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God I Just Wanna Give Up

There comes a time in any venture when the hardship of pursuing a goal or path becomes so heavy that it leads us to want to just give up, to quit, to be relieved of that burden. No matter how strong you are there will always be a time when you might feel this way, it’s not something you should be ashamed of, for even Jesus has cried out to Abba asking him to take his burden away if it was in his will.

Knowing these emotions are apart of our humanity what can you do to follow the path the Christ wants you to walk, whether it’s in business or life I believe we can be guided by his words.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

It’s important to understand first how powerful you are in Christ. If you are believer there is nothing god can’t do, have faith! Oftentimes many of us mistaken change for failure. After spending so many years on the internet I’ve often held on to sunken costs just for that very reason. I was emotionally attached to things that weren’t working and I didn’t want to make a change because I felt like it would mean – I gave up. God has been so patient with me. He’s shown me that pride and emotion should not guide our decisions. He has shown me that change is not giving up its simply accepting gods will for your life.

Are you struggling with your current business or life habits? If you are the simplest most powerful thing you can do right now is turn to God. Ask him to strengthen your mind and guide you in the direction you should go. Honestly, there have been countless times when I fell to my knees and just asked god what do you want me to do, how should I do it,  Am I doing what you need me to do, how can I serve you better? And whenever I asked with a pure heart, whenever I asked my father, he answered me. Sometimes subtly, sometimes like a slap in the face but he always answered.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?

Run in such a way that you may obtain it. I Cor. 9:24

Being in business or self-employed we are often guided by the idea that making a living through our professional pursuits is what will sustain us but over the years I’ve come to realize that we must live our lives not for the purpose of running the race of life but for the purpose of  receiving the prize. And so every material idea takes a backseat to the knowing that before I can receive anything I must first be doing the things that god wants from me and trust when he leads me in a direction that is different from what I planned in my mind.

If you feel low, if you feel like giving up…Take a second to remove ego, need, want, and honestly have a conversation with God. And more importantly be willing to accept his answer!

God Bless You,

Andrea & Dominick

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The Knifenose Chimaera and Why it’s important

Recently a rare and mysterious arctic fish was caught off the coast of the Nanavut in Northern Canada. Nigel Hussey, a researcher from the University of Windsor told CBC, “Only one of these fish have been previously documented from the Hudson straight”. The researcher went on to say that if we were to fish deeper between 1,000 to 2,000 feet we might find that more of these types of fish existed.

So, with all this weirdness – in the back of your mind I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world all of this has to do with anything but weirdness.  You see as I came across this story earlier this morning I was reminded of the time God spoke to Job in Job 38

“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

Clearly, my man Job definitely made the same mistake many of us make in our lives. He cried out from of a place of “all knowingness” thinking that there was simply no rationale behind his current situation. The fact is that oftentimes we approach our lives from a place where we think we know it all and clearly that’s just not the case. Our understanding as human beings is so faulty and subjective that one wonders how the world even manages to function but it does.

Instead of going through life and business from a place of superiority, instead of cursing God because you haven’t succeeded at a certain thing or because things aren’t going your way remember there’s so much in this world that we don’t know yet. More importantly, if we choose to live life based on our own radar the prospect of prosperity is slim to none when you’re in a bad situation. But if you live life based on God’s radar meaning “what god knows” and not necessarily what you know than the possibilities become endless.  So the message today is to look at the possibilities in life as if they were some sort of mysterious fish living in the depths of the ocean. Any man or woman can say you can’t capture your passion in life, anyone can say that the type of life you want doesn’t exist or the type of business you’re trying to create won’t work. But those thoughts come only from one’s human understanding and as such lacks the divine knowledge to quantify such things as truth.

 

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Should you care about Social Commerce?

I’m sure you’re familiar with the idiom, “Don’t mix business with pleasure”.  I personally believe it’s probably one of the driving forces behind the misconception that a business cannot increase sales through social networking. The idea of social commerce is dramatically different than the more common aggressive mass market approach, instead it’s more accurate to consider  social commerce from a people perspective. As soon as businesses begin to alter their Marketing & advertising mindset one can see that our “job” now becomes less centered around traffic wars and deceptively appealing pitches. Instead, we direct our efforts to creating mediums or bridges that allow people to easily spread their buying experience that’s when we’re more likely to see conversions.

Simple example of social commerce in action

Lately, I’ve been getting a little aggravated with Google’s remarketing efforts. Whenever I visit a site and then go to Youtube or see another ad that same website I just visited shows up. I don’t find that fascinating – infact gets a little irritating because I don’t want to keep seeing the same ads – the increased exposure doesn’t help me make a decision. What I need is for someone I know and trust to say, “Hey I use this product or service and I had a great experience”.  This is why I have so much respect for companies like Triberr.com – because they understand what these big ad men do not. The shift has less to do with more exposure and more to do with today’s connection economy.

Everytime I voice my opinion about something I’m apparently ranting about I remember something I was told long ago, “No one cares about your opinions, show me the facts”. Harsh – but true. I don’t intent to mislead people into thinking a certain strategy has merit when it does not. So to support my opinion lets look at some interesting but provable information.

A recent case study published by Addshoppers discovered that implementing a “10% off social rewards Campaign” resulted in a 1,535% Final ROI. The process simply allowed users who were in the process of purchasing a product the ability to share the product before purchasing as a discount incentive.

AddShoppers Case study
The big question here is whether or not businesses are willing to ignore the revenue potential associated with product sharing. Instead of spending an additional 20% on top of last years advertising budget why not approach sales from a smarter more strategic direction. By modifying your sites infrastructure and implementing apps  and analytics  you can easily integrate the simple power of social commerce into your business model and also acquire data necessary to improve your future campaigns. If you’re a smaller business using plugins like Woo Commerce or other shopping carts AddShoppers also has scripts and applications available at $0 cost.  So there’s no reason why you can’t test this strategy in your current operations.

If you’re a digital product creator sites like JVZOO are already implementing this discount process. To use this feature in JVZOO simple edit your product settings by specifying the discount amount as indicated in the image below. When a visitor is completing the purchase they will be presented with the discount option.

JVZOO social commerce

Clickbank veterans have also created a VeriPurchase widget which allows Clickbank sellers to embed a widget of their showcases previous customer names and locations. The widget’s intention is to showcase social proof in an effort to aid buyers in their purchasing decision.

Finally, another supporting detail which I’m sure you’ll appreciate. My friends at Shopify whom I adore for making the selling process simple for fellow entrepreneurs have gone to great lengths to highlight the importance of Social commerce both now and in the near future. Take a look at this slideshare.

The point is, if social commerce were truly ineffective companies would not bother integrating these features into their selling platforms.  So in the end -if you asked me who’s opinion I trusted most:

-Companies that own the platforms that people use to sell their products online

OR

-People who don’t believe in social commerce because they’re not doing it yet?

Well then, no offense but the answer is pretty simple. Social commerce WORKS and it’s here to stay. Again just my opinion BUT I STAND BEHIND it 200% multiplied by a 1000 just for effect.

What are your thoughts on social commerce?

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Exciting Tool Increases Blog Engagement See How

A Simple Way To Increase Blog Engagement with SimpleBooklet

As you know it’s important to creating engaging content that helps to keep your viewer’s attention. There is a debate in terms of how the length (in words) of blog posts increases or decreases the time spent on a page for analytic purposes.  The obvious take away is that in terms of word count it takes much longer to read more words than less, makes sense right. However, after some thought I realized that oftentimes I stay on sites longer not based just on the information I’m taking in but also how I’m interacting with that information.  After some searching for different things that I thought might have the potential to increase engagement I came across Simplebooklet.com … See how it works below

Important Blogging Tips When Using SimpleBooklet

As you can there are few things that are different about this particular blog post. First and most obvious is the embedded booklet. The booklet increases engagement by prompting visitors to view pages withing the book. More importantly while the embed is aesthetically pleasing it also allows the creator to input different forms of media including audio, video, and even downloadable files.  You’re probably saying well I can embed audio and video onto my blog without SimpleBooklet and that’s true. However, in many cases website owners might want to showcase tutorials or a presentation that is organized for optimal viewing and comprehension. Instead of sending viewers to one link and then another and then another why not keep them in one place and do all the work for them. It just makes sense.

This post is also very different in the way it’s structure. Currently, I’m using the Sahifa wordpress magazine theme which allows me to modify the structure of the post. As you can see there are no sidebars on this particular posts. The reason I found this particular detail important is because it allows the viewer to experience content in an unobstructed manner.  If your current blog theme has this capability that’s great. However, if not  just be sure to size your SimpleBooklet so that it fits within the body of the blog.

