The Customer Centric Model

 

The Customer Centric Model

It has been my agenda for nearly 20 years to reform an industry that is for the most part has been built upon a shifting and unreliable foundation that has always been broken and is heading for total annihilation. If you have attempted to build a business in MLM you will relate to what I am addressing.

For over a decade this vision has grown in urgency and definition to help direct a broken industry towards developing a customer based centered direct sales model.  All of this was originally inspired by a maverick move towards customer acquisition by a company called Trivita. In 2001. I was introduced to this new direction in MLM by the simple statement, “just buy your customers”. I had already been engaged in the MLM industry for nearly 10 years at that time. My first exposure to MLM was in 1992 with the first to market consumer (customer) based ISP, nationwide dial up Internet access for $20 per month.

I have been an entrepreneur my whole adult life and a good portion of my teen years as well, with my first business started at the age of 14. Prior to my exposure to MLM, I was and still am a traditional business entrepreneur. Therefore to say, I found the MLM model of exclusive distribution to and consumption by distributors and only motivated to this action by pursuing profit; alien, illogical and disturbing. Let me explain:

My introduction and very successful sojourn to this day with Trivita helped me discover the stark contrast between the artificial economies of a distributor based sales company in contrast to a customer based sales company.  I studied this comparison for many years and it became painfully clear, the reason traditional MLM fails, regardless of the compensation plan, regardless of the motivational speakers, regardless of the training to sell the “Hope and Dreams” as that is the only way to promote when the products and or services are frankly, always overpriced and usually underwhelmingly ineffective. There are very few exceptions.  So the glaring difference I found in Trivita was the fact that for every distributor I recruited, I averaged 100 customers. Then the fact, I did not have to sell Hope and Dreams and instead, the pitch was just buy customers. The reaction from the potential distributor was always extremely positive and the close rate of a distributor was very high. When you factor in that every distributor usually meant 100 customers, the potential success was superior to anything else like it.

 This was just a company that offered co-op acquisition of the leads and customers Trivita acquired via their infomercials and not much else. Even Trivita’s products lacked true demonstrability and the pricing was not very competitive. The only viable benefit regarding being customer centric was the fact you could just buy customers, that for the most part, only about 20% stayed a viable reorder over the years.

Because of this one aspect with Trivita, I have enjoyed a significant income for over 10 years with little attention, a true residual income. Over the years as a vendor to the MLM industry, occasionally getting involved with a few companies because I was promised they were going to offer customer centric solutions (all deception from short sighted pitch men). None of them ever did and in my opinion, the super majority of MLMs are run by handicapped captains, that understand the game and that being the 3 month rule. They build their businesses to inspire, motivate and separate their new distributors from as much money and contacts they can quickly. They know their business model only attracts distributors seeking some semblance of financial success therefore they lay their snares with grand claims of Hopes and Dreams. I consider it borderline criminal. Now we finally arrive to the meat of this article, that being what is a true Customer Centric direct sales company look like. Being that there really isn’t any yet, we have to go to the imagination and vision that to some part is guided by good business principles and look at some of the true customer centric businesses on the scene today.

Amazon could easily be the epitome of customer centric. 

 

Wow. “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”

That is big, it’s bold, and it’s risky for a brand to make the promise to fulfill on that 24/7 every week of the year.

Service recovery design pays off

Of course the shopping and purchasing experience on Amazon has been exceptional for years. But what if a customer has a post-purchase problem? A big part of customer experience design is a focus on “service recovery,” or designing and refining the process when something goes wrong for the customer. Beloved brands like Zipcar know this is a critical opportunity for delivering moments of delight.

READ MORE:
http://delight.us/earths-most-customer-centric-company/

It is all about Customer Satisfaction.

Let me repeat that, “IT IS ALL ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”!

The latest results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals Amazon.com as the reigning and undisputed champ in both Internet retailing and across the entire department in overall customer satisfaction. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos perhaps more than any business leader has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer and ushered it into the digital era. Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.

Pointers from the article 7 Customer Service Lessons from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/06/jeff-bezos-lessons.html

1. Don’t Just Listen to Your Customers, Understand Them
Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.”

2. Serve the Needs of the Customer
“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

3. The Empty Chair: The Most Important Person in the Room
“Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”

4. Never Settle for 99%
“We’re not satisfied until it’s 100%.”

5. Respect Today’s Customer
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”

6. Strive to Create a Customer-Centric Company
“If we can arrange things in such a way that our interests are aligned with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers and it will work out really well for Amazon.”

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize
 “We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.”

