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Archive | January, 2019

How to Get a Crash Course in Online Sales

… And see what your best competitors are doing, too. When you look at a marketing campaign from the outside in, you miss a lot. But when you join competitor’s lists and let them sell to you, you’ll get to dig beneath the surface and see what’s REALLY happening.

How to Get a Crash Course in Online Sales

Read their emails, subscribe to their membership sites and buy their products. Take note of their entire selling process from start to finish. You might do screen capture for upsells, download pages and so forth.

I am NOT advocating that you copy what they’re doing – at least not blatantly. But if you notice a step they take that seems to be working, you might add that step to your own funnel as well.

For example, I bought a product the other week that had sales offers on the download page. There is nothing new about additional sales offers in general, except these offers were increasing in price by a penny every 7 seconds, right on the download page. It was instantly clear these products were being sold, and the price was going up.

I forgot about downloading my product and instead went immediately to the sales page of one of the products, where I found the same thing – the price was increasing by a penny every 7 seconds.

The counter wasn’t obnoxious, but it was in plain view in the upper right-hand corner the entire time as I scrolled through the sales letter. And I never would have seen this if I hadn’t purchased the product.

So if you want to increase your own sales and profits online, find the top selling products in your niche, enter their sales funnel, buy the product and learn everything you can along the way that you can apply to your own business.

Do this, and instead of re-inventing the wheel, you’ll leverage the experience of other successful campaigns and businesses for your own benefit so you can grow your business faster, and help more people by ensuring your products and services are sold to the most buyers who will benefit from them as possible.

Best Lead Magnet Ever?

You know what a lead magnet is – something given away for free in exchange for an email address. You join their list, you get their free report / video / book / software etc.

Best Lead Magnet Ever?

I recently ran across a lead magnet that blew my mind. And I didn’t even realize I was being set up to join a list – or that it WAS a lead magnet – until I was hooked like a prize fish at the end of this master marketer’s line.

Here’s what happened:

I was on this marketer’s site when a headline caught my eye. This was a headline you might find on a book or a paid product – in fact, if it had been a book, I probably would have bought it on the spot. It promised a big benefit and had a curiosity element to it that immediately got my interest.

The headline was on an article and I started reading it. It was giving me methods to accomplish a certain task, but it was doing it in story form. I didn’t even realize until later that it was telling me what to do, but not how to do it. And the story was captivating, as good as any fiction you might read.

I was fully engrossed in the story when it was about to come to a climax and it suddenly – stopped.

It just stopped. There was no more to read. I was left hanging. But of course, there was a subscription form, and a note that said only subscribers of this website would be given the secret information contained at the end of the story.

Yes, I filled out the form. By that point, I would have paid money to get the rest of the story.

I’ve purposely kept this vague because it’s probably not a good idea to copy this marketer’s story. What he wrote works for him and his site. What will work for you and your site is likely to be far different.

But what I can tell you is that no matter who your audience is, they love stories.

And if you can weave the information they want inside of that story and insert a cliffhanger point that compels them to join your list, then I suspect a very high percentage of people who read the beginning of your story will subscribe to your newsletter.

Be sure to have a title so good, people would pay for a book with that title, even if you didn’t give them a book description.

Keep the story intriguing and entertaining, while giving the lessons promised.

And in the portion they read prior to subscribing, only give them the secrets of what to do, not how to do it.

For that, along with the story ending, they’ll need to join your list. 😉

How to Increase the Value of Your Clients

For those of you who remember or have heard of Earl Nightingale, you may recall his recording about “Greener Pastures.” He made the point that every patch of grass, or pasture, looks greener from a distance.

How to Increase the Value of Your Clients

When you’re standing on your own lawn, you see every weed and brown spot. But when you look across to your neighbor’s lawn, it looks lush and green like a golf course.

But the fact is, grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence – it’s an illusion. Just as it’s an illusion that the next customers you get will be the best customers who spend the most money and so forth.

This might be one of the greatest secrets of making money via marketing of all time.

