Quick Start Challenge Week 4 – The End is in Sight

Quick Start Challenge Week 4 – The End is in Sight

We’re now in the fourth and final week of Dean Holland’s Quick Start Challenge 3 for 2015. Most of the participants – or at least those remaining are now at the stage where they either think – “That’s it. I’m set up now” or (more realistically) “I’m set up. What’s next?”.

There are a number of more experienced people that have taken this course. People like me who’ve got the experience but haven’t quite got the high levels of success that we want. We have taken upon us the role of available mentors, making sure that all those who don’t know, are unsure or just plain dither, have been able to get on. No one has forced the pace although we’ve done our best to help those who need assistance to keep up, including actually giving real hands on support by taking over their website for a bit to complete aspects that some of those challenged have felt to be beyond their skills. Privately, some of us have also said that ths has saved Dean and his team an awful lot of support calls and time, since they have been barely present in the very active Quick start Challenge Facebook group. However, those who have done the extra online support have made their name as mentors, built their own brand and gained in the “know, like and trust” stakes. Those who have been helped will be our supporters and testimonials in time to come.

The final week of the Quick Start Challenge is really – Do more of the same. i.e.: Forum and blog commenting, write posts, make videos and support each other, with one last message of turn up to the final video for an extra bonus. Again, the knowledgable amongst us know that this will probably include a call to join in with Dean’s high price group or something similar. Every webinar seems to end with one these days and we’re sure that this will be no exception.

Those that are left still participating are also starting to become aware of the fact that they know there is more to learn and at the moment, there is no direction for them, which may be another ploy to get them to sign up to the next stage – along the lines of “You’ve done this much. Don’t stop now”. Again, the experienced people are dropping ideas about what to do, like visiting blogs outside the group, investigating paid traffic methods and looking into monetising what’s already been done. Let’s hope that some of the people that are left are investigating those ideas.

Somebody pointed out in the Facebook group that they’d be interested on how many people started this year’s Quick Start Challenge and how many look like they’ll finish it. According to JVZoo there were 500+ sales, so there were between 500 and 999 starters, although there were nothing like that many active in the Facebook group which says it has over 1700 members although that does include Quick Start Challenge 2 members from last year. I’d say there are less than 100 who are active within the group out of maybe 200 that have dipped in at some time or another. We cannot know how many just lurked, feeding off the questions and answers for other people or how many just dropped away at any given stage, feeling it was all too much or not able to give the time necessary to the projects.

So will I recommend Quick Start Challenge 4 when it comes along next year? As an affiliate, I would probably say yes although as a participant it hasn’t been a terribly steep learning curve for me. I’ve actually learned more from Keith, Joe, Kevin and one or two others with whom I’m now part of a private spin-off group. The challenge has got me to tidy up this blog a little bit and add a couple more plug-ins that might be useful as well as revamping the opt-in form on the right (hint, hint If you haven’t already).

So Quick Start Challenge 3 for 2015 is about done and so am I for this post. Remember to share it using the social buttons below and do feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said. I’m going to go ahead with my own mentoring site which will rely more on optional affiliate sales rather than an initial charge and will (in the fullness of time) probably cover far more. The Mastermind Group we’ve formed may also come out with a competing product, again going further and hopefully keeping a higher proportion of active participants. Let’s see what the future brings.

Increase your optin signups

Increase your optin signups

When you first put up an optin signups page and you start telling people about it, you get a small sudden burst of interest which quickly fades away. Is there a way of how you can increase your optin signups to give you more subscribers you can make your offers to?

Of course there is. In fact there’s several, but here’s a rough and ready one that relies on finding some friends in the same niche as you. 2 or 3 friends will be enough although I’ve seen as many as 5.

The technique to increase your optin signups is called click swapping and at this basic level it requires an amount of honesty and equal work between the click swap partners.

First of all, make sure you each have a different give-away. No one is going to sign up to multiple lists giving the same thing away. From each of your friends you need a link to their squeeze page. All you do is place that link on your download page with a message to ‘Check out these extras’, or words to that effect.

Now if all of you are putting the same effort into your own optin signup pages, there is a good chance that each person who gets to your download page will be intrigued enough to click through the other links to see what else is available and your friends will also be sending their signups to you as well. To add an element of tracking you could use a WordPress plugin called Pretty Links to shorten your optin signup page link and create a different link (to the same destination) for each person in your click swap group so you can see who has sent you the most clicks.


When you’re setting up the links on your download page, set them up so that they open in a new tab or browser by adding target =”_blank” within the HTML code, so that it looks like this:

<a href=http://www.MyFriendsWebsite.com/OptinPage.html target=“_blank”>Get this cool report</a>

As I say, this technique requires that your all put the same amount of work into attracting optin signups. This could also serve as an introduction to a technique known as clickbanking. It is almost exactly the same except it is done with more sophisticated tracking software and does not rely on the honesty of individuals. Instead, one person will add a tracked link to their own download page that goes to somebody else’s squeeze page and when a certain number of clicks or signups (whichever is agreed) has been reached, then things work the other way. This is normally done with sending emails to a list rather than relying on other traffic methods, but I’m sure by now that you’re getting the idea – I send to you & you send to me.


Of course, not every one of the optin signups who makes it to your download page will click through to your friend’s optin signups page, but enough will to make a definite increase in the size of your list. All you have to do then is keep them entertained and entranced so that they stay there.

Quick Start Challenge Week 3 – To Optin or not to optin

Quick Start Challenge Week 3 – To Optin or not to optin?

Is that really the question?

The Quick Start Challenge this week was to add an optin form to our sites and having gone round 30 or so of the sites this evening I have to say that many seem to have managed it very well.

If you’ve done it before (as I had) then in reality it’s not much of a challenge, but my problem was a little different. A couple of months ago I got kicked off of Get Response because of one bad solo ad. I made the wrong choice as far as providers go and over 80% of the signups took the the freebie and then unsubscribed again. GetResponse took this to be my fault, sending them a load of junk signups (as it was really, I suppose) and told me to pick my window to leave by. Pleading did not get me anywhere although asking nicely did get me 3 zips files containing my last list of subscribers, my autoresponders and my newsletters. Rule number one – be cordial even in the face of adversity and speak nicely.

I tried a couple of other autoresponders but neither had the feel or all of the facilities that GetResponse had, so I had to make a decision – Go to Aweber and start again there or sneak back to GetResponse using a new email address and hope they didn’t notice that their forms were going up on the same IP addresses as before. I chose to stick with the familiar and go back to GetResponse. After all, I wasn’t banned, just had one account closed. I’m sure I’m not the first to do that and neither will I be the last. It was the JVZoo integration that really pulled me back. It makes life so much easier when you can automatically grab a buyer’s email address.

So there’s a new optin form, along with a new giveaway – chosen especially to attract the people who are most likely to be visiting at the moment – my fellow Quick Start Challenge participants. Now my next task will be to go to my other optin forms and redo all of those with the new autoresponder. Here’s a neat article about using an autoresponder to attract and keep customers.

Now hearing about week 4 of the Quick Start Challenge is only 24 hours away as I write this blog. Dean Holland and his co-conspirators will be telling us what they expect of us for our final week along with a ton more encouragement, especially for those who have found this awkward, difficult or tricky from day one. Mind you, you really have to see how far they’ve come – especially those who had never set up a WordPress blog before and even more for those who’s first language is not English. From over 300 starters, more than half are still participating in the challenges and many of those are keeping up with blog commenting and forum posting, as suggested for the Quick Start Challenge week 2, although producing a selfie video was the main part.

Onwards and upwards to Quick Start Challenge week 4.

What Are You An Expert At?

What Are You An Expert At?

Here’s a thought for you. When it comes to product creation, does it matter what subject you’re an expert in?

Here’s my controversial answer. It doesn’t matter a damn.

What you need to be is, an expert in discovering solutions to niche expert’s problems.

When you’re selling to beginners in a niche, almost anything that sounds vaguely authoritative will do. If you’ve done a little research, chances are you’ll know more than the greenhorns and newbies anyway. However, because they’re fresh into the niche, they probably won’t want to spend very much, just in case they don’t want to go any deeper into the subject (or in case your advice is no good). Experts though are dedicated to their subject, usually to the exclusion of many other things so although their problems may be a little more obscure and require a bit more research, they will pay more handsomely for the answers they require.

An expert panel

Consider this. You might sell a $7 product to 500 newbies and to do that you might have to find 5000 newbies at least to look at the offer, bringing you $3500. You could also create a package aimed at experts, charging them $500 to see your solution to their more difficult problem, but you’d only have to sell 7 packages to equal that income and you may only have to find 50 experts to sell that many. If you can find 500 experts looking for that solution, you will have scored big time.

Think about it. Most of internet marketing is providing solutions to problems, even if those answers are freely available elsewhere. If you can provide an answer, put in a neat package in a single place, you can make money selling that answer. So you need to be an expert problem solver, even if you don’t fully understand all of the problems in a given field. Know where to go to find good answers. Cross reference those answers with other good places and get a consensus, or even better, find somewhere else with different answers. As a seller of expert information, contradictory answers and confusion can be your best friend. People want a definitive answer where there are multiple, differing opinions and you knowing the opposing sides to an argument makes you look more of an authority figure than those people who only ever spout one side.

