Choice Insights

Reflections about Choice, Personal Performance and Online Business

What do I do first? Sprinting to Success

Since there are so many online assets to create, it is easy enough to get stuck in the analysis paralysis of what do I do first? Where to start?

When you’re starting up, it is natural to want to minimize expenses, so free sounds good. It’s also natural to want to focus time on meeting people online on social media, build a website, and move forward through the customer journey with them, eventually getting to your sales offers.

Unfortunately, this natural and intuitive approach has the drawback of requiring lots of time and effort, but not producing any sales revenues, so even though it’s free, it’s easy to get discouraged.

Step 4. Sprint to Success

The counter-intuitive approach to building your online assets is to start from the end and work backwards through the customer journey.

Start with having a service to sell. It could be your coaching program or a live event workshop, whether virtual or in-person.

Create the payment page first. This supports you...

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Creating Online Assets

Creating online assets is step 3 of the Online Business Success System.

Now that you have designed the customer journey  in Step 1, and selected the systems to support the customer journey in Step 2, you can start creating and building the online assets needed to support your customer journey as Step 3.

What are online assets? They include all the content you produce (written, images, audios, and videos), the various types of web pages, forms, and emails that you create to interact with your audience in online and offline conversations, customer databases, and online products.

Specifically, your online assets will typically include the following:

  1. Social media pages
  2. Website (home, about, contact, resources)
  3. Blog, Vlog, Podcast
  4. Marketing pages and emails (funnels, webinars, launches, affiliate support)
  5. Online appointment calendars
  6. Sales pages
  7. Payment pages
  8. Online products (membership sites requiring customer login)
  9. Live events and workshops (either in-person or virtual)

...

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How are you doing in selecting your systems?

One of the most challenging problems we face as thought leaders in getting our online systems up and working is the overwhelming variety of choices we face when it comes to selecting your systems.

Once you have defined a clear business strategy for your customer journey, then you are ready to start implementing the online and offline systems that you need to support the customer journey.

In a previous article, I drew your attention to the fact that your online business platform is a custom software system. In building any software system, the first step is to understand the functional business requirements. There are four major business functions that are needed to support thought leader online business platforms. These guide your audience through the customer journey you have designed for them.

The four major business functions are:

  1. Public Content
  2. Online Marketing
  3. Online & Offline Sales
  4. Private Content

Typically, you publish free public content to meet your audience...

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Step 1 - Clarifying Your Business Strategy

The foundation of building any software system, i.e., your online platform is to first understand what the business needs. For thought leaders seeking to help others with their knowledge and expertise, the primary requirement here is to understand who your audience is, what their problems are, and how you can help them solve their problems.

Next you need to think about the best ways that you can engage your audience online. Your challenge is to get their attention, and then interactively engage them in a series of both online and offline conversations about their problems and how you may be able to help them. This series of conversations is called a “customer journey.”

The customer journey is a process where you meet and get to know people over time through a series of online and offline conversations. They need to get to know, like, and trust you before they will buy from you. Similarly, you need to get to know, like and trust them as well, so that you know how you can...

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Your online platform is a custom-built interactive software system!

That is the big aha that I had a couple of years ago.

I built custom software systems for ExxonMobil and NASA to support collaborative engineering communities in my 30+ year traditional corporate career as a software development manager. In my current career as an entrepreneur, I have recognized that I work with other thought leader entrepreneur business owners to build their custom software systems – otherwise known as their online business platforms!

The difference is that today we generally don’t need to write code to build these systems, and we don’t need skilled programmers to build our online business platforms, but it can still seem overwhelmingly complex at times to put together your online platform. And if you are struggling with this, you are not alone.

The reason many of us have struggled with how to build an online business successfully is that we have been trying to do one tactical thing or another based on what we learned at our latest seminar. But,...

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How do you apply what you learn about online marketing?

When I got home from Expert’s Academy I was faced with the question, now what is the next step to get started implementing what I learned? And, how can I apply what I learned to promoting my book?

I thought to myself, “I got this. I’m a technology guy. I can figure this out."

I conveniently forgot that I wasn’t yet a “marketing and sales” guy, so I focused first on the technology to support an online business with online marketing and sales.

All the thought leaders I was listening to at the time were saying “start with WordPress” to build your website and go from there. The advantage of WordPress is that it is relatively inexpensive, but it is hard to learn how to use. And there was no guidance on what content to put on your website.

Some people will say "Websites are dead. You don't need a website to sell stuff online. You just need marketing and sales funnels." I fell for that too. Neither were right. You actually need both.

I...

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How do you tell people about your book?

That was the question that triggered my entry into what I now call Internet Marketing Grad School. 

In my last article, I concluded that “if you’re going to make a career out of your book, chances are you’re going to need some higher priced products or services to sell, like online courses, or coaching programs."

My first year experiences in Internet Marketing Grad School included reading Brendon Burchard’s #1 New York Times Best Selling Book: The Millionaire Messenger, watching his Expert’s Academy course on DVDs (now available online), and attending his four-day live event, Expert’s Academy.

Brendon, who self-identifies as an author and a trainer in personal development and online marketing, taught me in Expert’s Academy about an emerging “expert industry” as a new career possibility for anyone who has knowledge and expertise in a subject area and is interested in teaching it to others. You can create a business by selling...

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How many copies of your book do you want to sell?

That was the question that a friend and a spiritual coach asked me about my first book while it was in first-draft stage and we were first talking about it and I was telling her what it was about.

I had already done enough research at that point to know that the average book author only sells about 200-300 copies, and these mainly go to family, friends, and acquaintances.

My answer at the time: I don’t know. 100,000 copies? It was the first number that came to mind that was well above the industry average. I had not really thought about it.

Her next question: Are you willing to do what it takes to sell 100,000 copies? I answered yes, even though I had no idea what that actually meant.

I didn’t know at the time, that traditional publishers do help some in the promotion, but it’s mostly the author’s job to do promote the book sales not only in short-term book launches, but over time.

Let’s do some basic book sales economics, even for self-publishing,...

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Getting Clear on Why to Write a Book

It’s time to start writing now. I’ve completed my first draft outline, and I started writing over the weekend.

I started with the Preface, or maybe it’s the Prologue.  Not sure which yet. When I wrote my first book I had both.

In that book, the Preface was an introductory page or two about my purpose in writing the book and the Prologue was a personal story about how a PhD Chemical Engineer who managed engineering software systems came about to writing a book about human spirituality.

So, that’s where I am right now, thinking about how to set up the context for why a former corporate software development manager is  writing a book for coaches, consultants, authors, speakers, and professional service providers about how to go about building their online business systems in systematic way. 

Here is a quick summary:

While I was working at NASA in my day job, on the side in my spare time I became an author and a Certified High Performance...

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How to get started on your book

When I started out writing my first book, Awaken To Choice, several years ago, in hindsight, I now would characterize that as an “extended journaling” activity.

I just started writing. I was using the writing process to synthesize many of the key ideas I had been learning in my journey learning about and reading multiple authors on human spirituality.

Since I was using a word processor to write it, I just organized and re-organized the content as I went along writing that first draft so that it seemed like it flowed, at least to me.

My audience was initially just an audience of one: me. So it didn’t really matter that much how it was organized. Later, as I captured more and more content and key ideas, I realized that it may be beneficial to others – my family and friends at first, and then I realized eventually many other people.

About this same time I learned from one of my mentors, Brendon Burchard, that books really should be structured with a...

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