April 3, 2012

In Episode 16 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast, we take a look at some of the one-off and recurring business issues that tend to distract us from hitting our monthly and annual goals and cover the specific strategies we use to stay focused.  As your business grows, you’ll find that there are a ton of time-sucks that will cross your path.  The worst part is that many of them often present themselves as actual “work”.  If you’re not careful, many of these tasks can quickly take over your entire day.  You’ll feel “busy”, but at the end of the day you’ll realize you didn’t actually accomplish what you were looking to accomplish and you’re not any closer to achieving your goals.

As we were planning out this episode, we realized quite a few ways in which we are not effectively sweeping these distractions aside and so we found this episode to be particularly useful for our business.  We hope it’s as useful for yours!

 

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Podcast Transcripts (Click Show to View)

[spoiler]

Justin:
Welcome to episode 16 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke and I’m here with my business partner extraordinaire Joe “Hot Money” Magnotti. What’s going on, buddy?

Joe:
Hey everybody.

Justin:
We’ve got a great episode lined up for you this week. We’re specifically be talking about sweeping distractions aside, trying to get some of the things that have to get done in your business out of the way so you can get into some of the revenue-generating activities that are really going to drive your business forward.

First we’ll give you some updates, news and information. First thing, we’ve got a new five-star iTunes review, man.

Joe:
Hit me up!

Justin:
So here’s the deal. It’s from Drummin Logan. He says, “Excellent podcast, Justin and Joe. You’re naturals when it comes to podcasting. I’ve been building niche sites for years and still take away some good info from almost all of their podcast plus they’re easy to listen to while I run. Keep up the good stuff, guys.”

Well, I’m glad he’s running. He’s exercising and he’s getting his dose of AdSense Flippers, dude. That’s awesome.

Joe:
Yeah, that’s really cool. We’ve had some good email comments as well. I don’t have the specifics in front of me right now but if everyone just drops a note and say thanks, it does go a long way.

Justin:
Yeah, it really makes you feel good when you get those emails and they’re like, “Oh, I really appreciate it. I’ve been struggling with this business problem. You guys helped me out.” I really dig that stuff. So next thing is we had a birthday weekend bash, man. You’re an old man.

Joe:
Yeah, I’m 37. Your birthday is a day before mine so it’s kind of nice that it fell on a Friday and Saturday and we got those things out of the way.

Justin:
Yeah, that’s fun, man. It was a good party. We will put some pictures of the party up on AdSense Flippers Facebook but it was good. We had some friends over, ate some cake, had a good time, had some delicious food, had it catered. It was awesome.

Joe:
Well, I got to stay away from the cake because I’m on a diet but yeah, it was fun.

Justin:
Yeah. So next thing I want to talk about is I have a new assistant. So here’s the funny thing. We run an outsourcing company and I forgot to outsource. So we were talking about this week – I didn’t have an assistant so a lot of the things that I do like putting a blog post up, editing them, getting them ready, looking for pictures, I mean I could have an agent do that. Why am I doing that, right? So we said, “Hey, why don’t we just add someone?” and hopefully we can push out more content that way. I think it’s really helpful so we’re getting her up to speed this last week. We’ll be doing it again this week and hopefully knock out some more content here in the near future.

Joe:
Yeah, and she was a very qualified agent. It’s a good thing we found a way to repurpose her when her project went away. I think we will be very happy with her in a new position now.

Justin:
Yeah, the silver lining for losing a Try BPO customer, right?

Joe:
So I’ve been doing a lot of the tedious work here, Justin, while you’re getting to the content. I’m doing a lot of the grinding it out stuff for AdSense Flippers and for Try BPO.

Justin:
Yeah. We had a good talk last night over some drinks about specifically what we should be focused on over this next quarter and I think we need to review our quarterly and our annual goals to make sure that’s in line but I think we really hashed some stuff out. We will probably be talking about that again in some blog post in the near future. Well, the other things we were doing is we’re changing our link building strategy and that’s a bit costly, man. I’m not looking forward to the extra spin we got there. We’ve been kind of slacking off, having it kind of easy with dumping article marketing and just using BMR but now that we will be going back to article marketing, we’re going to go at it full force. So …

Joe:
Yeah, I’m pretty confident that we’re actually going to see better results from our sites by going back to article marketing. I really think that we will see a pop in ranking and that translates to more revenue and more revenue translates to higher sales price.

Justin:
I’m stoked about it. It’s kind of a NichePursuits.com light link building strategy. He does a lot more, spends a lot more in the sites though too. So we’re really trying to keep it cheap. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to outsource to a vendor to write some of the content and get that out. We could do it a lot cheaper in-house but it’s better than hiring all the people first, getting them started and figuring out, “Oh, we don’t want to do it that way,” and firing a bunch of people. I would rather pay a bit more to have someone outside do it and then we will just cut our cost by taking it over.

