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How to Build a Successful Online Business: The 5 Pillars of Success

So you want to learn how to build a successful online business. I don’t know your exact situation right now, but I can guess that you probably fall into one of 2 categories: either you are currently working the 9-5 and want to find an alternative or you are already in an online business and are looking to increase your income. So let’s have a look at the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business.Success Pillar 1: Have a PlanIf you were going to setup a brick-and-mortar business and had to borrow money for the bank, they would certainly require to provide them a business plan. They want to know that you are organized enough and focused enough that the money they lend you will not be wasted.The same applies to an online business. Once you open the door to making money online, you will soon be bombarded by all sorts of offers and opportunities. Who knows, you may have already experienced this. Without a good plan of action, you may be tempted to listen to all those offers. If you don’t focus your energies towards one goal, you are wasting your time.”In order to succeed, your arrow of focus must be pointed in one direction”When creating your business plan you will want to focus on the following:1) “Why”: What is the reason for starting your online business? And don’t just write that you want to make money. Take a moment to reflect on the real reason you want to succeed online. Are you doing this to provide a steady income for your family, do you want to work from home and have time freedom, or do you want to share and teach your success to others? Don’t worry about making it perfect, write it down today and you can modify it as you go along.2) Goals: Set realistic goals within a time frame. For example, if you just got started, a good goal would be to make you first 500$ within a 1 month period. If you are already making 500$ a month, set your goal to double that within a month. As you start seeing success from your efforts, you can start stepping up your goals to be more challenging.3) Actions: What actions are necessary to achieve your goals (be specific). If you are just starting up, actions like setting up your domain and website would be a good one, then setting up your capture page and autoresponder. If your system is already set up, you could take action to increase traffic for your site or you could tweak your capture page to increase conversion.Success Pillar 2: Pick a good mentorA good mentor will make the difference between success and no success. A good mentor knows the way and can show you the ropes. When I got started, I didn’t have someone like me to show me what to do. I was here and there and nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until I found a good mentor to show me what steps to take that I was able to achieve success in my business.Picking a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean to partner up with the Top Gun of your company. Oftentimes they are so busy doing what they need to do that they don’t have the time or energy to hand hold all the newbies. You are much better off finding a leader that has the time to help you along the way and guide you as you take the steps to success.Success Pillar 3: Self-BrandingThe most common mistake when starting an online business is to lead with your business/product/payplan. It is truly an important part of the business, but not the most important. The #1 key principle is to BRAND YOURSELF. Who knows, you may be with a particular company today, but what happens if you decide to change? If you spent your time branding yourself, the transition will be easy. If you branded your company, you will have to start all over from scratch.Look at all the top producers in the industry. Jonathan Budd, Brad Callen, Mike Dillard, just to name a few, have all branded themselves very strongly. When they create a new product, it is easy for them to sell it because their customers know, trust and like their brand (themselves) and will trust the new product being offered.The best way to brand yourself is not to hide behind a computer screen. Create a website with your name as the domain, have real life pictures of yourself, create videos in which you offer value to your viewers, use the social media platform and be visible. You don’t have to be the best in the world to be liked, just offer valuable content to the best of your abilities.Success Pillar 4: Systems and Follow-upThe main reason for creating an online business is to leverage the internet to free your time. By having systems do most of the work for you you achieve two things: 1) you build relationships without having to actually be there and 2) you can spend your time and efforts on other things that will increase your results.Disclaimer: I’m not talking about the “push this button and make money without lifting a finger” Just like building a real business, you need to put effort and time to create your online business system and then promote it.So what kind of systems am I talking about? The main components of your system will be: Your website/salespage and your autoresponder.Your website: This system is meant to allow visitor to get to know you and your opportunity. It should answer most of the frequently asked questions about your business and give a bit of your personality so that visitor and potential business partners get to know you as a person.Your autoresponder: This is a series of emails that will continue to touch base on autopilot with the people who have shown interest in your opportunity. It should be packed with valuable information and obviously lead back to your opportunity. There are 3 major players as far as autoresponders: aweber, iContact and get response. I choose one over the others.Success Pillar 5: Marketing and TrafficTraffic is the lifeblood of any business. When it comes to the topic of online traffic, you could search online for days and still find new products that will teach you the “new best way” to drive tons of traffic to your website. The truth of it is, if you bulk up the information, traffic can be grouped into 3 categories: Link Building, SEO and Advertising.1) Link Building: Link building not only increases your traffic, but has the added bonus of increasing your SEO. Link buiding, put simply, is the activity of producing and publishing content online in order to increase the number of links pointing back at your site. There are many many ways of doing this and I will share with you my favorite ones: Articles Marketing, Video Marketing, Hubpage/Squidoo marketing (if you don’t know what this means, don’t worry) and finally, Forum participation.2) SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and means to optimize your web content for the search engines (like Google). Done properly, this will generate a large amount of free traffic from the different search engines.Just to give an example: I created a small website for my real estate business about 3 years back. I optimized the content for a particular keyword and published a few articles about the topic to build links. Ever since the website appears on the first page of Google, that website has been receiving 20-30 hits per day and generating 2-3 leads a day. And I only spent a few hours creating and optimizing that site. I’m not saying that it’s always that easy, but once you get there it’s a breath of fresh air.Link building for SEO: Links are like votes for your site. The more links you have, the more you have authority and search engines look for authority sites. So as you put effort in your link building for traffic, you are also building vote towards your site which will lead to better ranking in the search engines.3) Advertising: The are 2 ways to advertise: Free and Paid. Free advertising is like posting ads on Craigslist. A good example of paid advertising is the Google sponsored results or PPC (pay per click). This topic is very broad and surpass the scope of this article. I would definitely recommend focusing on link building at the beginning. PPC is quite complex and for someone that doesn’t know how to do it, it can be quite costly. I’ve personally burned a few hundred dollars in a few days on Google PPC without much to show for it.So there you have it, the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business. If there are things in this article that you did not understand, please be assured that everything will come together soon.

