Why would you think it’s easier to win [insert name of sporting championship here] than to build a successful blog?

The subtitle of this post should read: “Everyone wants to be a winner -but not everyone is willing do to what it takes to BE a winner.”

The Indianapolis Colts have over the past three weeks restored hope for a chance at the playoffs thanks to three back to back wins including yesterday’s defeat of Houston.  (GO COLTS!) I’d love nothing better than to taunt my neighbors (most of whom hail from the land of the Giants, the Jets and the Patriots) this February with a garish display of Hoosier Pride.  I’ve still got everything perfectly preserved from the Colt’s 2006 Super Bowl win, hoping for the chance to bring it all out again.  ( I also had to endure the drunken near rioting of some of my other neighbors when UF won national titles in both football AND basketball!)

Not too long ago, the Phillies won the World Series.  In order to achieve that accomplishment, they had to play 162 games in the regular season just to make it to the post season.  They had to WIN more often than they lost just to make it to the playoffs.  In order to achieve that feat, every member of the team had to work hard – physically AND mentally – to even have the opportunity to play in the World Series.

This is the way the goal setting works.  First you define or set a goal and then you work towards ACHIEVING that goal.  However, if you don’t DEFINE the goal first, it’s almost impossible to put into action a plan to achieve the goal!

I’m not a baseball fan, but my son is.  Twelve years ago, my six year old baby boy would be so excited about playing coaches pitch baseball that he would bounce up and down in left field through the entire game.  Fortunately, no one could hit the ball that far because it’s my observation that bouncing up and down is NOT the preferred stance for outstanding performance in the outfield.

Years passed and my son’s love of baseball continued and fortunately, his skill as well as his concentration improved.   When he was 11, his All-Star team finished 1 game shy of competing in the Little League World Series regional play.   Watching that game was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  You could LITERALLY watch the wheels fall off that wagon as the final game progressed – and the saddest part of all was it seemed to be the COACHES who were determined to make sure their team didn’t advance to regional play!

Tom Volkar writes in Clarity Empowers Progress

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation. Maybe that’s what keeps many from choosing. A couple of participants on a recent group coaching call, supporting our community leveraging experiment, admitted as much.

When we definitely state what we want, in stark specificity, we have chosen, haven’t we? Perhaps that’s why folks choose to remain confused and general because you can’t really commit to a generality, can you?

Try dedicating yourself to excellence in vagueness. Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains! If you don’t commit then you can’t fail but you can’t succeed either. Without clarity and inspired commitment your only choice is to remain safely frozen in whatever waiting hell you’ve created.

As I read Tom’s entire post (check it out, this is just one golden nugget of many in the post!), I can now see – almost a decade later – what was going on back then.  (Hindsight really is 20/20!)   It hit me like a ton of bricks: those coaches had achieved their goal when they reached the state finals.  Once they achieved that goal, they ran out of gas.  There was no new goal – new vision.  They had already achieved all they thought was possible – and we wereall  forced to remain frozen in the hell of what MIGHT have been that year!

However, this recognition extends beyond ancient history and fading memories of a Little League team that couldn’t – it’s also shined a bright light onto a dark area in the realm of building a business.

One of my biggest frustrations with clients is when they refuse to declare their intentions.  The three words that will keep ANY service professional poor are , “I HELP EVERYONE.”

When you strive to target everyone with your marketing message – in essence, you’re targeting no one!

I love Tom’s choice of words in the paragraph above – “Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains!”

The Indianapolis Colts have identified the mountain they’d like to move – just as every other team in the NFL is targeting the mountain named “Super Bowl.”  Every game they win or lose is translated into their “chance” for a playoff berth.

Every professional sport has its own mountain.  Every game that is played is played with the goal in mind of getting the opportunity to ultimately move that mountain and claim it as the team’s own.  There is no greater hell than to be a fan of a team that obviously has not defined their season goal as winning the ultimate championship.  (I live in Miami Dolphins territory – believe me, I’ve seen the pain of that dilemma over the past few seasons!)