Nearly every business owner fails to fully mine the gold in his own customer list. They’re running around trying to get NEW customers, instead of focusing on their current customers.

Jay Abraham made a fortune simply by going to existing businesses and showing them how to fully utilize their most under-valued and neglected asset – their own customers.

Here are some ideas for extracting maximum value from your own customers.

  • Offer more products and services.
  • Make offers to your list more often.
  • Communicate consistently.
  • Create VIP groups and memberships with special privileges.
  • Let your list know you reward frequent purchasers as well as high volume purchases (if applicable).
  • Identify and focus on the hyper responsive customers and give them more opportunities to spend money with you.
  • Create and sell continuity programs, or sell affiliate continuity programs.
  • Sell renewable products or services.
  • Learn about your customers and tailor offers to match their needs and wants.
  • Communicate frequently with information, education, and even fun stuff.
  • Incentivize greater usage.
  • Analyze your customers and separate them into A-B-C groups based on their responsiveness. Then develop strategies to upgrade the C’s to B’s and the B’s to A’s.
  • Become the resource in your niche for your customers, offering discounts on other people’s products through joint ventures.
  • Ask your customers what they want and what you can do for them as well as what they want to buy right now.

You could even take this one business idea – extracting maximum value from a customer list – and help local businesses to increase their own incomes while paying you a nice percentage of the additional profits.

Big the Big Fish in a Small Pond

In marketing, your target market must be small enough that the resources you’re able to commit will have a big impact.

Big the Big Fish in a Small Pond

Imagine carrying the heaviest rock you can hold and dropping it into a small pond. The splash would be huge, loud and noticed by anyone around, and the ripples would cover the entire surface.

Now imagine dropping that same rock into the middle of the ocean. No one would even notice. Imagine dropping a rock 100 times that size in the middle of the ocean. Again, no one would notice a thing.

The rock, of course, is your resources.

When new marketers come to me looking for advice, I ask them who their target market is. Nine times out of ten, it’s, “Everyone who wants to ___.”

It might be everyone who needs to lose weight, make money or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Their market is too big and they’ll never get noticed.

But if they target teachers who want to make extra money online, or nurses, or fast food workers, they’ll probably make a killing.

Still not convinced? Think of the pond versus the ocean, and the rock as being your marketing. How much marketing will you have to do to get noticed in the ocean? You’ll need the resources of a Coca-Cola to do it.

Now imagine getting noticed in the pond. Heck, if you just stand up and say, “I’ll teach everyone in the pond how to lose 10 pounds this month, or how to make $1,000 a month online,” you’ll get noticed right away.

When someone describes their market too broadly, I know they’re going to fail. But when they know exactly who their audience is and how they’re going to reach them, I know they’ll do fine.

A Starving Crowd is Your Path to Wealth

Gary Halbert once said at a seminar, “If I offer to set you up in the fast food business with a hamburger joint, and you can have any one special advantage you want, what will it be? A clown? Special sauce? Great burgers? A big ad budget?”

A Starving Crowd is Your Path to Wealth

This is the point where the audience was shouting out their answers. I don’t know if anyone got the answer right, though.

Did you? What special advantage would you want?

Gary’s answer was, “A starving crowd.”

If the people are starving, and you’re there with burgers, do you really need any of those other things?

Look at a roach coach – those food wagons that come around to factory parking lots, special events and so forth. Their food is often bad, overpriced and unhealthy. Yet they get swarms of eager customers. Why? Because they go where the starving crowds are.

What is a “starving crowd?”

It might be people with a pressing problem, like a certain health crisis or being overweight.

It could be a market in the midst of change and upheaval, with people looking for answers and help. Health care and insurance in the U.S. might fit this category, since the rules keep changing.

It could be a market in pain, like retail stores trying to survive against internet shopping.

It could simply be people who are hyper-passionate about their particular interest, such as horses, or golf, or investing.

Ideally, you want either one of these starving crowds:

1. A group of buyers with an aggravation that gives them sleepless nights, anxiety, ulcers, rage and so forth, where you can solve their problem or provide something to help. For example, tax problems, health problems, childcare problems and so forth.

2. Or a burning desire for something you can provide. For example, a way to make money, better a golf score, achieve a high mark on an entrance exam, etc.

The two categories can, of course, overlap, which is even better. Worrying about bills or hating a job overlaps with making money from the internet.

Your goal as a marketer is to identify one of these markets and build the right offer for what that market wants right NOW, versus developing an offer and then figuring out who might want to buy it from you.

Yes, I know you might have heard a version of this before, but it’s so crucial to your success, that it bears repeating time and time again.

Choose your market, find out what they want to buy today, and offer them exactly that. When you do, your marketing is already halfway done.

Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

We are all familiar with social proof – placing positive testimonials on your sales pages and websites to show what others think of our products. However, there is a form of social proof used by many marketers that actually backfires and causes sales to drop dramatically, and it’s what they call “negative” social proof.

Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

It works like this: You want to create a sense of urgency, so you say something like, “A lot of people have missed out on this, and you do NOT want to be one of them.” Or “Only a handful of people who read this letter will be smart enough to grab this offer before it’s too late.”

The problem is, you’re indicating that a lot of people are not buying the product. And since people tend to look to others for indications of what to do, this kind of social proof will actually encourage prospects to follow the lead of the majority and not make the purchase.

If you read the book Yes!, you’ll see Robert Cialdini’s experiment where he measured the effects of signs posted in the Arizona Petrified Forest to prevent theft of petrified wood. They tested 3 different signs, and the one that included negative social proof actually INCREASED theft.

The sign read, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest.” This sign actually TRIPLED the amount of theft because it demonstrated to readers that other people were already stealing, thereby making it seem alright for them to steal as well.

Here are more examples of negative social proof:

“This year Americans will produce more litter and pollution than ever before.” Potential result in thinking: It’s okay to litter, everybody’s doing it.

“35% of sexually active teens do not always use condoms.” Potential result in thinking: I don’t have to use a condom if I don’t feel like it.

“4 years ago, over 22 million single women did not vote.” Potential result in thinking: They didn’t bother to vote, why should I?

“50% of women report being harassed in the workplace.” Potential result in thinking: Lots of other men are doing it, I’ll do it too.

However well intentioned those messages may be, as you can see they are likely to have the exact opposite effect than what was intended.

So for example, if you’re marketing something to enhance the security of a WordPress blog, do not say “80% of WordPress owners unintentionally leave their websites wide open to hacking.” If you’re selling an SEO product, do not say “90% of website owners do no SEO whatsoever.”

If you’re selling a diet product, do not say “90% of overweight people will never lose the excess weight.” And if you’re selling a dating product for people over 40, do not say “Most single people over 40 have given up looking for their ideal mate.”

How can you avoid negative social proof? Don’t focus on how common the undesirable behavior is. Instead, show that it is rare and practiced only by social outcasts. Emphasize (where appropriate) that the behavior is:

– Illegal
– Subject to penalties
– Immoral
– Reprehensible
– Irresponsible
– Stupid
– Outdated and no longer acceptable
– (And best of all) Universally scorned.

By doing this, you can make negative social proof work for you rather than against you.

You might want to look over any sales material you have, and make sure you haven’t inadvertently used negative social proof. Just because 80% of marketers have unintentionally used it at least once doesn’t mean you should. 😉

And if you didn’t catch that last bit of negative social proof, you might want to reread this article again.

You’re Doing Affiliate Marketing All Wrong

What’s the easiest way to make money online, without having to create a product or a sales page? Affiliate marketing, of course. 🙂

So, why is it that most affiliate marketers never make nearly what they could make? Anyone has the potential to make HUGE money in affiliate marketing, yet 90% or more of affiliates make a pittance (I’ll wager the number is closer to 98%, in fact.)

You’re Doing Affiliate Marketing All Wrong

Think about this: If you earn an average of $50 on each sale in a sales funnel you promote, and you make 6 sales, you’ve made $300. Sounds good, right?

But guaranteed, there is someone else who made 600 sales and walked away with $30,000.

Why did they make 600 sales when you made just 6?

There are reasons why a handful of affiliate marketers do amazingly well, and everyone else barely makes a profit.

And marketers who understand this will always have a tremendous advantage over marketers who don’t.

1: Build a Relationship

I know you’ve heard it before, but are you doing it? People buy people, not products.

If you want them to open your email and click your link, or visit your Facebook Group and click a link, you’ve got to have a RELATIONSHIP with your people.

This is so simple to do, yet few marketers take the time.

Start with a blog post that is all about you, and then send new opt-ins to the post so they can get to know you. Make the post silly, funny and most of all REAL. Talk about the stupid stuff you’ve done, the mistakes you’ve made, where you live and so forth.

Do you have a strange hobby or unusual taste in food? Include that. Do you have 17 pets? Talk about them. Do you work until 3 in the morning and sleep until noon? Mention that.

Reveal the real you. Not the details people don’t want, but the ones that amuse and interest. You’re looking to make a real connection, not give a resume.

And above all else, don’t make your life seem like a series of magnificent accomplishments. No one is going to relate to someone who turns everything they touch into gold.

But they are going to relate to the time you bought Bitcoin when it was worthless and sold it just before it took off, or the time you thought you could fly and jumped off your uncle’s barn into the manure pile.

And don’t stop with your ‘about me’ page, either. Use this relationship building in your lead magnet, your emails, your other blog posts and so forth.

Always inject a little bit about yourself. Not so much that you bore people, of course, or make everything seem about you. But just enough to keep it real.

Think about relating an event to a friend. Aren’t you going to give your own perceptions of what happened, as well as tell about how you got out of your car and stepped in the mud puddle just before your big presentation?

Use this same method of personal, one-on-one friend communication with your readers as well.

Post on your blog as often as possible, and we’re talking every day or two. Encourage your list to subscribe to Feedburner or the equivalent so they know when you add a new post.

Your readers will realize you’re a real person who isn’t out to pitch them a new product every 5 minutes. And they’ll gladly read your sales emails much more readily when they know there is a real live human being who is sending them these messages.

2: Use Your Own Voice

How many emails do you receive that say something along the lines of, “Buy this product – this product is the greatest product ever – you will be sorry if you miss this – so rush right over and buy it now.”

Yeah. Same old stuff, over and over again.

There is a marketer (or maybe several, but I’m thinking of one in particular) who sells MASSIVE quantities of this exact type of emails as a swipe file to new marketers.

Like a brand-new marketer couldn’t write their own 25 word email that basically says, “GO BUY THIS NOW!”

People are TIRED of getting these emails. You’re tired of getting these emails. I’m tired of getting these emails.

Same phrases, same message, same B.S.

If you’re not going to stand apart from the crowd, then you’re going to have to share the same crumbs they’re getting.

Instead, take 30 minutes and write your own promotional email in your own voice.

Forget hype. Be sincere. Be honest. “Hey, this product isn’t for everyone. I don’t even know if it’s for you. But if you have this problem, then maybe this is your solution. Check it out and decide if it’s right for you, because I know it’s worked like crazy for some people. And it’s on sale right now, too.”

I’ve written emails where I basically tell people not to buy something unless they really really want it or need it. “Don’t buy this if you already know how to do xyz.” “Don’t buy this if you’re not going to be doing this type of marketing.” This is only for people who want (fill in the blank.) It’s like I’m trying to talk them out of it, which paradoxically often results in more sales, not fewer.

But the point isn’t tricking them into buying; it’s to be honest. Because you know what? That latest, greatest product you’re promoting ISN’T what everyone on your list needs. Some of them, sure. The rest of them, no.

Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to open an email that says, “Here’s a new product, thought you might want to know, but please don’t buy it if you’re not going to use it.”