Do You Have What It Takes To Invest In Real Estate?

I am often asked, “Is Real Estate a good investment these days?” For me the answer: “It is always a good time to invest in Real Estate”. The question most people should be asking themselves is, “Do I want to invest in Property and what is required?” Let’s have a look at some the issues relating to Real Estate investing.Personally, I have had a very positive experience with investing in property. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this experience. In fact, in his latest newsletter, Pat McKeough (the man behind the website, The Successful Investor Network) says, “If you buy property as an investment, you may discover that there are greater risks, and more work, than you bargained for”.Just as investing in mutual funds, stocks and investment certificates is personal, so is the decision to invest in property. Your first step should be to weigh all your options and compare it to other forms of investing. Let’s look at just a few considerations you should be aware of when investing in property.The first of these is “Financing”. A mortgage is a very common component of investing in property. The requirements for investment property are very different from the mortgage on the house you own as your personal residence. Fortunately, it is still easier to get financing for property than for stocks. The reason for this is the fact that real estate is less volatile and easier to appraise. Investing in property has a long history, which makes it easier for banks and financial institutions to analyze their risks. Its value also rarely drops dramatically overnight, as some stocks do from time to time. It’s important to remember that while leverage can enhance returns, it also can enhance risk. The amount of cash required to purchase investment real estate is more that the purchase of principal residence real estate. In some instances this ratio could be as high as 65/35. Where the buyer must come up with 35 percent of the purchase price plus closing costs.The next consideration is what we call “Other Costs”. When investing in property it is important to be aware of all the associated costs and fees. Among these costs we find realtor commissions, lawyers’ fees; all of which make up what is commonly called “closing costs”. You will also be faced with other expenses such as property taxes, maintenance costs, utility expenses, insurance fees, and financing costs like mortgage interest. While there are also costs associated in stocks, mutual funds and securities, there are not quite as many variables to pay.One must consider “Cash Flow” when purchasing property for investment reasons. Whether there will be a positive cash flow on your new property should play a major role in your investment decision. In order for a property to provide positive cash flow, the monthly rental income must exceed the expenses. This means the rental income must be greater than the mortgage, taxes, maintenance and other monthly expenses.If you have to subsidize the monthly income, then you are going to find yourself in a negative cash flow situation. Unless you are willing to hang onto such a property for future possibilities of a large payout, it is wise not to invest in such a property. There are properties with potential for further development that will bring a large windfall and in such a case it is necessary to know the market well enough go guarantee a substantial return. A word of caution; an experienced property investor will never rely on market appreciation as a reason for purchasing investment property. No one has been able to predict the housing market with certainty over the short term.You must be willing to put in the “Time and Effort” if you invest in property. We call this sweat equity. You will have to spend time dealing with tenants, arranging maintenance, doing the accounting and so on. If you have several properties you may find it easier to hire a property manager; but remember this will become another expense and will affect your cash flow.The important thing to remember is that the investment return must be worth the time and effort you are willing to put into it.One last detail to consider is the “Risk and Reward” factor. Just like stocks, property comes with risk. For one thing, property has liquidity risk. That is, it is harder to sell than stocks, mutual funds or other investments. You can get stuck with a property longer that you originally planned. You may also have to sell a property at a loss due to poor cash flow. There are risks is clear, however, some of the wealthiest people in the world have built their fortunes from real estate investing. Like so many other things in life, what you put into it is what you are likely to get out of it.

Chinese Aerospace Research Arm of the Red Army Loses 2 of 3 J-10 Prototypes – Why I Ask?

The other day, I just learned that the Chinese Aerospace research division of the Red Army’s Air Force had inadvertently crashed two of their three J-10 prototypes. This is a huge and unfortunate setback for the Chinese Military in their attempts to keep up with the United States and our fifth-generation stealth fighter planes. It is amazing that they would spend so much time using corporate espionage tactics in and around the US defense industry in order to learn how to build such an aircraft.And yet, after all that spying, and finally being able to produce a similar copy to our advanced fighter aircraft, they can’t seem to get the composite materials right, the lamination of the composites correct, or maintain the quality in manufacturing that is required in the high-tech world of stealth aircraft. As I understand it one of their J-10 Prototype crashed last week, and one just the other day. Losing a pilot from a midair breakup, and watching it disintegrate on the radar, must’ve been a horrific experience for those on the design, research, and corporate espionage team which had stolen the technology.One question I have, is that if they watched the aircraft break-up on radar as the Chinese Media outlet and Internet social networks in China say, then obviously it was not all that stealthy, there for their so-called fifth generation fighter plane isn’t stealthy or stable, see that point?Now then, judging from past recent history, surely heads will roll for the miscalculation, poor engineering, and mistakes made in manufacturing, which may or may not be attributed to the common problem in China of kickbacks and bribes. Nevertheless, they still have one Prototype left, but as I understand it they are afraid to fly it or do the required tasks to run it through its paces for fear they might lose it also, sending them all the way back to the drawing board and setting them back a couple of years, while China is still investigating these two crashes.These catastrophic failures which are hard to swallow for the Chinese who wish to save face, actually do prove a couple of things. First, it proves that the United States is light years ahead of the Chinese, the Russians, and every other advanced civilization on the planet when it comes to aerospace, space, and material technology.Our propulsion technologies, electronic technologies, and aerodynamic designs, along with our stealth savvy and prowess is by far the best in the world. And when it comes to second place, there really isn’t anyone else in this race, and there really isn’t any point in second place anyway. Secondly, when it comes to military tech the United States of America shows the worldwide we are the greatest nation ever created in history.Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it. If you have any comments, concerns, questions, case studies, or empirical data on such matters, or if you have any interesting aerospace designs using your creative genius, and your God-given talents which goes along with the American gene pool, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail.