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You Don’t Have to be a Geek to Create a Successful Start-up

Photo courtesy of SuperJam.
Fraser Doherty’s simple recipe for success? Do what you love. 
Living in Silicon Valley, I’m used to being blown away by the technical genius of entrepreneurs and the sheer determination the best of them have to use technology to make the world a better place. Earlier this week, however, I was reminded that being a geek isn’t a prerequisite for starting a business that makes a dent on the planet.
I’m in Seoul, South Korea, currently, speaking at the Herald Design Forum. At the opening event, Fraser Doherty, a young Scottish entrepreneur, gave an inspiring talk about his fast-growing business, SuperJam. No, it’s not the latest Spotify. SuperJam makes something tastier and more lo-fi: sugar-free, 100-percent-fruit preserves.
Fraser got his start in the food business as a kid, raising chickens. (He shuttered the business after a hostile takeover by a local fox.) Undeterred, Fraser went on to learn how to make jam from his “gran” in her Edinburgh kitchen at age 14. The customer base for his first line of preserves was confined to neighbors and friends from church, but news spread quickly, and by 16, Fraser left school to make fruit jams full-time.
A decade later, SuperJam has sold millions of jars and can be found in thousands of supermarkets worldwide. Launching a healthy, successful product would have been enough for most entrepreneurs, but “Jam Boy,” as Fraser calls himself, also wanted to give back in a meaningful way. So, he conceived SuperJam Tea Parties, a nonprofit that organizes free socials for elderly people who live alone or in nursing homes. Since 2008, the charity has thrown hundreds of events across Scotland, England, and Wales, with live music, good conversations, and of course, delicious jam and scones.
Shortly after his company made its first million in 2008, Forbes interviewed Fraser, asking how he felt about being so wealthy so young. “I can’t be preoccupied with the money,” Doherty said. “I make jam because it’s what I love to do.” Proof that even in the digital age, simple ideas, pursued with passion, can result in sweetly successful businesses.
Have you ever turned a personal pursuit into a business?
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Steps to Executive-Level Confidence

Everett

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’

Making the move from middle management to the executive suite requires a healthy dose of confidence. Executives have to make critical, wide-reaching decisions, often with limited information and time—then persuade others to execute those decisions. Self-assurance is a must.
Yet gaining confidence can be a struggle. The “Impostor Syndrome” is real:  researchers at Georgia State University found that 33% of the high-achieving adults they interviewed did not feel they deserved their success. The Imposter Syndrome meant that sufferers opted out of important career opportunities, to their financial and personal detriment.
Women in particular struggle with confidence. They often are less adept at moving forward after setbacks, reading temporary failures as permanent deficiencies, and they often have smaller professional social safety nets than men.
The good news is that confidence can be learned, like any career skill. Here are 10 steps that can have you operating from a place of power:
1) When in doubt, act. It’s the difference between running and stagnant water. When you’re stagnant, doubt and insecurities breed like mosquitoes. Dale Carnegie wrote that “inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” Fear of failure can paralyze us, as we almost always overestimate the consequences. Build your confidence instead by taking action, often.
2) Do something outside your comfort zone each day. If we don’t stretch our comfort zones, they shrink. Constantly challenge and improve yourself, and you’ll become comfortable doing new things—and you will establish your identity (both to yourself and others) as someone who takes risks. Each new thing you try adds to your knowledge and skill base, and provides you with a foundation of competence. This is the bedrock of any successful career.
3) Put the focus on others. Choose to be conscious of others instead of self-conscious. Ask people questions. Turn conversations into a game where you try to find a connection with the other person. Give compliments generously, and volunteer to help others when you can. Looking for the best in others will help you see it in yourself.
4) Cultivate mentors. Their advice and connections are invaluable, plus you will make better decisions about opportunities thanks to their objective assessments of the pros and cons. And you will be much more willing to take risks knowing you have supporters who will help you get back up on your feet if you fail.
5) Keep self-talk positive. It’s hard to feel confident if someone puts you down all the time. It’s impossible if that naysayer is you. Watch how you talk to yourself. Is it how you would talk to a friend? If not, then make a change.
6) Eliminate negative people from your network. You absolutely need to invite and be receptive to constructive criticism if you want to grow as a professional and as an individual. But recognize that some people will never be happy with you or with life, and it is a waste of time to try to convince them of your worth.  What’s more, their sour outlook on life is contagious. Learn to identify these people quickly, and move on.
7) Take care of your health. Make time for exercise, and get enough rest. Your body must be physically ready to take on challenges.
8) Do your homework. Keep up-to-date on the news in your industry, and know your company and department inside and out. If you have a challenging task ahead, prepare and practice in your mind. Nothing builds confidence like knowledge and preparation.
9) Watch your body language. Your posture and overall appearance affect both your mental state and how others perceive (and thus respond) to you. If you want to be a leader, you have to dress and act the part. Stand and sit up straight, make eye contact, and remember to smile. Wear the professional clothing of your industry. Eliminate the telltale signs of nervousness: excessive twitching, closed-off posturing (crossed arms and legs, hunched shoulders), and shallow breathing.
10) Practice gratitude daily. In a recent study of how successful people spend the first hour of each day, the No. 1 response was investing time in thinking about the things for which they are most grateful. Starting your day by saying “thank you” for the good in your life makes it more likely that you will approach the day’s challenges with the proper perspective.