Joe:
Yeah, I love the idea of having a service do something for us and so we can figure out how to do it better, cheaper and easier. So let’s pay them the premium at first and then figure it out from there.

Justin:
The only thing we’re working on is renewing our Philippines business licenses and permits. That’s …

Joe:
Oh my god.

Justin:
That’s horrible, man. It’s a horrible process.

Joe:
Yeah. Here in the Philippines, it’s very bureaucratic. It’s very third world. It’s very old school. I don’t think my grandparents had to file taxes, permits and business licenses this way. I mean things are just all done on paper here.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s really frustrating too because we’re taking – it takes time away from some of the tasks, the things we really do want to focus on that are going to drive our business forward. I mean we have goals to hit for our business that we need to do and like getting distracted for a month at a time trying to renew licenses is definitely not going to help us get there, right?

Joe:
It’s not but it’s a good thing we have a little bit of a staff to handle that for us and help us with that because if we had to do it individually, it would be a nightmare.

Justin:
Well, that leads pretty well into the heart of this week’s episode which is all about sweeping distractions aside. Let’s get right into it.

***** “The AdSense Flippers Podcast” *****

Justin:
There are really two types of distractions we want to get into today. The first would be one-off distractions and I would call this like life events. So things like moving to a new city, getting married, having a baby, death in the family, these types of things where it’s problematic for your business. It definitely gets in the way but it’s something obviously you have to deal with. It’s in your life, right? It’s something that you need to work through but it’s not something that’s going to be a consistent problem for you long term.

Joe:
Yeah. Most people are going to have those one-time changes and it’s something that you need to plan to deal with. But the real distractions are reoccurring distractions, right? They’re the sinister ones, the hard ones that catches, that creep up on you and take all your time, stuff like paying the bills, business licensing that we’re talking about before, updating your resume, looking at the job boards, surfing oDesk, all this kind of stuff that you’re doing on a regular basis and it feels like work but it really isn’t.

Justin:
It’s really tough because those things are going to like distract from your business goals, right? They’re going to keep you away from where you want to take your business. And really the thing you want to be focusing on is what matters, right? And the best way to focus on that is by creating value for yourself and others through your focused goals and milestones. You have to hit your milestones. You have to have goal planning in place and these things, those sinister recurring distractions really take away from that.

Joe:
Yeah. You break those milestones down into either the component tasks week by week, month by month, day by day as we’ve said before and then you realize the tasks that are not part of your projects. They are not part of your goals and you can set those to the side and try to deliver value on the ones that are progressing.

Justin:
It’s funny. We did an episode on partnerships, right? And we were a bit down on partnerships in general but I think we have some pretty good partnership going here. But there are some things about like my personality and about your personality that I think are strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dealing with these types of distractions.

Joe:
Yeah, man. I think I’m really good at handling the operational tasks especially when I have a staff to help me out with them but I definitely – I probably take it to kind of a crazy degree. I have a little bit of obsessive compulsive disorder about it. I need it done. I need it done the right way.

Justin:
Yeah.

Joe:
It needs to be exact and that helps me get it done but sometimes I’m so organized that when things get a little unorganized or it’s not done in the way I want it done even if it is done, it bothers me.

Justin:
Yeah, pulling your hair out, that kind of thing. No, I mean I would say a bit of it for me is that I don’t usually sweat the small stuff, right? So I can roll it off my shoulder and keep focused on goals. Now the problem is that also leads me to sometimes ignore things that really do need to get done. They become more critical and I will still let it roll off my shoulder which probably isn’t a good thing and by the time it gets there, you’re freaking out about it and jumping all over me about it anyway.

Joe:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That can be a real problem but we catch each other well, I think, on those two dark sides and good sides of how we approach this kind of issues.

Justin:
So here’s the breakdown of what we’re going to go over. First, we’re going to cover kind of the one-off distractions and give some ways to avoid having to take up all of your time and then we’re going to get into five specific or common examples of recurring distractions, kind of talk about some of the inherent dangers and then talk about the ways to limit their impact on your business. So talking about one-off distractions, let’s talk about when we first moved here to the Philippines, when we’re just getting things set up, right? It was a bit of a bear to get all that done.

Joe:
It was and I was here by myself when I first got here in August 2009 but honestly, I focused way too much on the personal aspects of the move, getting the townhouse set up, selecting the place to live in, getting the furniture, making sure we had an internet connection and TVs and cable TV. And all those kind of stuff which here in the Philippines is very difficult to do because you can’t just open the phonebook and get that stuff done. You have to know someone.

