When Your Regular Phone Number Won’t Do

Regular readers will know I do a fair number of posts about various GPT sites. Sites like Cash Crate, Treasure Trooper, and others all pay you to complete offers online.

Some of the offers require your to enter your phone number. Now, you and I know that you’re probably only completing the offer because you’re getting paid for it, not because you actually want to know the best school to get a degree at, but the survey companies don’t. So they’ll call now and then about whatever it was you signed up for, trying to give you more information.

That’s a pain.

Luckily, there is an easy solution. Head over to PrivatePhone.com and sign up for a free voice mail only phone number.

You can request a number from most cities in the United States, so the number can be located where ever you like. If you’re worried about someone tracking you down through the location of your phone number, pick a city halfway across the country from where you really live. You check your voice mail by calling the number, so make sure you have a good long distance plan (we use SkypeOut, so we don’t get charged for individual calls) if your number is long distance from your home.

The service is pretty cool. You can have 500 calls a day coming in, and can store up to 10,000 voice mails total. You can set things up so you get an email alert any time you have a new voice mail.

They even have a feature that allows you to call someone back and have your voice mail number show up on their caller id. Just in case you really did want more information on the best place to get a college degree.

You do have to use the number regularly to avoid having it deactivated. Phoning in to check your messages counts as using it. If you aren’t getting many messages, you’ll need to phone in anyway and log into the system every few days.

Combine a private voice mail number at PrivatePhone.com with a separate GMail email address for completing surveys, and you’re in pretty good shape. You still have to provide a postal address for many of them, but at least junk mail you can pretty easily just throw away.

Oh, a side note: the automated greeting that asks you to enter your PIN number when you’re checking your voice mail is pretty harsh. But the initial voice mail they send you with instructions is pretty funny, so it evens out.

IM Myth Review

Russell Brunson has a free ebook available called The IM Myth.

The headline on the web page states in big bold letters, “What If Everything You Were Ever Taught About Internet Marketing Was A Myth…?”

While I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, I’ll share that a major theme of the book is that Internet Marketing is a tool, not an opportunity. That’s true enough, although it might not seem that way to people new to the field.

The problem is that there are Internet Marketers (e.g. the Gurus) who market quite well to people new to Internet Marketing. And their marketing makes the field seem like an opportunity, because that’s the best way for them to get sales.

The IM Myth talks about how to use Internet Marketing as a tool, and how to not become too reliant on it. If Pepsi used only one method of advertising their drinks, they’d quickly go out of business.

In particular, Russell talks about ways to use offline tactics in combination with online techniques to boost the results of both.

The first section of The IM Myth talks about the importance of qualifying your buyers. Regular readers here will be familiar with that.

Other sections include:

o) Customer Financed Offline Tactics
o) Offline Automated Follow-Up Systems
o) One-To-Many Lead Generation
o) Offline Lead Generation
o) The Truth About PR And Why It Doesn’t Work Very Well Online
o) Ninja Tactics To Make You Stick Out

I think it’s about time for marketers to come up with a different term than “ninja” for techniques that work well and are a bit sneaky. But that’s what’s described in that last section.

Overall, the ebook is an interesting read, and well worth the time it takes.

Make no mistake, though, The IM Myth is for people who are using Internet Marketing to promote a business. If you’re primarily using Internet Marketing as an opportunity, then you may want to read the ebook and see why Russell thinks you’re doing it all wrong.

Of course, in one of those ironic twists, Russell is using Internet based publicity to launch the ebook. To get subscribers, he’s giving away the ebook and paying you $1 for every person you refer to the ebook.

Click here to get your copy of The IM Myth

Blogger Rookie of the Year Contest

Prija has started a very nice contest, the Blogger Rookie of the Year contest.

The idea is to recognize great blogs that started in 2007, and allow readers and bloggers to vote for the one they think is the greatest. Recognizing new bloggers is a terrific thing, and already the post linked to above has a nice representation from lots of bloggers in the comments section.

If you haven’t voted yet, click on over and vote!

How To (Artificially) Boost Your Feed Numbers

Looking for your feed numbers to hit some magic number before disclosing them?

Having trouble breaking through a particular milestone in feed numbers?

You can pretty easily boost your numbers by adding your feed to various free feed directories. The directories themselves will show up as subscribers in the numbers, and they’ll regularly request your feed to look for new content. The only thing they won’t do is read or comment on your posts, or buy anything through your links.

But you can’t have everything, right?

Feed directories also give your feed a wider exposure in the long-term, and may very well result in additional real live human readers on down the line. So a short-term boost in feed numbers now, with the potential of more real readers later. There’s not much of a downside to submitting your feed.

