Want to learn 14 ways to increase your income? So do I!

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Some time ago, I read 10 Minute Money Makers by Jeanna Gabellini. The book describes (among other things) a number of strategies for increasing your income in relatively quick and doable ways (I won’t say easy, as that will vary from person to person). The book is ideal for self-employed professionals (writers, coaches, consultants, etc.) who want to expand their influence through social media. Check out Jeanna Gabellini’s website for more information (I am not an affiliate and have no financial stake in her content or website).

Here are 14 ways to increase your income (some are better than others):

  1. Make a “no kidding” decision. Decide on what you want to achieve as a financial goal. For example, do you want to sell $1000 of new books per week, or increase your service sales by $2000 per month. Then everything you do will be geared toward supporting that decision. The “how” is not as important as the “what”, which will be your focus.
  2. Follow up. (I am a big believer in this strategy!) Check in with past clients – ask how they are doing, what’s new, etc. Do not try to force a sale. Send a thank you to new clients. Send customers a feedback form or survey, and use the results in your testimonials.
  3. Offer past clients a deal. Offer a product or service with clear benefits and great pricing. Make it a simple, limited-time offer. Use the offer to thank them for being a customer.
  4. Make a quick, get-them-in-the-door offer. Create an affordable, discounted or bundled offer of your products or services. After the customer takes advantage of the offer, suggest something else that you do that will help them at the regular price.
  5. Just ask. Ask helpful people to help you with getting clients through referrals or introductions. You can also ask to be interviewed or recommended on social media.
  6. Talk to your virtual client. Have a virtual conversation with your ideal client about buying your highest ticket item or best service. Ask key questions to overcome: What is their biggest objection to buying? What do you need to say yes? When is the best time to call you? What can I do to improve my service? You have the answers.
  7. Take advantage of available resources. Think of an area in your business where you want to produce more money. Then turn to the Internet for new marketing ideas. Find a diversion to relax your mind and come up with what you need. Join a mastermind group to get motivated.
  8. Pump up the value. Update your products or services – add new material and content to make it fresh.
  9. Get famous. Get more media attention. Become a guest blogger. Start a Google Hangout. Get a testimonial.
  10. Step into the elevator. Create a strong elevator speech that is short and strong on benefits. Make sure to test it out whenever you can.
  11. Create a money funnel. A money funnel is a visual plan of how you invite people into your tribe and move them through your offerings. First, name the ways you get leads and visibility (e.g., published articles). Once you attract a potential client’s interest, get them to be part of your tribe by giving them access to free and inexpensive, yet valuable, content. Then introduce them to differently priced offerings that fit their needs.
  12. The price is right. Re-price your service offerings so that they feel right for you – they meet what you are worth and they are right for your audience. Increase your rates to increase your worth and the level of effort you bring.
  13. Prepare for your windfall. Create a plan to be successful before you are successful. Set up the resources and plans needed to fulfill what will happen when you get extra work, more attention, more money, etc.
  14. The Double It Game. Turn an aspect of your business into a game where you have to a reach a specific goal (such as doubling sales) within a given time frame. It should excite you to try to achieve these goals, and there should be a reward when you hit the goal. Make it a daily effort, and make it fun.

Jeanna Gabellini has a lot more to say in 10 Minute Money Makers. I shared what I thought was most relevant here. Make sure to give it a read.

If there are any eBooks that you’d like me to read and summarize for you here, or give my thoughts on, let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How to succeed as a freelance writer

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Some time ago, I read 279 Days to Overnight Success by Chris Guillebeau. The book describes (among other things) how he became a full-time writer, his world-dominating strategy for building his brand, avoiding people who want you to fail, getting traffic without viral marketing, and more. The book is ideal for writers, bloggers, and other creative artists who want to expand their influence through social media. Chris Guillebeau has a lot to offer on his website, so make sure that you check it out (I am not an affiliate and have no financial stake in his website).