Justin:
And you were trying to get it done like yourself, so you’re running around going here, there and elsewhere but except they don’t have the same stores here. They don’t sell the same stuff in the same stores. So like trying to find out where to go get an ottoman is insanely difficult.

Joe:
Yeah, and I don’t know why I did it that way. It was really kind of silly of me because back in the US, I would handle those things myself because I knew I could do them very quickly.

Justin:
Yeah.

Joe:
But here in a foreign country, you definitely learn in a short period of time that that’s not the way to do things. Now the good thing was that our business, when I first got here, I sat down with every employee, right? And I said, “How can we improve Try BPO?” And one of the first things they said to me was, “Sir, I need my benefits resolved. I need to make sure they’re being paid correctly.”

Justin:
Yeah. I know there was a bit of an uprising about the benefits. People were really upset and I guess it hadn’t been set up. Some were set up and the others weren’t and they were worried that they weren’t getting the right deductions and everything. It was a mess.

Joe:
Yeah, our office manager at the time had been deducting for people for like their Philhealth which is the equivalent of our Medicaid kind of program, government health plan and wasn’t delegating it towards their account because our company didn’t have a number. So instead of trying to wait to get everything set up and all the paperwork, what I did was I hired two vans. I put all of our employees in the vans and I literally went down with 23 employees to every government agency, got everyone registered, got all the paperwork handled within 48 hours. It was an amazing feat of business accentured getting things done.

Justin:
That’s so funny, man. I wasn’t here for that but I bet it must have been hilarious. I mean if you walk into the government office here in the Philippines, totally bureaucratic and you have 23 people with you and say, “OK. We’re getting this done today.” All right. First of all like oh, you have to come back. Well, we’re staying here until it gets done, right?

Joe:
Yeah, and the funny thing was they have those little ticker, old school ticker things, take a number. You show up with 23 people, they’re like, “OK, we will just take you next,” because they want to get you out of the waiting room area, right? They want to get you done and out of there. So it was kind of nice and definitely got things done quickly. It got our employees happy. So …

Justin:
How would you handle that type of thing in the US? I mean let’s say that you – either as a person or as a business are moving, right? We move from one office to another. That can be a real bear, real time suck. It’s going to take away from your clients. It’s going to take away from your business. How would you handle that?

Joe:
I think there are two ways to handle those kind of one-off situations in the US. One is you take time off from doing business, right?

You say for a week, business is closed until we get this move completed. That’s it and in the US, it enables you to laser focus on that one task and get everything done. This is my stop in the meantime except for the essentials but at least you can focus on getting that one task done.

Justin:
If you don’t have a momentum problem where letting go of something would be problematic for you, that is definitely an opportunity or an option for you, right? But let’s say that is a problem for you, like you’re making more from your clients or whatever. You have to stay open for business. How would you handle it?

Joe:
Definitely have to hire people to do it for you. I mean in the US, there are plenty of specialized people to do all kinds of one-off life event challenges for you, to help you with that kind of stuff.

Justin:
It really comes down to an ROI at that point, right? I mean am I making more than I have to pay them to handle this portion for me? Well, in the Philippines, we have that luxurious benefit of being able to overstaff for stuff.

Joe:
Right. And you wouldn’t find the same expertise maybe that you would find in the US. Like a wedding planner here may not have the same expertise as a wedding planner back in the US but it’s good enough and the nice thing is it’s a tenth of the cost, right? So you’re going to have that all done.

Justin:
Yeah. So we just had our party done where we paid I think about $400 and we had it catered. We had everything done. That included all the alcohol and that was for a little over 30 people. So I mean pretty cheap to just have someone take care of it for you. John and I were sitting around the townhouse the other day and kind of laughing because someone had pulled up. I think it was like the laundry guys or something. No, it was the chair guys for the party and we were just kind of sitting around and we were like, “Hey, can someone take care of that?” And one of the people that are buzzing around the house, whatever, can someone do that or whatever?

It’s so funny because you would never think that in the US but here, there are just people like working all around us while we’re able to like laser-like focus on business. It’s so sweet.

Joe:
Yeah, I love that about the setup that we have here. We’re able to absolutely 100 percent focus on our business because everything else is taken care of and whenever we hire staff to help us especially admin stuff whether they just work on the house or they work on getting business licenses and accounting set up for Try BPO, we tell them that. This doesn’t make money. Help us focus on what makes money. Make it easy for us. That’s your job.

Justin:
Yeah, and around the house, make my life easy. That’s your entire goal is to make my life easy and it’s great. I mean you can’t do that with virtual assistants if you’re in the US, right? But they can definitely make your business much easier, right? They can be working, working, working while you’re sleeping, right? So fantastic to be able to wake up in the morning and get your reports and be able to get stuff done, right?

Joe:
Yeah. It’s so cheap that building up a little army of assistants is not a bad idea.

Justin:
So next thing, let’s talk about recurring distractions. The worst thing about recurring distractions is they can really cripple your output but the problem is you still feel busy. You’re still feeling like you’re getting stuff done, like you’re effective and you feel like at the end of the day, you worked a full workday. Unfortunately, what you’re putting out was not terribly useful.

Joe:
Yeah, and a lot of these tasks though are important to your business. So you would say to yourself, “But they have to be done,” right?

Justin:
Yeah, yeah.

Joe:
Yeah, Like accounting tasks, right?

Justin:
Yeah, first is actually accounting task. A clear common example of this would be accounts payable.

Joe:
Yeah. If you don’t pay the electric bill, they shut off the electric, right?

Justin:
Yeah, that’s problematic, buddy. The worst thing though is the little bills to pay can become overwhelming, right? They start to add up and if you’re not taking care of them on a regular basis, then you’re falling behind. And a lot of times, the bills come in a little here, a little there. The worst is the really small ones, right? Because you get a ton of those and they’re really small and if you’re running a business, you have a lot of people to pay.

Joe:
Yeah, you do. And you can really automate most of those things especially in the US. You can set up automation bill payment for most services or any type of payments that you may have. For the ones that you don’t though, you should batch those and try to do them all at once so you’re not making these small, little minute payments all throughout the month distracting you.

Justin:
Yeah. Well, the important thing there too is you need to make sure you let your vendors know that you’re going to be batching. So tell them I pay out on the 5th and the 20th of the month, whatever the dates are, whatever. But you will get paid on these dates and that’s it, right? As we were talking about this podcast beforehand, I was thinking about like our content providers and how we don’t really do that with them now, right? We pay them all like kind of these one-offs. We track it and everything in a spreadsheet but it’s kind of like pay here, pay there and it is a distraction to us on a day to day basis, right?

Joe:
Yeah, it is. And that needs to be corrected for sure. So that’s something we should work on and just tell people, “Look, it’s going to all add up and then on the 7th and the 22nd, that’s when we pay out.”

Justin:
I love what we’re doing with these episodes. I mean like we come up with things. We’re like, “Oh, yes man. We’re not really doing that the way we should, right?”

Joe:
Oh, but one thing about automated payments or any monthly payments, you should always review these payments at the end of the month. We have our bookkeeper keep track of all those transactions and then send us a monthly report the month after and Justin and I sit down and make sure that everything on there is kosher and everything on there is actually something we need to use. And if we don’t, we cancel that because if you set up automated billing and you don’t review it and then six months down the line, you found out you don’t need that $200 bill, I mean you’ve spent $1200.

Justin:
Yeah. Here’s one of the things too. We’re talking about accounts payable here but in accounting, accounts receivables is another section that you definitely could be – it could be a distraction. The problem with this is that it is higher up the food chain. I mean you’re talking about money here, money that’s owed to you but the real danger is that you could be always chasing old money, not producing new value. So if you’re spending a whole bunch of time on accounts receivable trying to go after money that’s owed to you, you may or may not get it in a timely fashion but you’re not building anything anymore, right?

Joe:
Yeah, there are plenty of services out there that will do your collections for you. If you have people that are more than three days past due, don’t spend your time chasing them down, trying to get money out of them. Hire a collection company to get those done for you and move on to getting new prospects and people that are willing to pay you on an ongoing basis.

Justin:
Absolutely. So second part we’re talking about is project management and reporting and I would say the example for us with this would be the time we spent planning, entering or reporting on any particular projects. Now this one is tough, man. This is an ongoing struggle, right? Definitely a recurring problem.

Joe:
Yeah. It’s really easy for this to balloon and now I realize how much time it’s taking and then all of a sudden, you realize you’re taking more time to track, plan and enter the tasks into whatever system you’re using than to actually do them.

Justin:
That’s so ridiculous and were worried about that when we started with our project management software. We’re like, if we spend more time trying to figure it out and basically trying to put the information in, I’m not going to be happy with this. So a good idea is to limit your time there but yeah, I mean if you add bureaucracy, you add time there. It can really like take away from your business. The cost starts creeping up and then your margin is slipping, right?

Joe:
Yeah, it slows your business down altogether so obviously that kind of micro level planning probably is not something you need to do. You need to back up a level, put in milestones into something like Basecamp and leave it at that for projects that are relatively simple.

