What Does The World Want From You?

how to find your life purposeWhat will you teach?

What are you called to teach, preach, emote, express or share with the world?

How can what you already know, right now – make people better?

What if this whole experience of aliveness – of being you – is merely a challenge to serve – to connect – to empower, inspire and uplift those who haven’t been where you’ve been? Where you are right now?

Each of us has a fingerprint – a unique insight earned of lived experience – and words and wisdom that the world really needs to hear.

If there was one thing you could teach – WOULD teach – what would it be?

I don’t believe in much for sure – but this I do believe is true.

Teaching is transformative.

Both for the person being taught

But also – and equally interesting and empowering to me – for the teacher herself.

I recently had a pretty interesting experience.

I interviewed about 50 people who had “near death experiences”

They came from all sorts of different backgrounds and beliefs.

I’ve been all over the map with what I believe about this stuff before this.

But coming out of this, I learned one thing.

Just about each and every person – regardless of what believed before – came “back” with a concerte certainty that there was
something important left to do.

A powerful purpose and raison d’ê·tre to their lives they could no longer overlook.

I keep on thinking about this.

Either their experience is literally true, like they insist.

Or, even if i’m skeptical –

There is something hardwired into us – something powerful and purposeful and profound – that demands we grow, contribute, heal, help, teach and transform the lives of those we meet.

 

Maybe it matters not.

It matters only that it in the end, it really seems to matter.

So what are you teaching?

Who are you teaching it to?

What do they need?

And how do you make people better – if only for having stumbled upon your words, and your wisdom?

Think about it.  Friends, family, neighbors near and far.

They all count.

So live like it does.

Teach what you know.

And then live what you teach.

It’s the greatest gift we have to offer.

And maybe, in the end, whether we take it with us or merely leave it behind, it’s the only thing that ever mattered at all.

 


Pinterest for Business? How to Tell with 100% Certainty Your Pins Are Failing

As most of you already know, I’ve recently become a huge fan of Pinterest. And when I say most of you, I mean mostly nobody. Because my passion for Pinterest, much like most other things I discuss with my therapist, I keep to myself. Which apparently is a problem.

But, the truth is, I HAVE been spending a fair amount of time exploring Pinterest over the last few weeks, and for a few important reasons.

1 – It’s a ton of fun
2 – I love pretty pictures
3 – Football season hasn’t started yet.
4 – Most guys in their mid 40’s do, we just don’t blog about it. Mostly because we don’t have blogs. But I do. So there you go.

Anyway, using content to cultivate a community, has always been something I’ve been pretty good at – and I figured Pinterest would be no different. I have a core audience I want to target, I know what they like, I have a series of sites I’d like them to join, and then love, and then share with the world….and so on.

So after pinning my fingers raw for about 10 days straight, I was super duper excited to get up this morning to my first comment on a pin.

Charlie Sheen would NOT consider this “#Pinning!”

I’m going to keep it up, but I think I may need to include more football pins.  And maybe some BBQ.

(Even though I’m a vegetarian.)


How to Start an Ecommerce Website in about an Hour

And I’m including the time it takes to watch Montel Williams yell at Bill O’rielly in that hour.  Good grief.

What has happened to daytime TV since I’ve been away.  I remember when Maury Povitch only had one chin, and it was a strong one.  (not as strong as Geraldo’s.  Man do I miss the days Geraldo was getting punched in the nose on live TV by……whoever was punching Geraldo in the nose that day)

What has that have to do with starting an Ecommerce website?  Absolutely nothing.  I’m just getting nostaligic and trying to broaden your horizons.

Here are a few things I’ve been experimenting with over the last few days as we build a shopify market in the mindfulness, helping and healing spaces.

First – I got a great idea today.

A REALLY kick ass, creative and fun idea that I’m pretty sure is going to be a huge hit.  Totally an offbeat idea that I have absolutely ZERO experience with, but it came to me as I was sitting by the pool, trying not to think about my dad bod,  and quietly pondering what happened to my life.

