Fail To Plan And You Plan To Fail

You have all heard this phrase a lot, I’m sure.  If you fail to plan you plan to fail.  What does it mean though?  Well, for me it means if  don’t spend some time thinking about my business and making decisions on key aspects of it I will indeed fail.  I like to make a list, it’s a running list of tasks that need to be completed.  As things come up that I need to do I add it to the list.  The list doesn’t get emptied (oh, if only there were that few things to do!) but I re-write it from time to time as it gets big and messy with lots of ticks and crossing out when I complete things or they change to something else.  For example, I have an idea and I add it to the list, but the next day I might re-think the idea and it changes a bit, so the list has to be altered, so it is a very active list for sure!

Each day I add more things to the list and each night I think for a while and add anything to the list that I need to do the next day.  I do prioritise the list.  This usually involves me putting big stars alongside important items or ‘must do tomorrow’ items – another way it becomes messy!

I love my list, I love the big messy nature of it.  It is always written, never typed.  It sits on my desk in front of me so I can always check it to see what I have not completed yet.  And it stares at me as if saying ‘look at me, you have things to do – get off Facebook’!!!

How do you plan?  Do you have a list?  Is it an active list that’s big and messy like mine or is it neat and tidy, or maybe your ‘to do’ things aren’t on the same list, maybe you have several.  However you tackle planning make sure you do it and then give the tasks a go, it’s simply the best way to move forward.

Enjoy the journey!

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

At times we all fall short of what we might expect of ourselves.  Sometimes things get difficult and we can’t meet all our goals or keep up with all our plans meaning what we expected does not happen.  It can be very easy to give yourself a hard time when this happens.  You can chastise yourself for not coming ‘up to scratch’.  But don’t!  It really is just life and those things happen from time to time.  Recognise how much you do achieve rather than how much you don’t.

If you feel these shortfalls happen more often than you would like look at how you structure tasks and make your plans.  If you are setting unachievable goals you are going to fall short so stop doing that to yourself.  Make your goals and plans easy to accomplish and then start to stretch yourself a little further each time.  You will fall into a pattern of achieving instead of not achieving.

And above all, don’t worry, be happy!

Enjoy the journey!

Want More Blog Visitors? Run Your Own Challenge!

When I first started blogging in 2006 I was unable to connect with other bloggers, mostly because I simply did not know how to do that!  It was only by joining a mentoring programme that I was given the tools and advice to create a blogging community around me.  During the first stages of the course I took we were encouraged to engage with each other, to explore other blogs and to interact with everyone.  I made a big effort to get to know my fellow students and visited many, many other blogs, engaging with everyone I visited.  This in itself proved to be the making of my own blog.  Most of the people I visited reciprocated.  One of the things I noticed at the time is that there were many ‘challenges’ that you could get involved in.  All of them involved you participating in an activity then visiting and commenting on the other participants’ blogs.  And of course they would do the same.

Recently I have been involved in a couple of challenges in a group I am part of, The Power Affiliate Club.  The first was a 30 day challenge where we were encouraged to write a blog post each day for 30 days, then visit and comment on other blog posts in the challenge.  It was a great challenge and not only did we all get much more traffic and comments for that month but everyone saw an improvement in their Alexa rank.

The second challenge was one I ran for the group myself.  I ran a Blogging Carnival.  You can still go over and read all of the posts written for the Carnival by clicking the banner below.  A blogging Carnival is where everyone writes posts on the same topic.  We ran a short series of posts for the month of July, one each week with a topic for that week.  Again everyone has seen a much higher amount of traffic and more comments during this challenge.

When I was first blogging and started the mentoring programme some of my fellow students ran challenges.  It brought their names and blogs to the forefront of many blogging communities.  They attracted some big name bloggers to their challenges and it meant a lot of people got to know them and their blogs.  I never had the courage to run my own challenge at that time, but I’m making up for it now!

If you seriously want to improve your traffic, get your blog better known and create a bigger community for yourself in the blogging sphere then run a challenge of your own.  All you need to do is come up with an idea, maybe have a prize or two for the participants to compete for, publicise your intention and then be very encouraging when people participate.  It really works!

Enjoy the journey!