To follow is what I learned about succeeding as a freelance writer from the book.

Create a compelling strategy and be remarkable

Find your personal story – one that you have to tell. It will not be compelling to everyone, and that is OK. Telling your story will allow you to find your audience. Also create flagship content – this is your compelling story and the benefits to your followers. [Make sure to read A Brief Guide to World Domination.]

Answer “Reason why to follow/hire you” and “What’s in it for me?” questions

You must be able to answer these questions to attract and retain your audience. You must also keep answering these questions to give your audience a reason to stay.

Prioritize writing and marketing over everything else

Schedule time to write and market every day / week. Scheduling time is your motivation to write and market. Follow these two tactics: A. Write a minimum number of words per day (1000) to reinforce the habit and motivation. B. Take five marketing actions per day – Twitter posts/connections, reaching out to experts, scheduling a product launch). To help you do this, focus on spending time creating by yourself and thinking about the people who will be consuming what you create.

Be bigger than you really are

Act like you have more clients and a bigger audience, and that you are a bigger deal than you are. Be the authority in your field. Only you have your specific skills, knowledge and experience. Also, do not write to your whole audience – speak to a few people that you want to reach. To get bigger, get your site and materials reviewed by professionals / bloggers in your field, and get media coverage / reviews of your site / products.

Build long-lasting relationships

Spend time every day building and maintaining online and offline relationships – Twitter, LinkedIn, email, networking, phone calls, etc. Contact people that you read and respect (writers, editors, bloggers) and let them know that you enjoy and respect what they are doing. Develop a real relationship before ever asking them for anything.

Tell the world about what you do

Once you’ve developed good design and you have enough content, tell the world about your site / product. Send emails to everyone you know, and ask for feedback. Make sure to write great content and deliver great value – do not launch or promote your site before you are ready.

Respect your followers

Give your followers the best you have to offer. Don’t send them to other sites via clickthrough ads, as you have no control over where they are going. Answer every email from your followers. Ask them for feedback on what content they want to read. Read their questions and create content that answers those questions. Ask them why they visit your site and how you can best help them.

Do what you love

Your goal should be to do something you love and enjoy, and that will also help you to earn a living. Do something that you like that people will pay you to do. What you do should also help your audience in some way – by entertaining, educating or inspiring them.

Chris Guillebeau has a lot more to say in 279 Days to Overnight Success – I took a lot of notes, and shared what I thought was most relevant here. Make sure to give it a read.

I plan to write more summaries of eBooks I’ve downloaded over the years. I have a lot of them to read and share. If there are any eBooks that you’d like me to read and summarize for you here, or give my thoughts on, let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How can you position yourself as an authority to prospects and clients?

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People want to work with professionals who are experts in their field. We don’t want to work with amateur lawyers, doctors, bookkeepers, plumbers, financial planners – we want to work with people who know what they are doing. Working with knowledgeable and experienced people gives us the feeling that things will be done right (although this does not always happen).

If you are sole proprietor (like myself), consultant, self-employed, sole business owner, etc., then you should position yourself as an authority. You’ve been running your business for some time, and you obviously have the skills and experience to do the job. But you have to prove to your clients that you are capable of doing the job because you are an authority in your field.

The first step is to focus on who you are, rather than what you are. You are not just a professional writer or consultant or generic service provider. This will sound odd, but you are the only you there is. There are many writers, but you are the only writer who has your specific experience, skills and authority. Change your perception in the market’s mind. Don’t focus just on your skill level, but who you are and what makes you different.

Who you are will influence your prospects and clients. If you are an authority, then you will become in greater demand, which means you can also charge more. Your client list also affects your value. Working with high-profile clients means that you are worth more by association. They chose you because you are an authority; therefore, others will want to work with you as well.

Do not wait for the market or others to tell you that you are an expert or that you are an authority in this field or that. Your authority depends upon your mindset. Realize that you are skilled and bring value, and that you are an authority in your field. Then present yourself in this manner. This will determine how others view you.

