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Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online.

There are various benefits to it.

One of the major benefits that attracts me is that with affiliate marketing, you don’t need to create a product to make sales.

Creating a product is a tedious task (although for some businesses, this cannot be totally avoided).

Some bloggers might find it easier especially after they have created more than one product in the past.

But if you haven’t yet created a product, creating your first product is a challenging and time-consuming task.

It will need you to put in time and effort, usually leaving aside or moving aside your regular blogging activities.

But wait! I am not discouraging you against creating your own product. I actually insist bloggers to create their own products.

Apart from acting as a regular stream of income, a product of your own will speak for your authority in your niche.

But who doesn’t want to make money without doing much of a hard work ;)?

Well, I am in!

Affiliate marketing is one such way, where you don’t have to create a product of your own, but can still make money from others’ products.

You don’t have to worry about setting up your sales website, setting up payment processors, dealing with customer support and updating the product – Nothing!

But then affiliate marketing is not so easy-peasy as you might think of!

There is still a reasonable amount of “work” you have to do.

I am not going to talk about that in this post. Rather I am going to give you tips for long-term success with affiliate marketing.

The key with affiliate marketing is to build trust.

These tips will help you become a trustworthy person in your niche, so people will buy your recommendations without a second thought.

#1 Do not promote a product that you have not tried yourself

“I take issue with this considering the $2,999 price tags on some of my products! Besides that’s what #goodbloggers reporting is for!”

OK, I’m sure not many will agree with me on this. And my statement is a generic one, isn’t?

Well you can’t always do this. There are exceptions.

But in general, do not promote a product that you haven’t tried out yourself.

This is why I say so: You won’t be able to clearly point out the positives and negatives of a product if you haven’t tried it out yourself.

Do you agree with me on this?

Well, I said there are exceptions! Yes you will not able to afford to buy every laptop and camera you review.

And you may not need every software out there

#2 Research about the product

Before you promote

…a product (even after you have used it) research about the product to see for any scammy associations. “I know from experience that your sponsor does not always make a correct leader decision. Like intro to program that has a question in format, what are the last four digits of your social security number. Minor or major?”

I usually do a search with “product name + negative keywords” – and negative keywords are usually stuff like “sucks”, “scam”, “waste” and words like that depending upon which product you are choosing.

As always a product cannot please everyone on the planet so there will be haters even for a decent product.

So make sure you are not jumping into conclusions by reading just one or two personal views.

When you research for such scam relations to the product, it is best to read user comments in other than the original blog post.

Even better, if you research in forums you can see really useful information on the topic.

Nevertheless, as I said, do not judge a product by looking at what some people say.

The fact that some people write bad reviews about the product doesn’t mean that the product is crappy, but if you are seeing some bad reviews, then you should get that into account! “I find this particularly helpful.”

#3 Make sure the product promises what it delivers

This is one of the main reasons why it is important to try the product before promoting it!

If you don’t use the product, you won’t know if it delivers what it promises.

Products with fake promises are really annoying. Sometimes, the product owners simply promise stuff to market the product.

Sometimes the product owner might simply hype things about the product because it is “their” product!

So if you are going to write a review of the product or put up a banner on your site or recommend that product to your readers in a blog post just by believing that hypey sales page, you could be doing injustice to your readers.

Since it is YOUR recommendation, it is also YOUR responsibility to check out the product thoroughly before you make a recommendation.

Don’t just take a glance at the sales page or read the product features and make recommendations based on your reading.

You really have to find out if the product delivers the promises!

#4 Make sure the product has a good standing in the market

This is something I am recently seeing myself as a business owner and affiliate. You come to know about a great product.

You buy and try it yourself. You find the product amazing. You find it reasonably priced as well.

And you find that the product also delivers everything as promised in the sales letter.

So you write your recommendation. But then things change after a while!

The product stops receiving any updates. Or the product owner disappears from the market.

Have you seen any of these? I have!

That is why recently I have it as a policy to specifically research for the “good standing” of the product and/or the product owner in the market.

You need to look at the following aspects:

· How long is the product in the market?

· Who/What company is behind the product?

· How long has the company been the market?

· How long is the company doing this (relevant) business?

· … and this kind of research.

Unless you clearly know about the company’s (and the product’s) standing do not recommend the product.

Remember, with affiliate marketing, it is all about building trust.

If you recommend a product that does not have a good standing in the market, you will only ruin your reputation and trust!

#5 Make sure the product gets good support from the developers

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“Just because you don’t always agree with what you’re hearing, does not mean you’re not getting good support; they’re always there once you connect! So you go around a few times, that’s communications that doesn’t take weeks!”

There is no point in recommending a product if the customers are not going to get proper support for it.

You are providing a recommendation as a blogger to *help* your readers.

And if the product does not get proper support from its developers, those who buy the product will be left confused and annoyed!

Personally, I value support very much! Whenever I research to buy a product, I see how good the support is.

You can see this by visiting forum threads that talk about this product, read reviews and so on.

Mainly, I value a product by not only seeing its features but I give weight to the support (and documentation).

Basically it doesn’t matter how great the product is – if I cannot get help when with something, there is no point in using that product.

And when I face such an issue, I not only find the product useless but I also get annoyed! So it is quite natural that I need to put myself in the shoes of my readers.

Tip: As a reviewer/affiliate, be prepared to answer questions about the product – or tell the product owner about the review and arrange for him/her to answer some of the critical questions about the product.

#6 Don’t write an all-positive-buy-it-NOW kind of review

“When trying to find an objective review, do you find only reviews from the #starstruckaffiliates in an MLM program? Aggravating isn’t it?”

In your review, make sure you point out both the positives and negatives of the product. I am 200% sure that no product is perfect!

Why? Because “perfect” is a word that is person-dependent. Something that is “perfect” to me would be crappy to you! And vice versa. Why? Because we all have different preferences.

I might have different needs with my business and your needs could be different from mine; so are the features with any product.

So make sure you don’t paint an all-positive picture. If you write such a review people will see you as a “desperate” affiliate marketer who wants to push sales.

If you write a “genuine” review which points out both the positives and negatives of a product you will not only make the review really useful to your readers, but you will also build trust in the industry. “Or you simply keep looking for a #realreview!”

Rather than simply pointing out the features, if you do tutorial, it would be great.

While you do a video review showing a hands on session, people will be able to actually look at the product being used – these kind of reviews are highly helpful for products that don’t have a free or trial version – you will help people look behind the walls before they can actually invest in the product.

“It’s not the Taj Mahal, but it’s me they are actually getting in most cases. So let’s call this my behind the scenes! Where the work gets done by me alone! Forgot to move the yoga mat.”

They will also be able to “see” the challenges in using the product and/or how easy it is to use the product for a particular type of usage!

#7 Update your review often

This is something I have to do myself with my current reviews – I can say this is a note to myself.

Reviews need to be updated regularly, don’t you agree? Things change! So do products and their updates.

With every update, a product could be fixing a bug, or could come out of beta, or could introduce new features, or could change its pricing or something like that!

So it is important that you keep yourself updated of these changes. Usually all product owners keep their affiliates informed of these changes.

Make sure you stay subscribed to the affiliate list of the products for which you are an affiliate.

This will help you easily stay updated. Otherwise it would be a tedious job for you to manually check the updates of those products!

Once you find out that there has been a change of any form (as the ones mentioned above), please do update your review so!

Think of this scenario – when people land on your review page when they see that your review outdated, they are simply going to bounce off. Nobody wants to read an outdated review.

Affiliate marketing: Takeaway tips and conclusion

As I said, the key element is to build trust. If you look for making some quick commissions, you will only fail trying. Just put yourselves in the shoes of the buyer.

Let’s say you come across a recommendation from a person you trust and then you also read another product promotion review from a person who you barely know or a person who have been in the market for a very short time!

From whom will you make those purchases? From the person you trust, right?

Even if you were on the fence about buying that product, a recommendation or an endorsement from the person you trust will surely make you buy it!

So focus on building trust.

Be honest and transparent when you make product promotions or recommendations.

It will take some time. But you will make it!

Hope you found these affiliate marketing tips useful!

Thanks Jane!

 

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8 Essential Productivity Tips for the Busy Entrepreneur

AMERICA’S MOST PRODUCTIVE ENTREPRENEURS

8 Essential Productivity Tips for the Busy Entrepreneur

You can get more work done in less time if you maximize your efforts with these tips.

 

By John DiScala

Johnny Jet has traveled over 100,000 miles a year since starting his newsletter in 1995 and has visited close to 100 countries. He writes about how to maximize your credit card points, how to find… Full bio@Johnnies

Founder and CEO, Johnny Jet@JohnnyJet

CREDIT: Getty Images

Being an entrepreneur can be a real juggling act. If you aren’t constantly trying to improve your productivity, it’s only a matter of time before all those balls come crashing down. For me, I run out steam in the afternoons, so I make sure that I’m maximizing my mornings. I get more work done 7-11a.m. if I minimize distractions. If not, I’m playing catchup all day.

Here are eight tips for improving your productivity as a busy entrepreneur.

1. Use Time Blocks — Know When You’re Most Productive

If you struggle with focusing on or prioritizing tasks, time blocks may be the answer.

These are mini blocks of scheduled time throughout your day (ie: Answer emails, 9:10 – 9:30 am). During each block, you focus on one very specific task and ignore everything else. This allows for maximum efficiency and ensures that you cross off all the priority items for the day.

For me, I’ve realized I’m most productive in the mornings, so I make sure that I’m working early to prioritize my productive hours. For example, I schedule conference calls for later in the afternoon.

 

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2. Implement Accountability

It’s amazing how public accountability can motivate us.

Set goals, even if it’s just your to-do list for the day/week. Then, share them with a coworker, friend, or your team. Knowing that you’ll have to report back and answer for not meeting those goals might add the extra motivation you need to see them through.

3. Don’t Multitask

Your days are inexplicably busy. When possible, though, avoid multitasking and hone your focus on the job at hand.

When you’re being pulled in a hundred directions daily, it’s easy to bounce from task to task. However, this is inefficient — jobs are left open and incomplete, or mistakes are made due to simple oversight. Staying focused on one task until completion ensures that they’re crossed off and done to the fullest potential.

 

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4. Cut Out Distractions

Easier said than done, I know, but try cutting unnecessary distractions throughout the day–like social media browsing. This may mean putting your cell phone across the room or even installing a productivity-boosting “blocker” on your computer.

5. Learn the Power of No

Only divide your time to the most worthwhile tasks, which help you meet your goals. Sometimes, this may mean saying “No” to new projects, clients, or responsibilities that won’t grow you in the direction you want.

6. Make Lists

I’m a fan of lists. There’s something incredibly gratifying about crossing off tasks on a big, yellow legal pad, or deleted an item from the notes section on my phone.

More than that, though, lists can help you stay on track. If tasks are written in front of you, you decrease the chances of them being overlooked or forgotten. You can also streamline your day if you have a list of specific pending items, and not jumping around to whatever you think of next.

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7. Delegate

You know where your strengths lie (and what you do that grows your business), but you’re only one person. If there are menial tasks that are eating up your valuable time, hire them out. Hire a part-time assistant or help from a freelancer site to cross them off.

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8. Unplug

To avoid a mental burnout, you should force yourself to unplug sometimes. This may mean turning off your phone each evening, ignoring weekend emails, or taking a long vacation every year.

When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to be “on” . However, this can stifle your creative flow and impact your effectiveness. Take time to regularly decompress – your mind (and business) will thank you.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Published on: Nov 9, 2017

8 Essential Productivity Tips for the Busy Entrepreneur

https://www.inc.com/john-discala/8-essential-productivity-tips-for-busy-entrepreneur.html?cid=email

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Starting a business is an exciting venture.

To make it an absolute success, getting all the details right from the beginning is absolutely crucial. This is where a business plan becomes relevant.
A business plan is a formal statement that comprises the goals of a business, reasons why they are attainable and the ways in which these can be accomplished. In short, a business plan is a road-map to success.
It is important to understand that while a business plan may not make success inevitable for a business, it can definitely help you find practical ways to avoid failure. It helps you get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your business and devise ways to capitalize on the strength and lower the risks.

Parts of a Business Plan

Regardless of whether you are starting a business or planning to grow your existing one, a business plan is an absolutely crucial element. Let’s take a look at what to include while craft a winning business plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary briefly outlines the goals and aims of the business. It summarizes a description of the business, the products and/or services provided, growth potential, funding requirements, a proper plan on how you will repay loans, if any, etc.
Sometimes, you might need to show the business plan you formulate to investors and financiers. Therefore, you should make sure that you get to the to-the-point in the summary.

Description of the Business

This is where you introduce readers to the business. Describe the products and services that your business plans to give and where and how you plan on providing these to your potential customers. By now, you would need to have a clear idea about which industry corresponds to your business and who your target customers are going to be.

Also include, an industry analysis and how your business fits in. It should also include an outlook for the future. Include how further developments in your industry may affect your business and add facts supporting your inferences.

Analysis of Market Opportunities and Competition

A thorough market research is crucial for your business. This research should analyze the buying habits of customers, purchasing cycle, their willingness to accept new products and services etc. In short, you would need to decide whether there is a practical market for the products and/or services your business will offer.
Also, it is important to have an idea about your competitors and what works for them. These findings will help you decide how to differentiate your product or service from the existing ones. The strategies you device for this purpose should be included in your business plan.

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Marketing and Sales

This section should include a layout of your marketing plan. One of the primary purposes of this section is to find ways to spread awareness of the products and services among your target customers. Marketing involves advertising and promoting your products while maintaining proper public relations.
Your plan should include the techniques that you will carry out to generate leads, increase conversion and keep customers. These should be doable and based on facts.

Business Operations and Management

This section is dedicated to how you plan on running the business. This may include requirements related to staffing, logistics and development of the business. Also, the tasks assigned to every division, responsibilities of the management team etc. are included. Some other aspects that you need to consider are infrastructure, working equipment, WiFi requirements and so on.
You should keep in mind that the operations will change as the company grows. Therefore, your business plan should have provisions for these changes.

Finances

The success or failure of a business boils down to its profits and this section will help in planning how to keep it steady. The major aspects include:
•    An income statement comprising the sources of the business’s cash generation
•    The cash flow statement determining how you plan on meeting financial obligations
Additionally, the business plan should be inclusive of proper funding options for expansion and growth.

Contingency Plan

Even with a full-fledged plan, there can still be certain areas that can go wrong. Your business plan should include strategies that you will start for when things don’t go as anticipated. This could include a shift in marketing strategies for when the desired results are not obtained within a specific time, change in product focus etc.
While this is a basic structure of a business plan, you can include variations depending on the type of business. The benefits of a business plan are endless. A well-drafted plan is crucial in driving your business towards success.
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Taken From Dr Oz...

Whether you're starting a business on the side while still employed elsewhere, a student or homemaker looking for extra income, or unemployed and trying to figure out what to do, there are plenty of opportunities for you to start-up a side business inexpensively. It's unlikely any of these will make you a living in the first few months, but they all have the potential to grow into full-time businesses. We'll take a look at 10 such opportunities:

Webpreneur

It's what everyone who's ever surfed the Web dreams of-just stick a web site up there and watch the cash roll in! Well, that just doesn't happen overnight, but the fact of the matter is it's really not very hard to do.

Consultant

Getting into consulting is relatively simple. All you have to do is know how to do something better than most people do, and be able to either teach people how to do it or be willing to do it for them. Networking is the key to success in this business.

Petsitter/Housesitter

People feel an increased need for security, and house sitting gives them some reassurance while they're out-of-town. This one's great because it basically requires no particular skills, just trustworthiness and reliability.

Professional Organizer

People these days are simply overwhelmed by their "stuff". While there is an ever-growing trend of people wanting to simplify their lives, most of us haven't done it yet.

Avon Independent Sales Rep

Cosmetics is an almost recession-proof business, because it's an inexpensive way for people to feel good about themselves. Avon is the largest consumer direct sales company in the world, with annual sales of nearly $6 billion.

Personal Services - Shopping & Errands

This is a great one going into the holiday season. Believe it or not, there are people who wouldn't be caught dead going anywhere near a mall, but they're not comfortable with buying certain items online, either.

Desktop Publishing

It's amazing how many people have a computer and still don't know how to make a decent flyer! If you've got a good design sense, are extremely familiar with your word processor, and already have a laser or high-quality inkjet printer, you can get into desktop publishing.

Tutoring

With the growing dissatisfaction with our education system and the huge growth in homeschooling, there's an unprecedented need for tutors these days for kids of all ages-even adults! If you've got a topic you can tutor in, contact the local schools.

eBay/Online Auction Store

Yes, there really are people who make a decent living buying things at garage sales and flea markets and selling them on eBay. The big secrets? Stick to products you know (or learn before you start) extremely well, package your goods carefully, and give impeccable customer service.

Office Administrator - Typing / Transcription / Proofreading

Many small businesses and people have a need for these services, but not enough need to hire a temp through an agency.

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