I found a list over at DotSauce.com of 55 Active RSS Directories you can use as a starting point for your feed submitting frenzy.

As a side note, the list was compiled in June of this year, and already some of the links are down. So you take your chances with free directories, but as I said above there’s no real downside to submitting.

When To Invest, and When Not To

This post has been kicking around in my head for a while now.

There’s a huge market targeted at new Internet marketers, trying to sell them products and services that are supposed to make their work easier. The sales pages for nearly every product says something along the lines of, “you need to invest in your business”.

That’s true. You do need to invest in your business for it to grow.

The problem is that many new Internet marketers are not making any money online. That’s to be expected, there’s a learning curve involved. So when they spend money, they’re not spending profits, but whatever they can spare from their regular income. Often, they spend more than they can spare from their daily income, thinking that this new product or service will be the one that catapults them into profit.

Investing in your business means more than just throwing money at it.

There’s the investment of time to learn the skills you need to succeed. There’s the investment of risk in trying a project to see what happens (e.g. starting a blog, starting a membership site, etc). Many of these investments can be made with just a little money involved.

Until you learn the skills you need, products and services won’t help. You may find a program that makes you some money, but if you aren’t learning the skills you need you’ll never be truly successful. You’ll be dependent on someone else’s program and someone else’s skills. And you won’t make as much money as you could if you were the one creating the program.

So while a certain amount of investment is needed in the beginning, I’d suggest that new Internet marketers not jump on every ebook and service that promises instant riches. Stick to the quietly marketed resources that truly provide value, not the latest flash in the pan.

And don’t overdo it. You don’t need five ebooks on SEO, you only need one. And always see if you can hunt up the information for free on various blogs that give SEO tips.

The key point to this post is that money management is part and parcel of doing business online. If you can’t manage your starting capital to last until you get into profit, you’ll likely give up before you get that far.

The Revenue Pro Review

Joey Burdick has started up a blog called the Revenue Pro.

At first glance, the site seems like a basic make money online type of blog. The normal sorts of links and such. The blog’s new enough that it hasn’t accumulated a lot of posts, and so hasn’t developed its own character.

Joey seemed to realize that, and has started a regular series of revenue sharing contests on the blog. For example, this one offers a 5% revenue share for his October blog income. The idea is to encourage more readers participating in the contests, and thus to increase the value of the prizes. It’s a fun idea that various blogs have done now and then, but I can’t recall seeing one that made it a regular event.

The blog theme is nice and clean, and doesn’t distract from the content. The advertising is nicely low key, and meshes well with the theme. The list of categories is small and doesn’t detract overwhelm the sidebar.

I would suggest a couple improvements, though.

First, the permalinks used are the WordPress default, which is terrible for search engine optimization. Including the post title in the permalink structure would help attract more search engine traffic.

Second, allowing email subscriptions to comments helps to foster conversations between commentors. Without it, someone will leave a comment and not come back for days. With it, they’ll come back to check out the ongoing comments, prompted by the email reminder.

Head on over to the blog and get a share of his revenue for yourself!

Letting Go

Some of you know that I’m moving shortly, about 90 miles east to be closer to where I work. I’ve done the commute for three years, and decided enough was enough.

A big theme that’s come up for me during the whole moving process (which should be over on the 5th, if all goes well) is that of letting go. We love our current house. We live in a city, and found one of the few houses we could afford that had natural woods in the backyard. The neighborhood had a lot of connections for us…we found out after moving in that our neighbor across the street was the childhood friend of my father-in-law, and they hadn’t seen each other for over fifty years.

So leaving our current house has been hard. We’d originally decided to keep it and rent it, so we could come back to it if we needed to. That didn’t work out financially, so we’re going to sell it. But that was a hard decision to make.

We’ve had to let go of the connections, and the attachment to the house (and trees!) We’ve had to let go of knowing what the future will bring (I’m on two-year contracts at work, and have no reason to think I won’t be renewed, but you never know).

How does this apply to making money online?

Letting go is important to online success, too. There are times when you have to realize that what you’re currently doing isn’t working, and you need to let go of it and move on to something else. Sometimes we paralyze ourselves trying to figure out exactly how everything will work, and so never actually get around to doing anything…letting go of having to know how it’ll all work lets us make progress.

Letting go of the need for security allows us to take risks, which can bring not only great rewards, but take us in directions we never could have imagined on our own. Letting go of the need to understand completely lets us experiment and flail around, and perhaps learn from the process.

Take a look at your own online efforts, and see if there’s something you can let go of that may be holding you back.