As an authority, you know more about your given topic than anyone else. Make sure that you make this fact known – on your website, in your social media, when you talk to prospects and clients. That does not mean bragging “I am the best.” It means demonstrating your knowledge when required. Focus on where your business is seen, and how prospects perceive your business.

To be viewed as an authority, associate with other authorities. Interview experts in your field, and related areas, and give them exposure – this will allow you to be seen as an expert as well. Are you a marketing writer? Interview marketing experts, and authors with marketing books. Every field has its published experts and authorities. It’s up to you to find them, and ask them to speak about what they do best. Share these best practices with your clients and prospects. Now you’re an authority.

Do you need help with becoming an authority – writing articles, blog posts, etc.? Are you an authority in your field, and want to talk about what you know? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Using storytelling to encourage decision-making among clients and prospects

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Whatever business you are in, storytelling will help you to move potential clients to make faster, more favourable decisions. You can also use social media to help you create that story.

Social media enables you to make “warm” calls and emails to potential clients. All it takes is some research effort on your part. You can use a host of tools (such as LinkedIn and Twitter) to find out more about your potential clients – what they do, what they like, where they spend time, what their problems / wants / needs are. All this information is at your fingertips. Write down a few key points, which will now form the foundation for your story.

Once you have this information about your potential client, you must determine how you can provide them with value. You are selling something (such as widgets, or writing and editing support). Now you need to determine what value you can deliver to that prospect to get them to move toward a decision.

Since you’ve already done your research on the prospect through social media, you can reach out to them in the same way. For example, if that person made a comment on LinkedIn, respond to their comment with feedback of your own. Once you have their attention, and a foundation, you can reach out via email. Begin your story based on that touchpoint. Engage them in a conversation that leads to a discussion of what you do and how that adds value.

The key is to relate what you do in a concise way so that it touches the prospect’s business or life. Do not just state what you sell or do. Tell a story about how you helped another client using your product or service. The case study is the heart of your story. And it’s real, so the person should be able to relate to it, because they might have dealt with the same situation.

The story does not just sell you or your product/service. It shows how you solved a problem, filled a need or created value for someone. The story is real, which makes you more relatable to the prospect. They know more about you, and think of you as a person who understands their business, and what matters to them.

Telling a story helps you to turn prospects into clients. Once you’ve researched your client and found out what is important to them, you can map out the information that they need to make a decision. This will help you to write your story. By providing the person with valuable information that ties directly to what is important to them, they will come to value what you have to say, and look forward to future communications.

Do you need help telling your story? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How to use a framework to focus your writing of blogs, articles, and newsletters

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Getting started in your writing can be very challenging, no matter what you try to write. The first few words and sentences can often be the hardest. And once you get started, it can be difficult to communicate what you want to say in an order that makes sense.

One way to make the process flow more smoothly is to use a framework. The framework supports your content by giving you something to build upon – much like a house’s frame enables builders to construct a house. Instead of trying to build from the ground up, you put up “scaffolding” to hold up the rest of your content.

For example, suppose that you want to write a newsletter. Start with your title or headline. This will be the first plank in your framework. Then add your headings and subheads – these will be your main topics and supporting topics. Write three to five bullet points under each heading and subhead. These will come from the main topics of discussion for that section.

You’ve now developed the framework for your writing. You’ve broken your content into chunks. Take each chunk, and focus on writing just that one bit. Use your headings, subheads and bullet points as your supports to build upon. Each point is its own room in the house you are building. Take one bullet point, and write what you know or want to say about it. Everything should focus on that one point. When you’re done, move to the next one. Eventually, you will have filled all the rooms and written a full first draft.

After that, it’s a matter of sanding the edges, adding some finer touches, and making it look pretty. And then you’re done!