Over the past nearly two decades, Amazon has held a steady pace of positive press due to their industry-altering company and great customer service. However back in 2009, the foundations of the online book mogul were shook when they remotely deleted copies of the books “1984” and “Animal Farm” from users’ Kindles. The incident prompted an outcry of Internet users to see the dark, “Big Brother” side of Amazon – one that Bezos had worked hard to steer clear of. Amazon quickly made an apology with the usual dry and inhuman statement from the press team. But what really turned people back towards Amazon, was an informal and heartfelt apology from Jeff Bezos:

From “MLM” (Network Marketing), to a sustainable Coop Customer based Marketing Platform!
Now the vision for a better kinder direct sale company

I have run MLM companies, built them, serviced them as a vendor and engaged with them as a distributor for more than 20 years. I have touched and serviced and influenced over 100 million associates over this period of time. The following is my agenda to change this industry to service the little guy and gal, offering a real solution to build a middle class sustainable income for everyone, not just millions for the elite few, we know as “leaders” in their respective company.

1.       1. A Viable and Competitive Product

First and foremost, the “company” must offer a viable product and or service that does what it says and better than any of their competitors and better yet, have a product or service that has no legitimate competition. I could go into great detail here about the MLM industry and their underwhelming and over priced products with many making spurious claims to eventually be shut down by the FDA, etc. but I won’t.

2.       2. The Virtual Warehouse

This may be putting cart before the horse. “Inspired by Amazon’s virtual warehousing” for their merchants selling in Amazon, it is time the MLM industry moves forward with a similar solution. Storing your monthly product commitment in your spare bedroom, garages or den has been the standard for decades. With today’s technology and database management abilities, there is no excuse to not move toward a virtual solution for distributors. This can be done in house by the company, or, use Amazon’s virtual warehousing that is available on a global scale.

This one upgrade to this industry will make reselling, shipping and distribution automated and easy for every distributor, regardless of location or available storage abilities. Bottom line is a doubling or greater movement of product.

3.       3. Customer and Lead coop acquisition

This is where the company marketing people run ads, campaigns, etc., driving vertically targeted prospects to an 800 number or website, acquiring quality pre enrolled prospects or customers who have purchased or at most have enrolled into an auto ship. The distributor’s contribution enhances the company’s budget and the “partnership” enhances the customer’s retention. The company also makes available to the distributor mailing lists to their “enrolled leads and customers” to assist in the continued purchases etc. It is a win win situation and is a proven technique as proven by Trivita.

4.       4. Becoming an E Retailer (automated back office shipping)

Now that the distributors have their inventory, products and samples (if applicable), online, in an offsite virtual warehouse, the process to send product or samples becomes effective and easy. As simple as logging into the back office of their respective MLM company, designating the product (pulling from existing inventory and/or auto purchasing additional inventory), quantity, and drop ship address, with a simple click, the product or sample is easily on the way, while the distributor is still talking to their prospective client, prospect or distributor on the phone. This seamless process makes the potential growth of the company and distributor 100 times greater than the typical cumbersome processes today.

5.       5. 800 telemarketing service platform

Today’s technologies not only make this proposed service affordable, but extremely effective. Typically, new distributors are assigned an ID# number. The number resides within the servers database to track sales, commissions, etc. of the distributor. Thus the hardest part is already done for an 800 sales number.  [A little explanation of current tech] 800 number technology software interfaces display the originating number, or forwarded number.  IE: If the distributor develops a radio commercial with a phone number (toll free or not) then forwards that number to the company 800 number, all he or she needs to do is register that number (via the back office) or calling it in. This way the telemarking operators receiving the incoming calls, know who originated the call and the orders are taken and assigned appropriately to the distributor.

It can be as simple as the distributor takes a call from an ad, the prospects decides to buy the product. The distributor can easily 3 way into the 800 platform and assist the sale. It can be as easy as an ad running offering a product with the company main toll free number offering free shipping and handling with the special pin number. It can be very easy to build.

Imagine the projected results with the distributors taking the initiative, no more need for mentors, no more lead for upline leadership, no more need for motivational events, because the motivation is found in the system and the results. Imagine!

6.       6. API (Application Programming Interface). Distributor selling on Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, etc.

Basically, the MLM company has an API developed that interfaces with Amazon, Ebay, etc for the distributor. This allows the distributor to develop an online store on Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc, driving and supporting the prospects and customers, but the sale interfaces through the company. Thereby the company controls the pricing, collects the money (connected to the distributor) and ships the product. All the collecting, shipping, tracking and commissions paid out is done by the company.

API: In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. Basically allows the company to remotely control pricing, merchant collection, shipping and communication via the distributors Ebay, Amazon, etc. account

More about Amazon API:
http://support.getdropstream.com/customer/portal/articles/1233046-configuring-amazon-marketplace-for-third-party-order-fulfillment-

More about Ebay API:
https://go.developer.ebay.com/what-ebay-api

7.       7. Retail Sales Only Sites (Widgets and actuals)

Traditional MLM companies give a distributor a self-replicated web site that is upfront and focused on selling the Hopes and Dreams of the opportunity, the money, the comp plan, the hype and flash of it all, designed to recruit more distributors. This is death to a retail customer.  Very few MLM companies even consider a dedicated self-replicated retail sales only site for their various products.  I have yet to even hear of any companies making a simple widget that allows the distributor to have the retail site hosted via the widget on their own domains, much less the ability to add any customization to it. Below is one of the first and recent MLM retail sites I am aware of. It sells the coffee, offering one off sales or a discount and free shipping with an auto ship order.