Like public speaking or leadership, confidence is a professional skill that can be improved. According to Dr. Peter Buckley of Georgia Regents University, “As you add experiences, you’re more likely to gain confidence. And with confidence, you 

10 Ways to Use Mind Maps to Grow Your Blog…

By Chuck Frey 

Mind mapping software is not only useful for outlining articles, reports and other forms of content. It is also a powerful tool for planning and managing many aspects your blog business.
As a blogger, you must manage a prodigious amount of information every day: content ideas social network strategies social network content, people with whom to network, monitoring competitive blogs, identifying opportunities for new reports and resources of value you can provide to your readers, identifying potential collaborators and much more.
In short, to run a successful blogging business, you must gather, analyze and make decisions about a mountain of information, ideas and opportunities. In addition, you need to elevate and differentiate your thinking and your blog’s content to capture the attention of potential readers and customers.
To do all of this effectively, you need a tool that can efficiently gather, organize, distill and communicate information with a great deal of flexibility. Mind mapping software enables you to handle thinking, planning and basic project management tasks in ways that aren’t possible with any other type of business software. It also works the way your brain does – by associating ideas, concepts and information in a visual hierarchy, which means it tends to be fairly intuitive and easy to use.
10 Ways to Use Mind Maps to Grow Your Blog
Mind mapping software also helps you reach clarity faster on complex business issues, make better informed decisions and be more productive. In surveys of the readers of my Mind Mapping Software Blog, users of it say that it increases their productivity by 20-30% – the equivalent of gaining an extra day per work week of productive working time.
In addition, over 59% of survey respondents indicated they wouldn’t be able to create the same quality of work if they didn’t have mind mapping software.
Mind mapping software enables you to take a more strategic approach to blogging rather than just hacking away at projects haphazardly. Most importantly, it can help you develop a tightly integrated approach to build a strong, distinctive online brand. No, it’s not a panacea. It won’t make you better looking or help you find a cure for cancer. But it does bring some unique capabilities to your work that no other productivity software can match – capabilities that are ideally suited to your needs as a blogger. If you’re not using mind mapping software in your blog business, you should be.

What can you do with mind mapping software?

