Tuesday

You Are So Great


You are. Just as you are. 


Forget the buzz words and phrases for a second. Let's just chat.


Only you know everything that you've been through to bring you to where you are now. I should imagine that it hasn't been a picnic. You may have gone through disappointments and faced situations where people made judgements about you that were not only unfair, they were plain wrong or mean.


There have been times that you've reached for a goal and not quite got there. You may not even be able to forgive yourself for that. You may not have realised until just now that you haven't forgiven yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive anyone else you need to forgive to move on. 


Whatever your disappointments in the past. It's all behind you now. This moment is a fresh page, and you can write your future on it in whichever way you choose.


Here are some things to bear in mind. If you've struggled, but you're still here, on a blog like this, learning:

  • You know how to handle failure, pick yourself up and start again. You're brave.
  • You have confidence. Not everyone would pick themselves up. You have.
  • You have vision. You could see there was a better future for you, and that is why you are researching what is available, and learning all you can.
If you have courage, confidence and vision, you have all you need to be a leader. That's why I think you are so great. Get out there and lead. 

Saturday

Are You Using QR Codes Properly?


If you want to create QR Codes (and use them properly!!) this includes a QR generator.

Monday

The Poetry of Potential

I was thinking today about the immense power there is in potential, if it is only unleashed. 


I see some people unleashing that power and striding forward in the most beautiful and inspiring ways, but there are others with just the same potential who never act on it.


As I was mulling over this, a poem came into my head. It took about five minutes to write but people seem to like it, so I thought I'd share it here.


You know you have potential, don't you? You know you do. Just act on it, and see how the future unfolds for you.


Melody of Life


There's more power than you know,
In potential that you feel.


In your heart you'll find your truth,
It's your task to make that real.


There's a vision that you see,
Through your own unconscious mind.


But it simply will not be,
If your consciousness is blind.


So, your choice with every day,
As the seasons move along


Is to find a better way
To sing out your lifetime's song.


There is nobody alive
Who has quite the voice you do.


But bright harmonies will rise,
When it's shared with someone new.


If you keep your voice so small
That nobody ever hears,


Then your song will stay unsung,
As the months become the years.


And as decades string along,
And your dreams are memory


You will think of every song,
And this warning shared by me.


Only you can choose to shine,
Or to hide your light from all.


Only you can choose to rise.
Only you can choose to fall.


by Rebecca Woodhead

Tuesday

Do You HOG Your Business Brownies?

Fabienne Fredrickson talks about sharing your brownies. In this audio, I explain what that means and why SO many people choose to hog their brownies instead. When you've listened to this audio, leave a comment below and confess your crime of brownie hogging, or share how you avoid making that mistake and why others should share their brownies too.

Thursday

Does Making Money Freak You Out?


Right, let's chat. I've noticed that whenever the idea of earning money comes up people freak out. Creative people in particular lose the plot. How dare I suggest that they could make money out of their writing/art/music? Ring a bell for you?

Let's take a look at what money is (or should be). It's a representation of a value. It's a universal form of value that means you don't have to hand over two goats for a haircut. It's kind of useful. Is there anything evil about trading a cake for a variety of biscuits? Nope. What if you want to trade the cake and a kettle and a few books and some gardening time for a television? That's a bit complicated. What if you could just say that all that stuff and effort was equivalent to x amount of money and then trade the money for the television? More efficient. Has anything evil happened yet? Nope. Hang on though ... that was an evil, capitalist transaction!! Shock!!!

Admittedly, with the protests and all, this is a tricky time to talk about money but it's also a crucial time to talk about it because - whatever the result of the protests, and I'm not partisan, I can see points on both sides of the fence - you need to eat. You need to pay rent/mortgage. You need heating and water. Even if you truly believe that you can construct a utopian global political structure in which we all ohmm our way through life on nothing more than manifested camomile flowers (and as a hippie at heart, I yearn for that day) for now ... the way you get your camomile flowers, incense and environmentally friendly laundry soap nuts ... is by trading money for them. The way you get the money is by providing value to other people.