PAC Blogging Carnival

Creative Action And The Learning Curve

My greatest intention has always been to write the very best works that I can, every time.  It is something I can achieve if I have a plan before I start.  My action starts by writing out the plan.  I have learned that this method works well for me.

Usually I write long hand, so I get lots of sheets of A4 paper and a few good pens, and I categorise each sheet before I begin.  I already have a fair idea of the topic in the first instance, but then I break it down into chapters, or headings.  Each sheet has one heading on it and then I can write underneath within those guidelines.

Eventually I have to put it all together, but once the bulk of the writing is done it is easy to create the linking paragraphs or sentences.

Most of my ebooks are planned this way.  Doing it on A4 sheets of paper means I can move the pages around, change the order, before I type anything up.  It makes it much easier for me to manage everything and I don’t get so confused with technical computer type stuff!  In fact Paul Wolfe advocates the ‘outline and bundle‘ method.  Essentially it is based on writing your ebook in chunks, then putting it all together.  Darren Rowse of Problogger also uses this method.  It isn’t something I learned from these people, it is something I have always done.  Great to know the big wigs use it too though!

The interesting part for me is the creation stage, moving sheets of paper around, laying them out (usually all over the floor!), and then seeing the end product when I type it up and make it look neat and presentable.  I rarely suffer from writer’s block because I write everything in small chunks, so I am not looking at the project as a whole, just small steps, individually.  If you do get writer’s block yourself you may like to read Debarpan’s post about overcoming this.  You can read his post here: 5 Tips To Overcome Writer’s Block.  Indeed a great way to think of anything large is to view it as a series of short blog posts that you then put together.

In my efforts to help people to learn to blog in a better, more effective way, I often talk a lot about writing properly, good grammar, correct spelling (taking into account the US/UK English, of course!), and using the appropriate punctuation.  It is something I find lacking in a lot of writing, which is a shame.  I truly believe the written word should be readable, and sometimes it just isn’t.

In addition to this it offends my eyes when the typing is not good, when there is constant mis-spelling, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation.  The occasional mistake is always going to happen, I make them all too often, but it is the very poor standard that I find difficult to read.

So my planning is very important, I research and check everything, then I type it up and make sure it is presented in a readable fashion.  I often write as I speak, so hopefully this helps the reader to find it easy to read!

I also had to learn about blog carnivals when I first started using them.  It was a great learning for me and has enabled me to get involved with this PAC Blogging Carnival, so if you would like to read more posts from people who have entered the Carnival just click the banner below and you can see all the participants in one place!

PAC Blogging Carnival

I’m Passionate About The PAC Blogging Carnival!

Blogging has become big business on the Internet in a very short time.  One of the things I have become very passionate about is helping people to blog effectively, hence my blog caption ‘Learn To Blog With Mandy Allen’.  In my efforts help others I have created a Blogging Carnival for a group I am part of, The Power Affiliate Club, or PAC for short.  I have created the Carnival for the members of PAC to participate in so that we can all have a focus for the month of July and it will increase our traffic and commenting.  Each member is writing a post every Friday for the Carnival.  If you would like to join the Blogging Carnival or just join PAC click this link to read more about it.

A blogging carnival is a collection of Internet bloggers willing to share their experiences to help others succeed, which is a valuable resource for newcomers to the blogging theatre.  PAC’s “Journey To Success” carnival will introduce new bloggers to a wealth of tips that work, and new contacts willing to share their knowledge.  The writers will share with you their successes, and failures, in their quest to earn a living through Internet Marketing.  Each participant in the Carnival will write one post every Friday in July, so that’s 5 posts.

The writers are all members of PAC and the topic for this first week in the Journey To Success Blog Carnival is ‘Passionate, Focused Thinking – Write About Something You Are Passionate About’.

I am passionate about blogging.  I have had this blog since 2009, although it has changed a bit since I first started it!  This is where focus comes in.  Jeff Goins wrote a useful post about focus and has a great little exercise in the post that you can do if you feel you need more focus or have lost your focus.  You can take a look at his post by clicking this link here.  Mary Sloane has also written a splendid post about how we need to focus for success.  You can read Mary’s post by clicking here.