A-list bloggers like Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse (CopyBlogger), Chris Garrett and David Risley (Blog Marketing Academy) make it no secret that mind mapping software is their preferred power tool for thinking and planning.
Why?
Because it helps them see information and ideas from new perspectives that tend to be invisible in linear documents and outlines. Based on what they have written about it, you would think the only way that bloggers can use it is for brainstorming blog post and information product ideas. But it can be used for far more – it’s actually a powerful tool that can help you manage your business and operations more effectively.
10 Ways to Use Mind Maps to Grow Your Blog
I have identified 10 ways bloggers can use mind maps to grow your business:
1.    Brainstorm, capture and organize ideas
2.    Conduct competitive intelligence
3.    Develop reader personas
4.    Develop a blog content plan
5.    Search engine optimization and keyword research
6.    Develop and manage a blog marketing plan
7.    Track key influencers in your niche and plan how you will interact with them
8.    Outline longer writing projects and information products
9.    Track what you’ve published – content management
10.    Perform a SWOT analysis and do strategic planning to help drive your blog’s growth

How does mind mapping software compare to traditional information management?

Consider for a moment how most bloggers manage information. Typically, it’s stored in text-based files, such as Word or Evernote. It’s scattered in e-mails and files that are stored in numerous folders. Chances are, you waste several hours a week hunting for information you need.
What if you could do away with that, by being able to see a higher-level view of all of your project and blog assets, and could organize them and link out to all of the supporting information you need? Mind mapping software enables you to do that. You can attach numerous types of content to individual topics, and add links to web pages and other assets. When you rearrange the topics, these assets follow along. In other words, each topic acts as a “container” for information. This enables you to centralize all the information, data and resources you need to manage your blog’s operations in one place, which can save you countless hours of time and a eliminate a great deal frustration.
Software-produced mind maps can incorporate almost any kind of digital data – everything from Excel spreadsheet ranges and Outlook e-mails to links that help you keep project files and supporting information well organized, only one click away. Think of it as a “visual database” of your ideas and information.
In addition, most mind mapping program enables you to export your visual maps to other popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Project. This enables you to do your thinking and planning in visual outline form using your mind mapping software, and then transfer your ideas and information to other applications to continue the process of refining your ideas and adding details to them.
Now think about the way in which you write plans. If you use a popular tool like Microsoft Word, how do you know that the structure of your plan is complete? How can you tell if something is missing, or if you have completely thought through all aspects of it? How do you decide what’s superfluous and can be eliminated? It’s difficult at best. Why? Because the structure of your document is hidden within its sentences and paragraphs.
In contrast, mind mapping software can help you to see a higher-level view of your information and dig down into the details when you’re ready to do so. You can work with the forest AND the trees, so to speak. You can move topics around at will, grouping and regrouping information until it makes most sense to you. You can perform “What if?” analyses with ease. You can see how all of the pieces of your plan fit together. Ultimately, it can make you a better, more strategic planner. And that, in turn, can make a major difference to the success of your blog business.

Light-weight project management

From a project management standpoint, mind mapping software can help you do everything from the “front end” work of projects (envisioning what you want to create, setting the scope of the project and determining the people and resources you’ll need to accomplish it) to managing its implementation (collaborating with others, creating, assigning and monitoring tasks and monitoring project progress by creating a visual “dashboard” to see clearly what’s going well and what isn’t) – all within a flexible visual interface.

Better thinking – better results

In short, when it comes to growing any kind of business today, better thinking tends to lead to better results. Most of us are blogging in niches that are increasingly crowded. In order to survive and grow your blog, you need to differentiate and elevate your thinking. Mind mapping software can help you to do that.
As you’ve seen, mind maps enable you to see information and ideas from new perspectives that tend to be invisible in linear documents and outlines. It isn’t just a powerful thinking and planning tool, its light-weight project management capabilities make it a great tool for managing your ideas from “birth to death” – from ideation and development to implementation and tracking of progress and results.
In short, mind mapping software can help you to manage your day-to-day tasks with greater efficiency, which can free up more of your time to think about strategic opportunities and ideas to help you grow your blogging business.
When you switch to thinking and planning mode, it can be your companion there, too, helping you to capture, organize and refine your ideas into winning solutions that meet the needs of your blog’s readers and help you to capture their minds and hearts. It can help you to extend your thought leadership in some exciting ways and can help you build a more innovative and successful business. If you want to play at the A-level of blogging, you need to up your thinking. Mind mapping software can help you to do that.
Learn more in this webinar recording
In mid-August, I conducted a 70-minute webinar where I described how to use mind mapping software to manage each of the blog management tasks I have described in this article and the benefits of doing so. A recording of it is now available.
As part of this information-packed learning session, you will receive 11 mind map templates, which you can use to get started using these techniques immediately. They will save you many hours of time and will help you benefit from this webinar faster. Not only that, but instructions are embedded in the templates that will help you understand how  to use them.
Click here to learn why one webinar participant said, ““This is excellent. You covered everything I hoped you would – and more. In a world of useless webinars, this was definitely worth the time and money.”

Top 5 Tips to Write a Successful EBook…

Top 5 Tips to Write a Successful EBookWriting an EBook is quite easy but what all people think is that it’s like climbing up on Mt.Everest without Oxygen mask!  Writing EBook is seriously simple, all what you need is just a few tips and you are all set to write, publish and earn from your EBook. EBooks are in trend nowadays, especially after the release of EBook reading gadgets like Kindle Fire and others. People prefer to read EBooks over the hard paper is because they are cheap, the mainting cost is negligible, and above all you don’t have to worry a lot about them because they won’t get torned off! Almost everyone in this webospehere has written an EBook. If you too want to write some EBooks then you can follow some easy Top 5 Tips to Write a Successful EBook. The tips are well tested by great writers so you can completely rely on them.

Choose Your Topic

Choosing the topic is quite difficult. You should try writing an EBook about the topic in which you are an expert. For example if you are a blogger, write an EBook about Blogging, give it a title such as “How to Blog professionally”, “Blogging Tips – From a Pro” etc. Everyone love bloggers so you won’t find it difficult to sell your EBook.

Valuate Correctly

Valuating the EBook is quite difficult so I suggest you to take help from the professionals in this very regards because if your EBook would be over or under priced then you might not get as much response as you should get.

TeamWork is Necessary

Team working is needed in every field, in writing an EBook too. All the people who have written EBooks haven’t written it all alone themselves, they have a team of around 3-4 or even more people. Team members are generally their own close friends.

Free or Paid

The most difficult option from which you have to choose from. It’s really difficult to choose whether your EBook will be free or paid. If you will make it available to the people for free then you will not earn enough, and if you will put a price-tag on in theny you won’t get a lot of public response. So try keeping a balance between these two things.

Make a Strategy

Strategy is must. If you are actually aiming to write a super-successful evergreen EBook then you better devise your own strategy. You can ask your friends or professional  in this regard because if you will launch your EBook without a strategy, you will land nowhere but in the center of the jungle!

Why You Need to Start Building an E-mail List?

Many people believe that e-mail marketing and promotion is dead.
I am here to tell you that it is alive and well. If you are not yet harnessing this powerful strategy, your website is missing out on one of the best, and most effective marketing tactics out there.
E-mail marketing and promotion is one of the oldest internet marketing strategies. There is a reason companies and websites still use it, because it works!
In this article I will cover: the benefits of e-mail marketing, strategies for constructing an effective e-mail list, and how using e-mails will keep your customers and viewers coming back.
Why You Need to Start Building an E-mail List?

How Email Marketing will benifit your blog?

I am sure that you have received dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mails specifically designed to market a product, website, or service to you.
While you may have written some of these off as spam, those that had a catchy or interesting title caught your eye. E-mail marketing is a lot like any other type of promotion, it will not work 100% of the time, but you would be surprised to know that this form of marketing has a very high success rate.
Don’t forget Money is in the list.
Email marketing is the SECRET of making passive income fast.

