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Saturday, April 6th, 2013

7 Easy Ways to Tackle Your To-Do List


I write a to-do list at the start of just about every day, but it can be tedious so I look for ways to shake up the process. Here are some ideas I find useful (in no particular order):

1) ABC Method — Try the ABC Method in which you write down the tasks you need to do and categorize them by:

  • A = Critical to your goals and must be done that day.
  • B = These are less urgent but should be started after your A’s are done.
  • C = These are nice-to-do tasks that can be done if you’ve got some extra time

2) The 1-to-10 Stress Method

  • List down all the to-dos that are stressing you out at the moment
  • Rank them 1 to 10 in which 10 is stressing you out the most and 1 the least
  • Tackle the tasks ranked 10 first, 9 next, 8 after that, etc.

3) Andreessen’s 3 to 5 Things on an Index Card — Marc Andreessen found it valuable to write down 3 to 5 things that you want to get done the following day. He does the following:

  • The night before he writes the 3 to 5 most things he wants to get done on an index card
  • He wakes up and tries to do those things
  • For anything else he does (not on the list), he writes those things down on the opposite side of the index card and calls them his “anti-to-do” list.
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Monday, April 25th, 2011

The 10 [Maniacal] Steps I Take For Setting Goals


It took me 40 years to figure out that the key to life is feeling like I had a fulfilling day — I accomplish that through setting goals…and I’m maniacal about them.

I believe that without goals your progress comes to a screeching halt. As Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator once said:

“Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality.”

One thing I learned in my goal setting was that these 9 topics matter most...I now keep them nearby

Here’s how I set my goals:

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Saturday, February 19th, 2011

The 20 Best Business Books Of All Time


My brother-in-law Rich recently asked me for my favorite business book. I had a tough time answering because a slew of book titles raced through my mind.

Well, make room on your bookshelf because I dove in and came up with 20 top business books below:

The Best Business Books Of All Time

1) Poor Charlie’s Almanack

Charlie Munger Book | Rob Kelly Blog

If I had to pick just one business book for folks to read, it would be this illustrated tome by Charlie Munger — Warren Buffett’s long-time right-hand man — with its folksy and entertaining tales of business and life (see Charlie Munger Quotes for a taste).

There’s plenty of Buffett tips in here too so you get two-for-one!

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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The Myths Of Monetizing Your Blog


Many people wonder how to make money blogging.

I started blogging on April 22nd of last year and I just reached my 100,000th visit with around 200,000 Web pages viewed (e.g. each visitor is looking at two articles I’ve written).

Since I started my blog I’m amazed how many people have asked me:

“Can you make money from blogging?”

Indeed, one of the reasons I began my blog was to study the different monetization models used to make money from blogging.

I’ve looked at two ways to monetize my blog so far:

  1. Advertising (through Google AdSense) and
  2. Affiliate marketing (mainly through Amazon’s Associates program and some through Zazzle)

Two Myths of Monetizing Your Blog

Myth #1: You Can Monetize Your Blog Through Google AdSense Ads

If you want to make money with a blog through selling AdSense, you’re going to have to have a lot of traffic…a LOT of traffic.

You can expect to make a CPM of $.25 to $1 in selling your ads through AdSense, according to my own numbers, and those of friends of mine.

What does CPM mean?  CPM stands for cost per thousand (this is an advertising term as in an advertiser is willing to pay $X in cost per thousand of some audience metric (readers in magazines, viewers in TV, etc.) — interestingly, on the Internet the metric is page views.

For example, when I say that you can make up a $.50 CPM on a blog, I am saying that an advertiser (in this case many advertising bidding through Google’s AdWords system) is paying you $.50 for every 1,000 “page views” that your site generates.

So, back to my blog…if I were to receive a $.50 CPM, I would make:

  • $.50 for 1,000 page views
  • $5 for 10,000 page views
  • $50 for 100,000 page views
  • $500 for 1 million page views

So, if I were to have put Google AdSense ads on my site since I began, I would have generated a total of around $200 (The $1CPM ($.001) times 200,000 page views = $200).

Myth #2: You Can Monetize Your Blog Through Affiliate Marketing

A second way people try to earn money blogging is through affiliate marketing.

What is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is just another form of selling ads: you put a link on your blog promoting another company’s product.

The difference is that you ONLY get paid if a person clicks on the affiliate marketing ad on your site and then buys a product from the site (the affiliate marketer) they then visit.

For example, I joined the Amazon Associates program (arguably the largest of its kind) and I include links to many products sold by Amazon (mostly books I review) here on my blog.

If someone clicks on my Amazon link, and they visit Amazon and buy any product (not just the one I linked to) during that visit, Amazon will pay me anywhere from 4% to 8% based on the volume of sales I help them generate.

In the year I’ve been testing out monetizing my blog through Amazon affiliate links, I’ve sold 51 products for Amazon, generating $1,048.31 in sales for them and $50.02 in commissions for me.

Basically, I’m making around $1 for every Amazon product I help sell — I’m converting .05% of my visitors to becoming a customer.

I could move that conversion number up to .25% immediately if I put more affiliate links up.

This .25% conversion number is fairly common for a content-oriented Web site like mine (and like most of the blogs of the world).

However,  if you had a Web site that was focused exclusively on commerce (as opposed to advice like I do), I estimate you could move your conversion up to 2 or 3% of visitors buying something.

So, in total, I’ve learned that making money blogging (Google AdSense and Amazon’s Affiliate Marketing Program) has been very tough: I’ve generated just a couple hundred bucks from the 100,000 visitors who’ve come to my site in the last year.

Don’t Fret: There Is Some Good News About Monetizing Your Blog

So, we covered the tough part. For your blog to make money, you’re gonna need enormous traffic.

But in addition to enormous traffic, there are many other ways to earn money through your blog. Here are some:

  • You Can ByPass Google AdSense — You can acquire much higher ad rates if you increase your traffic to the 100,000 visitors per month level and beyond (in my estimation, you could sell ads yourself for $1 to $10CPM at that range. That’s up to 20X as much as you’d make from AdSense!
  • You Can Earn Higher Affiliate Commissions — You can earn 100X+ higher affiliate commission fees than you get through Amazon by doing some research on what types of affiliate marketing offers would be most relevant to the content that you write about (for example, the relationship advice company I work for will pay $15 or more to you if you generate an ebook sale for us.)
    • Go search “affiliate marketing offers” on Google or visit AffiliateTips where as of right now some poker sites are offer more than $100 if your blog generates them a customer. That would be about 100X higher than the $1 commission I’m generating for each book I’m helping Amazon sell.
  • Endorsed Relationships — This is a new term that a few of us have been using lately. It’s the same concept as your putting up an affiliate link but in this case you go directly to the company selling a product you believe in and you write up an endorsement of it. Steve Pavlina writes in his book Personal Development for Smart People that he selectively chooses certain products to promote through his super-popular blog (only ones he believes in) and sometimes receives a share in the sales for it (some of you may recall that Steve Pavlina used to monetize his blog through AdSense).
  • Sell Your Own Product — You can earn even higher amounts of money if you sold your own product (e.g. if you were to write a book or manufacture some product that you sell directly through your blog). You have to figure out what type of product would be of value to your audience but if you did figure out how to create such a product (a book, ebook, audio or video program, piece of art, software, etc.) cost-effectively, you can generate much higher amounts of money through your blog that way.
  • Collect Email Addresses & Market To Them — You can often charge higher CPMs for emailing advertisements than you could for selling the same ads on your Web site. It’s not unheard of to charge $25 CPMs for sending out an email promotion to your list (that would be $25 for every 1,000 people on your email list).

I hope these tips on monetizing your blog were helpful.

I’ll be writing in the future about effective ways to monetize your blog or Web site and, as always, welcome your input.

If you like this article, you may also like MySpace & Other Examples of E-CPMs.

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009

How to Write A Purpose Statement


In late 2007 I was introduced to “Coach Terry,” a phone-based life coach.

I was dubious about the phone-only part but I gave it a shot for a few months and learned a ton.

The most important thing I learned from Terry was the importance of having a statement of purpose for anything substantial in my life (you can find a sample statement of purpose below).

I began writing a statement of purpose for my life, my business, my role in business, a holiday trip, my romantic relationship or even just my plan for a day.

I’ve found it useful to constantly be asking myself what the purpose of something I’m doing is, or when people ask me to do something or say they are doing something, I ask them: “What is the purpose of that?”

Be purposeful about all things in your life…and you’ll find that the outcome is more favorable.

So, here’s how to write a statement of purpose along with some purpose statement tips:

1) List Your Expectations

Write down all the expectations you have about your purpose related to a certain topic (e.g. your life, job, relationship with someone, etc.) on the left-hand side of the page.

Examples of expectations are wants, needs and even fears — for example, if you’re writing a purpose statement about a job you should be answering the following questions:

What do I really want my job to be?

What do I really need in my job?

What fears do I have about my job?

Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes on this part…and really open up!

You should now have at least 7 to 10 expectations — and they will probably be centered around a few topics or themes  (e.g. for a job, it might be to make money, have fun, have a flexible schedule, etc.)

2) Purpose Statement

Now, fresh from writing out those expectations, immediately write down one long sentence that starts with “The purpose of my __________ is to …” and the rest of the statement should flow pretty naturally (hint: if you have any challenge here, take your Expectations and group them into a few topics or themes and use those as your purpose statement).

Writing a purpose statement is that easy!

You now have the beginnings of the purpose statement — you can refine this now or later (if you’re like me, you’ll find that you remember new wants, needs and fears later on — so just add them in and iterate).

3) Bonus Round: WriteI Will” Statements

If you want to take this thing one step further, return to the expectations and to the right of each of them write down an “I will” statement.

The “I will” statement should be something actionable that you could do to be more purposeful.

Try to make each “I will” statement specific, measureable, actionable and timely.

Don’t worry about ever doing such things — this isn’t a to-do list — just write it down!

The act of merely writing them down will make you more mindful of your purpose.

I promise you that if you do this exercise, you will be more purposeful on whatever the topic.

So, now you have a purpose statement (remember, you can refine it all you want) and even some actions that you can take (I sometimes DO treat it like a to-do list by printing it out and doing some of the actions immediately)

Samples of Purpose Statements

Here are some sample purpose statements I’ve written:

Life Purpose Statement — My life purpose is to smile most of the time, develop myself constantly to find my greatness, be productive the vast majority of the time, give plenty to others and to have a positive vibration on the planet.

Purpose Statement For Layoffs I Had To Make — The purpose of our layoffs is to be able to execute the plan on a timely basis, to be respected in the execution and to protect the jobs of productive people

Business Purpose Statement — The purpose of our business is to have fun, help people and make a little money.

Purpose Statement For My Job —  The purpose of my job is to make money, meet only with people I love and respect, work on things I enjoy and provide a flexible schedule to take care of the primary choices in my life. Check out 3 Easy Steps To Write A Purpose Statement For Your Next Job.

Purpose Statement For A New Management Meeting I Had To Start (see my Daily Huddle Article) — The purpose of the daily huddle meeting is to align the management team and to increase the speed of our growth.

Purpose Statement for My Wife — The purpose of the relationship with my life-mate is to have a passionate, healthy and positive relationship — while still enjoying some vices! — that leads to a larger family with children I adore.

I also highly recommend you check out this How To Write A Purpose Statement article by Steve Pavlina.

That lead to the following life purpose statement by Mr. Pavlina: To live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

Enjoy being purposeful!

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