The first time I got an email like that, I bought the product without even reading the sales letter. True story. I was just so happy that someone wasn’t ramming a sale down my throat, that I jumped at the chance to buy it.

Weird but true.

My point is, be you. Be honest. Talk to your readers as though they are your best friends and you don’t want to lose your best friends by acting like a carnival barker who is here today and pulled up stakes (vanished) tomorrow with their money.

3: Email a LOT

This is the one where people like to argue with me, and I understand that.

You’ve heard over and over again that you shouldn’t email too often, or you’ll upset your subscribers, right?

After all, every time you email, there is the potential that a subscriber will hit the unsubscribe button.

Do you know what the potential is when you DON’T email? Nothing. No opens, no clicks, no sales… not even any relationship building.

Do you want people to open and read your emails? Then send out those emails EVERY DAY.

Here’s why:

First, almost no one will see every email you send out. Let’s say you’ve got a sale on one of your products. Don’t you think your readers might like to know about it? But if they miss the one and only email you send that lets them know, then they’ve missed out on the discount and you LOST a sale.

Second, send emails at different times. I opened someone’s email just yesterday, decided I was VERY interested in the new membership he was selling, clicked the link and discovered it was no longer available.

What happened? This particular marketer only sends out emails at 1:00 a.m. my time, so I don’t even see most of his emails in the avalanche of mail I get before I wake up.

Third, if you’re sending email once a week or once a month, your readers are forgetting who the heck you are. And when you finally do send an email, they think it’s spam.

Fourth, if you mail more often, you will make more money. Don’t take my word on this, just do it for one month. Send out one email per day, every day, for 30 days. Put a promotion in each one. See if you haven’t made more – a LOT more – money during that time period than during the previous month.

And by the way, I’m not saying JUST send out a promotion in each email. Make sure you have some content in there as well, even if it’s just an amusing anecdote.

4: Think of affiliate marketing as a BUSINESS

This isn’t a hobby, nor is it an add-on for an additional income stream.

Even if you go on vacation, be prepared to send out an email every day. Schedule them in advance or write them on vacation. Either way, affiliate marketing to your list is a business that you can’t just jump into when you need cash and forget about the rest of the time.

You don’t have many support issues, since the product owners handle this. You don’t have to worry about creating products, sales pages and so forth. You don’t have to drive traffic, unless it’s to build your list bigger.

With so much you don’t have to do, there’s no reason not to focus your time and energy into building relationships with your list and promoting to them every single day.

Affiliate marketing can be some of the easiest money you’ve ever made, if you put in the time and effort to make it a real business.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

Successful email marketing starts with getting the attention of your subscribers. If you don’t nail it on the subject line, there’s little chance your subscriber will open your email.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

When you’re stumped for what to say in the subject line to get your next email opened and read, refer to this handy guide to demand attention and boost your email open rates.

The Big Benefit: You already know to emphasize benefits over features, but are you placing your biggest benefit in your subject lines? Try it and if the benefit matches a major desire of your list, you’ll likely see your open rate go through the roof.

How-to: This one is easy and effective – use your subject line to indicate you’re going to reveal how to do something they are likely to want to do. “How to lose 5 pounds today,” “How to make $100 this afternoon,” etc.

The Urgency Factor: Create some anxiety and get your email opened. You can do this two different ways – first by showing your subscribers what they gain by taking immediate action, such as gaining a free Kindle book today only. Second by demonstrating what they lose if they don’t act, such as losing entry into a program that is closing shortly.

The Numbered List: There is something almost magical about using numbers in subject lines and headlines, plus it gives you a road map to write the content that follows. For example: “Top 10 reasons why you’re doing email marketing all wrong” or “5 ways to get your children to behave.”

Keyword Bait: If you’ve built a targeted list, then there are certain keywords that will likely get your emails opened by that list. For example, if your list is made up of horse lovers, then you’re going to want words like horse, colt, foal, mare, riding, etc. in most of your emails since they act as triggers for your readers.

Discover Astounding Secrets: Benefits plus curiosity are always a winner. Use words such as discover, secrets, amazing, astonishing, etc.

Ask a question: A question irresistibly compels the reader to think and answer. “Is he the right man for you?” “Would personal coaching help you achieve your goals?”

The Eyebrow Raiser: If you can get them intrigued enough to raise an eyebrow, they will open your email. For example: “Why chickens are master gardeners,” “The couch potato’s guide to weight loss” and “5 foods that make you LOSE weight.”

The Story Starter: Everybody loves a good story, so if your subject line sounds like it’s leading into a story, people will click it. “This morning my son asked me where babies come from” and “My client got blistering angry when”

The Curiosity Raiser: You’re not telling them much of anything in the subject line, yet you still make them curious enough to open it. How? By raising their curiosity. “This is B.S.,” “Never again,” “What was I thinking?,” etc.

Next time you want to send an email, refer back to this list and try out some of these proven subject line tips to get more of your messages opened, read and acted upon.

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

If you’re in the IM niche, you probably get the same emails I do asking: “I need to make money YESTERDAY, what do you recommend?”

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

Or maybe you need some extra money for a project you’re working on right now, or you’ve got an unexpected bill.

Here’s a method I sometimes suggest for earning a quick $500 or $1,000, and what people seem to like about it is how simple and straight forward it is.

Ask yourself what skills and knowledge you posses right now. Maybe you can write really well, or you’re good at building WordPress sites. Maybe you’re a graphic artist, or a photographer or videographer. Maybe you’ve got great people skills and you can act as an affiliate manager or set up joint ventures. Perhaps you can coach people on how to do something specific, or teach them how to find the perfect virtual assistant. I guarantee you have at least one skill or piece of knowledge that others are willing to pay for.

“But I don’t have a skill!” Really? Then you need to find dynamite outsourcers who do have skills you can market. You must find something that others are willing to pay for, and that’s usually a skill and sometimes simply a piece of very valuable knowledge.

Once you’ve identified your skill, set up a web page offering that skill for hire. A simple blog site will do, preferably on your own domain. Check out other similar websites to get ideas on how to set yours up.

Find blogs that are relevant to your skill and allow guest bloggers. For example, if you’re really good at writing engaging blog posts, find blogs about blogging. If you can troubleshoot antique engines over the phone, then find blogs about old cars. These blogs should have a bare minimum of 5,000 readers a month, and be sure they already allow guest posting.

Now write articles that provide awesome content for these blogs. Study each blog and write an article just for them that solves a problem or tells how to do something that is totally relevant to your particular skill. For example, if your skill is article writing, you’re going to tell them how to write the perfect article. If your skill is photographing products, then that’s what you’ll teach. Don’t worry about giving away all your secrets – some people would much rather hire a professional than do the work themselves. Link back to your website in the author’s box.

Don’t know if you spotted it, but there is a flaw in the steps above and here it is…

It can sometimes take WEEKS to get your guest blog post published. How do you speed up the process? One way is to link whatever you are writing about with something that is current in the news, preferably in the last 12 to 48 hours. You might need to get a little creative here but if you can pull it off then blog owners will be racing to publish your post. For example, if you’re a sales letter copywriter and the FTC just handed down new rules for what you can and cannot say in your sales copy, you’re golden.

Another trick for getting published quickly is to provide dynamite graphics, pictures or even infographics to go with your article. In fact, your infographic could even BE your article. And don’t forget to politely make a good case to the blog owners on why they should consider publishing your article as quickly as possible.

Continue writing articles and getting them published until the orders start coming in or your phone starts ringing.

The entire process could take as little as 48 hours or as long as 10 days, depending on how fast you get those first blog posts published.

Added benefit – you’ll make more business connections which can continue to benefit you in the future.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

The New Year is upon us – time to talk about your goals, right? Goals are important, yes… But I’d like to focus for a moment on one of the real drivers that will allow you to achieve all of your 2019 ambitions, whatever they might be: Keeping Your Brain Happy so it can help you to accomplish your tasks and see your intentions through to success.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

We all know what it’s like to try to try to work when our brain is in a fog or just doesn’t want to cooperate with us. We feel like we can’t get it in gear, like everything takes too long and the end result is sadly lacking.

Just like any other part of the body, brains can get tired. Suffering from cerebral fatigue results in a lack of new ideas, poor thinking, lousy problem solving and can even be a cause of depression.

Here then are 12 tips to keep your brain refreshed, energized and happy:

1. Mix it up. It’s just common sense that if you spend hour after hour on the same task, you’re going to get burned out. So instead of writing articles for 8 hours straight, try writing articles for 2 hours, researching your next product for an hour, returning emails for an hour, etc.

2. Don’t multi-task important stuff. Sure, you can listen to the radio while you’re doing the dishes, but that’s because neither one requires your full attention. When doing something important like learning a new skill from a webinar or working on your next product, don’t be checking email or the score of the game. By not multi-tasking you’ll accomplish more in less time, and your quality of work will be better, too.

3. Stand up and move around. If you can, get one of those standing work desks and use it at least half the time. If you alternate between standing and sitting you’ll find that you’re more alert and your brain works better.

4. Take a quick break every 20 minutes or so. 20 minute “bursts” of work followed by 2-3 minutes of non-work can make you productive and keep you and your brain energized. BEST: Do something physical on these short breaks like push-ups, sit-ups or deep knee bends.

5. Engage your senses. Use some peppermint or orange oil to wake you up. Make your work space interesting to look at with thought-provoking art. Use colored paper and pens. Get a worry stone or some kind of object you like to hold and pick this up for tactile stimulation when you’re thinking through a problem.

6. Relax for 10 minutes every 90 – 120 minutes. Take 10 minutes off to meditate, walk around the block or work on a puzzle. Your brain will love this.

7. Work when your brain wants to work. Everyone has their own circadian rhythm. Some people are morning people, others are night owls, and many fall in between. Find out what time of day is your most productive and then schedule that time for your most intense and important work.

8. Prioritize. Work on your most important task first, when your brain is at its freshest. Getting this task done first will also give you a much needed feeling of accomplishment and free you up to focus on smaller goals and tasks.

9. Work less, play more. Seriously, if you’re working 100 hours a week then I suspect you’re only doing 50 hours worth of work. Think about it – how much of your time is truly devoted to working, and how much is devoted to “getting ready to work?” Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by emails, games, news, weather, etc.

Instead focus yourself on getting your tasks done as quickly as possible, and then leave your computer, leave your office and go do something totally unrelated to work. While you are out “playing” your brain will be rejuvenating. One unexpected benefit to this is you’ll find your brain becomes more creative and a much better problem solver when it gets periods of rest, relaxation and diversion from work.

10. Take a weekly vacation. No, I’m not kidding. Getting away once a week does wonders for every part of you, especially your brain. And you don’t have to leave your area to take a vacation. Go someplace locally you’ve never been to, take a class, go to events, spend the day walking downtown or in the woods, etc.

Is the weather terrible and you don’t want to leave home? Then grab that book you’ve got of nature photographs or travel shots and sit in a comfortable chair and transport yourself to the exotic places you see in the photos. In terms of benefits to the brain, it’s almost as good as being there.

11. Exercise. I’m not going to tell you all the reasons why you should exercise here – you probably already know them. And one of the biggest reasons is because when you exercise, your brain works better. You think better and more clearly. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if people who regularly exercise improve their IQ scores – it’s already been proven to increase memory and comprehension.

12. Feed your brain. Good nutrition is vital to your brain’s well being. If you’re eating processed foods or junk foods, you’re starving your brain. If you’re eating things like fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, then you’re feeding your brain. Don’t believe me? Cut out all junk food and processed food for one week. Add in fish oils or fish, along with plenty of veggies and some fruits. See if you don’t notice a massive difference in both the way you feel and how well your brain functions.

Be good to your brain and it will help you reach your goals this year, and beyond!

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