I’ll share more about that later, but only when I’m sure you aren’t going to steal the idea, because it is eminently steal able.  (because then I’ll find the folks who punched Geraldo in the nose and pay them 60 bucks to find your sneaky self and shame you into giving it back.  I don’t believe in violence, but i do believe in giving good guilt)

One of the problems that folks have when setting up a store?  Finding good products to sell.  And of course, if you don’t have products of your own, it’s easy enough to sell affiliate products and do quite well, but that can still be heavy lifting.  (although you can check out our MindfulMarket.com community that is running WordPress, a simple coupon style theme, and we’re going to be inviting local professionals to submit their products, offers, deals, coupons, etc – and in the meantime, we ARE in fact using strict affiliate offers to promote, and have made a few small sales over the last month on just organic traffic)

Okay – but here is a killer cool idea.

Launch your store with Shopify.

Then, download the OBERLO app which will give you access to tens of thousands (or some large number) of drop ship products  you can instantly populate your store with, and test conversions as you experiment with your audience, and what your traffic wants.

The good news?

Oberlo allows you to access and then import tons of products into your Shopify store with a single click ( their chrome bookmarklet tool is awesome) – and you can make edits to prices, descriptions, options, etc (or not – leave them all as is as well – although you’ll suffer from an SEO standpoint, but who cares)

The problem with Oberlo, as far as I can see it thus far, is that the product database is pulling from Aliexpress – which is a China based wholesaler of just about everything under the sun, other than better than American day time TV Shows.  (which I would pay more for)

Aliexpress seems to be a missed blessing for drop shippers – many love it and have launched succesful stores in mere minutes on it’s back – while the little bit of end consumer reviews I’ve read, and watched on youtube, have been decidedly mixed, if not skewed negative.  (e.g. – many people say that the products they are getting from Aliexpress are cheaper than advertised, and are knock off-y-er than they appear on the catalog, or stores selling them online.  (which I think, some significant percentage are probably Shopify store owners doing the above)

So I do have some pause about that – as you don’t want to sell shitty products to your customers, and I do think, by dint of that fact, some extra vetting on WHAT you sell is required.  (there IS a lot of splaining on how not to sell shitty products using Aliexpress – and how to find stuff that is high(er?) quality, from reputable vendors with good, fast shipping and return  policies.

I WOULD recommend checking out Oberlo in the Shopify app store – as they have very good reviews (mostly perfect) and I’ve already populated our test store with about 200 products in about 20 minutes.

If you want to emulate the more “marketplace” style site that I always talk about – creating a community of creatives in a specific niche, market, industry or vertical, while you are checking out the App store, look for the BOLD marketplace app – (okay you don’t have to look for it – I just posted the link 🙂 also excellent reviews, and will turn your Shopify store into a full featured community in about 20 minutes.  (your job becomes to invite folks to sell their services in yoru community – and to promote the site, while taking a cut/commission/fee off of all sales and services – AND establishing yourself as an expert, authority and thought leader in your niche as well)

This is awesome if you want to sell high end marketing services as well – in the online agency “genre” if that’s your goal.  (and it’s a good one to have!)

(i’ve also exchanged some private emails with the BOLD marketplace developers and they’ve been really helpful and quite forthcoming about a few of my questions and concerns using their app – and Shopify alike – so I’m really comfortable recommending them)

Lots more to come.  Just keep thinking big and asking empowering questions of yourself – and your tools.  What can I leverage to launch?  What can I borrow to build?  Rather than trying to create everything from scratch, there are so many awesome ideas, cool creatives and amazing tools out there that others have built for you – use those, leverage what’s available to make something great – and get excited about what’s possible in 2016 – it’s truly a great time to be alive.  (unless you are Bill O’rielly – in which case, 1950 would have been a better time than now – but for the rest of us, the time is now 🙂

And how come I can’t spell O’rielly?  As a Jewish person, I don’t know many Orielly’s, so that’s my excuse.  I can spell Goldberg though.  Who knew?

Questions?  Ask me on Twitter – or fire off via email (ianrhollander (AT) gmail. dotcom)  Want to work together on something great?  Put that in the subject line and let me know!

 

 

 

 


The Secret to Inspirational Writing

Want to inspire people with your writing? Good news! It’s not as difficult as we think it is. A great article well worth reading for anyone who truly wants to motivate, move, inspire, educate, entertain others into action. It turns out (if this author and these studies are right) that the REAL key to inspired writing is actually to be inspired while doing the actual writing. Which means, if you are anything like me, you only need a BIG idea, and a bigger cup of coffee to wake up the world with your words…and work 🙂

Actually, not to be overly “meta” about this, but I find experientially that this is true. The level of passion and purpose and inner sense of urgency I bring to something, the more people tend to resonate and respond, EVEN if the writing itself isn’t as good as other stuff I create that is more well considered or crafted. (but lacks the punch of passion or urgency you can’t contrive)

IF you truly want to do work that matters, this is well worth reading.

However, these findings suggest that good writing is more like talking, an expression of one’s inner state of being. Perhaps the most helpful way for aspiring writers to view writing is as a natural vehicle for capturing personal insights and expressing them. These insights can be valuable and inspiring to the reader whether or not they are also perceived as original or arising from intense effort. As Tolstoy put it,

“People are taught how to write many-paged composition, without having anything they wish to say, on a theme about which they have never thought… This is taught in schools.”

I really like the “self-as-author” metaphor that the researchers use: “The author confronts a blank page, unsure what to say, and the self struggles with an unwritten future.. Both find their voice when inspired, and the author-self, at last, speaks with authority and authenticity.”

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/is-inspiration-contagious/


How to Use Coupons and Discounts to Increase Conversions

Looking to sell more products and services on your ecommerce site?  Using coupons, discounts, one time specials, time sensitive urgency offers and other deals and discounts can be an amazing and exciting opportunity to increase your income.

We are launching several different mindfulness based marketplace sites in the coming months, and are already experimenting heavily with using time sensitive discounts and urgency offers as not only an inducement to get the public excited about visiting our community, but also (and far more important to me) to provide a PLATFORM for purpose driven professionals to come up with their own coupons, urgency opportunities, one time specials, etc – and offer those to the public in the places and spaces they already live, work and compete.

For the main community, we are building a Shopify based store and app based marketplace – and I continue to be impressed with the great ecommerce tips that they freely publish on their blog based on user experience and best practices on existing stores.

Here is our MINDFUMARKET community which is being run on WordPress, and will be the baby brother of the larger site – and will feature lots of affiliate offers, and products and programs, content and courses I’m hoping emanate from the “creative” side of our community.

I’ve also been experimenting with some other deals plugins on affiliate sites I already run and have sort of abandoned over the years…and find that they are a great way to get people to linger longer on the sites, and if positioned properly, really enhance click through rates to the affiliate offers as well.  (although it’s a bit more difficult to use this approach unless you have a more personal or closer relationship with the affiliate making the offer, otherwise you start coming up with contrived offers and deals that you are really creating out of thin air – e.g. – a non existant expiration date or offer end, etc.

You can of course, legitimately do this by offering your own “incentive” and inducement to the affiliate offer – e.g. – “buy this offer by xyz date and then email ME (or us) with your receipt or purchase confirmation by THIS date, and get Y in return.”

Anyway – if you are thinking using discounts and deals (which you should) – here is a good article from Shopify on some best practices as well.

Offers, coupons, discounts and deals. There will come a time when most online merchants will be faced with the decision of whether to offer discounts, when to offer discounts and how much should the discounts be worth.

Offering discounts for your online store can be a powerful weapon in your conversion arsenal, however, used haphazardly, and you can do significant damage to your brand or worse, become unprofitable.

In this post, we’ll review some of the pros and cons of offering deals for your online store, look at some of the most popular ways you can use discounts to drive conversions and, of course, how to most effectively use them.

Let’s dive in.

Note: For the purpose of this blog post and keeping things simple, we’ll refer to coupons, discount and deals all as offers. 

The Pros and Cons of Online Store Offers

Before we jump into some different ways you can effectively use offers to help increase customer loyalty and acquisition, let’s first look at some of the pros and cons of utilizing offers for your online store:

Pros

  • Easy and quick to implement.
  • Easy to track.
  • Increased customer acquisition.
  • Increased conversions.
  • Increased customer loyalty.

Cons

  • Decreased margins and profitability.
  • Possible brand damage.
  • Decreased conversions outside of sale periods if you train visitors to wait for offers.
  • Tendency to drive non-loyal (price driven) shoppers.
  • Tendency to reduce average order size.

Types of OffersThere are several overall types of discounts and offers you have at your disposal. Let’s take a look at the most common:

  • Percentage Based Discount – The most popular way to offer discounts is percentage based discounts. This can include small incentive percentages like 5% or 10% off, larger discount to really drive sales like 20% and 25% or large percentages like 50%+ to liquidate merchandise that isn’t moving or old.
  • Dollar Value Discount – Offers that are based on a dollar value can be positioned as a credit. This makes people feel like they’re wasting money if they don’t use it. In some studies, redemption of dollar based offers vs. percentage based offers can be as much as 175% greater.
  • Free Shipping – Shipping costs are often cited as the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment. Offering free shipping is a great way to mitigate this and increase conversions. Often this is used in conjunction with a minimum order size to help increase the average order value.
  • Free Gift – A free gift with a purchase can be a great way to provide additional value to customer. If used strategically, it can also be used to increase average order size and/or to get rid of product that isn’t moving.

https://www.shopify.com/blog/15514000-14-ways-to-use-offers-coupons-discounts-and-deals-to-drive-revenue-and-customer-loyalty


How to Get More Followers on Pinterest

Are you using Pinterest with a lot of success? What are the most effective marketing strategies you are using to grow your audience on Pinterest?

To be honest, it’s really only in the last 30 days or so that we’ve been really trying to scale up our Pinterest presence on a larger community collaborative project (a Mindfulness oriented community) and I’m having so much fun finding great and inspiring images, I’m almost forgetting that our profile feels almost invisible otherwise.  (very few followers, only 1 image that is getting re-pinned with any regularity, etc)

The exciting news is, as I’ve been exploring some of the various ways Pinterest can be used to build buzz for our business, I’m slowly seeing how powerful it can be for converting content into a community and images into income.  Our community marketplace is being driven by Shopify, for example, which is deeply invested in making it’s platform Pinterest purchase friendly, simply because the Pinterest platform has such a phenomenal ROI for them, and their shop owners.

Similarly, our mindfulness oriented course community is running on Teachable, and they are claiming similar sensational success from the course building c0mmunity.

Pinterest seems to be driving not only great traffic, but a highly engaged and eager to interact audience who want to buy content and courses from the teachable creator community.  (teachers and trainers and content creators of every type and stripe)

Of course, I’m also a bit dismissive of most of the Pinterest marketing advice that I find out there in the wild, the typical simple, silly, spammy and scammy recommendations are everywhere, and as we know, much like Donald Trump’s new campaign reboot, they aren’t going to work.

So what Pinterest marketing techniques are working best for you?

  1. I’m about to start running some paid campaigns, so if you have some experience with that, i’d love to hear about it.
  2. We also started (as a group) starting to follow lots of other people in our niche (something I hate doing just for the contrived sake of it) and re-pinning other images that are relevant to our niche (which I love doing, as that’s the spirit of the platform, and there is so much great stuff out there to discover that is not only fun to find, but is actually helping do hella insightful market research into our marketplace, that i hadn’t really thought of before)
  3. One of the out of the box ideas I’m trying this week is running FB campaigns to a landing page on our blog/marketplace community that has a VERY pinnable image (an infographic we paid to produce) and I’m hoping that the avalanche of eyeballs that this FB ad campaign will generate to this particular post, will lead to lots of relevant, re-pins from thought leaders on FB who are going to peek…and then hopefully re-purpose our pin by dint of it’s relevance to their audience as well.

I’m going to report back on some of the stuff we’re doing on Pinterest that works, as well as some of the stuff that doesn’t.

(if history is our guide, the stuff that DOES work wonderfully well will be a surprise and the stuff that flops, will be the stuff i think right now is going to be amazingly effective 🙂

I’d also love to hear from those of you are love pinterest, and are using it as a good traffic source, and converting your content into clients or cash and your pins into profit.

Here are 10 tips on using Pinterest for business from Searchengineland – a few of these feel worthy of exploration, (like running contests and campaigns) while others feel a bit dated – even though this article is super popular for folks looking for Pinterest advice.  You can read the whole thing following the short excerpt below.

 

9. Run Contests

It’s safe to assume that most people enjoy social media contests, which are extremely easy to promote on Pinterest. For example, you could do something as simple as having a user pin and re-pin in order to win a prize. You could also team up with a tool like Rafflecopter to give away a few extra entries for people who follow you on Pinterest. No matter how you approach running a contest, it’s an easy and quick way to bring attention your account and gain more followers.

8. Use Keywords, Descriptive Titles, & Hashtags

Check out the competition by using the Search feature and enter keywords relevant to you or your brand. If you notice that only a few boards appear after entering the keyword, you may have to select another keyword that has more boards for your title. Longtail keywords and trending topics are usually safe bets when picking out a keyword.

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-tips-get-followers-pinterest/88071/

 

 

 

 


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