The Word Processor and the Wobbly Desk… A Tale of Distraction and Procrastination.

I spend more time trying to find a word processor to write in, than I actually spend writing. And this desk is driving me insane (more insane than a person who’s testing word processors constantly).

Distraction free word processor
True distraction-free writing environment. Does this person know there’s no paper in there?

These are the issues you deal with as a blogger. Do you still qualify as a blogger when you don’t really write blog posts anymore? Trying to do more of it.

I love to write. Usually it’s just the process of getting started that holds me back. Hence the parade of ‘minimalist’ word processors I go through. Just another step in the procrastination game, really.

Blogging is a major marketing strategy for most online businesses. You know that. And when you ask, “what on earth should I write about?”, you are not alone. Jump into my head for a few minutes…

Ideas for a blog post always come to you (if they do come) when you’re farthest away from a keyboard. No excuse. You have a smart phone in hand 24/7 that has more power than your computer did just a few years ago.

That smart phone has plenty of minimalist word processor apps on it. I can vouch for that. You could jot down ideas or start writing. Or dictate into a recording app.

But no. Spin the blog post around in the brain. Finishing whatever I’m doing. Shower. Eating. Driving. Anything not in front of a computer. The idea disappears eventually.

Finally in front of the computer. Word processor for the day selected. What was that awesome blog topic I had? Just get writing.

But this desk. This desk. Why do I keeping using this wobbly desk that has no drawers?

The word processor of choice today is FocusWriter for MacOS. Black screen. Green type. There are a few other themes, too. Their ugliness is distracting to me.

My preferred writing environment. For today. Check out FocusWriter if you need this.

The screen on my 2015 Macbook Pro is filthy. Fingerprints and smudges cover the glass. Is it glass? Every minute or two I look up, hoping one of those cloths that come with new iPhones makes a surprise appearance.

This desk. Ugh. My wife insisted on keeping this desk when I moved from a large rented office space back into my tiny 8×8 walk-in closet of an office.

Working at home has advantages. Office 10 steps from the bedroom. No excuse for skipping work.

Except when today might be the day you start an in-house bonfire with that wobbly, drawerless desk. Then you should probably take the day off. Today isn’t that day. Not yet.

This is absolutely nothing close to what I planned to write when I started looking for the word processor choice of the day. The plan was to write about how much time you need in order to start an online business.

I’ll save that topic for later. Maybe right after I finish writing… whatever this is. Oh and desk shopping, maybe after that too.

The deal with the word processor is that I must have a distraction-free writing space. I don’t know if I’m ADD or ADHD. I’ve never been diagnosed, other than by just about every amateur psychologist ever to come into my life. Psychologist or psychiatrist? Never sure which one it is.

What are the dogs doing? They’re quiet but I hear the occasional rustling from downstairs. No telling. Hope they’re safe.

Writing in Google Docs would work just fine. Our business team does almost everything through Google Drive. But the tabs. There’s always those tabs at the top of the screen. Just want to click… everything…

Of course, you can set Google Docs or Word (Mac’s native word processor, Pages, absolutely never gets a look from me) to be distraction free. Sort of. Someone’s idea of distraction free. That person is clearly better at focusing than I am.

Wobbly Ikea Desk
Not my desk. But it is from Ikea, and I dig the decor. Photo by Tim Patterson on Flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0

As I’m writing, a bolt fell out of the desk. That’s right. Fell out, onto the floor. Looks like one that you find in Ikea furniture. The kind that require that allen wrench that comes in the box. Instead a real screwdriver.

Wait. You mean my wife insisted on my using this wobbly desk with no drawers for the last two years… and it came from Ikea?! I thought for sure she wanted to keep it because there was some sentimental attachment!

We have a coffee table that looks rode hard, but can never be replaced. It was her grandfather’s. Or something. I just know if there was a competition, the coffee table would stay here longer than me. And I know to use a coaster at all times.

This has been a pretty solid writing session. Special thanks to my distraction-free word processor environment provided by FocusWriter. No thanks to the wobbly desk with no drawers, mysterious sentimental attraction and hazy origins that may or may not include Sweden by way of Potomac Mills.

Too bad this is the point where the word processor game always falls apart. Someday I’ll find one that can easily be cut-and-pasted into WordPress.

And the moral of the story is… some days, you just write. Something. Anything. Even this.

How to Run a Successful Business and Be a Head Football Coach at the Same Time… Without Going Crazy.

Since starting my first season as a Head Football Coach in 2018, things have been pretty hectic. There never seems to be enough time to sit down and accomplish any more than the most necessary tasks.

The podcasts (almost) always get recorded. Usually at the last minute before a self-imposed deadline. Since this is the life blood of my business marketing, podcasting always comes first. On Tuesday evenings, we do a weekly Q&A Session for JDFB Insider Clients. The two podcasts and the weekly Q&A are the only tasks I have on any sort of ‘schedule’.

In preparation for the season, most of my other work has been systematized and delegated. I have a wonderful assistant who has kept Joe Daniel Football from collapsing. Meanwhile, I try to figure out what in the world I’m doing as a head coach.

Other necessary tasks include responding to emails, and answering client questions on our private Chalk Board forum.  I also waste time on Twitter – and sometimes learn a thing or two – but avoid Facebook almost entirely.

High School Football Coaching may be the only corner of Twitter left that is not completely toxic. It’s actually extremely positive, educational, and enjoyable.

Passing the halfway point in a thus far successful season (6-0), I’m looking at the big question everyone asked when I took the job: How are you going to run your business and be a head coach?

After two and a half months, I can answer with all certainty… I do not know.

3 Reasons This Should Not Work

There’s a rhythm to this. I’m moving along to the beat… just maybe not as smoothly as I’d like. Going into the season, I knew I had a few personal shortcomings going against me. I thought maybe the new position would change me, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I’m not an early riser. I don’t get up at 5am. After getting up very early for 10 years as a teacher, I’m completely against the idea. It’s just not natural for me.

I’m not a particularly hard worker. That comes as a surprise to a lot of people. And maybe I hold myself to a certain standard that I rarely ever meet. But I’m just not a ‘grinder’. I’m prone to short bursts of extremely hard work, followed by periods of equally, if not more, impressive laziness.

As for strike three, I am violently opposed to living my life on any sort of schedule. The idea makes my stomach churn. The few interviews that I still do for The Football Coaching Podcast usually leave me flooded with anger and anxiety in the hour or two leading up to the call, simply because I have to do something at a certain time. That keeps me from doing more interviews, despite enjoying the actual conversations immensely.

Three strikes. I’m out.

Well, maybe I should be. But so far, I’ve been able to keep moving forward in both business and coaching. Without completely sacrificing a personal life, either.

One Thing Actually Works

The one thing that has prevented a total meltdown, besides my incredible assistants, is the very fact that I acknowledged my weaknesses ahead of time.

It would be easy to tell myself that once the season starts, I’ll get up early. Increase productivity because you have limited time. Stick to a schedule. After all, you’ve got to do it – and it’s only for a few months.

But there was no way it was going to happen. None. I know that.

Instead, I put systems in place. Those 3 tasks that must get done every week were chosen strategically. They are the 3 tasks in my business that I absolutely enjoy doing. 3 tasks that I’m not resentful of having on the schedule every week (and the only 3 tasks on the schedule).

3 Tasks I Can Actually Get Done Every Week

Podcasting is effortless for me, beyond deciding what topic to talk about. I solved that problem by turning The Football Coaching Podcast into seasons. Each season targets just a few specific topics, over a 23 week period. The topics are planned out before the start of each season, and then I just have to stick to the plan.

Every Wednesday, I look at a calendar in a spreadsheet (created by my assistant), to see what topic I assigned myself weeks or months ago. There’s usually some brief research. Then turn the mic on. Once the recording is done, I send the raw audio file to our A/V editor.

My second podcast, the JDFB Quick Clinic, is even easier. I’ll answer listener questions, which are usually never hard to come by. They are filed into a folder in my Gmail, and when it’s time to record I just pick the one that interests me that day.

As for the Chalk Talk Q&A Sessions, it’s the same idea. Talking football is easy. Coming up with topics is not. In the Q&A’s we answer questions about whatever issues coaches are facing that week. It’s very informal, and only done during the season – when coaches need answers right now.

One system that’s being added during the season is turning those Q&A Sessions, recorded through YouTube Live, into additional member content by cutting them up into video segments. Since I already have a few years of recordings built up, the edited videos are going to serve as a huge database for JDFB Insider clients to find answers.

Learning how to incorporate systems into my business has been a huge improvement. But it’s also been a huge benefit for our football team.

Turning Football Into a Business (sort of…)

Unlike my work life, our practices are rigidly scheduled. We hit the field at 3:15pm every day, and every minute until 4:45pm when we leave the field is planned out.

90 minutes is a much shorter football practice than most High School football coaches would be accustomed to. I detailed that on a recent episode of JDFB Quick Clinic, if you’re interested in finding out how we do it.

I’m not sure why the rigid scheduling doesn’t bother me in coaching, but completely guts me in my normal life. There’s problem some deep seeded reason, but it doesn’t matter. Stick with what works.

I’ve incorporated systems for equipment inventory, locker room management, leadership development, and more. All of these systems have been successful, to varying degrees. And they’ve all required adjustment along the way.

Systems don’t have to mean strict rigidity or a hands-off, heartless approach to getting the job done. Far from it. It’s incorporating these systems that has allowed me to have a balance between my business, coaching, and personal life – and keep from going completely insane in the process.

As for writing this article… it’s not in a system. I just wanted to write today. That’s OK, too.

7 Reasons You Should Be Using The Membership Model

Photo by Sarah / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Sarah / CC BY-SA 2.0

In the early months of 2015, I changed my primary online business model completely. It wasn’t pretty… but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Every one-off product I had was pulled from the shelves. EBooks. Video courses. Even 1-to-1 consulting calls.

All of those materials have been moved to a single recurring membership. There is no way to get them except start that membership.

At first this was tough. While I already had a recurring membership component, it only accounted for about one-third of my income.

And while I was able to get many customers to sign up for the new membership with a now significantly greater value – it still did not match my income.

It’s hard. I’d love to go open up a big product launch and bring in a big income burst real fast. But I have to stay the course.

I see big things coming in this membership model. And while I could sell a membership and individual products, I would never reach the levels I’m trying to attain.

If you’re considering using a membership model in your online business (and you should be), here are 7 reasons to go forward with it…

  1. Knowing Money Is Coming: A recurring membership model means money’s coming in every month. And I know roughly how much.

Yes, there’s churn. People come and go. But as long as the membership total is growing (or at least numbers are stagnant), I know what’s going to be coming in this month.

In a traditional online business, there are lots of high’s and low’s. Product launches are a huge rush.

I’ve had some big launches. They’re awesome. But have a launch fall flat on it’s face when you were depending on that income… ouch.

  1. Relax. Get Off The Product Creation Wheel. I don’t want to ride the hamster wheel anymore.

Create the product. Launch the product (the product launch itself is like creating a product, too). Big money.

Then what? You’ve got to get right back to creating a new product.

My membership site is forum based. My members ask questions, and I answer them. They answer them too.

Sometimes I answer questions by creating a video. Since I’m not thinking of what to say – and since my members know me, no one is expecting high production value.

I flip on my camera, jump on the white board, and give information that comes from my brain. Minimal research. Cut the video, some brief editing, upload to Vimeo and post the embed code.

Most days involve less than an hour of membership maintenance. Answer some questions and I’m done.

  1. Photo by Paulo Williams / CC BY-SA 2.0
    Photo by Paulo Williams / CC BY-SA 2.0

    No More Seasonal High’s And Lows. Since my primary business is coaching American Football, I have seasonal issues.

We don’t make many new sales during the season. There’s a boom from December to February. Then another one in July.

But this year? My revenue was consistent. In fact, this is where the membership model paid off.

While my income in July was significantly down because there was no big product launch… my income in September and October was actually UP.

  1. Focus On Marketing Your Membership. The first 100 or so subscribers were easy to get. I already have an established audience.

But after that, you’re looking for new members. And since you’re off the product creation hamster wheel… you can spend your time doing that.

Most of my work is focused on marketing now. While my work days are shorter, I’m able to reach a much larger audience now.

  1. Membership Communities Build Relationships. Because we’re in a forum, I talk to my customers. A lot.

They see me. They see videos. They listen to my podcast. They feel like they know me. I know a lot of them, too.

That’s awesome no matter how you look at it. But the more awesome part is, they don’t want to let me down.

A customer can buy an eBook, download it, and then disappear. Never seen again. But our members? They have a relationship with me.

They want the company to succeed. They want me to be successful.

My churn rate has been pretty low most of the year. It’s only right now – at the end of the football season – that I’ve had an increase in cancellations.

But almost every person sends an explanation. A lot of them are leaving coaching after this season. Some are tightening their budget.

But it means enough to them, to tell me why. The tone is usually almost apologetic. That’s a great feeling.

  1. Photo by Justin Griffiths / CC BY-SA 2.0
    Photo by Justin Griffiths / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Memberships Continue To Increase In Value. Every month that goes by, a subscription to my website increases in value to my customers.

I don’t drip content. Once you’re in, you have access to everything.

The amount of content is increasing continually, though. Every new video. A new webinar (I post the recordings for members). Anything I do goes into that private membership.

There’s more there for new customers to look at. I can hit more of their pain points. And my long time members know that if they decided to leave, they miss out next month.

  1. There’s Only 1 Product. I sell a membership in my online business. Nothing else.

I do a few promotions here and there. But it’s all headed toward the membership.

My Virtual Assistants don’t have to worry about learning new products. I don’t have to create them (I mentioned that, right?).

It’s so simple. 1 product. Two pricing plans – monthly and annual. Done deal.

My business had been established for 6 years when I made the full switch. We had tons of individual products.

I’ve added most of those products into the membership. There’s still a few to be moved over.

I still use all my old sales pages, vides, campaigns, ads… they just lead to one thing. Buy a membership.

If you’re not using a membership model for your online business, I strongly encourage you to consider making the change!

Have questions about using the Membership Model for your business? Post them in the comments!

How To Get Passionate Twitter Followers

There’s a shortcut for everything. A fast way to get what other spent years building.

Welcome to the world of online business. We’re always looking to cut corners.

You might be reading this article expecting a revelation on Twitter followers. That secret advice that no one else shares.

The way to get 10,000 Twitter followers, fast. And not just followers. People who click, reply and retweet everything you tweet out.

My friend… this is just not happening.

Can’t Buy Love

You can buy 10,000 followers. They will likely not even be real people. But if all you want is to see that number, this is an option.

They will never retweet you. Never reply to you. Never read your latest article. They will simply be a number on your profile.

It’s unfortunate. The offer seems very tempting. But you can’t simply buy your twitter followers.

Photo by Jose Antonio Fernandez / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Jose Antonio Fernandez / CC BY 2.0

Follow Me To Freedom!

Then there is the follow ‘em all strategy. I’ve built my twitter following @joerdaniel on this strategy. Truly, most of my followers to the point of this writing came this way.

I wanted to find out what would happen. I used TweetAdder to follow 100+ new people each day.

After 3 days, if they did not follow me back, I unfollowed them. If they followed back, we were now following each other.

There is some interaction here. An occasional retweet. A click on an article. Hard to tell when it is someone added by TweetAdder or a follower earned the traditional way. But there is activity.

But nothing compared to what a real collection of Twitter followers would do. One’s you earn the hard way.

From my Buffer analytics. 20 clicks is almost a guarantee with my audience, but sometimes we go bigger.
From my Buffer analytics for @footballinfo. 20 clicks is almost a guarantee with my audience, but sometimes we go bigger.

How To Get Twitter Followers

Here’s the cold, hard truth. It will take some time to build up a following. But it is worth it.

Since 2009, my Twitter handle has been @footballinfo. I’ve done a few tricks here and there, but most of my 4,389 followers (as of this writing) are earned.

And when I post a tweet there, there is a response. Clicks. Retweets. Conversation.

All the stuff social media is meant to do. Not just a number on a my profile.

How do you get more real, legitimate Twitter followers? Here’s some tips…

Start A Conversation

You would be amazed how many people will respond to a conversation starter on Twitter. I have been.

People who would never answer an email from you. They’ll answer your tweets.

Even busy entrepreneurs know that if you tweet them, the conversation will be short. It’s the way Twitter was designed.

The next time an influencer in your field posts a thought provoking article, press reply. Then tell them the thought that was provoked.

I can just about guarantee that if you do this with the top 10 influencers in your field, you’ll be having a conversation, albeit brief, with 1 or 2 of the big dogs.

Photo by Khalid Albaih / CC BY 2.0
Photo by Khalid Albaih / CC BY 2.0

Tweet A Lot Of Good Stuff

This is hard. You need to share lots of good information.

Retweeting is the easiest way to do this, but not the best. For top value, subscribe to Buffer.

Every time you find an interesting article, buffer it. Buffer will ration your best finds throughout the day.

Intersperse your favorite content that you have produced, too. But don’t just smother people with that.

Just a side note, but I almost exclusively post links to my own articles on my @footballinfo page. I don’t read other people’s stuff very often (and not many other people write about football coaching), so I stick to my own.

You can back off of how much you share other people’s posts once you have a solid following. I would never completely abandon it though.

Post Something Other Than Links

Look at a lot of Twitter accounts, and all you see is links. Link after link, after link.

Post a thought provoking question. Deliver a witty observation about everyday life. Let the world into your mind.

That doesn’t mean you post pictures of your breakfast. Or any other dumb stuff Twitter gets associated with by those who do not use it.

You just say things a human might say. Because, oh hey look at that! You are human.

Mention Your Twitter Handle… Everywhere

I’m terrible at this. Really bad.

If you want anyone to follow you on Twitter, you have to tell them where to find you.

Before I forget… you can follow me on Twitter @joerdaniel.

I almost never mention my handle on The Webinar Marketing Podcast. Nor do I plaster it in any articles or videos I produce.

There is a link to it on this page… somewhere in the corner. Not good.

Don’t follow my example. Get your Twitter name out there. It’s as simple as just putting a Call-To-Action at the end of everything you do. “Follow me on Twitter @joerdaniel.”

Boom. Done. Close your podcasts. Close your articles. Close your videos.

If you want to build a Twitter following, you have to get your name out there.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2386/4546017269_ddac803025_z_d.jpg
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2386/4546017269_ddac803025_z_d.jpg

Focus On The One Thing

I drove to Georgia for a wedding recently. On the way, I consumed some audiobooks. Because that’s what driving is for.

One of them was a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. Nothing earth shattering, but it is a good listen to the ideas behind focus and essentialism.

You need to follow that concept with your social media strategy. Focus on one social media platform at a time.

We all want to “be everywhere.” You need to be somewhere first.

Want to start with Twitter? Good. It’s a great place to start. I would start with Twitter, then move to Facebook – or visa versa (some industries may do better on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and others so do a little research first).

The key is to start in one place. Get good at it. Start getting real interaction, real exposure. Once you hit a level where you can put that platform on autopilot, you’re ready to move to the next one.

What challenge are you facing with Social Media right now? Post in the comments!

And one last thing… follow me on Twitter @joerdaniel!

Episode 48 – The GoToWebinar Review

GoToWebinar is the most popular webinar hosting platform out there for internet marketers. So I should probably give it some time.

This episode is a review of the features for GoToWebinar.com. At least, what they are as I see it.

We talk about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. What works, what doesn’t.

GoToWebinar is the most reliable webinar hosting service I have used. It just plain works.

Webinar Marketing Podcast review of the GoToWebinar hosting platform

Plus it is a fully contained system. Host the webinar, host your recordings, build your registration page, send out your reminders, send out your follow-ups. It’s all here.

You can say that for some of the other services, too. But none of them are quite as intuitive as GoToWebinar. It’s great for your first time through.

The big issues are that there is no chat room for your guests. They can message you, but not each other.

I used to not care about that. But I love the idea of Social Presence and have pushed for more interaction in recent months.

GoToWebinar does not integrate directly with your mailing list, either. But there are some solutions. I’ll present a couple in the podcast.

The conclusion of the GoToWebinar review? If you want a reliable service for webinars… GoToWebinar is for you.

But if you are bootstrapping, the costs can be prohibitive. Still, your 30 Day Free Trial is worth using anyway.

Check out this episode!