some very useful discussion, and what’s more – they will remember you as someone genuinely interested in their welfare not just as some salesman trying to make a buck.

So where does the ‘penny’ come in? Well, at current business phone rates (UK) that penny buys me a minutes worth of phone time, the very minute that I asked the prospect to spare me to give me their thoughts.

Of course most of them will talk for longer once they get started but by then I’ve turned a prospective customer in to a warm lead and a probable future customer.

A penny for your thoughts“, a very inexpensive way to find out what the market will buy from you next!

Try it, let me know how you get on.

PS (shameless plug warning!) If you are a UK based business here’s where you can get your business calls at a penny a minute.

Get Rich Quick (Not!)

As a business coach I get asked about all  manner of ‘get rich quick’ scams schemes. Many so-called ‘business opportunities’ come under this heading. Genuine business opportunities require some form of effort, skill or knowledge to be able to take advantage of them and most require time to bring them to fruition. They often also involve a degree of risk if you make mistakes or just get ‘unlucky’.

The classic is the ‘make loads of money overnight with no effort’ or the ‘everything is done for you’ approach. There is no such thing as ‘money for nothing’, I know – I’ve searched for years and years :-). In the internet world the latest game is to convince you that your own personal robot or software will do it all for you. An example is a recent comment from a reader on the Forum page about an investment trading robot.

No! Software won’t do it all for you, it may take a lot of tedious or routine work off your shoulders, but it won’t make the entrepreneurial decisions or take the key business actions that are essential to success.

There are shortcuts to success in business, but they come from your aquired knowledge and experience and working ‘smart’, not from buying some ‘get rich quick’ scheme.