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It was little Joey’s first season in Little League Majors. He was only 10, but he was facing pitchers two years older and 20 pounds heavier than he was, and it showed. Being a smart, if not big, kid, he figured he’d play it safe. He knew that even though they were much more experienced than he was, many of the pitchers couldn’t throw consistent strikes. If he just stood there and didn’t swing, maybe he’d get lucky and get walked.
His first time up to bat, it worked. After three balls and two strikes, the pitcher threw a fourth ball for a walk. He was on base, and he even managed to score a run when the kid behind him hit a home run.
His strategy worked so well, he decided to try it again the next time he was up. This time, he made it to a full count again, but the sixth pitch was a called strike, and he walked back to the dugout for an out. Still, he was one for two for getting on base.
The next inning was about the same — he stood there as three straight strikes went right by him. He was out again. Still, scoring one run in his first Major League game wasn’t too bad — was it?
After the game, the coach went over everyone’s batting average. Joey was a little surprised when the coach read his name aloud and said, “Zero.” Zero? How could you have a “zero” batting average? Hadn’t he scored a run? His coach saw the confusion and hurt on his face, and after the treats had been handed out, he pulled the little boy aside. “Coach,” said Joey. “I don’t understand. How do I have zero?”
The coach put his arm around Joey’s small shoulders and leaned in close. “Son, you have to swing to get a hit.”
You have to swing to get a hit. Those words reverberated in Joey’s brain. Maybe it wasn’t enough to get on base just because the pitcher threw balls. Maybe he did have to take a risk to get in the game.
You know how the story ends – the next game, Joey went in there swinging. Over the course of the season, he hit some, he got out some, he missed some. But he never forgot his coach’s wise words: You’ve got to swing to get a hit.
The same is true in business and to those of working from home. Sure, you can score every once in a while because your competition is so bad that customers will choose anything else. But to really be a superstar and make something happen, you’ve got to get a hit. And to get a hit, you have to swing. It’s as simple as that.
Have you ever watched a professional baseball game and seen an athlete just go off on a fan in the stands who went just a little too far in his taunting? It’s not a pretty sight. And no matter how abusive the heckler was, the athlete is the one who ends up looking bad. Right or wrong, the assumption is that athletes are expected to rise above the crowd, not allowing the taunts, jeers, and comments to get to him. After all, the athlete is getting paid; the fan isn’t.
This situation is similar to what businesspeople face. You’ve heard the phrase, “The customer is always right – even when they’re wrong.” That means that you sometimes have to bite your tongue and move forward, even when an objective observer would say you were “right.” Here are five reasons you should always take the high road:
- You gain karma. Putting positive energy into the universe will bring positive experiences back to you.
- You never know what’s happening behind the scenes. The person screaming at the center fielder may just have found out he has colon cancer and is venting his fear. The person sending you a nasty email may have just found out her daughter is suffering from epilepsy. Giving others an undeserved helping of grace might help them when they need it most.
- You can’t really “win.” With customers (and heckling fans) you never win, even if you “win.” Don’t get into a spitting contest when squashing them like a bug will just make you look bad.
- You won’t waste time or energy. Some people are just grumpy, looking for some place to blow off steam. Fighting back only fuels the fire. Direct your energy where it can be put to best use.
- Your mom was right. Remember when she told you that the people talking behind your back were just jealous? A lot of times, that’s true. The fact that people are aiming their squirt guns your way is a sign that you’re succeeding, and the more you succeed, the more it will happen.
Yes, it’s hard to ignore the hecklers. But here are some ways you can block out the jeers and taunts:
- Imagine them as little children. If a two-year-old was throwing a tantrum, you’d treat them with more compassion and less anger, so imagine them that way.
- Breathe deep. When you think you’re being attacked, it’s easy to fall into that “fight or flight” response. Breathing deeply helps clear the adrenaline from your body.
- Bring in a third party. If a response is required and you cannot answer without anger or emotion, have an objective third party answer for you. Many business people outsource their customer support email for this particular reason.
Your time and energy is precious – this is especially true when you are working from home. Invest it where you’ll get good things in return.
We started a series last week of the business lessons that we can learn from baseball. There is so much that we can learn from this sport. This week we’re going to talk about the importance of staying in the game. This is so true if you are working from home.
The last lesson taught us the importance of not letting one bad pitch, inning, or game ruin your season. This lesson is an extension of that — not giving up too soon, and also not getting comfortable in what appears to be an easy win.