Justin:
And really one of the problems of planning – I think it’s a great way to correct it too. One of the problems of planning is that things change day to day, right? And we were talking before about our link building strategy and some things we want to do over the next couple of months. That may not be in line with our quarterly or annual goals, right? So we need to make sure that they align with the high level strategy but don’t plan out the day to day stuff. Don’t plan out the minutia, right? That gets in the way because that changes so often. You’re spending way too much time entering the information.

Joe:
Right. And then use your reports on a weekly basis to adjust your plan but don’t get report overload. I mean it’s really easy for asking your VAs to report to you on a daily basis, what they did and how much they did and hourly stuff. I mean you should have them recording all that but you don’t need to look at that on a daily level. It’s distracting.

Justin:
Yeah. Right now, we have our lieutenants report once a week and it’s normally before Monday. We have them send in their reports Sunday night usually and we can kind of get a feel for how the previous week went and some of their plans for this next week or potential pitfalls they see. And we can help guide or counsel them if needed there as they’re heading into the next week and kind of review the previous week as well.

Joe:
Yeah. I mean as a rule of thumb, we usually say 15 percent of the time on any project should be spent – no more than 15 percent should be spent towards project planning and entering and recording. The rest of the time should actually be accomplishing the project.

Justin:
And always use a VA too. That’s one of the things. We have been entering our monthly planning. For our monthly planning basecamp we’ve been entering information ourselves and getting a bit overloaded. It’s ridiculous. Why are we doing that?

Joe:
Right.

Justin:
You have the assistant do it.

Joe:
Yeah. So the next point that we wanted to talk about in terms of recurring distractions are customer service and sales tasks. These are the kind of things where you have questions coming in, both pre and post sale from customers or prospects, potential customers, that kind of thing.

Justin:
You get these a lot, right? Especially from the presale customers, right? People asking questions. Try to make sure they got a feel for it and the funny thing is, is a lot of the presale questions are from people that never actually end up buying from you. So it can tend to take up a lot of your time and not actually be valuable. This is one of those things where you could definitely be talking to people, talking to people, feel like you had a really busy day when you ultimately didn’t get anything accomplished.

Joe:
Yeah. It’s so funny, Justin, but the best customers are not only the ones that don’t complain and don’t ask a lot of questions. They just seem to buy, right? Those are the ones that are real customers.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s funny. The ones that want to like – or they tell you something like, “I will do a little bit for you now but there’s going to be a lot in the future so I want you to answer question 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 4B, 4C.” It’s ridiculous.

Joe:
Yeah, and they wind up very rarely buying from you or buying again. So watch your time with those people and the best way to deal with that is just shorten your sales cycle. Make sure you try to get to the sale faster.

Justin:
We’ve had a lot of these in our outsourcing company. We just refer to them as strokers. These are the guys that are going to stroke you, stroke you, stroke you but never actually pull the trigger.

Joe:
Yeah. You got to ask for the order. You got to make sure you qualify the prospects better to make sure that you get to the sale faster. That’s the only way to do it in terms of outsourcing, in terms of most businesses.

Justin:
And overtime, you start to get a real feel for like who your real potential whales are, right? A good example of this is like the casinos, right? They chase down the particular whales and they know the people that go to the casinos spend a bunch of money, do a lot of gambling and they chase them down but not just whales. The whales that are not the best gamblers particularly, right? They will contact them. They will negotiate terms in their casino. They will lay out the red carpet but they don’t do that for anyone and they don’t do that for every whale either, only the ones they know are heavy gamblers. So support your buyers basically.

Joe:
Right, and that brings up a good point is your post-sale support better be good. Don’t slack on this. You want to underpromise and overdeliver. That’s one of the big things we’ve always taken not with AdSense Flippers but in all of our business history, it’s kind of a philosophy we’ve taken and it has worked out very, very well for us.

Justin:
Yeah. Your best future buyers or potential buyers are the ones who have already taken a step of purchasing something from you, right? So really taking care of your customers post-sale is key. Those are going to get those customers to come back again and again and again and buy from you over and over.

Another example I want to talk about are four section with marketing tasks, right? These would be things like logo design, web design, picking a domain, your company, product names, Try BPO or AdSense Flippers, right? Trying to get a logo done. Those are some of the things we’ve done and I think Try BPO is a pretty good example. We spend a bunch of time dealing with the logo, trying to pick a domain name, right? How silly was that?

Joe:
So silly. I mean just remembering back now three, four years ago when we started this company, the outsourcing company, and how much time we spent on that and it really just didn’t matter.

Justin:
We have friends right now that are doing the same thing, right? They’re messing with the logos and were like, “Do you think it should be here or should it be down a little farther? Should I push it over to the left? Should I cut this part out?” Who cares, man? No one cares. Just get something up, something up and start putting out good value because ultimately it’s not going to be that big of a deal. Your idea could be a huge flop so spending hours or weeks or months of your time trying to determine a logo or a domain name is retarded.

Joe:
Yeah, and once the business is viable, you can always go back and tweak the logo, the naming. You can hire experts to do that, people that really know what they’re doing instead of just tapping me in the shoulder and going, “Should it be red or blue or an inch to the left or an inch to the right?” I don’t know. I know it’s good for me but I don’t know if it’s good for your business.

Justin:
Yeah. I mean if we could change the name AdSenseFlippers.com to something else, so what, man? It would still be us. We would still be putting the content out. Some of our readers will come over. Someone might get confused, whatever or lost. Honestly, if they can’t figure it out and we’re very clear and direct about it, then we don’t want those readers anyway. They’re kind of retarded. We don’t want them, right?

Yeah. I mean basically it’s better to focus on putting value out rather than the silly stuff about your business. It’s not going to matter until the business is viable anyway.

Joe:
Yeah. I mean look-feel is important with any design approach but only if your businesses or your product has legs and it’s marketable. That’s the only time this look and feel design problems really become an issue.

Justin:
Well, the funny thing is, people don’t care as much as you think they’re going to. They don’t care about whether the logo had a little down or a little to the right or whatever. It’s not even something they’re going to think about. They’re going to care about the value you provide them. We’re selfish in nature, right? So do I get anything out of this guy or these guys or do I not? That’s the most important thing. So if you’re going to focus on anything, focus on the value you’re providing, the message and not the medium.

Joe:
Yeah. Test that. Tweak it later and when you do get to the tweaking part, we’re big fans of crowdsourcing and we always say crowdsource, crowdsource, crowdsource because you will get as many design options as you can possibly handle that you never would have been able to do by just hiring one person individually.

Justin:
Well the truth is, we’re not terribly creative guys when it comes to that type of thing anyway, right? Like logo design, oh my god, I have no idea. But if I can get 40, 50, 100 examples from other guys, take a look at them and quickly pick which one, that’s great. Again though, we spent some time on 99designs really digging through it. You have to make it easier for yourselves and go with your gut, right?

Joe:
Yup!, and that’s why this kind of things are better handled down the line and not in the initial stages of the business.

Justin:
Yeah. So I mean in the end, with all these recurring distractions, I mean this is going to be a never-ending battle. I mean we struggle with this on a daily, on a weekly basis. We have some tips. We have some ways to handle them. We hope we covered that for you but in the end, something that we’re struggling with today is something we’re going to struggle with tomorrow, right?

Joe:
Yeah. I mean on Friday, the girls were here around a table, five of them, getting the stuff done for BIR which is the equivalent of the IRS here in the Philippines. It was quite distracting to have them here all day focusing on that kind of stuff. But that kind of stuff, if we were in a startup situation, it can kill a startup company if you as the owner, as the entrepreneur, as the visionary are focused on those distractions; absolute death to a business.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s a quick way for startups or business ventures to die is that they get caught up in the bureaucracy or it’s not always something they know how to handle so they kind of leave it alone or ignore it, right? And don’t actually get the stuff taken care of that needed to get taken care of.

Joe:
Yeah. So make sure you’re creating value for yourself and others through focused goals and milestones. I don’t care what software you use to track that. I don’t care if you use Google Calendar or you’re going deep into it but not too deep into it and using something like Basecamp. But make sure you’re hitting those milestones and make sure you’re getting things done so that in three months from now, you’re a lot farther along than you were three months ago.

Justin:
Yeah. I don’t care what your logo looks like. Just provide me value because I’m selfish and I want to know what you guys can provide for me. That’s the most important.

***** “The AdSense Flippers Podcast continues.” *****

Justin:
Well, that’s it for the heart of this week’s episode. Let’s get right into the ninja marketing tips, tricks and our plans for the future. First tip we have for you is from Ommwriter. Basically this is a program that will take over your entire screen. It plays a like nice relaxing music and you can just knock content out, man. I did this weekend. I was at a coffee shop. It was a little loud. Put the headset on, had the music going. I was just able to knock out some content. It was great. Put up a thousand words, really, really easy. So you should check it out. With the headphones on, it really makes it great because you get the little music and it kind of like keeps you away from the other people that are walking around and doing stuff.

Joe:
Yeah. Speaking about headphones, I bought a nice $100 set of over the head phones, big, comfy, cushiony ear sets and nice cushion on my head and everything and it really does kind of a noise canceling thing which is good for a loud, distracting office like we have. I can kind of just get into work and get it done.

Justin:
I tried them on, man. They’re pretty cool but you look like an air traffic controller with them on, man, that you’re directing planes or something. It’s crazy.