I was very focused and blogged regularly, had a whole host of readers and commenters and even wrote a short report about why I felt my blog was so successful, based on my experience compared with 140 others blogs of the time.  Just a few short years later I realised that I wanted to help others to be more successful with their blogs, and so my whole ethos changed and I was focused on my new direction.  Now I find I can help others through The Power Affiliate Club, and hence this Blogging Carnival was started.

Visit the other Carnival participants and see who is waiting to help you by clicking the banner below:

PAC Blogging Carnival

Ebook Profit Academy Product Review

Last week I was given a copy of a new product by Jon Crimes called the Ebook Profit Academy in exchange for an honest review, here it is!

Before I actually read his ebook and went into the Academy members area though I went onto some of the kindle forums to see what others were saying about making money with their ebooks and there was quite a common theme through the threads.  Making serious money from your ebooks is quite an art, or you just get lucky, one of the two!

There are a lot of people out there who are throwing their work at kindle without much thought to presentation or promotion and then they wonder why the cash does not start flowing in.

So after absorbing the material in the Ebook Profit Academy, how do I think this product can help with this problem?

Firstly to the eBook.

It is 64 pages long but is very detailed with good images to back up the training.   Some instructional ebooks tend to include lots of fluff, to little details or a combination of both, I didn’t see any of that in this ebook, the teaching level seems about right and the content gets straight to the point.

Jon also attempts to build a sense of business into the reader and at the core of this training is the ability to outsource most of the work involved or you can simply DIY depending on your financial circumstances.

Examples, we all love them right? This is another thing which Jon seems to get right.  How many times have you had to read through a paragraph of text again and again to get your head around a new skill or method when a simple image or screenshot would have done the job much better?

Throughout his ebook it seems that whenever an image is required, it appears.  I really did find no problem following the eBook or understanding what Jon was saying in the course material.

How about the members area?

Do yourself a favour and head straight over to the bonuses section where you will find some great additional material to really back up the main course material.  I particularly liked the idea of the business spreadsheet which Jon created himself after testing his product on members of his family!

They had no problem following the course material but according to Jon they did have a problem with keeping organized so the spreadsheet came to life!  With this you can fully monitor what your new books and business is doing all in one fully customizable working area.

Also added as a bonus is a Book Details Template which is handy for a quick copy and paste when you come to publish your book and you also get a Kindle formatting guide, a book promotion bonus and a free copy of one of Jon’s books to use an example to work to.

I could go on but you really need to see what is available for yourself.

Review Summary.

I am seriously impressed.  This is the sort of course which really is ideal for anyone trying to make money from publishing ebooks but is struggling to turn their hard work into a profitable business.

I also noticed quite a few little tips and tricks in there which might even surprise the more experienced book publisher and might even help the more advanced increase the revenue from their books.

I thoroughly recommend that you check out the Ebook profit Academy before you start working on another ebook which struggles to make the money you want from it.

Just click the banner below to get access now!

Do You Want To Make Money From Writing?

I have just been given complete access to a product I simply have to tell you about if you are currently thinking of starting an ebook business or struggling to make your current books profitable.

I would like to introduce you to the Ebook Profit Academy from Jon Crimes.

Jon has been publishing ebooks on Amazon Kindle for some time now and he is making great money but is the first to admit it was not always this way!

Over the past couple of years he’s been faced with questions like:

I am not the best Author!  How can I cost effectively outsource the writing of an ebook?

What should I be doing to make my book really standout in the Kindle store and catch the immediate attention of customers?

Am I researching properly?

How on EARTH do I promote it and make MONEY?

He has answered all these questions (and more!) and now has a profitable ebook business working almost on autopilot…

It still needs monitoring but he also gives you some great tools and bonuses which really help to make this EASY.

You can be one of the first to become an Ebook Profit Academy Member and benefit from a Superb Introductory Offer!

The product launch is 9am EST on Monday 13th June and I will already have a post up on here with a link to the sales page for you.  You cannot miss this one if you are serious about writing for Kindle.  I have had a look behind the scenes and it is really amazing in there!!

Enjoy the journey!


Back To Blogging Basics

I’ve had my blog since 2009 and started it off as a self help and motivation blog.  I loved everything about it from the theme and images to the content I was writing.  I had a massive following of readers who engaged with me through the comments section on a regular basis.  Indeed I wrote a short report about my journey and the amazing results I achieved in the first few months of blogging.  If you sign up to my list you will get a copy of that report in the first week.

Sometime after this I decided I wanted to monetise my blog.  This didn’t work for me at all in the self help niche.  I had made a complete success of my blog in terms of traffic and interaction and I wanted to share these tactics with others whilst maybe making an income from the blog itself.

So I changed my blog completely.  I turned it into a blog about blogging, changing the theme, the graphics and all the content.  Yes, you read that right, I changed my content.  This involved me taking all of my posts and comments off my blog and starting anew.  I realise now what a big mistake that was!  I should have left all of that on there and carried on with my new purpose.

I had felt at the time that my followers would not stick with me anyway when the focus changed so it didn’t matter.  What did matter is that I got rid of all of the wonderful comments that people had made, which I now regret deeply.

A lot of my content on the new focused blog was written to enable me to get a better rank.  I wrote with keywords and SEO in mind, and I don’t much like what I wrote now.  It’s not that the information was not valuable it just wasn’t my style.  And it didn’t actually earn me anything either!

So I went back to blogging basics, looked again at my own short report and read all those tips and tricks I had learned initially that had made my blog so very successful, and I implemented them.

Now I once again have a popular blog with good traffic, and I write without too much consideration about keywords and SEO, I just write naturally and it is much better for the reader.

And the monetisation?  Well, that will come, I know, little bits trickle in all the time and I am working on a new product in between blogging that will compliment the content on here.

Enjoy the journey!

Excellent Service Assured

I recently had new carpets fitted in one of my shops. We open 7 days a week so preparing for the arrival of the new carpets involved me having to get up at the crack of dawn to take the old carpets up and hoover, before the carpet fitters arrival at 8.30am.

I had, in my opinion, made a good job of cleaning up the floor in readiness, however when the carpet fitters arrived they first set to with scrapers and dust pan and brush, taking off every minuscule bit of old, stuck foam carpet backing from the floor.

I hadn’t made as good a job of it as I thought!

I have used this carpet firm for the last 10 years.  I never ask anyone else for a quote when I need new shop or home carpets as I trust these guys implicitly, and the service they give is simply the best.

They are courteous, impeccably clean, hard working, they respond to enquiries quickly and efficiently, and they arrive when they say they will.  Why should I look anywhere else when I am completely satisfied not only with the product and the price, but with the overall service I get?

In Internet Marketing we need to recognise the value of these attributes.  We must always get someone else to check our products for errors and omissions; it is so easy to overlook them.  We also need to check that someone else sees our product and service the way we do.

Always be courteous to your customers, deliver when you say you will, and respond to enquiries quickly and efficiently.

If you give your customers a great service, in addition to a great product and a great price, they will remain loyal and will always come back for more.

Enjoy the journey!

The Power Affiliate Club

In the month of May I have participated in a blog challenge run by a group I am in, The Power Affiliate Club (PAC for short!!).  The challenge was to write a post every day for four weeks and to visit as many other participants’ blogs as we could as well as connecting with people on Facebook.  During the course of the challenge many of the participants have said how great it was to have a challenge and a focus and we should do this type of thing more often.  Some years ago I ran a blog carnival in a group I moderated and it was very popular and successful so we are considering running one for PAC in the future.

A Blog Carnival is is a collection of blog posts all written around a specified topic.  The topic can change each time the Carnival is published but the overall theme stays the same.

The host is the person who sorts out all the posts submitted.  Once they have all the posts they want to include in the Carnival they create a page that summarises the posts and lists the links to all the individual posts.  This drives traffic to the independent Blogs that have submitted posts to the Carnival.

The advantage is that everyone gets increased traffic, and the reader visits blogs that have posts written about the topic they are interested in.  It gives the writer a focus and also an opportunity to encourage visitors through the links posted on other blogs.

Any challenge for bloggers is great to encourage more visitors so a good plan is to get involved in a group of people who support each other and challenge each other in a positive way.  Why not take a look at The Power Affiliate Club and see if you want to join an active, supportive group of fellow bloggers.

Enjoy the journey!