Nine innings includes 54 outs, hundreds of pitches, and dozens of plays. Thinking at the bottom of the first that you don’t have a chance to come from behind is a mistake. One Little League team in our town overcame a 13-point deficit at the bottom of the sixth inning (they play six innings in Little League) to come back and win the game. At the pro level, just a few years ago the Colorado Rockies scored nine runs in the bottom of the 9th to win 12-9 over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Stories of business comebacks are no less rare or impressive. Target came back from near-obscurity to take on discount retailer Wal-Mart. Apple was almost belly-up when Steve Jobs returned to re-invigorate the company. Vans shoe company was limping along until it became the footwear of choice for a generation of skateboarders. Comebacks happen, even in the ninth inning — and beyond.
Of course, the reverse is true. For every comeback kid, there is a losing team. The story of the Rockies’ win could be turned upside-down and told as a cautionary tale of the Cardinals LOSING in the ninth inning. IBM, apparently entrenched as the “safe” choice for computers, couldn’t hold its own and is now a shadow of its previous self. Companies getting too comfortable in their role as market leader are a dime a dozen — and their stock might be trading for little more than that.
The lesson for small businesses is obvious: It ain’t over until it’s over. Whether you’re struggling mightily to stay afloat or you think your business is set on auto-pilot, take heed. Anything can happen, and that’s why the game has nine innings. If the outcome was certain, we could all pack up and go home at the bottom of the first.
Don’t become too discouraged by an apparent loss, and don’t become too comfortable with a certain win. A change of pitcher — or a change in the economy or market conditions — can work in your favor or against you. A new customer can change the whole game, as can a new competitor. You never know what the other team has up its sleeve.
Playing all nine is synonymous with doing your best, even when defeat — or victory — seems certain. It is the mindset of a winner, who knows that losing an inning, a game, or even a season doesn’t mean much when looking ahead to next year.
Spring is coming up this week! Personally, I can’t wait! It’s been a long winter and I am so ready for warmer weather!
With the coning of Spring also means the return of baseball. Now, I love all sports. But, America’s favorite pastime isn’t great just for enjoyment and relaxation purposes; it’s also the source of numerous life and business lessons. After all, some of our culture’s most popular sayings (“You can’t win ’em all,” “He really hit a home run that time,” and “He was out before he reached First Base,” for example) come from the diamond.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to go over some business lessons that we can learn from baseball. Even if you don’t like sports – or if you are not working from home just yet – you will learn from these lessons.
Lesson Number One: It’s a Long Season
The Major League Baseball season stretches from April to October, and includes over 160 regular league games. And that doesn’t include pre-season scrimmages or playoff match-ups. With each game lasting an approximate 2.5 hours, that’s a lot of time on the diamond!
What happens in the first inning of the first game in the pre-season has little bearing on who the pennant winner will be. The season lasts a long, long (and some say TOO long) time. By the time the season wraps up, the average batter has been in the box over 500 times. Sometimes they get a hit, but more often, they get out. But that first time up to bat doesn’t set the tone for their season – unless they let it.
Business is the same way. While any one “pitch,” customer interaction, or promotion may seem of the utmost importance — and it is, in that moment — in the overall scheme of things, it is only one piece of a larger mosaic. Yes, great players play hard every pitch, but they also know how to pace themselves and shake off a missed strike and move ahead.
In your business, you need that perspective. Yes, you want to hit a home run each and every time you are at bat, and you want to make a play every time the game comes your way, but chances are you are going to flub a few easy pop-ups, and miss a few easy strikes. That is just the nature of the game.
Sometimes, your perfectly crafted sales page does not convert. Sometimes, an unhappy customer remains unhappy no matter how hard you try to fix the situation. Sometimes, a great product doesn’t sell well. Sometimes you can figure out why, while other times you just have to let it go and move forward, realizing that you will have hundreds of other interactions and opportunities to make your season a winning one.
To put things in perspective, the best hitters in baseball typically have a batting average of around .300. That means every ten times they get up to bat, they fail to get on base seven times. And these are the best of the best! Even the venerable Babe Ruth had a lifetime batting average of only .342.
On a team level, most clubs are striving for a winning season — meaning they win more than they lose. That should be your goal, too — to win more than you lose. And when you do lose — clients, accounts, m
ailing list subscribers — dust your cleats off and try again.
When it comes to having success in business, it might well be that your mindset has more to do with your success or failure than you realize. You also may have a negative mindset and not be aware of it. Here are some keys to achieving and keeping a successful business mindset.
Focus is definitely a key to a successful mindset. Continually remind yourself of what your business is about, what its purpose is, and why you’re doing it. Keep focusing on your goals by having them somewhere that you can see them.
To achieve a successful mindset, you need to dig out that negative mindset you may not even know you have. Here are some things to watch out for that may indicate a negative mindset:
* Having excessive back-up plans and being over-cautious may mean you are doubtful about your success. Safety nets are understandable, but they can become a tempting escape when things are less than perfect. To be successful, you need to press through those imperfect times, not run from them.
* Believe you deserve it. You may think that you really don’t deserve to succeed in business. You just aren’t “that type.” To be successful, though, you need to believe you are that type!
* Uncertainty can be a manifestation of a negative mindset – you are not sure of yourself. There are resources out there; you can learn what you need to succeed. You just have to go for it.
3. Think like an entrepreneur
If you are starting your own business, it won’t work to think like an employee. You need to think like your own boss! This means the freedom and responsibilities that come with being the head of a business.
4. Believe in your product or service
Whether you are selling something for a company or something of your own creation, you need to really love and believe in the product to succeed. If you are offering a service, you need to believe that you are offering something unique and excellent. Keep that mindset that says your product or service is absolutely worth it.
5. Not “I’ll try”…
If someone asked you if you plan to succeed in business, would you say, “I’ll try”? Then you have a negative mindset! You need to think more along the lines of “I will” or “I can.” Thinking “I’ll try” is a non-committal mindset that is not conducive to success.
OK, I know that you think I’ve totally gone off my rocker now – but give me a little time to explain! I promise that it will make sense!
I just finished reading a book about a woman and her whisper horse. Her whisper horse would listen to the heroine’s problems or whatever she needed to talk through with someone. Many times, it’s so much easier to talk with someone who can listen intently to what you have to say and know that they won’t judge you.
It hit me that my tabby cat, Missy, is just like that! I share all kinds of things with her! Many times it has to do with what I may be working on – it may be the frustrations about something that I’m trying to get accomplished – there’s just so many things that I talk to her about during the day. And, she is a tremendous listener! Missy knows when I say her name and she will cock her head to the side like she understands every word that I’m saying.
And, animals are very intuitive! Missy seems to know when I’m a little out of sorts about something and will stay close. She seems to sense that I need someone to talk to. Someone to just sort out whatever may be jumbled up in my mind!
Many times I just need to talk something through to come to a decision or a conclusion. I may not want to talk it out with another human – just talk it out in my own mind. Saying it out loud to my cat does seem to help!
If you are working from home – you still need mentors and people that you interact with. But, many times you just need to bend an ear of someone who won’t get you off in another direction. And, my whisper cat does just that. She is a great listener and a great friend!
Do you have an animal that you converse with?
Hi! My name is Judy Mick and I have a super crazy life!
We all do, don’t we. But, one thing that I am glad of is that I work from my home. Let me give you a quick background of my story.
I started working online in 2007. I started an ecommerce business. My background is in retail – so I love selling things! But, I really didn’t want to go out to a physical location anymore. So, working online seemed the perfect thing! And, it was – I absolutely love it! I still sell items online through my eBay store.
In 2010, I decided that I wanted another stream of income and started Affiliate Marketing. If you don’t know – this is selling things that you love and earning a commission from them. The beauty of this concept is that you don’t have to have the physical product – as with my ecommerce business.
But, both are great ways to work! And, the last 2 years – it has really been a blessing. About 3 years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and my Mom had a stroke. With my business, I was able to take the time to be with them and take care of them – while still earning an income. Even though I live almost 2 hours away.
My business also gave me the opportunity to be with my Dad and to help take care of him before he passed away. He was able to stay at home – which was what he had always wanted.
I’m also able to go to my Mom’s 2 days a week to take care of things for her. All of this, I would not be able to do without being able to work on my own time schedule.
In addition, my husband has had multiple knee replacements – and I’ve been able to take care of him.
So, I’m a firm believer that if you are in the Baby Boomer age group – you really need to be earning an income from your home – on your schedule. In addition to be able to take care of your family when you need to – you are able to travel and still work. All you need is your computer and an internet connection.
This blog is to help those that want to take this path. Also, I’m a firm believer in positive attitude. I’ll be sharing things that have helped me in my business – things that will help you to achieve this goal – and tips for staying motivated.
I hope that you decide to take this journey of working from home for yourself – and for your family!
Affiliate marketing basically means selling other people’s products for a commission online. Affiliate marketing is similar to offline sales where sales people earn a commission for selling a product; the difference is that all selling is conducted online.
As an affiliate marketer you will research and find products to promote on your website. Each time you make a sale through your affiliate link you will earn a portion of that sale. The commissions can vary from as low as 7% to a generous 50%.
The sales are tracked through your unique affiliate ID which is assigned to you at the time you sign up for a specific affiliate program. Your unique affiliate ID is tracked and each time a sale is made through your link it is recorded. A good affiliate program will give you plenty of tools for promoting their products as well as a comprehensive member’s area where you can track your affiliate sales and commissions.
Affiliate marketing is a good way to get started online. You can be set up and ready to go within a few days and there is no need to spend any time creating your own products or purchasing inventory. You are simply promoting other people’s products, which means the vendor is actually responsible for order fulfilment, customer service and anything else related to the sale – you simply refer the sale to them and get paid for doing so.
For example if you have a love of cooking, you can create a website around cooking related topics and include tips, recipes, and reviews of all your favorite cooking gadgets. You can then find affiliate programs online and promote some of those products on your website. You can find programs by doing a search under your chosen topic such as “cooking” and adding the words “affiliate program” to that term.
You can also find affiliate programs at places like CJ.com or ClickBank.com
Although affiliate marketing is an easy way to get started online, there is a little more to it than just throwing up a few links and banners and waiting for the affiliate check to arrive. A good affiliate marketer knows it takes time and effort to make sales.
A good way to do this is by providing quality information on your website and only linking to affiliate products where appropriate. Another good tip is to review the products you promote so that you can accurately describe all the features – good and bad. Your customers will appreciate honest feedback and will be more likely to buy from you if you give them good quality information and honest reviews.
Even though I love my ecommerce store – affiliate marketing is great! There is no inventory to keep track of and nothing to ship daily. So, it is a super way to earn money working from home!
I’ll admit that this blog has been in flux for awhile. It seems like it was one thing after another. And, then I lost all the prior posts and had to start again. Maybe that should have been a sign for me. But, then again, sometimes I have to be hit up beside the head a couple of times before something sinks in.
I know that the posts here have been sporadic at best – and I do apologize for that. I did want to try to get some information to you while I was deciding what to do here. Now, I know and I’m back with a vengeance!
Working from home is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. As I look back over the last year, there’s so many things that I couldn’t have done if I had to go into a “9-5” at an office. I was able to be with my Dad and help to take care of him before he passed away, I’m able to go to my Mom’s a couple of days a week to do things for her, I was able to be with my husband as he had yet another knee operation and then therapy………the list goes on.
And, I think that there are so many people out there who could do so much more for their families and themselves it they could. So, I want to help everyone to get that accomplished.
In addition to motivated and some positive reinforcement – I’m also going to share some things that will help you as you are on your journey to being able to make some money by working from home. I really want to help everyone accomplish that if that is their dream.
I hope that you keep checking back here to see what’s going on! I’ll also be sharing what I’ve learned and I’m going through as I work from home. Let’s enjoy the journey and have some fun together!
Before businesses converted to online marketing, the bread and butter marketing and advertising techniques mostly focused on traditional marketing or what is now called offline marketing. These 7 offline marketing ideas have been around for years and have been proven time and again to bring in revenue to any business whenever they are well-placed and well-timed.
Ad placing on any local or national newspapers can give your website traffic or sales a really good boost. How? Apparently, people still read newspapers and trust the things they read on print media. And with this same level of trust, people view newspaper ads as something that they can be confident about. Online businesses that have placed ads on newspapers have benefited from the great advertising rates of this medium.
Flyers and Posters
There’s a good reason why small and large companies alike still use flyers as part of their marketing campaigns. They work and they work really well. Place flyers somewhere with good traffic and watch as traffic get diverted to your website.
The offline version of opt-in email listing and email marketing, offline direct mail is a marketing method that directly contacts individual and inform them of your website’s presence. When done consistently and with good email pieces, this strategy can help with brand awareness. This may even result in instant sales.
These are possibly the least expensive of all marketing strategies. Give your business cards to anyone you meet and leave them anywhere you go. The results may not be instantaneous, but in time, your cards could bring in revenue for your online business.
Give Free Information
If you are an expert in a field relevant to your business, you could try to be a free learning resource. You could do this by holding a free offline class. Writing reports to give away and writing articles are other ways to give away information – just make sure that you are linking to your site.
Freebies and Giveaways
Giving away promotional items is still alive and well. Next to business cards, this strategy is probably the second least expensive. The cost of this offline marketing strategy could run up to a few hundred dollars or more though if you’re giving away expensive free items.
Network with Other Local Business Owners
The chamber of commerce as well as other local business associations are powerful tools to expand your network. Connections mean better opportunities. Try to get as many connection as you can by attending local business owners meetings and conferences.
Just because you are working online and from home doesn’t mean that you have to disregard offline marketing. It can certainly make a difference in your business.
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