Next tip is that you shouldn’t be afraid to be overly aggressive at protecting your in-the-moment activity. So if you’re doing something right then, shut off the laptop before having a meeting, right? Have a no-interrupt period. So in our life and our work, there are a lot of people that are working around us and they come up to us for signatures, for this, for that and I don’t feel bad at all about shutting them down. Sometimes a little rudely but like shutting them down so that we can continue whatever it is that we’re happen to be focused on at that time. I read a great article about this guy who got so bad. Like people would come to his office and he would just like shut them down right away so he could focus on whatever task at hand. It’s much better because when you start getting more busy and there’s more going on, there’s more moving pieces, it can be really distracting having all these people come to you.

Joe:
Yeah. You need to build momentum especially when you’re doing stuff like writing blog posts or putting out content or doing keyword research.

Justin:
Coding, right?

Joe:
Yeah. Once you get into it, you don’t – it’s the kind of thing once you get distracted even for a little minor thing that takes thirty seconds, you have to build up all that rhythm and momentum again.

Justin:
Yeah. If you’re at your desk, whatever, take away some of the things that distract you. Make sure everyone knows to leave you alone so you can just knock out what you need to do. Now you may have a baseball there, whatever you kind of toss in there a little bit to like help you think. But anything else, anything that really distracts you, surfing or whatever, just get away from it.

Joe:
It’s our last tip. We’re talking about something to listen to at work. I love the ability to listen to radio at work and there’s some good internet radio out there from a place called TuneIn Radio and Live365. They have kind of a freemium rock model where you can subscribe if you want to get the commercial free but even the commercial, the ad-supported version is not that bad. So, if you’re the kind of guy like me who doesn’t want to sit there selecting his music and doing playlists or buying CDs or anything like that, check this one out.

Justin:
What’s the music thing we can’t use out here in the Philippines that’s fantastic?

Joe:
Pandora, Justin.

Justin:
Yeah. Pandora is fantastic, man. I really wish we had that here in the Philippines. It’s something I would listen to on a regular basis but unfortunately we just don’t have it. I mean it’s like there are so many different like pieces of content that we’re not able to access being here in Southeast Asia. It’s really unfortunate.

Joe:
Yeah. I mean you could always do the hiding your IP thing and trying to come from America and stuff like that but it’s never as fast and never seems to be as good as it is back in the good old USA.

Justin:
Well that wraps up episode 16 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. Thanks for staying with us. You can check us out @AdSenseFlippers on Twitter or Facebook.com/AdSenseFlippers. We’re putting new photos up, like talk a little bit about what we have going on, also talking about niches for Charity.com, our latest charity project. So you should definitely check that out. Thanks and we will see you next week.

Joe:
Bye-bye, everybody.

[/spoiler]

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Our recent change to our linkbuilding strategy and how we think this will affect our business
  • Best methods for dealing with one-off distractions and life events when it comes to your business
  • 4 examples of recurring distractions in different areas of our business, why they’re a problem, and how we keep them from sucking up all of our time
  • How you can protect your time from common time-sucks
  • Quick tip that lets you avoid distractions and knock out some content

Mentions:

What did you think about this week’s episode?  Let us know in the comments below!



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Discussion

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  1. Love you guys, and agree 80% with this episode, but gonna call BS on your branding discussion. If your website is the central point of your marketing, sales, customer service, etc. it has some importance.

    If you changed the name of this blog, you would spend time & money getting it right. I agree that it can be a distraction and if you have no revenue coming in, then go get a client first. But if you are attempting to grow from a handful of clients to the world, taking some time to get it right isn’t a bad idea.

    Anything can be a distraction or a time waste, keyword research, design, social media, etc. But they are all crucial parts of most businesses when done correctly and in moderation.

    It is about getting it good enough and out the door, perfect is the enemy of done.

    Ship it!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Damian!

      You were definitely on our minds as we were discussing the branding, but I don’t think you’ve gone too overboard…especially when you consider that a good portion of the service you’re providing REVOLVES around branding and capturing new clients. If you’re not doing that successfully for yourselves that would be a bad idea, obviously.

      Still…when it comes down to the time we spent on the TryBPO name and logo…we were way overboard. Funny…I don’t even LIKE our logo now that we’re a few years out from that and our domain name is confusing to people…it gets misspelled often, heh.

      You’re right in that we would spend a good amount of time and money getting the name and branding right if we made a change…but that’s only because this has been a successful venture for us. To start, we went with a $5 logo from Fiverr (Ok…we spent $15 total with 3 different people and went with the one that wasn’t as horrible as the others!) and an out-of-the-box Woothemes theme! We still have the WooThemes theme, obviously, but I’ve applied some strategies to improve email conversions, linked well to our BuyOurSites pae, etc.

      “Perfect is the enemy of done” I love that…definitely stealing that from you!

      • Agree on keeping costs low, I spent 100 bucks on the logo.

        I have stewed over the name & domain for awhile, but more from a “what do I really want this business to do and who to serve” rather than from a branding perspective. I didn’t want to be too restrictive, but still wanted the name to make sense. As long as I am billing 50+ hours a week, a little introspection isn’t a bad thing. ;)

        But I get the point you are trying to make in that many people create roadblocks for themselves as a way of stalling the important decisions / actions, etc.

        Enough of this I have clients to bill! :)

        • Steve Wyman says:

          Im with you Damian.

          The brand matters. The look and feel matters.

          However sure Justin getting it out there is very important. And do it cheap and test thats solid.

          But with a logo and banner ad available for $5 you can do something Good quickly.

          Perfection can come later if thats needed.

        • Dan says:

          Unfortunately for you guys, I’m right about this. AND I typed less.

          How you like me now.

          I’ll argue when I finish the episode :P

    • I like you challenging us DT, thanks man! However, I would say even if your website is the central point of your marketing, sales, customer service, etc you need customers first! That’s the key element we are trying to drive home here. And customers will come (and stay and tell their friends) if you product or service kicks ass!

      • As I said, go get a client (or 3) first. But some thought into your messaging can’t hurt after that point.

        Agree wholeheartedly that the product / service delivered means FAR more than a name. The world is littered with horrible names that made it, Zappos anyone?

  2. Eli - Newbie says:

    Tuesday already?! How days fly huh? Been looking forward to the new episode… Listening now inside the bus :)

  3. BrandonEllistv says:

    Great episode ballas!

    Yea I agree about spending “too” much time on the really unimportant things. Damian strikes some great points, but I think it really comes down to balance. Epecially when you’re trying to get up and running fast.

    If you believe in the “MVP” model, Minimal Viable Product, then you won’t waste a butt load of time on things up front. Once it’s proven, you can always come back and make things better. Just get it out there first! And I think that’s where most trip up.

    I ain’t no graphics ninja by any means. lol… But I can shoot over to DaFont.com upload a cool free font that fits the site, play around in word for a few minutes and get some pretty killer logos in literally under 5-15 minutes.

    Get’s the job done.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Brandon…thanks, man!

      Definitely a fan of the MVP model, although trying to get things “right” is something I do struggle with.

      That being said, there are some strong counter-arguments to the MVP model that are interesting. I can’t for the life of me find the article I read the other day, but Seth Godin’s thoughts are here:
      http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/11/when-minimal-viable-product-doesnt-work.html

      • BrandonEllistv says:

        Thanks Justin, Yea I am a big Seth Godin fan so thanks for that link as I missed that article.

        I agree with his thoughts if it’s something like Software or a “big” launch. For me, my MVP is putting stuff out to either my list, or where I know my market is with minimal effort.

        So I take an idea, a product or method, test it on a small scale, and then set a deadline to get it done. Which is usually under a week to create the product, build a membership site, do the copywriting myself, get affiliates and launch. Hard as heck work for sure, but if it takes off then I know what to launch on a larger scale and build out and create further value for members.

        I’ve made nearly 10k on the front end alone everytime I’ve done this method. But I do have knowledge in my niche, and a pulse of my industry, and am creating smaller information based products (which I know you’re a fan of! lol…) so all of that
        does come into play too.

        I suppose the MVP model works in some areas and not so well in others. So it needs to make sense to you and be right for your market.

        A bigger piece of what helps me I suppose is setting a launch date on everything I do, whether it be a product, an Adsense site or whatever.

        If I say I will launch xyz on April 15th then I am MUCH more likely to get it done than if I just rely on myself to just do it asap.

        Thanks bro!

        B

  4. Nigel says:

    Hey Guys

    That BBall uniform for the tream looks awesome.The guys in the team must be stoked. I use to play alot of ball when I was younger and its great you guys can support the local community. That’s why we do what we do. You guys just stepped up to another level. Luv ya work.

  5. Dan says:

    I generally agree with the branding discussion. I loved Clay’s approach here and have given similar advice:

    http://www.marketingshow.com/show/tms_video/examples-best-fonts-how-to-make-logos/

    Pick a nice font. Write your brand name. Put it at the top of your website.

    Forget the insignia.

    Now create a compelling value proposition that resonates with your market.

    Later on you can go back and make stuff look better.

    Focusing too much on branding is resistance for start-ups.

  6. [...] Big thanks to Justin & Joe who referred me to Ommwriter via their latest podcast episode … knocked this post out faster than any post I have ever done. (Hopefully it does not show in [...]

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