More about widgets here:
http://alexmarandon.com/articles/web_widget_jquery/

8.       8.Social Marketing Aps and systems

Marketers, merchants, etc. need a portfolio of tools, to get the message out, to build awareness, to build a sphere of influence and to build a customer and distributor centered loyalty program. Very few people, even entrepreneurs have all the skill sets to achieve this. However, automated marketing, email auto responders, social broadcasters, coop advertising, blogging platforms, materials and videos are necessary tools for the entrepreneur. First these tools are expensive and the various costs ad up quickly. When you do not supply these types of tools in a controlled environment, the message being broadcasted may not meet the criteria of the company nor abide by regulations.  There are solutions and Markethive is one of the best options. http://markethive.com  Markethive supplies all of these tools and more, integrated and easily configured and controlled within the communities vertical structures built for DSA companies like yours. It is called the company Directories and within a company portal in Markethive, your distributors will find all they need; Broadcasting platforms, self-replicating personalized PDF documents,  Coop advertising systems, blogging platforms, email auto responders, everything needed for marketing, in one place.

9.       9. Training and videos

I do not mean motivational speakers and cheer leading. I mean, real world training how to build the businesses. Daily classes offered by competent experienced teachers, so the distributors develop a strong understanding, expanding their customer territory and acquisition and operate like a real business.

Summary;

With the accelerated market place awash in innovation and technology, technology that puts the human element right into the center of the equation, you can understand why you see the MLM industry sluggish and many companies dying on the vine and others falling flat on their faces with their much heralded launches. Entrepreneurs (distributors) that once upon a time, a flashy video, a charming pitch man, and a compelling comp plan, worked to explode the next greatest MLM launch.

Not today.
It is only a matter of time a young bold, innovative entrepreneur launches the first true customer centric MLM similar to the framework I have discussed here. And when they do, the world will quake, the swamps will empty and the first multi trillion MLM enterprise will rise to stand head to toe with the great innovations today like Facebook Google, PayPal etc.

Written by:
Thomas Prendergast
CMO: Markethive

 
 

How to Create a Customer-Centric Culture

What makes the great companies so great? It’s the service and experience the customer receives when doing business with them. The companies that get it are customer-centric. They put the customer at the heart of decisions, ideas, marketing, system design and more.
 
customer centric companies
 
 
It is definitely not the product. The product can be truly amazing, even a lifestyle changer, but that’s not what makes a company great. Take for example, cable television. Cable TV is truly amazing. When I was growing up, there were only four channels from which to choose. Today we have hundreds of channels to choose from with amazing high-definition clarity. We can record shows on the cable box to watch later, or watch movies and other programs ‘on demand,’ whenever we want to watch them. This is an amazing product. However, the cable TV industry, as a whole, delivers an abysmal customer experience. One of the less-than-customer-friendly policies: Asking a person to stay home on a workday to meet the cable TV installer during a four-hour window. That hardly seems customer-centric.
 
 
On the other hand, there are companies that sell the same products as everyone else, but the customer experience they offer really does set them apart. Ace Hardware is one of the best examples of this, having been awarded the JD Power award for highest customer satisfaction in its industry eight years in a row. These smaller, independently owned hardware stores compete against big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s and sell many of the same items as the big stores. 
 
 
However, many Ace Hardware stores are only one-tenth the size of one of these larger stores. Imagine an 8,000-square-foot store going up against an 80,000-square-foot store. And, these larger stores outspend Ace Hardware in advertising dollars by 30 to 1. Yet, Ace Hardware thrives in this competitive environment. So, what does Ace Hardware have to offer? The experience, which comes in the form of helpful customer service. As an Ace customer in Seattle put it, ‘Even though the prices can be, but are not necessarily, higher, the convenience and help are worth it.’
 
 
Ace doesn’t promise ‘friendly’ service. It promises helpful service, and there’s a difference. It’s the way Ace stores engage their customers, provide knowledgeable employees who help them with their projects, and deliver a higher-level customer experience.
 
 
Consider several reasons to create a customer-centric culture. I’ll argue that customer service can make the difference between a company’s ultimate success or failure. It can mean the difference between having loyal, repeat customers or one-time-only customers. And, it can mean the difference between customers’ rave reviews or online rants.
 
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register

Why do Customer Centric Companies Stand Out?

The bottom line is that customer-centric companies stand out. They are more desirable for consumers to do business with and more enjoyable places for employees to work. The top-rated customer service companies are often the best companies to work for as well. The reason is that the culture within the company offers a similar experience to what the customer experiences on the outside. Some things to consider about customer-centric companies:
 
Customer-centric companies empower employees to make decisions that are for the benefit of the customer. They have guidelines versus rules and policies, and the mindset that if what the customer is asking for isn’t illegal or immoral, won’t cost the company money (although sometimes that’s still OK), and won’t harm the company’s reputation, then it should be considered.
 
customer centric companies
 
Customer-centric companies hire people who fit the culture and have personalities that align with the company’s core values, mission and vision. Skills and experience are important, of course, but these high-performing companies are looking for other qualities as well. It takes the right combination of skill, personality, and attitude.
 
Customer-centric companies invest a lot of time and money into soft skills training such as customer service and relationship building. Technical and product training are important, but constant reinforcement of the “people side” of the business is equally important, if not even more so. Customer-centric companies know the importance of their employees, and take a “people first” approach. They develop their people at a level that keeps them engaged and enthusiastic about taking care of the company’s customers.
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register

What does Customer Centric actually mean?

Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.
A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.
Does the business you are involved in fall into the category? Well, these are the indicators: –
 
  • Puts customers above everything else.
  • Enhances the buyers experience, promotes sales and works to ensure customer loyalty, above all.
 

Here’s my list of seven steps for creating a customer-centric culture at your company.

 
These figure in my work as a company culture consultant; I’ve found them to be central to creating a corporate customer service culture that’s devoted from top to bottom to the customer experience. I am recapping the list here at the request of a MarketHive reader; I hope you find it useful.
 
1. Articulate your central philosophy in just a few words, a few meaningful words. That’s right: a company’s culture can begin with words, but those words need to represent a decision – something you actually stand for, a decision then expressed in the clearest, and ideally fewest, words. Find a central operating principle. Think of the Ritz-Carlton’s“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” or Mayo Clinic’s “The needs of the patient come first.”
 
2. Elaborate on your central philosophy with a brief list of core values – a list short enough that every employee can understand, memorize, and internalize it, yet long enough to be meaningful. Your core values should cover how customers, employees, and vendors should be treated at all times.
 
3. Reinforce your commitment to these values continually. You may want to go as far as to devote five minutes every morning you stress one value, or an aspect of one value, at your departmental meeting. If that’s too often for your business reality or sensibilities, do it weekly. But don’t save it for the annual company picnic. Annual anything is the enemy of ‘‘core.’’
 

4. Make it visual.
The above-mentioned Ritz-Carlton has ‘‘credo cards’’ – laminated accordion-fold cards that each employee carries during work hours. The brand’s entire core beliefs, plus shared basics of guest and employee interactions, fit on that card. Zappos highlights one of its core values on each box it ships out. And sometimes ‘‘visual’’ doesn’t mean words at all. One way that FedEx shows that safety is a core value is via the orange shoulder belts in its vans: Everyone can see – from twenty-five yards away – that the driver’s wearing a belt.
 
5. Make your philosophy the focus of orientation. That way, if safety is one of your core values and you stress this at orientation, on day two, when the new employee’s co-worker tells him ‘‘In this restaurant, we stack the high chairs in front of the emergency exit when we need more room to do our prep work’’ [This is a real-life example, unfortunately], the new employee will experience cognitive dissonance and work on a way to align the actions of the company with the core values they’re supposed to reflect.
 
6. Train, support, hire, and, if necessary, use discipline to enforce what’s important to you. A core values statement is two-dimensional until you bring it to life – with the right people and energetic guidance. ‘‘Maintaining a culture is like raising a teenager,’’ says Ray Davis, President and CEO of Umpqua Bank, a the Pacific-Northwest-based U.S. retail bank that’s consistently top rated for service. ‘‘You’re constantly checking in. What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you hanging out with?’’ And, sometimes, you have to use some tough love when that teenager is acting up in ways that don’t support the culture you’re working to build.
 
7. Include the wider world. Your people want to be part of an organization with a sense of purpose. Pizza parties and overtime pay (and even, believe it or not, stock options) only go so far. More inspirational: A version of a corporate “triple bottom line,” such as Southwest’s “Performance – People – Planet” commitment and annual report card. Or Ritz-Carlton’s “Community Footprints” social and environmental responsibility program. Or the story Umpqua Bank Regional VP Michele Livingston shared with me, about her employees visiting the homes of disabled customers to help them fill out their paperwork. Now that’s really something.
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register.

How I Cut My Writing Time From 2 Days to 4 Hours

As I was brainstorming ideas for my last post on the MarketHive blog, I started reflecting on what I’ve personally learned during my time at MarketHive.
 
creating writing 

My writing process is considerably different today than it was when I joined MarketHive over 2 years ago, so hopefully you can find some nuggets in the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned that might help you as well.