Perhaps it won’t be that easy, but the framework will help you to organize your thoughts, break your writing into digestible chunks, and make the writing process go more smoothly. You can even create a template where you fill in the blanks with your headings, subheads and bullet points, and then build from there.

Do you have any tips on helping to make the writing process more efficient? Would you like help with writing your content? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Two shortcuts to writing better headlines for articles and blog posts

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Whether you want to write an article, a newsletter, a blog post or even an email, your goal is to ensure that it gets read by as many people as possible. Creating an effective headline is the best way to achieve this goal. A well-written headline will increase the likelihood of your content being read. You could have amazing content, but if the headline does not attract the reader, what’s the point?

I’ve written several posts on writing more effective headlines:

Even with all that great content, here are two shortcuts that can help you to be more efficient at writing headlines.

Follow a formula or template to write a headline

This enables you to stick to an effective structure and will make it more efficient when putting together headings. Here is one formula for writing list-type articles: X ways / things / ideas to [achieve a desired result / rid yourself of undesired result] in [given time period].

For example:

  • 10 ways to write emails that sell within 10 days
  • 10 ways to double your sales in one month

Write 10-15 different headlines for the same topic

Repetition will help you to find new and interesting ways to say the same thing, and will uncover the key points that will attract your reader. It will enable you to discard the bad ideas when better ideas come along. Practice makes perfect, and coming up with multiple headlines for each article will make you a better writer.

Conclusion

These shortcuts will help you to write more effective headlines in less time. Once you get the hang of writing headlines, you will become an expert at it, and will definitely an increase in reader response.

Do you have any suggestions on writing better headlines? Do you want help with writing more effective headlines? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Contacting potential clients with short prospecting emails

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Sending cold emails to potential clients is an effective way of marketing your services and attracting clients. There are three essential elements that will help to make your prospecting emails more effective:

  1. Personalization: Speak directly to the person you are trying to reach. Don’t send the same email to every person. Customize your email for that one person.
  2. Relevance: Ensure that the content of your email is important to the recipient. Focus on what is important and what you are trying to achieve.
  3. Brevity: Keep your email short and on point.

Effective prospecting emails should also do the following:

  • Begin with a strong subject line. Make a meaningful connection to your reader. The statement should tie what you do to something you noticed about the prospect (i.e., their problem, needs, what they do).
  • Tie the body of the email to your subject heading. Make that meaningful connection that continues from the heading through the rest of your content. Include a value statement, which explains what you do, for whom, and what makes you different.
  • Provide a link to your website (a specific page is best). The reader should be able to learn about you, find relevant samples of what you do, testimonials, success stories, etc.
  • Make a soft invitation to connect – do not make a hard sell.
  • Wrap up your email with a solid email signature that ties into the subject heading.

Do you need help with writing prospecting emails? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Five ways to build your personal brand

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Most successful businesses have a recognizable brand. Their customers think of them when they need a particular product or service, and associate that company’s image or brand with what they need to buy. Freelancers, solopreneurs, consultants, one-person businesses, and other “one-person” operations can also differentiate themselves by developing a personal brand. The goal is to stand out and be remembered, so your clients and potential clients will think of you first.

So, how do you go about building a personal brand?

Identify your key challenge

What difficulties or hardships did you have to overcome to get to where you are today? How did you decide to provide the product or service that your clients want? Tell your personal story of challenge and triumph. As with every story, start at the beginning (the obstacle), describe how you overcame it, and show where you are today.

State what you learned

Your challenges should have taught you something – how to overcome difficulties, how to do things better, how to be better at what you do, how to solve other’s problems. Take what you learned and share it with others. Show your passion to others, and they will want to know more about you, and work with you as well.

Show how you are qualified to do what you do

What characteristics did you develop in overcoming the obstacle? Are you more efficient, tenacious, creative, intelligent, experienced, etc.? State how these qualities have made you better – as a person and as a business person. Identify your energy – what drives you to be better? Show how you give back, and are part of the community you serve.

Identify your clients’ key challenges

Know your audience and what motivates them. Do they face the same challenges you did? Show them how to overcome those obstacles. Understand your clients’ struggles, and how they feel, as well as what they want to achieve. Use your story to show how you overcame similar challenges, and use your energy and knowledge to help them get past those obstacles.

Create an identifiable tagline

Your tagline, slogan, message, etc. should express your knowledge, energy, abilities and/or skills. It should summarize your essence and how you feel after overcoming your obstacles. It should also be genuine and true to who you are. Keep the tagline short – a few words to a sentence.

Conclusion

You have a personal style, as well as experiences that are unique to you. Creating a personal brand is an extension of who you are, and can help to differentiate you in the minds of your clients. Show your clients that you understand what is important to them, and that you have the experience to help them meet their needs.

What is your personal brand? How did you create your brand? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

What’s your writing style?

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We all have a personal style, and that applies to our writing as well. Good writing takes practice, and finding the style that works for you also takes work. You probably write more than you know – through your work and personal emails. These writing opportunities are ideal for developing and perfecting your writing style. Finding a style that works for you will help to make you a better writer and communicator.

Factors for finding your writing style

We also need to adapt our writing style for different occasions. To find the correct writing style for the document at hand, consider these four key factors:

  • Purpose – why you are writing
  • Topic – what you are writing about
  • Audience – who you are writing to / for
  • Tone – the feeling you want to convey

Your style can change when writing about the same topic because you could have a different purpose (informing versus selling) or different audiences (management versus customers). For example, you might use a more formal style when writing about serious topics or for a senior audience. You could switch to a more personal style when you want the tone to be more familiar.

Varying sentence style

You can change your style at the sentence level to keep your readers interested and engaged. There are different ways to vary sentence style throughout a document:

  • Vary sentence length (short to long, long to short)
  • Start sentences with different types of words (adverbs, phrases, link words [and, but, although])
  • Vary the order of parts of sentences
  • Switch between active and passive voice (do this sparingly)

Read good advertising, marketing and sales books, blogs, writers, etc., as they are masters of writing to a particular style. Observe different writing styles, and see what has worked on you when you’ve been the reader. Then find what works for you, your purpose, your audience, etc.

What writing style have you enjoyed reading? Do you need help with your writing style? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How to paraphrase what you’ve read in your writing

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Paraphrasing involves rewriting passages using different words to make the meaning clearer to your reader. It can involve providing more details to clarify the original meaning of the content, but it does not involve adding new or different thoughts. The paraphrased content should still contain the original thoughts and ideas. Paraphrasing should make any “hidden” or “suppressed” meanings more explicit. The end result should contain the same general meaning, organization, proportion and tone.

Paraphrasing is often used with poetic text or older works of literature where the language can be obscure. However, it is an effective technique for explaining technical documents that are difficult for a general reader to understand. Paraphrasing is not summarizing, as it involves restating and explaining the content in fuller detail where necessary.

Follow these guidelines for paraphrasing content:

  • Read the original passage to identify the central theme or idea.
  • Differentiate between the main thoughts and ideas and the subordinate / supporting thoughts and ideas, and make note of how they are organized.
  • Pay close attention to what is emphasized in the original document, and reflect the areas of emphasis in the paraphrased content.
  • Check a dictionary or thesaurus to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Use the same person (i.e., first person or third person) and tense (i.e., past or present) as the original document, and maintain the same tone where possible.
  • Rewrite phrases that are difficult to understand. Keep any words that are clear and precise.
  • Add illustrative examples where necessary to explain the content more fully.
  • Write as clearly and efficiently as possible, so that the ideas flow from one to the next.

Paraphrasing can be an effective tool for explaining content that is difficult to understand or unclear in its original form. You can also use paraphrasing in verbal communications to help with making statements clearer for both parties (but that’s for another day).

Do you need help with paraphrasing, or making your written communications clearer for your audience? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro