AWeber or Infusionsoft for Email Marketing?


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Why have I been an AWeber customer since 2011? Because they provided the best and most customizable email marketing platform at the best price. In fact, AWeber was voted #1 among 25 leading email marketing service providers (ESP) by PCMag readers.

And they keep getting better! You can now add tags to customers automatically using questions in your sign up form. Really, AWeber is getting closer and closer to what you can do with Infusionsoft, at a price much more comfortable for a small business owner.

I chose AWeber originally for their autoresponder features, which I wrote about in another blog post. They also have tremendous real-person phone customer service, and helpful free resources.

Want to learn more about Growing Your Business With Email Marketing? Download your free AWeber guide and see if AWeber is right for you – or just click the image at the top of this post to start a 30 day free trial.*

By the way, I did try Infusionsoft, and it was a nightmare for me. The learning curve is very high, even with their ‘training’, which took hours of my time. When I had a problem, their customer service gave me incorrect advice, and ended up erasing an entire campaign. Finally, I concluded that in addition to the considerable amount you pay Infusionsoft, you will also need to hire someone familiar with Infusionsoft to manage it for you – adding to the cost. AWeber is a much better choice for me – and for most small business owners unless/until you have a responsive mailing list of at least 3000 that is making you money with each mailing. At that point, a comparison of AWeber or Infusionsoft is merited – although AWeber keeps adding features that make it very competitive.

*Disclosure: I earn an affiliate commission if you purchase through my link. What you pay remains the same – and I am recommending what I use myself.

3 Solutions When Your Dropbox Is Full

Dropbox logo for Dropbox is full post‘My Dropbox is full because of the size of these files, and I cannot receive anything else.’
This is a common complaint when a group of people use Dropbox to share information, especially when the oldest shared info is never purged. Luckily, there are some easy ways to resolve this problem.
[Not familiar with Dropbox? See the description at the end of this post.]
In this case, the problem was a large photo file of an awards banquet shared with all members of the NAWBO-VC Board of Directors.

Here is the answer I sent to my fellow board members:

Here are three options when your Dropbox account is full:
1. Delete the [photo] folder from your dropbox. As long as you are not the original owner of the folder, this just deletes the photos from your account, not from anyone else’s account.
2. Download the file onto your computer and remove from Dropbox.
3. Have a friend, relative or colleague open a new Dropbox account (free for both of you) and that gives you additional storage. They don’t have to use the account (and it does not share any of your folders with them), but as long as they create a new account, you get more free storage. To do this, open Dropbox on the webpage, click your name at the top right, click ‘settings’, then click “account’. Scroll down and you will see the ‘invite a friend’ option. [hint: my sister ‘invited’ her 12 year-old son and got extra storage that way].
Here’s a link to Dropbox help with more information on what happens when you delete a shared folder.
What is Dropbox?

It’s a free way to store and share large photos, docs, and videos files (i.e. too large to email) with others. You can send any file instantly to anyone, whether they have Dropbox or not. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.

Why use Dropbox?

I use Dropbox to share files with my virtual assistant, a business partner, my sister, and the aforementioned board. I also created a file of head shots, so it is easy to share them with a link when I am asked to speak.

If you’d like to open a free account, use this link and we’ll both get 500 MB of bonus space – so neither one of us will have to worry that our Dropbox is full.

The 3 Things I Finally Did to Have My Best Year Ever

 

Redhead woman having a bad hair day and looking for help to have her best year ever. Are you falling out of love with your business because you spend more than 50% of your time on things you hate to do? Would you like to be making more money? Walk away from your business for significant chunks of time and still have it run? The answer can be surprisingly easy – but sometimes it takes having a very bad year to make this clear. If you’d rather skip that very bad year, come learn three simple steps you can take now (even if you are not a business owner) to have your best year ever when I speak to the Ventura County Professional Women’s Network on February 11. Non-members are welcome to attend. Register here.

And yes, I will be sharing anecdotes and lessons learned from my own very bad year – and the best year ever that followed.

Vision Board Pros and Cons

vision-board-motivation

As Your Chief Simplicity Officer, my goal is to help you determine what will work well for you, and what to pare away. The objective of this post is to help you decide if crafting a vision board would be a worthwhile use of your time.

What Exactly Is a Vision Board?

The most basic definition of a vision board is this: It’s a collection of images, quotes and symbols that have meaning to you and which bring out feelings of joy, peace, love and happiness. They represent your dream business and life. The concept was popularized in the bestseller The Secret, along with the term ‘The Law of Attraction’.

Why Create a Vision Board?

Whether or not you are a fan of  The Secret, a vision board may help you.

Why?

Because most goal-setting programs focus on the intended outcome. What is the result you want? And while that’s perfect for a business plan, for some it’s not the best way to keep you inspired and motivated day in and day out.

For that you need to know how achieving your goals will make you feel. And that’s the real power of a vision board.

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a look at your vision board for an instant reminder of why you’re working hard now, and what you stand to gain from it.

Also, if you have trouble sitting down and generating goals, creating a vision board is a surprisingly easy way to clarify your goals. I’m fairly analytical, and even I was surprised at how the process unlocked subconscious wishes and desires in a quick and easy way.

Limitations of a Vision Board

Wikipedia has this to say:

There is some evidence that vision boards may be counterproductive, since continually fantasizing about success can lead to taking fewer actions to realizing it. Thus, an “action board” is sometimes viewed as a better alternative.

Or, as my friend Chellie Campbell says so well, “How many affirmations do you have to make in front of a piano before you can play it? The Law of Attraction also requires a Law of Action.”

The vision board is only a tool to keep you motivated to take the necessary actions to achieve your goals.

Who Might/Might Not Want to Create a Vision Board?

Create a Vision Board if:

  • You have problems defining your goals
  • You need motivation to move forward on your goals
  • Scrapbooking appeals to you

A Vision Board May Not Be Necessary if:

  • You are already very clear on your goals
  • You easily attain your goals
  • You love checklists
How Hard Is It To Create a Vision Board?

Not hard at all. You can spend several hours searching the web for instructions, or download my workbook guide and checklist for $7.97 to get started right away.





All The Facts You Need About Working Abroad

Woman working abroad on beach with laptopIf you’re tired of working in the same old office, you might be thinking about travelling abroad for work. This is a great opportunity to see the world. You can travel to anywhere and there are a few possibilities for how you could make this happen.

Working For A Company

If you’re working for a global company that is based somewhere else, the possibility to work there might be open to you. For instance the business you currently work for might be based in Australia. If it is, you could get the chance to work there. Often, there will be a chance for employees to relocate during their career and all they have to do is seize it. You could work over there for up to four years with a work permit visa Australia. You will have to apply for one online, and you will also need to get the backing of your business if you go down this route.

If you’re going to be working over there for the maximum time, you might want to consider investing in property. That way, you’ll have a permanent address and won’t be wasting money on rent. You should have a look at the property market before you decide to move. After four years, you may be able to renew your visa and stay there for longer. This is perhaps the easiest way to work abroad, but there are others.

Freelance

If you freelance, you won’t be working on a fixed contract. That means that you can leave and take another job whenever you want. There’s no reason why you can’t travel while doing this. If you have good qualifications, you can get a lot of experience and years working while continuing to travel. You might also eventually find a permanent contract. At that point you will need a new visa for the country you’re in.

Travel Writing

A lot of people work abroad while making a living by writing about their experiences. They do this by setting up a blog. If you use the right SEO techniques, you can guarantee your blog is seen by a big readership and make money off it. You might also attract the interest of advertisers, earning a bigger income. You won’t have to get a visa to do this. Instead, you can travel to different places, purely for pleasure while working to pay for it.

As A Business Owner

Of course, you might have your own business. However, you still want to work primarily from abroad. But, you don’t want the hassle of relocating your company. You have two options here. You can open a new branch, expanding your business to another country. Or, you can work purely online using a cloud server. Once you have a cloud server setup, you will find you can run your business from anywhere. Everything you need will be at your fingertips.

You see, it’s easy to start travelling the globe and continue to earn a living.

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Business

Getting featured in the media is GREAT for credibility, traffic, and sales.

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Business; picture of reporter

Here’s a simple free technique to make it more likely a reporter or producer will call you.

Organize a group on Meetup.

Why does this work?

Turns out producers and reporters are always looking for people and businesses to use as real-life examples in their stories.

How do I know this?

My sister is a former television news producer, and Meetup is one of the places she searches for sources.

Surprisingly, many times the producer gets no response to their email inquiry.

Remember, reporters are on a deadline, and need a fast response. Even if they can’t use you for their current story, they’ll remember you if you do respond, and you may become their go-to source the next time they have a story in your niche.

So make sure to:
  1. Set your email preferences in Meetup  to ‘Email me when someone sends me a message’.
  2. Write a good description of your group.
  3. Keep your Meetup group active.

If you’d like even more tips on how to get media coverage for your business, check out this interview with an Emmy winning news producer How to Get Featured on Network TV.

Banish Overwhelm, Not Enough Customers, Not Enough Money From Your Business

Being a business owner is hard.

It can also be immensely rewarding, both personally and financially.

There are a lot of numbers bandied about, but the SBA reports that only 50% of start-ups last five years or more.

The trick is to be in the 50% who thrive … without becoming a slave to your business.

The top three problems you face as a business owner are how to banish Overwhelm, Not Enough Customers, Not Enough Money from your business.

That’s what this book will help you with.

maura-book




A Compilation of the Biggest Takeaways, Strategies, Tips and Action Steps Shared by 21 leading small biz experts, trainers, coaches, and authors.

Your editors, Maura Raffensperger and Rachel French, interviewed small biz experts in the areas you care about most and asked the tough questions that YOU want asked. The calls were recorded, then Maura and Rachel wrote a one-page action sheet of the top points made in each one-hour interview – including links to added resources. These folks have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build more profitable businesses with techniques and strategies that work. Now they’re going to teach you.

You’ll have access to the top tips of experts and authors, coaches and consultants, speakers and strategists…all sharing their very best secrets, proven strategies and practical approaches to help make sure THIS IS THE YEAR YOU GO BIG IN YOUR BIZ!

Topics Covered Include:
  • Marketing
  • Getting Paid What You are Worth
  • Time Management
  • Search Marketing Secrets Revealed
  • Effective Networking
  • Secrets of Getting Free Publicity 12 Month a Year
  • Make Money in Your Sleep/Creating Information Products
  • 5 Tips to Crank Up Your Impact and Results on LinkedIn
  • How to Be Successful Without Burning Out
  • Magnetize Your Marketing: How to do Less Marketing and Make More Money

You don’t have to lose your sanity to build a profitable business! You already invest your money and time, but are you sure you’re investing them in the right things? Let the experts teach you how to work smarter in your business – all for only $14.97.





How to Banish Overwhelm, Not Enough Customers, Not Enough Money from your Business book cover

 

Shaping Your Business Premises To be Everything You Need

Downtown Office BuildingsAs your business grows, so will your office needs. I’ve invited a guest blogger to weigh in on some things to consider.

What do you need your business premises to be?

Let’s think about the question for a moment. You need it to have a good location and be affordable to run. You should also be thinking about whether the area it’s in has demand for your product or service. Also consider if there is room to expand and if it will attract new investors and clients. Finally, it’s important not to forget about the issue of security. Now, let’s look at each need in turn and think about how you can achieve it.

Stylish And Modern

You might have already started looking for an office from where to run your business. Perhaps you have seen the stylish spaces offered for rent from Level Office. These are certainly some attractive properties and would impress any investors and clients you had. Remember, in the business world first impressions are everything. The way your office looks says more about your business than you will ever get the chance to. That’s why you need it to look modern, new and fresh.
You may want to consider a redesign of the office interior. These refurbishments are often quite affordable and the perfect idea if you already own a building. Think about adding some unique architectural piece to the outside.  This could be anything, as long as it will catch the attention of people passing by. Do not underestimate the value of curb appeal, even in business.

The Heart

As you grow, we know where you would love to own a business premises. You want it in the center of the city, in the heart of the action. But unless you can find some cheap deals on property online, this is not usually possible. Instead, you need to be more realistic and aim for a suburban property. However, you can still make sure your premises is near to the heart by choosing a place with good transport links. If you can, you should buy a property near the airport or train station. That way, everyone going in and out of the location will see your property and notice your business.

The Possibilities

You need your business premises to be connected. Once you chose your office, get a cloud server setup and installed. This will make sure your company is connected to everything. You will be able to share information effortlessly from your business to any around the world. Ideally, you will also be thinking about fibre optics. It is not advisable to buy a business property that can not receive a fibre optic connection. If you do this, you’ll be slowing your company down and limiting the potential.

If you take this advice on board, you will understand what your business premises can be. It can be a marketing platform. It can be the heart of an industry. It can be home.

Review of the Chronos Time Tracking App

Categories used by the Chronos time tracking app include social, exercise, and workThe big issue with most time tracking software is that you have to remember to click it on and off with each task. Frankly, most people forget to do this consistently. That’s why I love Chronos.

A little background: One of my clients was spending 2 and 1/2 hours a month creating her client invoices. She had a bookkeeper, but could not delegate this task because she (my client) did not have a consistent way of keeping track of time spent on projects for each client. I suggested Chronos to keep track of actual time spent onsite with her clients.

Chronos is an free app (available for iPhone and Android) that runs automatically in the background of your phone to track everywhere you spend more that 15 minutes. It even tracks your ‘in-transit’ time. Just carry your phone with you and Chronos will automatically capture where you are and what you are doing – as long as you are not in airplane mode.

When I turned on airplane mode because I was in a movie, the app showed me ‘in-transit’ for the travel to the theater, in the theater, and from the theater. You can go back into the app on your computer and add the time you were in the theater, but it’s a bit of a pain. Still, as long as you are not in airplane mode, the app is remarkably accurate.

It’s also not a full-featured time tracking app, as it only allows you a limited number of categories, which you cannot edit:

  • Home
  • Work
  • Social
  • Exercise
  • Errand
  • Transit
  • Educational
  • Spiritual
  • Sleep

This would make it troublesome to track time spent on individual clients while you were in your office, but perfect for tracking time spent at a client’s workplace and/or time spent traveling to/from a client.

A benefit I was not expecting was the sleep tracking. Like most people, I should be getting more sleep. The sleep tracking is ingenious; simply flip your phone face down when you go to bed, then turn it over when you wake up. Seeing my actual sleep time in the personal infographic Chronos creates from the data it is capturing from my phone is (excuse the pun) a real eye-opener.

Chronos also allows you to set goals, such as:

  • Go to sleep before midnight
  • Go to gym for 30 minutes
  • Spend time with friends
What I love about the Chronos App:
  • It runs automatically, without me having to remember to turn it on/off.
  • It’s free
  • It tracks my sleep
  • It allows me to set goals, and lets me know how I have done in personal infographic
What would make the Chronos App even better:
  • Allow me to add goals not in the list
  • Allow me to add new categories (such as volunteering)
Best uses for the Chronos App:
  • Keep track/verify time spent with clients
  • Set a sleep goal
  • Keep track of actual travel time

Available for  iPhone and Android. Download from your app store, or go to GetChronos.com on your computer.

Black Friday Weekend Deals and Holiday Gift Ideas

There are some terrific deals this weekend on several products I highly recommend (I use them myself). It’s a good time to snap up some savings and/or consider what might be a good gift for others on your list. And you don’t need to leave the house to do your shopping!gift box

WEB HOSTING

Blue Host* is who I use to host all my websites. Great 24/7 real person phone support; they can walk you through setting up or transferring your website. This would also be a great gift for someone you know who is starting a business. Doesn’t matter if you (or they) are not quite ready, because you save so much on this deal, it’s worth locking it in. Nothing to risk, because they offer an anytime money-back guarantee.

$3.49/mo  through Monday.

    • unlimited domain hosting (that means you can have as many websites as you want – great if you want separate domains for different promotions or just have more than one domain name.)
    • unlimited hosting space
    • unlimited file transfer
    • unlimited email accounts
    • supports FTP, CGI, Ruby, SSL, PHP, MySQL
ONLINE TRAINING

Lynda.com*

FREE 10 day trial

I recommend this resource to my clients often. Need to learn about WordPress, Excel or Photoshop? Lynda.com has a video tutorial; in fact they have 3145 courses on all sorts of topics. Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. Use for yourself, or to train employees. Also a great gift. Check out their list of courses here: Get 10 days of free unlimited access to lynda.com.

 

*Disclosure: I earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through my links. Your price is not affected.