1. E-mail Lists Allow You to Target Your Audience:

An effective e-mail list allows you to target people whom you know have an interest in your site’s content and, or merchandise. When you construct e-mail lists from those who have registered on your site, every e-mail to those groups are warm leads, and typically results in some sort of action. Whether that action be visiting your site, purchasing and item, or even providing feedback, it is up to you. You can use your email list to promote affiliate product in order to make money!

2. E-mail is more direct and Personal:

With the recent growing popularity of social media networks, many people have forgotten about or abandoned this form of marketing. While it is widely known that social media marketing is a very effective strategy, it lacks the personal feel of an e-mail. People prefer receiving e-mails that appear to be targeted directly at them.
A well composed e-mail gives this marketing tactic more of a personal feel, while social media tends to targeted a greater, and more generic audience. When people feel newsletters, and product updates are meant for them, they are more likely to respond or take action.

3. E-mail can be used to Resurrect Older Articles or Products:

Typically when an article is first published, or a product or service is first offered, sites tend to showcase them. When they are being showcased they receive increased traffic and attention.
However, given enough time, they tend to fade into the background. One way e-mail marketing can be used, is to re-direct attention to these older products and articles. If you find that an article or product seems to fading into oblivion, you can re-energize it with a newsletter or product update. This allows you to keep all relevant content alive and active on your site.

How to built an effective Email list.

Here are some ways to build email list effectively. These method can work with any email marketing services like Aweber, mailchimp.

Here, Ammar is using MadMimi Email Marketing Service. You too can give it a try, Worth using and far cheap than AWeber or Mailchimp.

Create a Newsletter Sign Up:

There are many strategies that exist for creating an e-mail list, some work better than others. The main strategy that I recommend every blog or website put to use is the newsletter strategy.
This involves adding a section to your site that says something along the lines of, “If you enjoyed this site, subscribe to our newsletter and receive weekly updates.”
Located directly under this text is a form where users can input their e-mail, and are automatically signed up. (If you are using WordPress for your site, jetpack comes standard with this subscription widget) When a user fills out the form, you have successfully added a contact to your list, who you know is interested in your site’s content, products or services. This greatly increases your chances of successfully marketing to this individual, and all others on your list.
You can see this blog sidebar, header or after post optin form to get some idea. :)

Offer a Free Product:

Another effective strategy is using a product, for example a free e-book, to get users to subscribe to your list.
They see an opportunity to get something for free, and all they have to do in exchange is give you their e-mail. Most users will freely provide their e-mail to receive a free product. The key to this marketing tactic is to make sure that before they receive the product, they verify that their e-mail is valid.

Generate Leads Using Social Media:

Social media can be another great way to build your e-mail list. Google+, Twitter and Facebook all offer the opportunity to increase the number of subscribers in your list. I recommend using those platforms to promote your site’s newsletters, or product updates.
You can even offer free promotional products via these networks. Using social media and e-mail marketing in tandem is one of the most effective ways to generate e-mail marketing leads, and should not be overlooked.

Using Your Newly Created List

After you have implemented a few of these tactics, you should see a steady increase in your e-mail list.
You will now be able to send out targeted e-mails to these users.
I recommend sending a weekly newsletter with a catchy headline. Perhaps the title of one of your articles, or a name of a product you sell. Anything that will catch their eye and get them to read the e-mail will work.
Try offering incentives, or special deals inside of your e-mails. This will create credibility, and users are more likely to open future e-mails. Experiment with different e-mail marketing tactics, see what works for your blog or site, and stick with it.
Just remember not to get frustrated, building a quality e-mail list takes time and patience. Trust me it is worth the wait, when it finally does pay off.
In upcoming days we will be sharing lot of interesting stuff to build an email list, getting more subscribers and secret of generating money with email list. Just subscribe here and get update direct to your inbox.
Did I missed any point? Are you building email list? Join the discussion in comments