Monday, September 29, 2008

Interview with prolific online article writer Audrey Okaneko

Writer Audrey Okaneko

20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online

Audrey's Tupperware website:

Audrey's Blog:

Q: On you now have 178 articles posted. 88 of these are about direct sales. What is your experience in direct sales?

A: I began in direct sales in 1983 with Avon. By 1985, I was in the top 10 in the country with recruiting and by 1987 I was in the top 5 in the country with recruiting.

In 1997, Avon changed their commission plan and told me that all of thepeople I had sponsored over the 14 year period would be taken from me. This did not affect just me, but also every other person who had built a team up to that point.

We did file a class action suit, but lost even after an appeal.

I always strongly suggest that people read the contracts they are signing with direct sales companies.

In 1998 I began with Watkins. I did achieve trips and awards for my recruiting but it just wasn't the same as my relationships with Avon. I still have my Watkins account today but I'm fairly inactive. In 2000 I went back to work as I was no longer working full time at home.

In 2007, I decided to join Tupperware. I’m still with them today and the match really is like my match with Avon.

I still work outside the house about 35 hours per week. So I really do understand having a job, being a mom and running a direct sales business.

Q: Do you set goals for article production?

A: My major goal is to consistently submit articles so that my name and my articles are continually showing on the front page. One of the larger article directories now lists the names and photos of the top 10 in each category and it is my goal to keep my photo on that page.

In September I joined a challenge of 30 articles in 30 days and I far exceeded that goal and ended the month with 50+ articles.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing articles? The least?

A: What I enjoy most is being able to teach others and provide a very realistic picture of what direct sales are all about. Every one of us have read the ads that promise millions for doing nothing and promise you can earn millions while spending more time with your kids. This just is not realistic. I love being able to provide realistic marketing techniques and time management techniques.

My least favorite aspect of article writing is that directories require a minimum amount of words There are some topics I have to really stretch to meet the minimum. Some topics I can write 10 articles about such as fundraising in direct sales, but other topics I just have nothing more to say after 200 words and most directories will not accept 200 word articles.

Q: How can WAHMs benefit from writing articles?

A: Each time you write an article your name and URL are given to the reader. Directories allow you, the writer, to put your bio at the bottom of each article. So, every time someone reads that article they are seeing your name and URL.

Writing articles also allows you to establish yourself as an expert in the field, a person that others will come to when they want to know more about the topic you are writing about.

There are many article experts. You’ll often find that no two agree on marketing techniques. One expert will have you believe that submitting to only one directory is sufficient and another expert will have you believe that the only way to see success is to submit to hundreds of directories.

If you want to benefit from article marketing you need to find a balance between finding the right directories to submit to and you need to submit articles on a very regular basis.

Article marketing is not a one-time deal like placing an ad. It’s building your reputation as an expert in your field.

Q: You are also a blogger. Why do you blog?

A: I have so much fun with my blogs. I have 3 blogs. My blogs are another way to reach out. Not everyone reads articles. There are millions of people who read blogs. Blog posts tend to get indexed in the search engines rather quickly. It’s just a wonderful way to communicate with hundreds and hundreds of other people.

Q: How has blogging helped your direct sales and writing business?

A: A blog is a web page. I have my Tupperware links on my blogs. It’s one more way for me to advertise my business without blatant ads. For example, one of my blogs is on parenting. I personally write the content for my blog. Twice a week other parents can come and read what I have to say on a wide variety of parenting topics. On that blog is a link to my Tupperware business. Does everyone click? Absolutely not, but many do.

Having the blogs has kept me on track for writing as I use all of my own content. If I want that blog updated, I need to write. Truly, the more you write, the easier it becomes.

Q: That is an interesting aspect about blogging. You can advertise your products on a blog that is on a topic near and dear to your heart. You also have a presence on social networking sites. How can Wahms use Web 2.0 effectively.

A: I have accounts on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. It’s imperative that people understand the purpose of these sites. They are networking sites. I’ve written articles on what networking is. Networking is NOT blasting ads to others. Networking is sharing and helping and getting to know others which will ultimately lead to business sales.

There is an awesome book on the market called Love Is the Killer App written by Tim Sanders. About a third of this book is about networking and how to networking. Networking is sharing. The biggest mistake I see WAHM’s make with social networks is blasting ads. No one reads ads. When I ask the ad blaster how much time per day they spend reading ads, they look at me blankly. The reality is no one spends time reading ads on social networks.

Set a goal.

Start with just one person. Make it a goal to meet just one new person every single day. That would be at least 365 people you’ve met in a year’s time. That is huge. That is quite a few people, some of whom just might want what you have to offer. As time allows, make it a point to meet 3 new people per day. That is over 1000 people per year. When you break it down to 3 people per day, that is really manageable, a very realistic goal.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important success as a person who works at home?