Slow beginnings

When I first joined MarketHive, I wrote or sourced the content, published it and promoted it all. I approached blogging from almost exact opposite ends of the spectrum; Others are great at getting something up quickly and tweaking it to fit, whereas I was prone to spend a long time on my “first draft,” which was more like a fourth draft by the time I eventually sent it over for Paul to look at.

Depending on the style of the blog post and the topic, I would take 1-2 full days to write a post for the MarketHive blog when I first started. I remember thinking how silly I was to underestimate my writing time: in my interview with Paul, I estimated that I could write one post per day, but it probably took six months before I got to that point.

I made a few mistakes on a regular basis in those first months. One was to research too much, which hurt me in two ways: one, I had too much information collected about a topic that I wanted to squeeze into a 1500-word piece. I would either struggle to leave out research which I found interesting, or squeeze it in so that I ended up with upwards of ten different sources for one blog post.

The second way this hurt me was simply by taking up too much time. Paul Graham wrote a great essay about how we spend our time. He says that sitting on a couch all day watching TV is so enjoyable and unlike work that it sets off our alarm bells pretty quickly. Most of us would struggle to get through a whole day of that without feeling really bad about wasting time.

When you do “busy work,” however, it’s not that much fun and it looks a lot like work. Emails are a good example: you’re sitting at your desk, using your computer, and you’re not having fun, so you’re probably working. Only, you can get through a whole morning of emails and look back to realize you didn’t get anything important done. That’s what research can be like.

Particularly on a topic I don’t already know much about, I tend to get sucked in to reading everything I possibly can about it before I start writing. For a journalist that has months to complete a piece, that might be feasible—and even admirable. But for a blog that’s aiming to publish a new post every day, there’s no time for research beyond the minimum you need to explain the topic to your readers.

Another thing that slowed me down to begin with was managing my workload. Working full-time at MarketHive meant I had other tasks to do aside from writing blog posts: helping out with projects in other areas of MarketHive, working on emails to our customers to announce new features, answering blog comments and more. For a long time I struggled to find a balance between the different types of work I needed to do. I have some ideas about this which I’ll come back to later.

Experimenting with my workday

Something I love about the MarketHive culture is the emphasis on self-improvement: not only by simply doing things we know are good for us, like exercising more, but also through experimentation.

I’ve done several experiments on my workflow and my daily routine over the past nine months to eventually arrive at what seems to be working well for me now.

Originally, I worked from around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.—a regular workday. When I realized I had a lot of work to get through besides my blog posts, I tried pushing my blog posts up to the top of my to-do list each day, working on those before I did anything else. I often fell into the trap of moving on to smaller, easier tasks like answering emails or blog comments, just to check some things off my list, and my blog posts would still take a couple of days to get done.

Not only did this process slow me down, I felt pressure a lot of the time: either because I had so many things on my task list that I hadn’t started, since I was working on my blog post first, or because I had a whole blog post to get done that I was ignoring to work on smaller tasks.

I had always thought I was a morning lark, who worked best before lunch. A few months ago I realized that I didn’t know this for sure, and I’d actually noticed I was working in solid, focused blocks right after lunch many days. So I tried a new experiment: I worked on my own startup before lunch and started my MarketHive workday at 1 p.m. This worked to a point, but I found that if I wasn’t done for the day by around 6 p.m., my energy started to wane and I struggled through the last part of my day.

At various points in my time at MarketHive I also tried working until 10 p.m. at night, and starting at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to get a head start. I tried blocking out distractions, working in coworking spaces or at home by myself, working in silence or with various types of music. MarketHive’s culture really encourages this type of experimentation, and we’re lucky that we have a supportive team to share our progress with. I’d highly recommend trying this yourself if you’re struggling with productivity at work.

Drastic changes that led to increased productivity

creating writing 
 
Right now I have the best daily routine setup that I have tried. I’m really happy with how it’s working after the first few weeks, and I expect I’ll stick with it now that I’ve found something that suits me. On a day I’m working at MarketHive, my day now looks something like this (keeping in mind that I’ve been working part-time at MarketHive for the last few months, so I no longer have extra tasks besides writing blog posts):

7am: Get up, drink coffee, read, generally just sit around and wake up

8am-12pm: Start writing today’s MarketHive post

12-1pm: Lunch

1-2pm: Complete any editing that needs doing on my last MarketHive post

Depending on whether I’ve got edits waiting to be done on my last MarketHive post, I’m usually done for the day by lunchtime or just after lunch. The high of taking my lunch break knowing my day’s work is done is huge.

I originally got the idea of working until noon from Sean Ogle. I was fairly skeptical that it would work for me, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’m generally able to focus on one task (writing a blog post) for a solid four-hour stretch. I take tiny breaks during this period to grab drinks, go to the bathroom, check my emails, and so on, which help me to refresh my brain a little. Knowing that my goal is to get my work done by noon, however, helps to nudge me back to work when I get distracted. If I really want to start noodling around on the internet, I have to remind myself that I have limited time until my goal is up, and after lunch I’ll have all afternoon to waste time.

A few lessons I’ve learned

In the process of cutting down the time it takes me to write a blog post from a couple of days to just a morning, I’ve learned a bunch of lessons. Many of these are specific to my workflow, but you might find them useful as well.

1. The right music is important

I really love listening to Pandora, but I’ve found that switching to different artists all the time tends to affect my workflow negatively. I spend more time skipping or liking tracks and checking to see who I’m listening to than I should. This month I’ve paid for a month of Rdio to test whether listening to full albums will help me to focus better. So far it seems to be going well.

2. Lying to myself doesn’t work

Working until noon isn’t a new idea. I’d come across the concept of setting earlier deadlines for yourself to induce focused work before, but I had always thought that it wouldn’t work for me. After all, if I tell myself I have to have something done by noon, how do I block out the little voice in my head saying, I know that’s a lie and I actually have all day to do this so I’m going to check my email again? Turns out, the trick is not about lying to yourself at all. For me, it’s about setting a challenge.

Rather than telling myself, I have to have this done by noon, I tell myself, let’s see if I can get this done by noon – that’d be awesome. Working on a challenge that offers a big reward (more time to do what I want in the afternoon, and no last-minute scramble to finish my work) is a lot more fun and manageable for me that setting arbitrary deadlines.

3. My own mind gets in my way a lot

One of my biggest issues with getting blog posts written quickly has always been that they appear to be huge, audacious projects in my mind. I wrote once before about my process of breaking down each post into subtasks that were manageable chunks of work. Although this helped, I still approached each one as a massive project, rather than just another task on my list.

Now that I’ve proven to myself over and over that I can write a post in a morning without dropping my quality, they’re a lot less formidable in my mind. I think that makes a huge difference to how I work.

It takes a lot of trial-and-error to know how you work

I said before that I’ve tried working early in the morning, late at night and right after lunch. I tested a lot of theories about how I work. I’ve worked surrounded by people, all alone in my house, at coffee shops, in silence, in dark spaces and light, when I’m cold and hot. Experimenting has been totally worth it for me, because I’ve found a system that works really well now. It’s taken a lot of time, though, and if I went back in time to when I started at MarketHive, I’d tell myself to be patient and keep experimenting.

Getting something on the page has to happen quickly

creating writing 
 
Something I’ve learned from experience and from reading advice from other writers is that there comes a point when you need to shake yourself out of research mode and force yourself to start writing. Getting words on the page is that huge push that it takes for a boulder to start moving. As soon as you get that done, you’ve got the momentum to keep going.

Quite often I’ll get stuck at this stage and I won’t be able to get words on the page, even though I know it’s what I need to do. I have a few strategies to help with this, and I’ve found that using them to get something started is almost always the push I need to keep going.

One way I do this is to type rubbish. I may literally start my first sentence like this: “I have no idea what to write about this topic because…” and just type gibberish about the topic and why I’m struggling. Many people have said that writing is important for thinking because it helps you to organize your thoughts. In my case that’s often the case.

Notifications are not worth the distraction

creating writing 
 
I never turn my phone off when I’m writing. This means that anyone with my phone number can call me or send me a text message. That hardly ever happens, so it’s not something I’m worried about distracting me. Email and Twitter, on the other hand, can be huge distractions. The problem with notifications from those is that they’re never urgent. I know that anything I urgently need to take care of will come via my phone from something who actually knows my phone number. No email or Tweet is ever going to be so important that I have to stop working immediately to deal with it. At least not when I’m working in a four-hour stretch, and checking my email every hour or two.

Not only do I turn off notifications, but I keep Twitter and my inbox closed on my computer when I’m writing. If I really want to check them, I need to use my phone, which keeps my computer safe from those distractions until my blog post is finished and I can send it off. That may not work for everyone, but since I’m prone to switching tabs constantly to see what’s going on, I enjoy the freedom of having no interactions available on my computer.

Not having “little tasks” to do helps me focus

One thing I mentioned earlier was that I struggled to balance my writing at MarketHive with all of the other tasks I had each day, like replying to blog comments and emails, or jumping into support. I’ve been able to focus more easily in recent months because I stopped doing all of those tasks when I switched to a part-time employee. I think there’s still a lesson to be learned from my struggles though, which I expect I’ll face again in the future.

Because I always had trouble balancing my “big task” of a blog post and my “little tasks” (everything else), my next experiment with these would be to try pushing all of my little tasks onto one or two particular days per week. Even when I tried doing my blog posts first thing in the morning, I still had trouble balancing the different mindsets needed for different types of work. I think having an entire day blocked out for one type of work would make me more productive and remove the pressure of worrying about the tasks I’m not making progress on.

Moving on

creating writing 
 
I am thrilled to be able to take all of these lessons away from my time at MarketHive, and to move on to new things with a better understanding of how I work best. MarketHive has an awesome culture for someone like me who enjoys experimenting with their workflow and routines to learn what works best. If you have the flexibility to do so, I’d highly recommend experimenting with your own workflow and taking note of what works and what doesn’t.

Or maybe you’ve done some experiments already. Let us know what you’ve found in the comments.

Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register.

12 Easy Ways to Make Life Simple Again

Would you like to uncomplicate your life?  I bet you would!
 
A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person.  For me, it means getting rid of some of life’s complexities so you can spend more time with people you love and do more of the things you love.  It means getting rid of the clutter, and eliminating all but the essential, so you are left with only that which gives you value.
 
simple life
 
For the cynics who might say that the list of ideas below is too long to be ‘simple,’ there are really only two steps to simplifying:

1. Identify what’s most important to you.

2. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

Of course, that advice is not terribly useful unless you understand how to apply this concept to different areas of your life; so I present to you the points below as well.  And since there can be no ‘one size fits all,’ step-by-step guide to simplifying your life, I’ve compiled an incomplete list of ideas that should help you move in the right direction.  Not every tip will fit your lifestyle, so just choose a few that do and apply them accordingly.

3.  Learn to let GO of what wasn’t meant to be.

Letting go is part of moving on to something better.  You will not get what you truly deserve if you’re too attached to the things you’re supposed to let go of.  Sometimes you love, and you struggle, and you learn, and you move on.  And that’s OK.  You must be willing to let go of the life you planned for so you can enjoy the life that is waiting for you.

4.  Stop berating yourself for being a work in progress.

Start embracing it!  Because being a work in progress doesn’t mean you’re not good enough today.  It means you want a better tomorrow, and you wish to love yourself completely, so you can live your life fully.  It means you’re determined to heal your heart, expand your mind and cultivate the gifts you know you’re meant to share. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!

5.  Don’t wish your life away.

The truth is, your whole life has been leading up to this moment.  Think about that for a second.  Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, has led you to this moment right now.  This moment is priceless, and it’s the only moment guaranteed to you.  This moment is your ‘life.’  Don’t miss it.  (Read The Power of Now.)

6.  Forget what everyone thinks and wants for you.

One of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you.  Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be.  The best thing you can do is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others will think, or afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.  They aren’t.

7.  Stop worrying and complaining.

Start focusing on the things you can control and do something about them.  Those who complain the most accomplish the least.  And when you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.  It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.

8.  Start making moves.

Sometimes we ask questions not to seek answers but to affirm something our soul knows already.  You’re not doing yourself a favor by merely hearing the same answer from people over and over again.  It is accepting the truth, making a conscious change and finally moving on to other things that is your answer.  Give your soul a chance to explore the life you are meant to live.  Stop asking the same questions – at some point you have to make a decision and take action.  (Read Getting Things Done.)

9.  Focus on being productive, not being busy.

Don’t just get things done; get the right things done.  Results are always more important than the time it takes to achieve them.  Stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort.  Is it bringing you in the same direction as your goals?  Don’t get caught up in odd jobs, even those that seem urgent, unless they are also important.

10.  Look for the silver lining in every tough situation.

When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

11.  Spend more time with the right people.

These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

12.  Let things be less than perfect.

Smile every chance you get; not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have, and all the problems you know you don’t have.  You must accept the fact that life is not perfect, that people are not perfect, and that you are not perfect.  And that’s okay, because the real world doesn’t reward perfection.  It rewards people who get GOOD things done.  And the only way to get GOOD things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.

Afterthoughts

Truth be told, life is actually pretty simple, but we often insist on making it complicated.  If you’re struggling with any of the points above, there is a clear path to getting back on track.  Your habits are simply broken and need to be repaired.  When you trust a broken set of habits every day, it’s only a matter of time before life gets confusing and complicated.
 
It doesn’t have to be this way though.  You can make adjustments starting today that will instantly help you feel better, think more clearly, and live more effectively.  That’s why we wrote our book, “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”  It is filled with short, concise tips on how to do just that.

The floor is yours

So which of the points above are you struggling with most right now?  What has been unnecessarily complicating your life?  Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights with us.
 
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register.

T minus 10 and counting

Update to the Juggernaut launch of MH!

With a very small edit in the 2nd video (Alpha Founder) they are being prepared for final release. Mike Darling will be updating the Alpha Profile pages to have the new video. He will also be upgrading the back office to default to the second Alpha Founder video and the Alpha upgrade page. In other words, unless you are either subscribed to our a fully paid Alpha subscriber or founder, every time you log in that page will default.

