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Editorial

The ONE skill most digital entrepreneurs do not have

After many years of mentoring digital entrepreneurs, I find that there is constantly one core skill they do not start with…

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Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of being a digital marketing mentor to a lot of MBA students and entrepreneurs.

I have always loved being able to help people who are just discovering what the internet can do for their businesses and how thinking asymmetrically can create growth and profits online.

In the process of mentoring a lot of these awesome people, I started to see a common trend and it profoundly affected me and has made me rethink everything about the way I teach digital business.

The internet is awesome.

It’s made it possible for an entrepreneur or a small team of people to create websites and online applications that compete against much larger businesses. This because they have mastered some skillset that is in demand and have figured out how to share it profitably with the rest of the world.

I used to believe that when entrepreneurs are starting to learn about starting an online business, they needed to learn everything about business, tools, terminology and technology.

While those are all important, there is one critical skillset that is often missed when people are learning to build digital businesses.

The ability to write properly and eloquently.

Frustrated writer

I have been stunned and shocked to see people who can master every other component of digital marketing be so intimidated by a blank screen or sheet of paper.

Lots of entrepreneurs are terrified of writing. They love building products, selling products, tinkering with website elements, landing pages and doing everything else but they are scared to actually learn how to write compelling content.

The irony is, they love consuming content from other writers!

My story

When I built one of my successful online businesses, it was based on Microsoft Windows. I realized that to really understand how to create compelling content around software, I had to learn how to write. Even about a topic I was only peripherally aware of at the time.

So I did.

I wrote over 7,000 articles in less than 8 years.

I wrote on websites, syndication sites, on financial sites, press releases, landing pages, editorials and more.

I started one article at a time and did it so much that it became second nature. I was edited by tough editors at sites like Seeking Alpha and had to rewrite content often to get it published. It was tough starting out but I learned.

Eventually, my content was so compelling that my website had 50,000 daily visitors and in 2010, I received a Microsoft MVP award for the Windows Desktop.

Build Conference Anaheim

Me at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim California – 2011

My ability to write got me into conferences where I met most of the popular technology writers I had always admired. I was a member of the press pool at Microsoft events – because I learned how to write.

That business made me close to a million dollars based on my digital marketing abilities BUT at the end of the day it all came down to one thing.

The ability to write and express myself.

It’s critical.

I learned this the hard way

When I would walk entrepreneurs through digital marketing basics and eventually get their sites up and running, I would find out that they either didn’t know how to write or hated writing.

That changed the way I teach.

Now I start off with a basic digital writing and copywriting class.

Once my students are able to write somewhat decently and properly, only then do we move to keyword research, idea validation etc.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out

If you have an idea for an online business, you should take a writing class. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you should learn how to write.

You should head to online resources like Udemy and search for “writing”.

Yes, you can hire a copywriter to do some things for you but the truth is, even the best copywriters can’t replace you.

Customers and clients are drawn to YOU. 

They come to your site, connect to you on social media and respond to your content because it’s YOU. This is true for every kind of business and it’s also why the most effective way to sell professional services online is with your blog.

The blog allows customers and visitors to see how you think and figure out whether your values are compatible with theirs. If they like how you think and express yourself, you’re more likely to make that sale or convert that visitor.

Also practice writing!

“I’m not a good writer!” – that’s a common refrain I hear.

No one starts out as a good writer. No one.

Some people do have natural talent but even that takes honing and practice until it’s perfected. Write one hundred articles in a month and I GUARANTEE you that the first and last article will be dramatically different.

The bottom line

The ability to express yourself is one of the most critical skills you can develop as an adult. It’s what gets you the VC money, what gets you the raise at work, the first date with a significant other and what gets your content to convert.

Learning how to write can change your life. I know this because it changed mine.

If you don’t know how to write, learn and if you’re a good writer, practice. This skill is often the difference between success and failure online.

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

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Digital Marketing Training

13 Steps To Building A Profitable High Traffic Technology Blog – Part Three – the baby business plan

This is part three of my blueprint that will help you begin the process of building a high traffic profitable technology blog.

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Baby business plan

This is the third post in the series.

In part one, I talked about some of my experiences with some of the successful high traffic websites I actually built.

In part two, I shared a little about my belly of the whale strategy, a methodology I use to identify potential software niches to get into.

This is part three of my blueprint that will help you begin the process of building a high traffic profitable technology blog.

Today I want to share with you the importance of creating a business plan but not a regular business plan.

I call this…

The Baby Business Plan

Anyone who has written a business plan knows that to do it properly, it’s exhausting and requires a certain level of expertise and sophistication.

There are businesses and vendors who specialize in helping entrepreneurs write business plans. They are that complex.

Here’s the problem.

For most online entrepreneurs, at this stage in the process, that’s too much work. It just doesn’t make sense.

IMPORTANT – I’m not trying to say that entrepreneurs don’t need a plan, I’m saying at this stage, digital entrepreneurs don’t need the formal rigor of an exhaustive business plan.

You need a baby business plan.

What is a Baby Business Plan?

A baby business plan is a scaled down vision of your plans for your business. Simply put, you need to think about how this website or web based app will make money.

This is different from a real business plan because at this point you simply don’t need all that complexity.

So, let’s get to the meat and bones.

What are the elements of a Baby Business Plan?

A Baby Business Plan has 9 elements:

  • Business name ( and URL)
  • Business concept (Full description)
  • Technology components (list and price)
  • Labor costs to start
  • Ongoing labor
  • Marketing plan
  • Marketing costs
  • Monetization plan
  • Maintenance costs

Like I said, this is a scaled down version that you can put together real quickly.

Let’s do a quick example. Let’s do a Baby Business Plan for a fake domain – http://myloveofstamps.com/.

So if I was the entrepreneur, I would create a plan that looked roughly like this.

  • Business name: My Love Of Stamps (http://myloveofstamps.com/)
  • Business concept (A website that will bring together fans and stamp collectors all around the world. We will have forums, lists and …..)
  • Technology components:
    • Hosting: WP Engine
    • WordPress
    • Thrive Themes
    • etc. etc.
  • Labor costs to start:
    • 99 Designs web design – $899
    • Web Development to build – $500
    • Outsourced SEO – $200
    • 100 articles writer: $1000
    • etc. etc.
  • Ongoing labor:
    • Monthly writer – $400
    • Monthly SEO – $50
    • etc. etc.
  • Marketing Plan:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
    • etc. etc.
  • Marketing costs
    • Facebook ads $50/month
    • Twitter Promo: $20/month
    • etc. etc.
  • Monetization plan:
    • Adsense on site
    • Stamp ebook that we will develop
    • Amazon ads
    • Stamps.com affiliate
    • etc. etc.
  • Maintenance costs
    • WP Engine $35/month
    • Clicky Analytics $9/month
    • etc. etc.

And so on and so forth…

Baby Business Plan – The format

Real simple. Word or Excel file. No presentation no graphics nothing too formal.

At this point you just want to have something that is a living document that you can continue to update as needed.

Why is this step critical?

Simple.

Because a lot of online tools are free or cheap and easy to use, it’s really easy to get started on an idea and build a proof of concept that can turn into a real site quickly.

This step helps you avoid two critical mistakes:

  1. Overspending on an idea that you have. Once you have all these costs listed you can start to plan and make sure you actually have the money to support this business.
  2. Validation – sometimes an idea sounds good in theory but when you actually write it out you start to see that it makes no business sense or requires too much money to be a viable business.

This step is a good step to keep you disciplined and focused. You need to write down you plan and start to internalize and share it with friends or people you respect so they can pick it apart and criticize it.

Better for an idea to die here than after you have spent lots of hours and lots of $$$ on it.

In the next installment in the series, I’ll show you how to quickly get a logo done.

Let me know if you think I missed anything here.

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Editorial

A Failure of imagination – Apple release new iPhone XR iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

Apple have taken the easy way out, avoided innovation and are dependent on incremental upgrades

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Apple iPhone XS

I have an iPhone and I love it so I absolutely hate to be THAT guy.

I hate to be the guy who’s going against the grain, who seems to be contrarian where others celebrate but unfortunately, this is one of those articles.

Apple released their new iPhones today.

They released three new models – the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

The new iPhone XS and XS Max are priced at $999 and $1,099 and start shipping out at the end of this month. The iPhone XR starts at $749 and begins shipping out in October.

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS (Image Credit – The Verge)

The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436 x 1125 resolution. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch OLED display with a 2688 x 1242 resolution. The iPhone XR, which you can basically think of as this year’s lower-end offering, has a 6.1-inch LCD display with a 1792 x 828 resolution.

At the end of the day, the screen size is the main difference between these three new models.

  • The XS is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but the screen is as big as the screen on the 8 Plus.
  • The iPhone XS Max is as big as the iPhone 8 Plus, and its screen is larger.
  • The iPhone XR has a larger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, while its overall size is just slightly smaller.

The iPhone XS and XS Max have dual rear 12-megapixel cameras and improved True Tone flash, and a front 7-megapixel camera. The iPhone XR, as the more budget option, has one 12-megapixel camera on the back, with True Tone flash.

All the new phones are powered by a new seven-nanometer A12 Bionic chip which can handle 512GB of storage. The iPhone XS and XS Max also have faster Face ID, True Tone display, and 3D Touch. They have support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 video.

The iPhone XS and XS Plus come in gold, silver, or space gray. The iPhone XS starts at $999 for the 64GB option, and has 256GB and 512GB options as well. The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099, with the same storage options. The 512GB option goes for $1,449.

The Apple iPhone XS Promo Video

My opinion

Unfortunately, this is just more of the same.

Apple have made a larger phone, added more storage and made the camera better. The phone OS will be improved as well but that is really all that happened.

As someone who has an iPhone 7 Plus, I will upgrade at some point but the truth is there is STILL no rush.

I have been waiting for a compelling upgrade from Apple that would force me to head to the store and/or pre-order a new phone and the truth is, this isn’t the one.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 seems way more exciting from a consumer point of view because of the screen, the pen and the TONS of innovative new features they bring to the table.

When Steve Jobs died, there was a fervent argument among the faithful that innovation at the worlds most valuable company would start to slow.

Unfortunately I fear this is the case.

The most exciting features of the iPhone (IMHO) are FaceID and the upcoming multi-user FaceTime. Beyond those two features, it seems like Apple is just keeping up with the competition.

Let’s be really clear, these are REALLY GOOD PHONES.

But unfortunately, Apple is in a Michael Jackson type situation where they seem to be unable to do anything better than their greatest hit.

Apple continues to live in Steve Job’s shadow and unfortunately, his genius is really the anchor against which the company’s level of innovation will be measured. Using that yardstick, the company fails to measure up.

Preorders for both phones begin on September 14 and ship on September 21st in select countries, with rollout in other countries to follow.

What do you think? Will you buy an iPhone XS?

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Editorial

Elon Musk interview with Joe Rogan – a deep conversation about AI and more..

Joe Rogan gets a really interesting interview with the Tesla and Space X founder and CEO

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Elon Musk Interview

Elon Musk sat down with Joe Rogan in a wide-ranging interview for his Joe Rogan Experience podcast broadcast live Thursday night on YouTube.

The interview included the two men drinking whiskey and smoking weed.

It’s a really amazing and deep interview where he talks about the hyperloop, VTOL aircraft and artificial Intelligence.

Worth watching if you want to learn something new and deep about the future of the web.

You can watch this below…

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