A: In two words, realistic expectations. Over the years as I’ve spoken to others, the vast majority of time that someone felt disappointment it was because they began with unrealistic expectations.

Q: If you could start over again, what is the ONE thing you definitely would do first?

A: Marketing is a learned skill. If I could start over I would have learned more about marketing at the beginning. Marketing is what creates sales and builds a team.

Q: What do you see for your future?

A: I’ve written about vision boards. Vision boards are simple boards that contain words and/or photos of things you want. One of the things I want is my name in the monthly Tupperware magazine. I’ve got several magazines where I’ve taped my name into the spot where I want it. This is what I’m working towards. I’m certain that goal will become a reality.

Thank you very much for your time and effort, Audrey. I am sure many will benefit from your experienced observations

Audrey's Tupperware website:

Audrey's Blog:

Greg Cryns

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Interview with entrepreneur Ellen Levinas

Interview with entrepreneur Ellen Levinas


Ellen’s bio

Ellen Levinas from How to Guide, How to Guide - MVA Business Services, and Creative Marketing Assistant for Cello in A Box, Company, and also Webmaster for The STA - Superintendents Technical Association of New York City as well as owner of The Sample Bag.

Ellen was most recently nominated in two categories for the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, first award being Best Entrepreneur in the Services Business, and the Women Helping Women Award, Ellen also owns and operates How To Guide, which is a free resource site for work at home mothers, and includes resources, tips, informational how-go guides, written and published by Ellen, and also is a Certified Master Virtual Assistant, which is a sub-site of How to Guide, where Ellen offers MVA business services, How to Guide - MVA Business Services. Ellen is also the Creative Marketing Assistant for none other than the famous Cello in a Box, Company and works with many people, as well as reps a for few other direct sales company’s. Ellen also has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business/e-Business from the University of Phoenix.

Q: You certainly possess a lot of business experience. Did your college degree propel you to online success or was it something else?

A: I think that it was/is a combination of a lot of things that proved to be successful for me. Granted the degree that I chose was surely in this arena, because I set up a plan to be able to use my degree in the future. I was already experienced in the “business” aspect, but I wanted to follow through with some real exposure in the world of E-business. The combination factor was the will and determination to make it happen legitimately by obtaining my degree, and then proceeding to move forward with my plan of action. Some things do happen by sheer luck, other things we have to make happen.

Q: You are a virtual assistant. Tell us a little about the VA position and is it a viable full time business for most people?

A: I believe that becoming a Certified MVA is one of the best things that I ever did. Being a Master Virtual Assistant, allows a person to work for other individuals or businesses “Virtually” or from one’s home/home office. However, both the VA and the business owner win in all aspects, because a VA gets paid by the job, (a job could be a one-time task, or could run for years). So what does this do? A business does not have to pay anyone a full-time salary, insurance, vacation pay, sick days, or any of the other things associated with a full-time job. A Virtual Assistant, works from their home, eliminating the expenses associated with an office staff and so forth, and is also a business owner in his/her own right doing jobs for various people when he/she wants to. It is up to the VA on whether or not they would want to work it full-time, or part-time; however, if you have the qualifications now more than ever people are looking to cut costs and this is a very viable solution for many especially today!

Q: You are a Creative Marketing Assistant for Cello-in-a-Box. Is that a salaried position? What are your duties there?

A: Yes, this is a salaried position to where I work very closely with the owner of Cello in a Box, Company. My duties are comprised of many things, such as: I am the moderator of our Yahoo group, I put together our weekly newsletter, I conduct our trainings, assist in our annual online auction, I run contests, answer questions, email representatives, work on catalogs and items, market, advertise, and basically am the assistant to the owner, where I do my very best to help her as much as possible. I’ve been with Cello in a Box now for probably close to three years, and I absolutely love the company and its owner Lonna Weidemann!

Q: What is How To Guide ? How do you fit in there?

A: How to Guide came about from my very first published how-to guide, “Your Online Party Guide,” with the onset of many online parties hitting the WAHM community at the time and even at present. I chose to write a guide that would teach individuals how to have their own online party, with step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Personally I have done many online parties, and the reason for this was because it helped me gain more sales. This is the very same reason why people are still running these online parties today. It also allows people to Network and in many instances long-time friendships are formed, and so forth. As time went on, I named my site after my book with a twist. The name in itself was chosen to “guide” people with resources and such that they could utilize on an everyday basis. This site is always changing as I am always adding new things to it whenever I can. I am also involved with, and in cooperation with to where anyone can participate or have their own online parties.

Q: Looks like there are tough economic times ahead. Do you think this is a good time for people to get into a work at home business?

A: Absolutely! But as always use caution and think wisely about what you would like to do. If you already have a business, do not quit! Keep promoting, keep advertising. The times are always changing, just because today is not good, does not mean that tomorrow won’t be. Taking on a different outlook on this, because economic times are hard now, and could be for some time people are lowering their prices on just about everything. Now would be a good time for the buyer if you will. So if you are looking to start a new home business you can probably do so much more cheaply now than ever. A business plan is a must! We are seeing people going out of business left and right, but by the same token, people that are unemployed right now in the work force are looking for other means of income, some of that income will be generated by newly opened home-businesses. People also do not want to travel by car, as gas prices are way up there. So there are pro’s and con’s to everything, but that is not unusual even if economic times were not hard. Use good judgment, research, and form a business plan of action, a positive attitude combined with determination is a must in today’s world!

Q: We understand that you can get a lot done for “free” on the Web. Most experts, though, tell us that some expenditures are necessary to succeed. What is your opinion about finances for an online business?

Yes, that is true, you most definitely can get a lot done for “free” on the Web, but as with anything else, you must consider taking a certain portion of your dollars and putting it into some paid advertising venues. This does not mean that you need to put all of your money into one thing. For example, as I am a Virtual Assistant, and I write press releases, ads, and provide a long list of services, etc., I can do this for you. Now this is just an example, this does not mean that everyone should hire me or other VA’s to do that, but in this case it relieves a person from having to do it especially if they do not know how to do it, which brings me to the point. There are many people out there that simply do not know how to advertise, and/or market their businesses free or not free. Thus a business must set aside some finances for this purpose, as well as emergencies that come up, inventory to purchase, assistance needed, etc. An online business is exactly the same as a brick and mortar business, the only real difference that I can see is that of course it is not a place that people can physically walk into, but one can physically click their way into your store! However, the basic fundamental concept of running a business is exactly the same. Brick and Mortar businesses advertise too, they have business cards, flyers, they offer specials, have sales, etc. Again as mentioned in a previous question use caution when planning to do anything. Spend you hard earned dollars wisely and not foolishly and you will prevail!

Another point to consider is that when you create your business, if it is your own home-business that is, you will need finances to build a site, i.e. your store. Yes you can do this for free as well, but remember your store is a representation of who you are. A site that has ads all over it from the “free” sites that are out there is not as professional looking as your own site. Believe it or not it makes a huge difference in the eyes of many whether they tell you about it or not. You will surely need some finances to run and manage your online business, whether it is simply for business cards, some inventory, advertising, or whatever else is needed to become successful. Thus I would have to agree with the experts.

Q: Would a party plan business be a good choice when money is tight?

Yes it would be a good choice, because you are not investing much and you are still able to earn a commission from any sales. I would suggest looking for companies that are low-cost to join, and offers a decent compensation plan. The reason why I say low-cost to join, is because from my own experiences, and not to say that it is bad or that it does not work, but many companies that offer free sign ups usually acquire people that are not serious about their business. Many will join up just because it is free and never do a thing with it. Of course this is all up to the individual. I think that companies that offer a decent sign up fee will offer more to their representatives, and that is because they can with the dollars brought in by those sign up fees. However, whether or not a party plan company is free to join or not, is not really the issue, no matter what type of company, it is only up to that individual on whether or not they will succeed. This is where will and determination comes into play. Nothing will be handed to anyone on a silver platter. To become a success one needs to work for it.

Q: What are some ways that WAHMs can make a go of it without spending money?

A: There are many advertising venues out there that are completely free to join, and/or to use. While it is time-consuming in many cases, there are tons to be found, and everyday something new pops up. This excludes the obvious, like joining free Yahoo groups, Networking forums, ad boards and things of this nature. There are virtually thousands upon thousands of free places to join for many different reasons. Use them! Set aside one hour a day to join places, promote, advertise and Network, etc. If you do one thing every single day for your business you are one step ahead of the game! You can have the most stunning site in the world, but if no one knows about it, it’s as good as not having it. Utilize the free resources that are available to anyone to your advantages. They do work, but persistence, determination, will and effort is the key!

Q: How is your business blog going for you? Do you recommend blogging for WAHMs and why?

A: I do recommend blogging for WAHMS. Let’s put it this way, a blog could be anything that you would like it to be. It could be a spin off of your own site. However, the search engines love blogs and with the advent of some really simple blogs to use today, it is not that hard to start blogging. You can be creative on a blog, be informational, rant or rave, or a combination of all three plus more. I think that a lot of WAHMS do not blog simply because they do not know what to say, or that they may perceive themselves as not “good enough” for lack of a better phrase, to write. Perhaps they are not confident within themselves. My theory is to jump in and hop to it! You will never know what you are capable of unless you try! “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” - Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945, thirty-second President of the USA.

My own business blog has been going quite well. While I am often strapped for time, I make it a point to always post something on my blog at least three times a week. Eventually all of these entries will lead up to a lot of information, and since we are all about information these days, what better way to do it than to blog about it!

Q: What do you say to people who think it is easy to develop an online business

: No matter which way you turn the picture and you would like to develop an online business that will show results, (in dollars that is) it is NOT easy to develop an online business. What people see on the outside, meaning the business site itself is just a completed pretty picture of what the site/business represents, and while I am a firm believer of presentation making the sale, that works well sometimes, or for more specific items or services. On the inside it is an entirely different ball game that requires patience, determination, time, will, effort, and some knowledge at the very least. I don’t think that people truly understand the depth of work that is entailed in the creation process, updates, site work, marketing, advertising, and all the other areas that it takes to truly create a successful online business. There is no such thing as easy if your objective is to truly succeed. Yes, anyone can put up a very simple site using a WYSIWYG editor, but that just isn’t enough. That is just the beginning of a very long process yet to come. There is too much competition out there that will sell the same products or items that you do, the question is, what differentiates you from the rest?

Q: If you could start over again, what is the ONE thing you definitely would do first for your online business?

A: Good question. Although all of my sites are now solely maintained and run by me, I think the one thing I would have done over first pertaining to my Sample Bag site is not have any partners mixed into the picture. I have learned that YOU are only responsible for your own actions, and that you can not control the actions of others. That is not to say that assistants, helpers, and such is not great, they most certainly are, but I do know now, that when starting The Sample Bag, and beyond (and this could be any business of course) I would have definitely re-evaluated my options on whether or not to take on partners. I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way, but that is life, we live, we learn and then we move forward to bigger and better things! Thus the first thing I would have done in this case, would have been to not jump the gun, and allow feelings and emotions to get in my way. I think that when people get excited over new business ventures they tend to jump at something without really evaluating or re-evaluating the pro’s and con’s associated with it, and even though one may think that they know better, it still happens because we are all human and we do make mistakes. This is not to say that all partnerships do not work, some most certainly do, but if you have never physically met the person, think twice, three times, or ten times before you make a decision, and most certainly draw up an agreement that sets forth the rules of the plan first and foremost. What is theory and what is practice are very often two different things, what seems wonderful in theory may not always work out when it is actually practiced.

Q: Is there anything else that you want to share with the readers?

A: I invite you all to keep in touch with me, for whatever the reasons are. I do enjoy helping people thus I am not what you would call shy. Email:

I also invite all of you to take a look at one of my newest sites as mentioned above., and if you need a MVA to assist you, you know where to find me!

Thank you, Ellen, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with us.

Greg Cryns
Join a new community of Wahm folks.
Wahm Search Engine
My business blog:

Saturday, September 27, 2008 - a goldmine of quality pics for your website

When I put up my new dog site a few months ago I wanted to include great pictures. The problem is where to obtain those pictures without damaging the bank account too awfully much. My website:

I checked at
flickr - - and saw that there were plenty of great pictures of tiny dogs from all breeds. My mouth watered.

I am experienced enough on the web to know that it is bad business AND bad form to just take and use Flickr pictures. Some believe you are allowed to use Flickr pics as needed. Not so, at least it is not easy to tell if they are free to use.

So, I found the pictures I needed and sent a Flickr message to each photographer from their profile. I politely asked each person if I could use their photo on my new site. I sent out 20 requests. All answered positively, one said no because he didn't want his pictures on a for-profit website. (I have Adsense on the site).

Thus, you have a good source for great pictures if you are willing to take the effort and time to find them and make a reasonable request to the photographer. Remember, many of the people on Flickr are not professionals but that does not mean their pics are shoddy. Uh-uh. Below is an email I received today from one of the people I contacted. Her picture from the site is at the top of this post.


Hi Greg!
I got curious tonight and looked at the stats on my pics to
see where all the hits were coming from on my
Griffon picture
. Naturally, they're probably coming from
your website! It Is CaliforniaTinyDog.....right? I hope
it was very interesting to read about different
breeds. I looked at the Chinese Crested page and saw the
picture of the dog with the coat...i have a picture of a
hairless one. and that adorable little
Yorkie reminds me
of the day my father brought home our Yorkie from
Scotland...just a tiny little handful. There's a great
little picture of him (somewhere in my possessions) sitting
perky on a Scottish mohair blanket. That was many, many
years ago. I took some pictures of a woman with 4 or 5
Yorkies a couple weeks ago but none of the shots were very
good...the Yorkies were running all over the place!
Anyways...very nice site and thanks for the credit!
Here's this Chinese Crested that i see about once a
week..outside the building where i go to physical therapy
3x a week. He/she's just so perky and sweet.

take care...

Thank YOU, Diana

Greg Cryns

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Customer Service - how to get through to a human being fast!

Isn't talking with a human being a sign of good customer service?

Have you tried to contact your local bank recently? Almost all of them have gone to a central 800 number that shields them from customer contact. Are we interlopers who take too much of their precious time? When you do get a human where is that person located in the world? Certainly not in your home town!

I want the personal service a local banker can provide. This trend is to make sure you cannot take the employees away from more important pursuits, like, maybe, coffee breaks around the copy machine.

Well, that is just an observation. Here is a company that will at least help you get through to a human being.

To the rescue!

"When you're tired of wasting money and time due to phone systems that require you to press 10 or more options in order to reach a real person and spending many minutes or even hours on hold, consult the GetHuman database of secret phone numbers and codes that immediately get an actual, live person on the line for customer service at nearly 1000 major companies."

Greg Cryns
Join a new community of Wahm folks.
Wahm Search Engine
My business blog:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interview - Direct Sales expert Nancy Sutherland

20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online

Interview with Nancy Sutherland Direct Sales Marketing Coach

Nancy is an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She received top honors and prizes in her career. You can read about her interesting journey to the top on her blog. Nancy now also coaches direct sales people and gives them the benefit of her experience.

Nancy's blog:

Q: You started your career with Mary Kay in 1986. You earned your first Career Car in 1987 and your first Pink Car in 1988. That is very fast success. How did you make it happen?

A: I really started my career to enjoy some time with other women while spending time with my children at home. I immediately fell in love with the business and discovered what it had to offer me and my family. When my youngest son started school, I made a commitment to work towards a leadership position in the Company. By setting a goal that had a reason behind it followed by a plan of action, you can achieve success!

Q: Your personal story on your website certainly is inspiring. Do you think you would have been just as successful if you did not have your personal problems?

A: I believe that everyone has challenges in their life. It’s a choice that each and every one of us makes that is whether the drama is going to make us bitter or better. I have always made the choice to be a victor rather than a victim. By being transparent in sharing the difficulties in my life, I hope to inspire and encourage other women.

Q: I talked with another successful direct sales consultant recently. She told me that in her experience people going into a direct sales business must have a love of the product and the need to make money. Do you agree?

A: I agree that the love of the product is crucial. That part has always been easy for me. The need to make money is not always a motivator in a direct sales business. Some people can’t handle the financial pressure in the beginning if they don’t work another part time job until they get their business off the ground.

Q: We always hear about the people who make a lot of money in direct sales. We also know that most people do not earn anything close to six figures. What does it take for a person to make an honest living, say $40,000 per year, in direct sales?

A I will tell you that it is simple, but not always easy. It really takes consistent effort, each and every week. In my business, that would be just a commitment to hold two appointments a week because of the advantage of the great reorder business. In addition, it is necessary to stay in constant contact with your customers in whatever manner that they prefer, phone, email, work, etc.

Q: You started with Mary Kay in 1986 before the Internet began. How did you manage to become successful without the Internet?

A: The internet is a great tool, but what you are doing is building relationships, one at a time. Word of mouth is the easiest way to grow any business. I have found that it works online, but we have been doing the same thing before the Internet.

Q: Direct sales have a high dropout rate. Do you think it is too easy for people to start their own business since the advent of the Internet? In other words, are there too many people who probably should not be in their own business because entry fees are relatively low?

A: I have always felt that it is better to try and fail than to fail to try. You never know if it right for you unless you try. When a new consultant comes into my unit, I ask her to give it a year of honest effort before she decides if it is for her. Because of that commitment, I have women in my unit for over a decade, and a few since the very beginning of my business!

Q: in today's marketplace, what single marketing method is most important to promoting your direct sales business? Second place?

A: I believe that face-to-face marketing is the single biggest business builder followed by superior customer service. That creates loyal customers.

Q: Some people just want to sell products and not build a team. Do you think this is a good model for profits?

A: Many people want to just sell products. I would say about 80-90% of the women in my unit fall into that category. Having a strong leader to teach them the skills to grow their personal sales is crucial. That is what I have always strived to do.

Q: What is the biggest road bump for direct sales people?

A: The biggest obstacle for most women in any business, especially direct sales, is handling their emotions. The fear of rejection is probably the most common, but you can learn to overcome this with a great leader.

Q: You now focus on coaching people in direct sales. Do you think people in Internet Marketing or other areas can benefit from your coaching?

A: Yes, absolutely! I have teamed with Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive and others to help get the word out. Carrie has put together a Barefoot Boot Camp that starts this week. I will be one of the teachers in this telesummit. (

Q: Are you still active in Mary Kay?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact, last year I coached one of my consultants to first runner up in the National Court of Personal Sales! I am in qualification now for my tenth career car and still have a very strong personal sales business. I will be in this business for life!

Q: Generally speaking, why should a direct sales person seek your coaching help?

A: I believe that there are many people who have the desire to make it in direct sales and not the resources to learn how to be successful. Having a good mentor who is active in the field TODAY makes all the difference in the world.

Q: What can a good coach do for a person who is lucky enough to have a helpful, experienced leadership in their direct sales company?

A: A good coach can provide more specific training on the skills necessary to build a solid business for life with practical, relevant applications.

Q: I am glad we met on Twitter. But social networking is still in its infancy. How important is social marketing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and others in your coaching business? How can direct sales people benefit from social networking as well? Is it worth the time and effort you need to put into it?

A: Social networking has been extremely helpful for me to build new relationships and very successful collaborations. There must be a balance in the time that you spend building your business online through social networking and out in public.

Q: Would you recommend blogging to direct sales people? Why?

A: Blogging is a very popular way to become transparent and share with others gaining visibility along the way. As always, people want to do business with those that they know, like and trust. If this is another way that you can do this, it will benefit your business. Not everyone likes to write, but it is fun for those of us who do!

Q: Most of us have heard about The Secret. Do you think "positive attitude" gets too much hype?

A: There is no real secret. The harder you work, the luckier you get! But having a negative attitude or allowing yourself to spend time with those who are negative will definitely hold you back..

Q: Please explain about "list building." Do you think a direct sales person would benefit from this activity?

A: List building is a way of being compliant with the CAN-SPAM regulations. It is a tool to allow your potential customers to get your up to date newsletters and sales offers. I don’t have much experience with this. My company provides the tool for my customers to opt-in to regular news.

Q: If you had not found Mary Kay and the coaching business that resulted, what do you think you would you be doing to make a living now.

A: I would probably still be teaching cosmetology students

Q: What are your plans and goals for the future?

A: My plans for the future are to continue to enrich women’s lives.. I plan to continue to do this through my direct sales business. I also plan on holding seminars, workshops, speaking engagements and conferences. My husband Alex and I would like to retire in Texas in 10-15 years.

Thank you, Nancy, for spending time with us. I am sure many will benefit from your experience.

Greg Cryns
How did Michael Phelps get his start?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bank CEO salaries - OMG

20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online

Maybe you are unaware of where YOUR hard earned tax dollars will go to bail out the banks.

Some of these slimebag CEOs could actually earn more after the bailout. It's time to tell our President and Congress that we've had it up to HERE with this nonsense.

Frankly, I think these guys deserve jail time. Read the pages from the links.

Morgan Stanley John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley, $17 million

JP Morgan Chase James Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, $20 million

Bear StearnsJames Cayne, CEO of Bear Stearns, $28 million

Lehman Brothers
Richard Fuld Jr., CEO of Lehman Bros Holdings, $71 million

Goldman Sachs
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group, $73 million

Merrill Lynch

ohn Thain – Ceo of Merrill Lynch, $81 millionHe is John McCain's top economic advisor.

Read the full report . There are comments that could make you want to throw up.

More on bankers executive pay:

Greg Cryns

Friday, September 19, 2008

Top 10 Yellow Pages Searches

The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) says in 2007 there were 3.8 billion searches performed on various sites around the web for local businesses.

Here are the top 10 searches:

1. Restaurants
2. Physicians & Surgeons
3. Hotels
4. Auto Repairing & Service
5. Florists-Retail
6. Auto Dealers-New & Used
7. Dentists
8. Auto Parts & Supplies - New & Used
9. Beauty Salons (tie)
10. Hospitals (tie)

More info from the Yellow Pages Assn. :

  • Average # of monthly IYP searchers up 46 percent: 63.1 million IYP searchers per month in 2006, compared to 43.2 million IYP searchers per month in 2005.
  • IYP represented 35 percent of total local commercial searches in 2006, up from 34 percent in 2005.
  • 2007 IYP search queries up 14 percent: consumers conducted more than 1.85 billion IYP search queries in the first six months of 2007 compared to 1.62 billion in the first six months of 2006.
Greg Cryns
Michael Phelps: the beginning

Negative and Posititive Marketing Messages

Negative Versus Positive Marketing Messages: Which Works Best?

Nancy is a small business owner who helps nonprofit groups create
fund raising events that can double- even triple- their average

Until recently, Nancy has gotten her business primarily through
in-person meetings: attending networking events, taking people
out for coffee, and giving presentations.

In-person is great for getting local business but Nancy wants to
serve a national customer base. So she hired someone to design a
website and using emails and postcards to market her services.

She's been using emails and postcards for the last ten months
and the results have been dismal.

"I haven't gotten a single new client," she told me.

So I took a look at the emails she was sending out and I
immediately saw the problem.

>> Enthusiasm Can Turn People Off

Nancy loves her work and really wants her clients to succeed.
It's hard to spend time with her and not get excited about what
she's doing.

Her enthusiasm works to her advantage when she meets people in

It seems logical then that enthusiasm would work in all her other
marketing. Wrong.

>> Establishing Trust is the First Step

There's a saying, "People want to know you care, before they
care about what you know."

As human beings, we have a natural desire to belong and feel
valued. It's the reason why people hate to be sold to...we
don't feel understood or valued for who we are.

When you meet someone in person, it's a lot easier to build
trust because you can communicate that you care in many ways: in
your tone of voice, in the way you look at others, in your

For people like Nancy, building trust occurs almost immediately
during in person meetings because she communicates that she cares
both in what she says and what she doesn't say.

But when communicating in less personal ways—using email,
postcards, and other types of written media, you have only words
to work with.

Which means you must take an extra step and deliberately
demonstrate empathy before you enthusiastically share why your
products and services are so wonderful.

>> Establishing Trust Means Starting with the Negative

So how do you show you care when you use email, web pages, and
other mediums that limit your ability to express yourself?

You start with the problem or pain your customer is likely

When you do this you are saying, in effect to your audience:

"I understand you have this problem that you're struggling to

"I, too, have struggled with it"

"Through my experience, education, research, etc., I have came
up with a solution to solve the problem."

"My solution work for you too."

Once you say these things, you are free to bubble away about your
wonderful solution.

>> Example: Establishing Trust First

So let's go back to Nancy.

Instead of immediately starting her emails off with how she helps
her clients double their fund raising results she begins with
demonstrating empathy and understanding.


"Non-profits, let me show you how to double- , even triple your


"Non-profits, are you struggling to compete for funding in
today's difficult economy?"

Can you feel the difference?

Nancy's email then went on to describe her own struggles with
fund raising and how she developed her solution.

When Nancy began using this approach, her prospect inquiries
immediately increased and she's now in the process of turning
some of the prospects into clients.

But she first needed to demonstrate she understood and cared
before they were willing to make the call.

>> Bottom Line

The less personal the communication, the more important it
becomes to first establish trust with your prospects.

For emails, blog posts, web pages, etc.:

1. Start with the Negative: demonstrate you understand their
problem and struggle to solve it.

2. End with the Positive: share why your solution is better and
will work.

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost,
effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals,
guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances.
To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt?
Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers
Crazy!" go to
You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@...

Greg Cryns
How Michael Phelps got started

Think Like Dr Phil and Maximize Your Sales

Think Like Dr Phil and Maximize Your Sales

Find the Pain

Becoming a total solution provider means everybody has a role to
play in the process. It’s about finding the customer’s pain. What
are the real rules of engagement with the customer?

Make no mistake... The customer sets those rules and it’s really
not about what you are selling. It’s about what the customer is
buying. Let me put it in perspective using an analogy from Tom
Winninger - Americas Marketing Strategist.

Tom Says - “Think about BMW --- they don’t sell cars --- You buy
a driving experience.”

“Kodak doesn’t sell film ------ You buy magic moments -

“Hertz doesn’t rent you cars - They get you out of the airport

That’s their value proposition ---- what is yours? You have to
figure out what the customer is really buying. Understand the
following simple concept.

“Perceived value drives customer expectations”

“Performance value drives customer satisfaction”

The higher you raise the customer’s perceived value of you as a
company --- the closer you come to creating competitive

Be careful - if you raise expectations too high and can’t perform
---- you can shoot yourself in the foot.

Perceived value varies --- it can mean different things to
different customers. It depends on what that customer is really
buying. It relates to value added and what is in it for the
customer. Value added must become not only a common term but it
must become engrained in your sales culture. Every decision you
make should consider the question WIIFMC? (What’s In It for My
Customer?) This is the baseline for your value propositions. It’s
part of the psychology of selling. It’s part of acting like Dr.

How Do You Sell Your Value Proposition?

The first step is to really understand and define your value
propositions. Remember, your company has value propositions, your
products have value propositions and you personally have value
propositions in your relationship with the customer. In defining
your value propositions you must maintain your customer at the
center of attention and define value in relationship to them.

Next, separate selling from problem solving. Take all of your
industry experience and knowledge to understand the customer’s
needs. Present alternative solutions.

Clarify your value propositions in terms of WIIFTC and let the
customer decide.

------------------------------------Think like Dr. Phil.--------------------------------------

Apply your knowledge and experience to the customer’s pain as if
it his/her company was your company. Ask yourself the following
questions to determine if you are ready for and committed to

* Can you educate the difference between price and cost? What
makes the low price the high cost? * How committed are you to
your industry? * How well do you know your customers objectives *
How adept are you at identifying pain * Are you more concerned
with your employer’s success than their own? Your customer’s
success? * How well do you accept personal responsibility for
failures? * Do you know the five largest customers of your
customers five largest customers? * What are the 3 largest
sources of pain in your customer’s lives? * What are your
customers’ key profit and growth drivers? * What are you doing
with that knowledge? * How would the customer describe your
efforts to improve their business?

Focus Has Changed

Focus must now be on planning for the development of customers
and increased penetration of current high potential customers.
The main responsibility of the sales person is NOT TO INCREASE
SALES, but to systematically and consistently increase the number
of customers that call you Supplier of Choice (SOC). If you truly
practice becoming a total solution provider for your customers,
can validate and sell your value propositions, if you can find
their pain and make it go away, you will become their SOC. That
means you'll always get the first call and the last look. It
starts by acting like Dr. Phil and searching for their pain.

A" Player Results and Habits

Professional sales people are always striving for improvement.
They gain the majority of their targeted customers' business.
They increase market share. Transactions flow through a
well-managed relationship that they have established. Their time
is focused on growth rather than transactional service.

Professional sales people constantly seek to enhance their
selling skills and the knowledge base of the industry they serve.
They no longer focus only on product knowledge. They focus on
their customers' needs and industry knowledge. They have
fine-tuned the basic habits of success:

* The habit of prospecting within the account for growth
potential * The habit of planning * The habit of using a
professionally prepared sales presentation * The habit of
goal-setting * The habit of record-keeping * The habit of
efficient time control * The habit of self-development * The
habit of continuous development of their industry knowledge * The
habit of self discipline

Today, salespeople must be problem solvers able to generate
solutions for customers in their time of need. That’s what being
a professional is all about. Therefore, they must possess a great
deal of knowledge about their customers’ business. Often, they
must actually define what those needs are because the customer
may not know, nor take the time to explain. Customers want the
professional sales person to have the knowledge and intelligence
to comprehend and analyze their problems before showing up at the
door. Customers will listen and buy from the salesperson that
finds the “pain” and takes it away. They want solution providers,
not the “coolest technology” with three adjustable speeds.

Act like Dr. Phil and find the pain and make it go away, even if
it has nothing to do with your product. It’s about being a total
solution provider. Today’s formula works because it creates
competitive advantage. It is the secret to success for the “Sales
Force of the Future.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------- - Sign up to receive “The Howl” a free
monthly newsletter that addresses real world industry issues. -
Straight talk about today’s issues. Rick Johnson, expert speaker,
wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO
Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain
competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event,
E-mail rick@.... Check out Rick’s new CD
series and workbook “Unlocking the Secrets to Amazing
Sales” @\

Greg Cryns
The Beginning of Michael Phelps

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Get traffic without paying money for it

Always remember that very little is really "free". To say you can get free advertising is ridiculous. What about the time it takes to make it happen? Is your time worth nothing?

Just because you have a website set up that doesn’t mean some form of magic is going to occur and zap traffic there without you doing a thing.

That would be nice, but it’s not reality, so start using some online marketing techniques to get them there.

Online advertising doesn’t have to be an expensive part of your business. Here are some ways to get traffic to your site that won’t cost you much in the end:

Blogging/ Blog Comments- You might consider setting up a blog to go along with your business. Search engines tend to like them and so do visitors. If you blog about topics that relate to your business site’s niche, people who are searching for that niche can stumble upon your blog. You can provide a link to your business site from your blog, so traffic can find their way to your reports easily.

Find other blogs that are about the same topic as your business site. Leave useful comments to some of the posts. Your user name will be attached to your business site’s link or maybe even to your blog’s link. Either way traffic can be routed to your PLR reports easier.

Article Marketing- This type of marketing can establish you as an expert in the field your business niche is in and gain some traffic to your site. This works by submitting an article that talks about the topic of your site’s niche. For example, if your niche is in the health industry, you could provide an article that talks about something in the health industry or it could also be about PLR reports.

Your article would be provided with a bio section. This section would include your name and business site’s link. Those who liked the article they find on one of these submission sites can click through to your site for more information.

Press Releases- A press release is a way to announce a company’s grand opening or special event that they’re launching. Businesses use it all the time to announce whatever they have going on, because it enables their sites to receive more exposure on the net.

Press releases are about news so that shouldn’t be a sales pitch for your products. They should only announce an event or special offer you’re planning. The point is to gain more traffic to your site so you can sell them on your products from there. Just concentrate on getting them there.

Social Networking/Message Board Communities- Join sites like these that relate to your business site’s niche. Communicating with like -minded people can gain you more traffic or some sales. Just don’t overwhelm the community right away with some sales pitch. Get to know your fellow “cyber friends” first and then ease into your letting your business be known.

Message board communities are great ways to connect to other people. You can offer advice and gain some credibility while posting on these boards. If the forum allows it, have your business site link in your signature, so those inquisitive people can quench their curiosities by clicking through to your site.

Greg Cryns
How did Michael Phelps get his start?