Mike Darling will also be building a template capture page to be used on any domain for the new video and we will have it hosted on some of our domains for the big massive email campaign to our old Veretekk database.

Mike and Mariusz are working on our new Admin email system so we can access the millions of name, email, IP, date, phone, etc. so our first launch will go to that database as soon as they finish it. Mike has told me he will try to have it ready by the end of this month.

Vince (the video animation marketing firm we are using) and his copywriters will be crafting our 10 MH auto responders starting next week to complete this campaign.

We are getting very close to heading up up and away!

Thomas Prendergast

I am Watching You

The time has come that the rank and file (That is You) engage in the practice of speaking your mind, belaying you insights, sharing your perspective of what MarketHive means and does and how it serves the little guy and gal out there on the Internet. Go plant the seeds on the forums. HINT: Look up at the banner. It lists many of the top forums. Get your Twitter going! Engage the Markethive Fan page! It is time for organic discussions across the vast wastelands.

I am watching you and taking notes.
 


Buying Vemma Leads

Are you currently buying leads for your Vemma business? What if there was a better way to build a business other than buying leads? Would you become more successful in a shorter period of time? If I could show you how to build a business without buying leads, would you take the time to listen?

If you’re a Vemma distributor and you’d like to learn how to build a successful business, go to http://homebusiness.healthfulchoice.com and watch the video presentation. If it makes sense to you, call or email me.

Building a Vemma business buying Vemma leads is NOT going to work, unless you are one of the top networkers in the world. I suggest to you that there is a better way to build a business.

Watch the video to see if I’m right! Go to The Home Business Marketing Group.

Jeffrey Sloe
440-725-3729, or
Fill out online form

Vemma Leads Info

Vemma® is positioned to make a huge, positive difference for countless people all over the world. And we’re doing it the best way we know how. Through people helping people. Through a product that delivers on the promise of better health. And through an opportunity to create real wealth and time freedom for those willing to put forth some effort into something they can believe in.

You can either leave things the way they are or take massive action to shift to the life you want to live.

The choice is up to you.

Vemma’s® unique global wellness philosophy delivers a results driven product. Vemma® is an established, family-owned company with ten’s of thousands of satisfied monthly consumers, and world class customer service.

Here is Vemma’s® mission. Founded by BK Boreyko and his family, Vemma’s® parent company, New Vision®, is a revolutionary leader in health and wellness. With over $1 billion in total retail sales, this company helped pioneer liquid nutrition over 12 years ago by introducing the #1 selling liquid mineral supplements in North America.

You can get started on a great-tasting path to ultimate nutrition with the Vemma Nutrition Program® for only $60 USD plus shipping. Enjoy the convenience of Autoship to have your Vemma® products delivered automatically to your door every month.

The Vemma® family is made up of thousands of individuals working to make their dreams come true. Through sales incentives and rewards, a generous Compensation Plan, and great products, Vemma® offers a unique opportunity that can help make anyone’s vision for the future a reality.

Vemma® Leads are people who are interested in finding out more about a Vemma® business opportunity and have taken a “Tour”. The Lead first fills in a 15 field questionnaire. They then submit their information and are instantly taken to a Vemma® Builder Confirmation Page where they can take a free tour, and become a prospect.

Vemma® has partnered with Peak Impact Inc. to provide you with the freshest Sign ups available on the Internet today. Our Sign Ups are delivered directly into your Vemma® Builder back office and to your email within seconds after they request more information about Vemma®. Our customers find using Real-Time Sign ups like these to be an extremely effective, affordable, and a duplicable way to build a large successful organization!!

  • Lead Type: Home Business Opportunity Seekers
  • Delivery: Commences within 48 hours
  • Daily Lead Volume: You choose how many leads you want to receive each day
  • Lead Age: Delivered to you by email within seconds and posted to your back office
  • Location: US only, Canada only, or both
  • Overage: 10% overage included automatically
  • Semi-Exclusive: Exclusive use of your leads within your company

These Leads are people who are interested in finding out more about your Vemma® business opportunity and have taken a “Tour”. The Lead first fills in a 15 field questionnaire (View Form Here). They then submit their information and are instantly taken to a Vemma®Builder Confirmation Page where they can take a free tour, and become a prospect.

What if I told you there was a better and more exciting way to build your business? What if you could buy customers, instead of leads? Would that be a revolutionary approach to the same old problem that ALL network marketers face?

If you would like to learn more about buying customers, contact me by phone or email. You will learn the right approach to building your business on the net.

By the way, you can continue to use your Vemma® products, just make money in an entirely new manner from now on!

To learn more about buying customers, go to http://homebusiness.healthfulchoice.com.

Jeffrey Sloe, Internet Marketing Advisor
440-725-3729, or
Fill out online form