So, here's my shocking revelation for the disillusioned and creative. Ready? I think you're valuable. In fact, I think you are SO valuable that if you take the songs you write and the books you pen and the hemp bags you sew out into the marketplace I believe you could provide so much value that people will WILLINGLY hand over money to you. That is capitalism. You can then pay taxes on your earnings and help those less fortunate than you. That is socialism. If you polarise all this too much, you'll lose sight of the fact that, when it works, these things can work together and both create and share out wealth. You don't need to hurt anyone to make money. You need to provide value. The people who see the value will give you money. Will that mean they starve? No. Will that mean that if your hand-crafted jewellery is so scrummy that they can't resist it that they'll go without Starbucks for a month to buy it? Probably, and that's their choice, because most of us live in democracies in which we are free to make those choices. A blessing.

If I can help anyone, let me know. If I can't, I wish you well. If you want to share your conflicts about the point where creativity and earning a living meet, and how you've overcome those or how you'd like to, feel free. I have a feeling it could help a lot of people if you're honest and brave.

Thanks for reading this.
--------------------------
First posted on Google+

P.S. Since this is such a big problem for so many people, I've now (Sept 2012) made a product to help you with it Money Acceptance with Ray Higdon.

Wednesday

What is Holding You Back?

People give such daft reasons for not reaching for their dreams. They are embarrassed or they're scared they'll mess up. 'Scared'? There's no reason to feel fear. Provided that your dream is legal, nobody's going to put you in prison for living it. Get perspective. You are here to be your complete and magnificent self. You are here to share your own unique talents. Do that.

Tuesday

How to Make a Blogger Post

How to Set Up a Free Blogger Blog (Google's Blogging Platform)

Really simple steps to set up a blog, for non-techies. This is the first step. You'll have your own basic, free blog within 10 minutes.



Monday

Bad Hair, House, Outfit, and Face Day ... But I Still Made The Video!

Viewing this content requires Silverlight. You can download Silverlight from http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight3.


This is a snippet of training that's part of something I put together for my team. I thought I'd share it with you, to inspire you to take action today. It doesn't have to be perfect. As Joe Schroeder says, you don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going!

Wednesday

How to Create a HAPPY PEOPLE Marketing Funnel



I've mentioned Diane Hochman's 4 C's of marketing before:
Collect
Capture
Communicate
Close
I've been having a discussion about this on Google+ and I came up with a practical example I thought I'd cut and paste here. 
****
I'll give you a practical example of a marketing funnel in action, in case anyone is still scratching their head:

The other day, I took my husband on a tour of a brewery. He's a fan of real ale, so we went to a traditional place that brews the stuff. Here's how the funnel worked:

1/ They put an offer on Groupon. Now ... this is important ... how much money do you think they made from that? The answer is not much. They may even have made no money, or come in at a loss. Companies that don't 'get' marketing funnels, run to the papers and complain about Groupon because of this. I complain about them for different reasons (where's my delivery???) but on this front, Groupon's on the money. This is the way to start a funnel. You give something of great value away for nothing. It's what I do with my newsletter. Sign up and you get a bestselling book. Read the newsletter and you get loads of free audios, videos, etc.

I've done the same here. This information would take you forever to find if you didn't know where to look. Meanwhile, it would cost you a fortune in failed attempts. I've given it to you free. Some of you will end up doing business with me. I'm not bothered which. Others of you won't. Not fussed. The fact that I'm not fussed means that you're welcome to have bunches of free stuff from me without feeling guilty. It also means that the people who 'get' that I'm not out to screw anyone out of their money, and that I'd expect the people who join my team to have a similar kind of mindset, will want to work with me. That means I'll only end up working with cool people, who want to take responsibility for building their businesses and helping others, rather than whiny shmirpetty desk puppets who want to pull people down and pee on people's posts. That makes me happy. :)

This company put the offer to do business with them at a loss to themselves out to endless people. Some took the offer. Some skipped it. They didn't care which, and they didn't attack people in the streets telling them to buy their coupons.

2/ When we arrived, we were already ready to be sold to. We had bought the coupon, which put us into the funnel, and a little way down. We were on their mailing list and we'd made a small purchase. They'd collected us on Groupon, captured our details when we picked up the coupon,communicated with us through the newsletter, and after closing us on a loss-leader, were now about to close us on something bigger. Was my husband cross about any of this? NO!!! From the moment he got a whiff of the first hop, he was ready to close himself.

3/ We were greeted by someone who was as cheeky as their website. The message to market match was perfect and the message was consistent. My husband then did the thing we'd paid for. He went through a marketing funnel. That was it. That was the big treat - being put through a marketing funnel. It's called a 'funded proposal' by the way. You get paid to get paid. This is so genius, I can't tell you. First, the people on the tour were greeted, then walked through the gift shop - where they weren't allowed to stop, but they got sight of lots of lovely things - to a private pub ( collect )where they were given half a pint of whichever ale appealed to them to get them on board with what was coming next ( capture ) . Greet, tempt, give them some of what they want. Genius. Then they went on the tour, which was basically just a corporate presentation ( communicate). Here's what we do. Here's why it's great. Here's why you should buy it. They then went back to the pub for an ale testing session. Instead of spitting it out though - like with wine testing - they drank it. GENIUS! Now, they're trying all the products, AND they're getting drunk. Finally, they had to walk through the gift shop to get out ( close ). They were left to close themselves, and the social proof (people all buying different things) triggered them to upsell themselves beyond an ale to a top, to a tankard. How much of the gift shop was left standing by the time they left? My husband has every kind of merchandise imaginable. He hasn't stopped talking about the place since we left. He's switched brands of ale, because that one tastes better now that he knows how it's made. GEEEEENIUSSSS!

Do this. Make money. Thank me. :)



******


If you're looking for a complete marketing funnel that works amazingly well, brings in multiple streams of income, and helps people who don't even do business with you, check this out: Marketing Funnel. Try it out for FREE for 30 days and see what you think. If it doesn't work for you, leave, but before you do that please grab the thousands of dollars worth of free training there is in the back office because once you leave you can't get it for free again. 

Saturday

What Steve Jobs Left for You

This month, we lost Steve Jobs or - to be accurate - he died. We didn't actually 'lose' him at all, thanks to video and audio. Just as we still have the wisdom of Jim Rohn through video and audio, we still have Steve Jobs.



Don't ever make the mistake of assuming you know everything. You don't. You can, however, LEARN anything. Don't be too proud to learn from others who've accomplished more than you. Whatever your view on Apple (not an Apple user myself) Steve Jobs changed culture. You can learn from him. Whatever your view on Jim Rohn, he changed culture. You can learn from him. Whatever your view on Tony Robbins, or Frank Kern, or Diane Hochman or Ray Higdon, or David Wood, they are changing the industry. You can learn from them. Why not do that?
  • 'One of the hardest things, when you're trying to effect change is that people like this gentleman [critics] are right, in some areas but ... ' to paraphrase ... can they scale it? Can you scale that criticism into a bigger business than the one you're criticising? Can you scale the wisdom you see or read into greater wisdom? Don't get so caught up in the dubious 'power' of tearing down others that you forget to create real power. If you're so much better than everyone else, prove it. Leave the company you're criticising. Do your own thing and make it better. Alternatively, stop trying to reinvent the wheel and look at those who came before. What did they do that made them valuable enough to the market (a.k.a. 'people') to become millionaires? Could you do the same thing? Are you using blame or criticism to validate your lack of courage, or even ... laziness? How do you think that will serve you, your family and your community in the long term?
  • You can't start with the technology and try to push it on the customer. ALWAYS start with the customer. The way this applies to any network marketing company - or any business - is that you need to meet the customer where they are and give them what they want, not try to sell them what you have. If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Avoid that. If people are looking for training, lead with training and leave your main business until a later stage. Some will buy or join you, some won't. So what? SERVE first. It's not all about you, it's all about the potential customer/client. If you're talking to someone who wants to learn how to make a business in a non-stuffy way, send them to this presentation or something similar. It's real information. It's true. It's valuable, and it's free. It's a gift. If you want them to go through your marketing funnel, follow your nose when you get to that presentation and you'll find out how to set it up for yourself. Crucially, it won't be you who 'puts' them through it. That's down to them. The whole process is their choice, not yours.
  • 'Some mistakes will be made along the way. THAT'S GOOD because at least some decisions are being made along the way.' Make decisions, make mistakes, make alterations, make the money and time to make even better ideas and better decisions.

Give Your Friends Good Advice

Wednesday

Steve Jobs Died, But Steve Jobs Lived

Image by Jonathan Mak Long

When someone culturally significant dies, it is as if a landmark has fallen down. People obsess over the changed landscape and the way that the loss of this landmark will affect the view. Where people and landmarks differ, however, is in how they affect the landscape inside us. Steve Jobs has not disappeared from view. He lived, and he made a difference. He's part of our culture and ourselves, whether we've ever bought an item prefaced with a lower case 'i' or not.

I urge you in the days that follow to remember one thing. Steve Jobs did not just die ... he lived.

Think of a trait of his: his inventiveness, creativity, refusal to accept second best ... and think how you could apply that to your life. Celebrate his life by improving your own. Then step beyond that and improve others. That's what he did, and what he will continue to do, with your help.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Sunday

It Is Okay to be Creative and Afford to Eat!

Okay, this needs to be said. I stand between two groups. On one side are very creative people and on the other side are very entrepreneurial people. Where the two meet a couple of things happen.
  • Sometimes the two mix, and a harmony of creative entrepreneurship rings out into the cosmos.
  • Sometimes the two curdle and ... it sucks.
I wonder sometimes why I've always had both of these aspects to my personality, when so many people seem to be either in the 'creative' camp or the 'entrepreneurial' one. It could be because I use my brain differently. If you know my story, please bear with me while I share this with the others.

As a child, I was in a very serious car accident that left me unable to speak, read or write. As a consequence, I had to teach myself to do all three. No speech therapist was made available and - having damaged all the language areas, but still with an obsessive drive to become an author - I worked on reconstructing my brain. I mapped it out, imagined packaging pictures and sounds together and storing them on the right side of my brain, etc. In time, some of the function returned to my left brain but, by then, my right brain was working in a way it had never been called upon to work. 

The consequence? I can write (cursive) with both my right and left hand. This image spins whichever way I tell it to spin. 

I can read just as easily upside-down as I can the right way up. Both sides of my brain play together. The 'left brain' logic and 'right brain' artistry don't stay in their boxes. My mind wanders ... literally. My right brain had to 'do' logic. I taught it mathematics using pictures. My left brain had to do creative things. I made it use pictures to re-construct language. 

Where am I going with this? I think it's interesting when dis-similar things meet. I think that creativity works better when there is enough entrepreneurial zeal injected into a creative project for the artists to be able to eat. I think that business works far better when people who think primarily in numeric terms shut up and listen to creative people. 

The problem is that these distinctions are almost tribal. Artists are expected to struggle for their art and, often, they feel guilty when they succeed in their artistic endeavours. Somehow, that's 'selling out'. In other words, art exists only when it is not loved? The creative is only valid as long as the majority of people don't like it enough to open their wallets? That's loopy. If you're saying this to yourself, give yourself a slap now. Go on. Not too hard, you masochist. Better? Good. Now, go out and make some money. Winter's round the corner and you'll need cash to heat your garret. 

Business people make stupid decisions when they don't think creatively (or they don't hire creative people to think for them). Why? Because if you only focus on what makes cash, you ignore cultural nuances, miss subtle shifts, and fail to capture the Zeitgeist. 

Here's a challenge for you. Whichever side of your brain you are most friendly with, make friends with the other side. Obsessed with numbers? Go to an art gallery. Obsessed with literature? Do some algebra. Obsessed with making money? Imagine what you'd love to do, even if you had none, then check to see whether or not you are doing that. Obsessed with not having money? Imagine how much more you could focus on your art if you no longer needed to panic about the bills.

If you're creative and business makes you uncomfortable, or you're and entrepreneur and creative people make you uncomfortable, ask yourself why.

Use your whole brain. 

Saturday

Have TOTAL Integrity and Authenticity in Marketing

Those of you who've been following me for a while (either here or on one of my blogs, Twitter or Google+, etc) know that I speak my mind. You probably also know that it sometimes gets me in trouble. Why? Because I'm not part of the swarm. Ever. I'm missing that gene. I understand it and I observe it. It helps me to predict cultural and economic change accurately, but I make my own decisions. I think for myself, weigh things up, and make an intelligent choice. That means that when something starts to feel a bit 'iffy', I won't continue to promote it - even if it's bringing in good money - because that wouldn't serve my followers. It wouldn't be authentic. You matter more to me than an affiliate payment. When I say 'you need to get in on this now', I want you to feel safe about making a quick decision before you miss out. If I'm untrustworthy, you can't do that. Write that down. You need to be the same way with your own followers, prospects and customers. It will serve both of you well.

Look at my post on Groupon, for instance. I LOVED that company, and I promoted them heavily when they were doing everything right, so that you'd reap the benefits. MANY of you did. I know. My affiliate payments rocked because of everything you bought through my links! However, when they treated me badly (and I was able to ascertain that this was not an isolated thing. Bear in mind that ALL companies and ALL people screw up from time to time, so I needed to be certain it wasn't an isolated incident. Write that down too. Be fair in your dealings) I told you. It cost me financially to do so, but my name is the most valuable thing I have.

There's another lesson here. Groupon was given many opportunities to resolve the issues, and they didn't take them. The moment the blog went up, the issues were resolved. Great ... except ... if you google 'can you trust Groupon' or 'can I trust Groupon' my post is in the first few results. If everything could be resolved so quickly, it should have been. If it had, I would NEVER have blogged about it. Think ahead when you have made an error. Apologise and fix it. 

It was a point of integrity and authenticity to remove their banners from my blogs. In doing so I took a financial hit, but I had to be real with you. If I don't trust a brand, I can't promote it. I told you I would get back to you after I had re-tested Groupon for you as a customer. That way, I would be able to reinstate the banners and report that it was just a blip, and that Groupon was back to its wonderful, former, self ... or not.

Well, I've tested them again and ... nothing's arrived. I'm going to get back on the phone to customer services again, but with news stories like this appearing about the company, it has a long way to go to convince me I should promote it again. My current stance on Groupon is that I still think some of the deals are unbeatable but ... BUYER BEWARE. If the only thing that matters to you is cost, stick with Groupon. If you want decent delivery times and good customer service, weigh up your options. Two of the people I've spoken with on customer service there have been good. One was exceptionally good. The others have been patronising and unhelpful. On balance, the treatment you're likely to receive can best be described as 'variable'.

The company won me over brilliantly and consistently delivered on its promises for a number of months, so I still have affection for it and hope that it turns itself around. Until it does, make sensible decisions. If you choose price over quality of delivery and treatment, you can't really complain when that's all you get.

I'll keep you posted. If they fix their ways, I'll be the FIRST to put up their banner and issue a call to 'buy, buy, buy!!!' Until then, I'm looking out for you and I urge caution for now.

Wednesday

Entrepreneur Training and Free Stuff

Don't you just flipping LOVE training? I'm such a nerd. I love soaking up info and turning it into wisdom. It's amazing how much of it you can pick up online absolutely free, too.

Now, my mission with this blog was and is to help people live awesome lives DESPITE the economy, so I love bringing you stuff that's clearly underpriced or even free. It's also important to me that I do due diligence on what I bring to you so that you can trust it. On that score, I've placed another small order with Groupon to see if they come up trumps this time. If they do ... I'll reinstate the banner. I've got my eye on them for you.

Anyhow ... free stuff. Not only have I recently found a STACK of free stuff to give you, but I've decided to make some of my own. I'm going to give away a course on Google+. Now, just to put this in perspective, I'm currently (statistically) the most influential person in England on Google+ so this is valuable training. I want to give it to you for free though because the news is full of s*** and you could do with a break. It's not your fault that the economy's falling to bits, so I don't see why you shouldn't have some cool free stuff to help you turn your own situation around a bit. Sound good?

Leave comments and let me know if there's anything particular you want to know. I'm just doing the final edits to the video course and I might still be able to put in some answers to those questions. Ask away!!

Tuesday

Can You Trust Groupon?

Until recently, I adored Groupon so much that I had a big, flashy, Groupon banner on this blog. I even blogged for them, and I had a wonderful editor who they were insane to let go of, but I became disenchanted with the company after I noticed some changes in the way they treat customers and others. These changes happened so fast that I began to wonder if there was any truth to the rumours that the company is in trouble.

They recently halved the amount they were paying bloggers, without warning, which doesn't smell like a company surfing the never-ending wave of success, but should recent revelations about their financial performance be ringing bells for others looking to make a name in the same space, or is it a wobble in an otherwise unwobbly bike ride to good fortune?

Groupon's View of Customers

My experience? I won't bore you with every detail, because some will only apply to writers, bloggers, or affiliates (email me if you fall into those categories and I'll fill you in) and also my aim here isn't to be a whining and disgruntled type, but rather to save you from going through what I'm currently enduring, and to get some feedback from other customers of the company to work out whether my experiences are isolated or the symptom of a bigger problem. If the former, I'll reinstate banners and keep recommending the company for non-urgent purchases. If the latter, I can't in good conscience continue to recommend them to you. Your trust is paramount.

Other issues aside, here are my experiences as a customer in the last couple of months:
  1. An item was delivered with a European plug on it rather than a UK one. No adapter supplied with order. Item delivered after 28 days.
  2. Numerous other items were all delivered late. Some after 28 days.
  3. An item I ordered on 26th June still hasn't arrived. It hasn't even left the warehouse. No refund has been provided. I am just in a constant cycle of being pointed to emails and phone numbers with no resolution in sight.
  4. I have received rude and patronising treatment by customer service and other departments.
Now, clearly, after waiting for nearly two months for an item that has yet to leave a warehouse, I may have lost my cool on the phone - not to the point of dropping the f bomb or anything but there may have been a 'do you have any idea who I think I am?' rant when I ran out of other options. Never a power move. I don't recommend it. That aside, I've given them every opportunity to fix this, and I've given them multiple warnings that they were leaving me with no option but to warn others of their lack of professionalism and customer service. I did actually get one decent customer service person on the phone once - which gave me hope - but I think she may have been whisked out of there on the back of the nayan cat to pastures new because my experiences since then have been dire. 

I'm right in the middle of this, so it's difficult for me to be objective but I'm going to try.
  •  I have found some great deals on Groupon, and for that reason I would still consider recommending it to people on a budget. Being the largest player in the niche, it probably gets some of the best deals. If you're buying for yourself, you don't mind waiting, and you can handle being patronised by customer service, go for it. 
  • If you're relying on Groupon to provide your wedding day, give it some serious thought first. I promoted such a deal when I was still hopeful about Groupon resolving my issues, but I wouldn't do so again, unless completely convinced they've turned things around. Anything where speed of delivery and reliability are absolutely crucial look to be a gamble at the moment. Maybe my experiences aren't typical (feel free to tell me so in the comments) but I'd urge caution if you're buying presents, etc so you don't let people down if Groupon lets you down.
  • Keep an eye on Groupon's competitors. There are plenty of hyper-local sites popping up that may offer better customer service and local knowledge. Compare what's on offer and go with the company that treats you with the most respect. Promote companies that care enough to earn your trust.
Here's how I would have handled the situation (and I'm only giving edited highlights of the problems I've had with the company in recent weeks):
  1. I would have treated the customer with respect. The customer may not always be right, but when you're clearly in breach of contract (and at over 28 days, you're also in breach of statutory rights so the customer is 100% right. No question) hand over a cash refund, whether they paid in cash, by card, or with special mcnopoly money and plead for forgiveness, or say 'goodbye' to any the shiny paintwork on your brand.
  2. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. If you've screwed up as a company and inconvenienced your customers, don't patronise them. Don't try to make them think it's their fault that you failed. Don't make them phone foreign countries and do your work for you. Educate everyone in your business that the customers are worth more than the money they spend. We all have networks online. We tell our friends about your brand. If you value your brand, value the people who are talking about it. 
  3. I would have apologised, and meant it. How hard is it to say the following words? 
  • I've looked at your case and seen the mistakes we've made in recent weeks. We've messed up here and we want to make it right. I've spoken to [person who can make it right] and they are [doing thing to make it right] so that [thing will happen to make it right]. If it hasn't happened by [date when things will be right] phone me directly on [number] and I will make absolutely sure that it is made right. In the mean time [something to sweeten the wait]. Please accept our apologies again. I've cc'd [person who makes things right in a more general way] and she's going to take steps to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else again. 
A final point. Google+ is constructed of purest win, and the team behind it do care about their customers. Google attempted to buy Groupon once. Groupon turned them down. Google's now opening their own version. It's in beta now if you're a business looking for this kind of service. Personally, given my experience with both companies, I'd recommend going to Google first. They treat people with respect, and I trust them.

I hope that my experiences are isolated, and maybe the result of some staff changes they've had recently, but I'd welcome your feedback. Do you trust Groupon?

EDIT: By the end of the day following this post, of the two outstanding items, one arrived and the other was refunded in Groupon vouchers. I was also called by the head of customer services and given £25 of 'good will' groupons. Where does that leave me? I have to remain a customer of the company despite their poor treatment of me. Having said that, it gives me the opportunity to monitor how they change. If I receive no further bad treatment from them, this is just a blip. If so, I'll feel confident about recommending them, and will put up the banner again. If, however, they mess me around again, I'll let you know. 


One of the assurances I sought from them was that they would look at the broader context. We are in a very difficult economy at the moment and many of their customers are buying from them because they can't afford to buy the products at the normal price. If they order a birthday present or wedding present and it doesn't arrive, that's a huge kick in the teeth. When your market is people without huge amounts of disposable income, in a recession, it's important to treat them with respect. You never know when someone's on the edge. Hopefully they've listened and this will help to nudge them towards a better approach towards their customers. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday

Deals, Tips and Free Stuff!


Hi Everyone,

Sorry I've been away for a while. Been a bit busy since my book launch, but now I'm back on schedule and I want to give you more of what you've been asking for: deals, tips and free stuff! Now ... some people might say: 'No. Toughen up. Pay through the nose.' Personally, I think you're probably not having the best of fun with the economy at the moment. Even if you've managed to hold onto your job, or build a new business, the rise in taxes, fuel prices, and energy bills are all probably annoying you just a tad, so if I can help put a smile on your face and keep some pennies in your pockets, I'm happy to do so.

To that end, you'll notice I now have an opt-in form on the right. If you put your details in, you'll get free stuff immediately (a Facebook training course from my tech partner, and former Tony Robbins trainer, Michael Price) and then you'll go onto an exclusive list of people to whom I will send the best deals that come my way.

Now ... I'm pretty well hooked up on the deals and business tips front. This is The Bexter Review, after all, and I wouldn't have called it that if I wasn't in the position to review cool things for you. I'm the kind of person who can show you where to get an actual robot for your home at an affordable price! Now, the thing with these deals (from Groupon and elsewhere) is that they're nearly all very limited time offers (by the time you read this, that deal may be over). Some of them are 90% off, so there's no way that the companies could offer them for longer than a day or so. That's where I'm handy. I get to find out about them before other people, which means YOU get to find out about them before other people, if you keep an eye on the blog and subscribe to my list.

I'm going to bring you some more audio training too. Why? Because I'm fed up of watching people struggle when they could be kicking arse! Leave me a comment and let me know what kinds of deals you'd like to hear about and what kinds of business things you like to learn (marketing funnels, social media, start ups, planning, writing, etc).

UPDATE: Tony Robbins - one of my fave followers on Twitter - retweeted me today. I'm going to see that as a sign that I'm doing the right thing.  :)


If you want to follow me on Twitter, by the way, I'm @rebeccawoodhead

Thursday

I am a Novelist!

My book just came out! Please have a look and see what you think. It's EASY to share this vid. It features the part of England where Prince William grew up. Click the buttons and do your thing. Thanks for your support. You're AWESOME!


The quality of the work rises above that of much of today’s popular literature because of Rebecca’s writing. She has an easy style that makes you want to leap to the next page. She’s just a natural, as anybody who’s been following her on Twitter (@rebeccawoodhead) can tell you . ... Her book is a novel, but her own remarkable real-life story also makes for compelling reading: “I’m a coma survivor,” she writes on her blog. “As a child, I sustained such bad injuries in a car accident that I was told it was very unlikely I would ever be able to write as well as my peers. I taught myself to speak, read and write again — without the help of a speech therapist or counsellor. When I typed the last word of the first draft of my first novel, that felt like success.”  
Mary Louise Ruehr - Books Editor for the Record-Courier in Ohio.

Friday

Annoying Negative Mindsets - Have YOU Got One of These?



I was thinking about negative mindsets that annoy me today. There are a couple that are at the top of the list:
  1. What people call the 'poverty' or 'poor me' mindset that because things have been bad in the past, they will always be bad. People with this mindset believe that happiness, sadness, and every other emotion are dictated by random events that happen to them. If they are lucky they will be rich and, as a consequence of that... happy. If they are unlucky, they will be poor, and as a consequence of that... unhappy. This is such a stubbornly held view that even when faced with people who've made it through FAR worse situations and prevailed,  'lucky them' is the typical response. These people REFUSE to be inspired or to focus on anything but money, or the lack of it. They place a level of faith in the lottery with which the statistics simply do not agree, but the idea that they could change their mindset, and their life,  is utterly impossible to them. 
  2. The 'I rock: you suck' mentality. People with this mindset crow about their possessions, but give no value back. Instead, they try to take self-respect from those with fewer possessions. The idea of financial poverty is so abhorrent to them that those who are enduring it are also abhorrent. They de-humanise those who lack funds. Doing so makes them feel even more superior. They feel justified in doing so.
I  know people throughout the financial scale, from those living under the poverty line, to multi-millionaires. Many of the people I know do not fall into either of these mindsets - fortunately - but some do.

The first mindset is most commonly seen in people living on a budget. The second, in those with many millions of pounds/dollars. 

The first one is self-limiting. It is prejudice against the self. Indirectly, it affects others because that person does not share themselves in a way that empowers their peers. Their disempowering mindset disempowers others (in a passive way). It is widespread, so it damages through numbers - a culture of disempowerment. The second one directly affects others, because it is prejudice+power, and it is directed outwards (in an active way) so just one person with this mindset has the potential to damage many others significantly - disempowerment as a weapon of significance.

It was only today that I realised something... they are not different mindsets. They are the same one


Object-Referral and Self-Referral Minsets

Deepak Chopra writes of Object and Self Referral. Object-referral means that you base your own value on the things that you possess. Your value is based on 'stuff' and the opinions of others

Self-Referral means that you base your own value on your timeless core beliefs and qualities. This kind of mindset is not dependent on the views or others or the number of houses or cars you own.

Both of the mindsets that I find annoying are nothing more or less than 'Object-Referral' mindsets. They are fear-based mindsets. They are chaotic and unstable. The moment the rich person loses their possessions, if they have this kind of mindset, they lose their whole character. The moment the poor person is offered a way to improve their finances, if they have this kind of mindset, they are more likely to stick with it even if it is not ethically the best choice. In fact, that is the case for both groups, and that is why the 'LOVE' of money is the 'root of all evil'. If you love money, rather than loving the process of living out your own destiny in such a way that money is the end result, you make un-ethical choices. That worries me. It can lead to a cycle of gain and loss that leads nowhere, and has no ethical basis, a little like the passive/active 'Crazy 8' to which Tony Robbins refers. This can lead to 'Crazy 8s' for whole cultures. Open your eyes and you'll see it happening right now.

I'd rather do business with people with a Self-Referral Mindset. They make decisions from a place of authenticity, and they are not scared to turn down unethical business offers. They are MORE than their bank balance - whatever its size. I want to meet more people like that. They rock. They know it. But they know that other people rock too. THAT is a confident mindset.

I Am Now a Social Media Columnist for a National Magazine!


My article in Writing Magazine was so well received that people started posting questions on Twitter asking people where it was still stocked. It was selling out all over the place!


Long story short... I've got a column! Well... it's kind of three pages, so it's a bit big to be called a column, but a friend of mine with a three page regular feature assures me that he refers to his regular writing gig as a column so... column it is!


Very exciting you know? I LOVE this magazine. Here it is, and here are some of the comments people made about my first article: writingmagazine.withrebecca.com



Monday

When You Focus on the Darkness, You Miss the Stars!

This post brought to you by Cadbury Wishes. All opinions are 100% mine.

Oscar Wilde said:

Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!

Whatever you are going through, it is crucial not to lose sight of the little sparkles of goodness, amid the doom and gloom, that give us hope. One of those sparkles is the sight of companies who, even in these tricky times, are prepared to look beyond themselves, and help others.

When Cadbury approached me and asked me to tell you about a new product they'd launched, I was thrilled to do so, as they are the purveyors of my very favourite chocolate, Green & Black's. As I read through their reasons for promoting the new product, I wanted to share it even more.

Cadbury is helping to put smiles onto the faces of children who suffer with life-threatening conditions by donating 10% of the profits from Cadbury Wishes - bubbly chocolate truffle-filled stars -  to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This charity helps children with life-threatening illnesses to live their wishes. Having had a such a condition in my own childhood, I love this charity and am thrilled that Cadbury supports it. 

They have pledged £400,000 (around $615 600to this cause over three years. Now, they have launched the Cadbury Wishes Workshop. It is touring the country and asking people for their dream chocolate creations. You simply tell them your chocolate wish and it goes back to Cadbury World where, if they love your chocolate wish too, it will come true!

What is so magical about all of this, is how this company is focused on building a partnership, not just with the charity but also with its own customers, and the children affected, to bring more joy into the lives of all those involved. If that isn't bringing the spirit of Christmas into business, I don't know what is. How can your business learn from this example? What can YOU do in 2011 to help an organisation like Make-A-Wish? Make one of your resolutions for 2011 to see the doughnut, not the hole. Maybe a better analogy would be to see the star instead of the darkness.

Please do whatever you can to help Make-A-Wish. Even if all you do is buy one of those little stars next time you go to the supermarket. If you like what Cadbury is doing, 'like' them on Facebook and tell them about it.

 

You can also follow Cadbury Wishes on Twitter.

However you get involved, I hope all your wishes come true this Christmas. Have a GREAT one! 

Rebecca

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