You might argue at this point that you may be an unknown figure within the niche – that you have no authority and that other experts won’t recognise your expertise. The easy answer, of course, is to ‘borrow’ authority from a known expert. Include their name in the title or sales pitch (with their permission, of course) or include an interview with them, discussing your solution.  They don’t have to agree with your solution – just so long as they are willing to talk about it.You then gain from their name’s fame.

So the real topic to be an expert at is research. Find the pain that troubles the people who have been in a niche for a long time and create your products accordingly. Don’t aim low. Aim high and win big.

What are you ideas? Is it possible to appear to be an expert in a field you know little about? Do you create products already in a niche you’d never heard of a few months ago? Put your comments below and if you like the idea of causing some controversy and argument, use the social sharing buttons below to get your friends, associates and enemies involved. Let’s see how far we can push this.

Quick Start Challenge 3 2015 – Week 2. The video!

Quick Start Challenge 3 2015 – Week 2. The video!

Well that has been fun. The Quick Start Challenge for week 2 was record and publish a video, preferably with yourself as the presenter.

Now, as you may be aware, I’ve done a few Powtoon videos in the past, mainly so that I don’t have to show my face or even blast my voice at the hapless victims who happen to trip over my offerings, but the point of doing a challenge, especially something like the Quick Start Challenge, is to break your own boundaries and do things you hadn’t done before, so, in the spirit of challenge, I’ve done that.

The video ended up a little longer than I thought it would (it’s only 2 and a half minutes – and for most of that, I’m quiet. Honest) and was fun to make. There were no cue cards or prompters, and at times it really sounds like it too. All of the editing was done with free tools like Windows Movie Maker and Avidemux – both very useful. In fact the only commercial video tool I have was more of a hindrance than a help as it didn’t feel instinctive for the basic editing I wanted to do.

Anyway. Without further ado, I present to you, my video for Quick Start Challenge 2015. Enjoy:

As it’s been mentioned in comments, I thought I’d show you the way I got my camera set up when I did the final part of my video. As I said in the video, there’s a roll of paper towels resting on top of a pile of magazines with a pen holding the lens up in position. The things we do for fame (grin).


WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies

WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies

Now don’t get too excited. I’m not going to spend the next few posts giving a WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies tutorial, but having started on the Quick Start Challenge, I’ve seen that a great number of people who are brand new to internet marketing need some help in getting a WordPress blog set up and have the basics of marketing explained to them.

WordPress Logo
WordPress Logo—Phil Oakley (Flickr.com)

Now for the people on the training course there were a number of videos in the membership area giving the members all the help they needed, which is great if you have access to the membership area, but not so great if you’ve never heard of the challenge or have found out that it’s months away before the next one starts – or even if it will ever be run again. This is not good for WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies. They need training now.

There’s also a huge number of questions that new marketers ask time and time again – and it’s nearly always the same few questions, or at least the answers will be the same.

My solution to this is a new website that will take over the basic tutorial side of this one. I’ll carry on with more advanced training and ideas here, but http://www.MarketingMentorSteven.com will be the place to go for new starters, confused people and ones who want to go back to the basics. I will put support in place for the new site but it won’t be as interactive as this one in that I won’t be allowing comments and once it’s up and running, it won’t need much in the way of maintaining.

I’ll start with a section on WordPress and, as and when I can, I’ll add other basic marketing tips, so that people can come back here or buy more advanced products and begin to have a clue as to what they’re being taught. This will also be a terrific outlet for some of the WordPress PLR I’ve been collecting (once it’s been revamped of course) so I won’t have to write everything from scratch. I’m bound to upset a few people as they have been selling this stuff for years, sometimes at well inflated prices, even though the information is freely available elsewhere – if only new starters knew what to search for. For example…

Hopefully the basics of WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies on http://www.MarketingMentorSteven.com won’t take too long to get going – at least the first few videos can go up, even if they’ve got somebody else’s voice on for the moment and I can go over them again later and the same with some tutorial articles. People are going to be directed there from other places so I don’t have to worry too much just yet about Google penalties for duplicate content as I don’t try to rank for SEO. This niche is way too competitive for that. I do want to personalise things so that I do increase brand ‘Steven Lucas’, but I’m more interested in helping people with WordPress & Marketing Training for Newbies on this new site than ranking high.

I could do with an assistant though, if somebody wants to offer. You must have good WordPress experience and be happy with FTP. In exchange I’d allow you to put your own affiliate links in the sidebar and if the site gets popular then I’m sure we could arrange something more. What I can’t afford to do is pay or take too much time to do training. It would be for the experience mostly. I bet I don’t get many offers!

Must get cracking. I have an aircraft booked for tomorrow to show off my flying skills whilst recording a video for Quick Start Challenge. I left it too long almost, but I do want to keep up with the challenge, especially since there is a great prize on offer for one of the videos.

One last thing for dedicated readers who have made it this far down the post. Here’s a free report that includes links to 7 (yes seven) training videos on product creation. Just CLICK HERE to download the pdf file and enjoy.

The Quick Start Challenge 3.0 – 2015 and all that

The Quick Start Challenge 3

So what’s all this about then? This is my post regarding The Quick Start Challenge 3, so perhaps I’d better explain what it is and what it’s all about.

Quick Start Challenge 3

The Quick Start Challenge is Dean Holland’s annual newbie starter system and this is the third year he’s run it, this year with the help of Craig Crawford and Robert Phillips. Their aim is to get people to start a blog either around their own name in the Internet Marketing niche or an interest in another niche, then by getting The Quick Start Challenge particpants to support each other blogs with comments and social shares, to increase the traffic going to them, then by adding monetisation systems to the blogs, to produce a small income for the owners.

As we all know, once you can start making a small income consistently, you are then on the path to making a larger income either by rinse and repeat actions in another niche or by increasing traffic to the existing blog.

The main idea is to show that before it is worth while generating traffic you need to have something for your visitors to look at.

So commensing with week one on 6th July, all the Quick StartChallenge 3 particpants were instructed to

  1.  Get a domain name and hosting,
  2. Set up a WordPress blog site
  3. Write their first post
  4. Write an ‘About Me’ page
  5. Tell the Facebook mutual support group about it.

Dean has been good enought to set up a series of videos guiding those who have never done this before through all of the steps required, and there are surprisingly few technical questions being asked. The mutual support is working very well and there are more than a few who are more expert on hand to offer assistance and guidance where required.

A fair set of tasks for those who have never done it before but, only 4 days into the Quick Start Challenge, many of the participants have set to with a will and produced everthing required. We’re now in the mutual appreciation zone so that lots of people will be visiting lots of the new blogs, adding comments and also doing social sharing – very important for SEO purposes.

So why am I doing the Quick Start Challenge? After all, I’ve been at this internet marketing lark for a long while, even if I only really started making a serious effort at it since April 2014.

Basically, I want this to prove to myself and my wife that it can be done, that it’s not all spam and hussle and that an income can be made from teaching others the basics and beyond. The stage I’m at at the moment is between $50 to $100 a month – enough to pay for me to be online, but hardly income supplementing or replacing. It may take another 6 months or a year, but I’d like to get to the $100 a day stage between passive income and email marketing. Like many others, I don’t need a massive, life-changing income. Just enough to get a nice retirement fund going and keep me entertained in the meantime.

What will next week’s tutorial video bring to us? We’ll have to wait until Monday 13th to find out.

P.S. At the request of some mebers of The Quick Start Challenge, I have removed 2 preceding posts that included blog lists of challengers. For some reason, they didn’t want the publicity! Mine not to reason why.

The ShoeMoney Course – Marketing Mentoring Made Easy

The first thing I’m going to start with (and this course will probably get many more mentions) is The ShoeMoney Course. Put together by Joel Shoemaker, this is an inspiring course, with very easy step by step video instructions on how to put together a money making website, and even better, Joel pays you for taking steps along the way, so you will earn while you learn. Nothing is forced or hammered at you and while each of the early videos is only a couple of minutes or so, everything you need to know is there for you.

You can go back through previous steps, if you feel you need to re-experience something you’ve already been taught, but you cannot jump ahead which keeps you nicely in check and stops you getting confused when you try to take in ideas that you’re not so ready for just yet.

Once you’ve started, you can also earn a bit more by introducing other people to the course. All of the visitors you send get registered and any that sign up and complete some steps also earn you some small amounts. The further you go through the course, the larger the percentage you get – especially as you sign up to various things through Joel’s links as do the visitors you send.

The technique of training people, apparently for free, but getting them to sign up through your affiliate links is not new. Just about every free training manual does the same sort of thing, but very few take it as far as Joel and actually return some of their affiliate earnings to their subscribers.

This course is actually best for brand new newbies – Those who have not made any start in internet marketing, since anyone who has made a start will almost certainly have a domain name, hosting and an autoresponder. The stages are laid out so that you cannot jump ahead, which is good, although provided you take each of the steps, you can work at any pace you wish. Fast or slow, you are not hassled by emails telling you to crack on or ease up.

So to round up for you. The ShoeMoney Course is free to join to help you take your first steps in successful internet marketing. You get paid while you play and you will learn what you really need to know to start your online marketing career.