What mountain are you attempting to climb with your blog?  If you haven’t identified one you’d like to own -you’ve still got a few weeks to make it your 2009 New Year’s Resolution!

Halloween Humor and an Object Lesson on Trust and Marketing

I talk a LOT here about the importance trust plays in marketing your product or services.  Establishing trust with your marketing is especially essential if you’re selling “nothing but air” a.k.a. making an intangible major sale.

Trust is hard to win and easy to lose. In the world of Web 2.0, transparency is the key.  For example, In the “old days” (pre-web), if a business owner got a reputation for lying and ripping of his/her customer,  he or she could always pick up and start anew in a new location.  However, in the world of Web 2.0, your reputation can follow you ALL over the world!

Here’s a bit of Halloween Humor making the rounds these days which offers a thinly veiled object lesson on trust and marketing.

A cabbie picks up a  Nun.  She gets into the cab, and notices that the VERY handsome cab  driver won’t stop staring at her. She asks him why he is  staring.  He replies: ‘I have a question to ask, but I don’t want to  offend you.’

She answers, “My son, you  cannot offend me.  When you’ have been a nun as  long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about  everything.  I’m sure that there’s nothing you could say or ask that  I would find offensive.'”

“Well, I’ve always had a  fantasy to make out with a nun.”

The nun responds, “Well, I could probably oblige you under two conditions.  First, you have to be single and second, you must be Catholic.”

The cab driver blurts out, ‘HOT DOG!!!  Yes,  I’m single and Catholic!’

The nun says.   ‘Pull into the next alley.’

The make out scene that followed in that alley would make a hooker blush.

When they get back on  the road, the cab driver starts crying.

‘Why is wrong?” the nun asked.

‘Forgive me but I’ve  sinned.  I lied and I must confess; I’m married and I’m Baptist.’

The nun replies, ‘That’s  OK.  My name is Kevin and I’m going to a Halloween  party.”

It’s a beautiful thing when a liar gets taken by a con artist.

It’s not a beautiful thing when good people get taken by “gurus” and “experts” who don’t know enough to know they don’t know anything!

That’s why I’m a REAL fan of blogging.  See, there’s no better vehicle to build trust than with a blog.  It’s hard to fake expertise over the course of a couple hundred blog posts!

If you’re here and you’re offering “real deal” services, then get a blog.   There’s no better way to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your knowledge!

The Name of the Game is Trust

Lately, I’ve been talking a LOT about the importance of TRUST as an essential element of your marketing efforts.  Here’s a word picture to help you “visualize” how the whole “trust building” process works.

Think of trust like you would a bank account.  When you first meet someone, the balance of the “trust” account is zero.  Then, as you interact with this other person, deposits are being made into the trust account.  To borrow from Tom Volkar’s blog – when you honor your agreements, explicit AND implicit, you’re making deposits into the trust account. When you don’t honor those commitments,  you are debiting the trust account.

You do this all the time with friends, family and other people you come into contact with during the course of your daily life – including the “entities” with which you do business!

In the case of your trust relationship with business “entities”, when it comes time for real MONEY to change hands,  when it’s time to write the the check for legal tender, you’ll make a quick mental check of the balance of the “trust” account.    Unfortunately, there’s not a way to “log in to” the trust account to check the balance.   When you’re trying to establish with a new client, you’ll know you haven’t accumulated enough “trust” in the account if you ask for the sale and the potential client “balks”.

This is the word picture in my mind as I read a recent post over at David Airey’s blog.  In his post,  A Conversation About Spec Work“, David shares a somewhat heated exchange between a prospective client and a designer over working on spec.  In case you didn’t know, the BANE of a graphic artist’s existence – SPEC WORK!  (If you don’t get why a graphic artist might be upset over the prospect of working for “free”, check out Jacob Cass’ post, Why logo design does not cost $5.00)

All I could see in the exchange was a battle of two individuals whose trust accounts were empty when the trust checks were presented for payment.