How To Use SimpleBooklet on your blog

After you’re finished creating your simplebooklet you can publish it on different platforms including Facebook feeds, Google Feeds, Ebay, Craigslist, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more. For WordPress blogs the process is extremely simple. To post your first booklet simply download the Simplebooklet plugin and install it on your WP blog, then copy and paste the shortcode into your post. That’s it.

Click here to see an example of the Simple Booklet publishing window

That’s all for now but if you give simple booklet a try don’t forget to come back and let me know how it went, I’m always interested in your experience. Also, if you have any ideas on how to increase blog engagement let me know!

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When Your Links Are a Hot Mess

It’s time to take control of your links

Blogging calls for a whole bunch of links

  1. Internal links
  2. External links
  3. Affiliate links
  4. Landing Page links
  5. Associate links
  6. Ambassador links

But when it comes down to organizing, tracking, and cloaking those links most of the time you’re left with a hot mess. As a longtime blogger I’ve tried several things to get organized from the standard pen and paper, to excel worksheets, to bitly.com, hypertracker, viralurl and much more. While many of my attempts worked well to some extent the key missing ingredient was managing these links in WordPress and automating some blog processes that we often forget to integrate when creating content.

Link Management for WordPress

If you’re having problems getting your WordPress links together don’t worry my link mess solution search wasn’t in vain. I did find a handful of scripts and plugins that do the job but I managed to narrow it down to 2 options based on features and stability. The two plugins I recommend that will help you manage your links internally via WordPress are MBP Ninja Affiliate and Pretty Links Pro.

Both plugins include internal management, cloacking, and analytics.

List of Key Features I Enjoy With MBP Ninja Affiliate

  • Flexible and Easy Link Management
  • Insert Links into posts Via WordPress Editor (This is probably one of my favorites)
  • Smart Caching
  • Retains links that appear in RSS feeds
  • Keyword conversion
  • Multi/Native Language Keyword to Link Conversion
  • Status Bar Control
  • Subcampaigns
  • Internal analytics

Aside from MBP’s robust features this development company has been around for awhile. They’ve also created plugins like Subscribers Magnet, Bring My Blog Visitors Back, and Max Banners ads pro, amongst others. Their history in the industry adds reputability in a sense that I’m willing to trust their plugins on my website. The company is currently running 14-day trial for $1 which gives you the perfect opportunity to test the plugin and if you don’t like it you can try another plugin called Pretty Links.

I don’t use Pretty Links on this blog but I do run it on another blog. This WordPress link management plugin also boasts many robusts features including redirection, management, automation, and sharing. While the plugin is similar in terms of functionality to MBP Ninja Affiliate some interesting distinctions include:

  • Google Analytics tracking (great for detailed analytics)
  • Automatic generation of QR Codes
  • automatic creation of links for posts and pages
  • Social sharing features (share bar, Twitter comments, etc.)

Pretty links also has a Pretty Links Lite Version which you can download and try. Unfortunately, it does not come with all the PRO features but it should be enough to see if the plugin is the right fit for your WordPress needs. The developers who created this plugin are also reputable. You might be familiar with some of the their other plugins including Affiliate Royale and MemberPress again another reason I wanted to showcase the plugin in this review.

So now that you’ve read through this entire post it’s time to whip your link mess into your very own Linkin’ Wonderland. If you feel there are some plugins I’ve missed, let me know and I can certainly review them in the future. If you currently use any of these plugins share your experience I’m sure other readers will appreciate another perspective.

One thing before you go! Don’t forget to follow us on Google + because we’d love to see you there.


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2 Ways you can Stop Google from deleting your Traffic

Now, before we start calling Google a traffic thief it’s important for us to remember that Google never actually contracted with website owners or provided even a hint of a promise that their terms would never change. Much like any other service in the world Google has a right to change/alter their products or services. As business owners I’m sure many of you can respect that concept. Now to be clear I’m not exactly a die hard fan. In fact, I’ve opted out of some of Google’s products – just so I can be a rebel. However, while Google is not the only form of traffic in town their combined products do make up a significant portion of opportunistic traffic. The question you need to ask yourself is not whether you like Google but instead what is the opportunity cost involved if you choose not to participate at all. If you business can stomach the anti-Google movement more power to you. On the other hand if you believe you can benefit from this company’s free services than you’ll be interested to read these 2 interesting ways you can stop Google from deleting your website traffic.

1. The Search Experience

According to a 2013 study released by Chitika Google retains no less than a 50% share of desktop based web search across all states within the U.S.  These results are not surprising since Google has long since retained the lion’s share of search engine use. However, it does attach a certain contextual importance to the raw power of search engine rankings. Google’s recent Hummingbird update places a great deal of attention on improving search results. According to Jim Yu Founder and CEO of BrightEdge the impact of Hummingbird requires a change in the way we consider SEO

Old SEO: How do I rank for this query?
New SEO: How do I best answer the questions my users have?

The emphasis of this strategy is not much different from the idea of creating quality content and developing influence within your specific industry or community. To stop Google from deleting your traffic think about how your content can best serve your audience. Some post Hummingbird strategies suggest pairing descriptive content like tips or definitions within your pages or post. Overall, the goal should be to provide a more relevant query experience for your user. The good news is the recent Hummingbird update serves more than just a “Google traffic” purpose, the overall direction helps you serve your audience better.

2. Your Traffic in the Cards

Google + is now playing another important role in how your website’s identity appears on Google search. Many of you may have experienced the search card at one point or another. A common experience would probably be a search query for someone famous like President Obama.  Upon searching for a famous person you’ll usually see a card that provides quick stats of the famous person like the image below.

President obama

 

After some research I learned that when logged into Google+ users who perform search queries on individuals or websites are also presented with similar cards even without the prospect of fame. Below you’ll see the card that pops up on search when logged in for B2B Kingdom and you’ll also see a card for Patt Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com

Google Search Cards

As you can see above I’m definitely guilty of Google + Page dereliction.  However, the important concept has less to do with the quantity of followers but instead what appears in the recent posts area. The key is realizing that when logged into Google + users are immediately presented with the opportunity to click on your most recent posts. While it is a tiny detail I do believe it’s one worth considering since it does take up a significant portion of the results that appear on search engines. Basically, it’s a clickable calling card right at the top of Google’s search results.

That’s all for today! But don’t worry we’re digging deeper into Google + and you’ll be the first to know when we discover something awesome. Just one thing before you go – we’d like to see you on G+ so don’t forget to follow us before you leave!


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The Case for Community

As a little girl I grew up in a tiny little village on the island of Guam. There were only a few mom & pop stores and every store owner knew your name. Today after a several years in the military we returned to the village enthusiastic about living the island life again.  Everyday I’m grateful for my upbringing because I learned the importance and dynamic of a community, where everyone plays an important role no matter who you are or what you. Today everytime I walk into a mom and pop store in the village I’m reminded about the idea of community and how businesses have always played such an important role in sustaining the lives of people who depend on them.When I walk into a store and I’m greeted by an owner who knows my name I somehow immediately become invested because I’m no longer just a customer I’m apart of their lives.  My children always seem to leave with a lollipop in hand and no matter what anyone says I have no qualms or quarrels about spending money with people who care enough to know me.

I always spend a little extra time speaking to the store owners. I think sometimes they think I’m a little awkward because I’ll just ask off the wall questions like

How was your day? followed by  How many times do you order this product during the month?

whats funny is that they have no problem sharing the information with me, which I’m always grateful for.

Many will say that traditional brick and mortar experiences don’t necessarily translate to e-commerce but I have to Realistically Disagree. The case for community is becoming more and more apparent especially when considering web aggregators like Google, Facebook, Twitter,  YouTube, Instagram, and the rest.  Through observation you’ll see changes that are not necessarily smarter but more appropriately more human. Google’s Hangouts and Circles, Facebook’s advertising features like boosting posts or segmented campaigns, Twitters growth ratio, and much more are all geared towards helping people create associations, find communities, identify the correct audience, and be better communicators or relationship builders.

More important than what big web names are doing really asking yourself what your company will do if SEO fell of the Earth or if Facebook decided to remove its pages or like buttons. How would your online business survive without search and social ? As a business or website owner understanding how these external variables impact your business activities is essential. The core of this idea is that no matter what Google, Facebook, Bing, or anyother social network or search engine does if you have a community they will find you no matter your PR Rank of advertising budget.

Community Building Tips 1. If you’re a blogger visit Tribber.com & Start building online community with fellow publishers 2. Do you love social media. Create a community on Google+, it’s free new and whole lot of fun.

What are your thoughts on Community? Are you currently making any efforts to build a sustainable online community?

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The Woman Who Poured

In 2 Kings the bible tells a story about a woman who lost her husband. Amidst her grieving she was faced with the threat of her husband’s creditors who would take her sons to be slaves if she could not repay his debt.  Having nothing of value to her name she cried out to the prophet Elisha…

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

This woman represents so many of us. Entrepreneurs struggling to make it while doing what we love. Armed with only her faith and a few empty jars that held no worldly value she was able to pour stability and prosperity back into her life, one jar at a time.

If you’re an entrepreneur at a crossroads, feeling as if you have nothing else to give. STOP…PRAY…and continue to pour faithfully.  For without faith and the willingness to pour we can achieve nothing. But if we have faith and take action, anything is possible.

May God Bless You On Your Journey,

Your Friends  @ B2BKingdom

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Business Owners Need Clarity and You Can Help

Do you have a business expertise? Perhaps you’re a business blogger, e-commerce designer, shopping cart mogul, or any expertise related to business. If so you can provide an extremely valuable service to other start-up businesses looking to make their mark and do it alongside other reputable business owners like Mark Cuban, Chris Brogan, Janice Fraser, and many other successful entrepreneurs.

The big picture IMHO is that Clarity solves a major problem for entrepreneurs. Take a second to remember the moment when you first decided you wanted to start your business, freelance service, or become an author. Personally, I remember having so many questions and I was basically lost. Sometime I would follow information or buy products from people who didn’t necessarily have the expertise I needed which ended costing me a great deal of time, money, and end frustrating myself in the process. I enjoy looking at the future of our business landscape when I see businesses or websites like this that increase accessibility to the right information, help create valuable connections, and help entrepreneurs in the process.

A Closer Look At Clarity.fm

Clarity.fm is a platform that connects business experts with aspiring entrepreneurs who are searching for your expertise. After doing a little research some of the key aspects I found impressive are listed as follows:

1. Well-designed user interface

2. Streamlined call scheduling and payment processing

3. Widget integration

To see how it works from the client end on Clarity.fm please visit the website’s How It Works Page . Below I’ve provided a quick graphic that basically takes you through the process of using the Clarity.fm widget on your website. Once you apply to become an expert  and you’re application will be reviewed you should then have access to the widget or “code” that you can copy and paste on your blog. From that point potential clients can schedule calls and enter their payment information all from the same pop-up window that will appear while they are on your blog or website.  The image below will help you visualize the process. You can also play with the widget in the footer of this post.

Clarity FM on your blog or website

 

 

 

 

I hope you found this post useful! Don’t forget to take a look at Clarity.fm, when you do please come back and share your experience!

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How To Eliminate Branding Fluff

Branding is often a touchy subject for businesses in general. On one end of the Extreme you have businesses who basically live and die by the brand and other the other end of the spectrum you have businesses who will deny the existence of branding in their business model. The in between is the tricky part, businesses sort of wading the waters or straggling the fence if you will – most a little confused about how to actually build a successful brand.

Being an observer one of the major problems I’ve seen in the business world is all the filler and fluff permeated by branding building. Where organizations concerned with building a brand “must do” somethings and “never” do other things. Then there’s all this conceptual nonsense that never makes it past the planning phase and eventually causes disruption across all organizational fronts.

So, as budding business how can you build a brand without being consumed by the fluff? The first step is being certain about your business purpose. While I do believe that sometimes consultants and agencies over complicate the process of building a brand I do believe that identifying a concrete perspective using business processes like identifying a mission and vision is absolutely necessary when building a brand. A mission and vision gives your company a foundation for the brand. It encompasses the idea that your company stands for something – which is a central component when building a brand.

One of my favorite quotes bar none is by Peter Hamilton, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”. Oftentimes I find that many businesses confuse branding with Marketing and PR. Yes, marketing, design, and PR play an important role in spreading your companies message but ultimately they are just mediums of brand distribution as opposed to branding itself.

Google defines branding as:

noun 1. a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name
verb 1. to mark with a branding iron

You see, the challenge behind branding is that businesses often considering branding from a mark or “branding iron” perspective when in reality the production and provision of services is the brand itself.

Pretend for a second that you’re not bombarded by the ideas of logo design, cover design, newsletter marketing, blog themes, and all that other stuff the fills your to do list. Then ask yourself these simple questions.

1. What does my company stand for?
2. How can I articulate that message with the fewest words possible?
3. How can I create products or provide services that represent that message?

It’s important when creating a brand to ask these questions otherwise you’ll face a common problem where your brand basically becomes this gobbledygook figurehead that’s severely disconnected from what it actually does. A company with a disconnected brand is a walking contradiction that ultimately becomes a point of confusion for its customers.