Jacob makes a point in the comments section of David’s post where he points out that you don’t expect your dentist to work on spec.  (OUCH!  That illustration really “hit home” with me thanks to my little “dental drama” of late and the ensuing anti-word of mouth marketing campaign.)

However, Jacob is only partially correct.  While it’s true that ESTABLISHED dentists don’t offer to work on spec, it’s a different story for new dentist.

When you see an incredibly low cost initial appointment advertised by a dentist, it’s actually another version of working on spec.  While the dentist IS charging a small fee, the advertised price that doesn’t BEGIN to cover the variable costs associated with the exam let alone the fixed costs of running the practice!  If that’s not working on spec, I don’t know what is!

Working on spec is nothing new to anyone who is in the business of selling “nothing but air“.  Service based businesses usually have to do a LOT of spec work in the beginning!  Chiropractors, attorneys, coaches and consultants are just a few of the other professionals who are selling their expertise who must establish a significant level of trust with their potential clients.  I personally created a LOT of web sites in the beginning for minimal cost to build my practice.

However, as the service professional continues to build trust with an ever expanding circle of clients – then the need for spec work decreases.  Not only do you begin to get client referrals, but you can also share client testimonials to help build trust.

David Airey has openly credited his blog with building his business from a local business to one with an international scope.  David’s blog is acting as a GREAT vehicle for building trust with potential clients.

Not only can you feature client testimonials on your blog, but you can also share your expertise freely – which has the effect of making HUGE deposits in your trust account with your blog’s readers.

Building your service based business is a catch 22 type of deal.  In order to gain the trust of potential clients you have to have testimonials/referrals which you can’t get until you get clients!!!

That’s the reason for working on spec.  However, the good news is that  blogs are GREAT for building trust with prospective clients.  They can help you to build trust for your service based business.

Beating the Baby Blog Blues

While the mechanics of blogging are amazingly easy to master, creating a successful blog is actually much HARDER than it looks.

Yesterday, my email box was filled with people who are suffering from what I call the “Baby Blog Blues”.

These bloggers are not web development professionals, but they’re average every day business owners who want to use their blog to promote themselves and their businesses.   They’ve been blogging (some regularly, some not so regularly) and they’re frustrated.  In some cases, they’re getting traffic but no comments.  In other cases, they’re not getting traffic OR comments.

In one case, the blogger who wrote to me desperately wants to build a strong community, just as Cath Lawson, Liz Strauss, Barbara Swafford, and Hunter Nutall have done.    She wants loyal readers who contribute regularly to the discussion.  She wants to give a topic and allow others to discuss – which is exactly what happens in the strong communities above.

At the moment, her blog just isn’t “established” enough to achieve this and I’m calling this syndrome the Baby Blog Blues.

I’ve come up with this “word picture” because I can’t TELL you how often I’ve had potential clients who announce, “This blog  HAS to be generating a four figure income in less than 6 months or I don’t want to do it.”    After 10 years, I’ve FINALLY learned to say “Thanks for contacting me – good luck with that.”

When you first launch your blog, it is like a baby.  Few parents expect their newborn infant to generate income to cover their expenses.  (I had to re-write that sentence to say “few” instead of “no” because – well, the tabloids are FILLED with stories of parents who had children with the sole intent of turning the baby into a cash machine – the last names Lohan and Spears come quickly to mind!)

In the beginning, your blog is a baby! It needs time and effort invested on your part to make it grow. In the case of a human baby, time will work its magic and your child will grow even without top quality nurturing.  The passage of time guarantees that your newborn will grow into a toddler.  Allow more time to pass and the toddler will grow into a child.  Eventually, in the cruelest twist of all, the child will grow into a teenager.  While time is the biggest factor in a child’s development, time is not the sole predictor of blogging success.

In the case of my aspiring blog client, she’s got an infant “blog” sitting on her lap and she’s watching Cath, Liz, Barbara and Hunter with envy as they prepare for their blogs for the senior prom.

What this client doesn’t recognize is that these successful bloggers spent a lot of time creating blog success.  They have spent their time blogging in the dark.  They have spent weeks, months perhaps YEARS posting article after article with few if any comments.  Most bloggers learn to blog through trial and error.  The faster you learn the essential “tricks” of the trade, the quicker you can get moving in the direction of blog success.

Trust me when I tell you that all of the bloggers I listed above did a LOT more than just post to their blog once a week and wait for the traffic to come to them. Like the mother of a newborn human infant, these successful bloggers have gone through the 4 hour feeding schedules and diapers phase with their blogs.

While the passage of time will eventually transform a human infant into a teenager, the same doesn’t hold true for your blog.  If you don’t nurture your blog, it won’t grow – it’s as simple as that.  The GOOD news is that you can ignore your blog for months and then when you begin nurturing it again it will spring back to life.  In other words, no matter how sick your blog is now, you can always resurrect it.

By the way, the client with “blog envy” purchased the 8 Week Power Blog Launch program 2 weeks ago.  Over those two weeks, her Alexa ranking has already decreased almost 800,000.  (Alexa is a highly flawed system which ranks web sites from 1- 24 Million where  #1 is the best, 24 Million is the worst so a rapidly FALLING Alexa rank is a GOOD thing!)  In the course of 2 weeks, her blog went from the 2.4 Million range to the 1.6Million range and has passed more than 3/4 of a MILLION other websites in the race to number one.

She’s definitely on her way to achieving blog success – I just have to keep her focused on the fact that it takes TIME to create a successful blog.

Blog success is not an overnight proposition.  It takes TIME and it takes EFFORT – just like parenting, except when your blog achieves “teenager” status you CAN put it to work generating income – unlike human teenagers!

Fast Track to Blog Success – 100% Discount Ends Friday

Want to get bloggers “buzzing”?  Sell your blog for big bucks. That’s what happened when John Wu sold his Bankaholic blog to Bankrate for a cool $15 Million.

Cath Lawson did the math and the 26 month old blog netted that blogger a cool $3348 per hour.

If you’ve been blogging for more than a few months, you may be wondering what makes the Bankaholic blog worth so much money.  After all, the blog doesn’t get NEARLY the number of comments that Cath’s blog gets.  There’s very little “community” on the blog – unlike on Cath’s blog, yet it’s raking in a record setting payday for the blog’s developer.

The key to the Bankaholic’s success is simple:  KEYWORDS. The Bankaholic’s blog expertly targets the right keywords – the keywords a mega-site like Bankrate wants.  If you’ve run a PPC campaign lately, you’ll see where the $15 Million dollar price tag for a blog that ranks well on highly sought after keywords might actually be considered a BARGAIN!

I love it when people “do the math”.   SEO Diva did the math and showed how a $20,000 domain name can be a BARGAIN in the end.

The Bankaholic blog sale happened just as I was in the middle of doing a review for one of my 8 Week Power Blog Launch customers.    Turns out, people want to fix their blogs in 30 minutes or less, not 8 weeks.  (Mock Horror and Surprise!).  So, as I was in the middle of creating this “Fast Blog Fix” report, the Bankaholic sale was announced.  I put my 30 Minute system to the test and applied the principles to the Bankaholic blog.  The results are revealed in “Fast Track to Blog Success”.

I’ll be offering this product for sale next week, and  I’ll definitely be adding it as an “added bonus” for people who buy the 8 Week Power Blog Launch.

However, this week – until October 10th (Friday), you can get this report for free.  Just use the code CathRocks and click the button below.  This discount code will give you a 100% discount on this report.

Add to Cart

I was going to email it to people who commented, but the file has lots of screen shots which makes it too big to send via email. So, I’ll be using e-junkie to give this away!

Click the button, enter the discount code and it will be yours for the taking.  I’m sure you’ll find the analysis of the keywords used on the Bankaholic blog fascinating AND educational.

Of course,  when it does go for sale – there will be an Affiliate Program so if you recommend the book to family, friends and blog readers you grab your piece of the action.