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.

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!

What Is A Webinar?

What is a Webinar? And how do webinars fit into this great big online marketing journey?

You may have heard that webinars are a great way to get new leads for your business. Make new sales. Conquer the world.

Great… if you only knew what the heck a webinar is. No one will step back to explain that to you.

Put simply, a webinar is an online presentation. It’s any corporate meeting, faculty meeting, briefing, whatever you want to call it – but presented online.

Oh wow! An online meeting! All the part-time online entrepreneurs who have a 9-5 job just left. Shuddering at the thought of coming home to ANOTHER meeting.

Wait!! It’s not like that!

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Photo by Anders Abrahamsson / CC BY 2.0

What Is A Webinar For Marketing

When used in marketing, webinars are all about training. Teaching. Helping people learn something they actually want to learn.

And you can host or attend a webinar from home. In your pajamas if you choose.

When you use online webinar presentations as part of your marketing plan, your whole goal should be to teach. And to inspire.

And as part of your marketing, you’re doing this for free. You can use webinars as part of a paid training course (and I do). But when we’re talking marketing, you are delivering an extremely valuable and FREE training.

What’s In A Webinar?

Webinars are usually centered around a PowerPoint presentation (or Keynote for Macs). Nothing fancy.

All you need is a computer, a microphone, the presentation, and a webinar hosting service (oh and guests… that’s the tricky part).

The webinar hosting service you choose will share whatever you show on your computer screen and anything you say into your microphone, with all of your webinar guests.

Webinars are usually in real time, or with a few seconds of delay.

In recent years, webinar hosting services have been in a race to come up with the newest, shiniest new toys for webinars. But most of this is not necessary. Or even good for you, as the presenter.

The only component you need from your webinar service, besides screen and audio sharing, is a chat box. Some way the audience can communicate with you (and with the rest of the audience, in some cases).

That is a necessity. If guests cannot communicate with you, you might as well not be live (we call that a video, not a webinar).

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Photo by ImagineCup / CC BY 2.0

Why Give A Webinar Away For Free?

You’re an expert in your field. You have tons of knowledge.

Why on earth would you teach it for free?

Because you are a good person. Or a good business person. Take your pick.

Most of us are a little bit of both. We like to help people, but we need to make enough money to buy groceries and pay rent too. And a yacht should circumstances permit.

Free webinars help to establish your expertise in the minds of your attendees. To show that you are a smarty pants.

And to initiate a value for value exchange. The law of reciprocity – you give others something, they feel a strong need to give you something back.

Your webinars will teach, and inspire. And then you tell the audience how you can teach and inspire them even more! With your special widget. Or training course. Or consulting. Or anything else you want to see.

Webinars are useful no matter what industry you are in. You help others, they help you. That’s what a webinar is all about.

Do you want to find out how webinars can help your business take off? Here’s Step #1 – Sign up for my FREE Download, 5 Must-Have Tools For Creating High Profit Webinars.

3 Choices For Your Website Domain Name

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Photo by Tristan / CC BY 2.0

Choosing the domain name for your new business venture can be a hang-up for many people. There’s a feeling of finality with choosing your domain name.

A domain name is your web address. It’s what people type into the address bar at the top of their browser to find you. In this website’s case, the domain is JoeDaniel.com.

Get a domain in a good neighborhood, your friends will stop by. The neighbors will welcome you. Everyone loves ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ Fudge.

Get the wrong domain name? It could be purgatory for your business. You still exist. But no one’s stopping by.

Alright it’s not like that. Switching domains is actually pretty easy. More about that later.

3 Types of Domain Names

You have 3 basic options when you choose your domain name. We’re talking primarily about a new online business, by the way. If you have a brick & mortar business, you’ll probably want the domain to match.

I don’t think any of these are better than the other. There’s not a right answer. In fact, the only wrong answer, is to not pick one.

Decide which option appeals most to you, then make your move.

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Photo by jakeliefer / CC BY 2.0

Keyword Domain Names

Buying a domain based on keyword research is a strong option. It’s what I did with my first successful site, Football-Defense.com.

In 2009, that was a key factor. I jumped to the top of the search rankings. Notice that the hyphen had no effect. I’ve since purchased the domain without the hyphen, but all I have it do is redirect

(by the way, if I knew what I know now, I would have redirected the hyphenated domain to the one without a hyphen, but today the hyphen has become a part of the branding)

Since then, I’ve done the keyword domain for multiple sites. It does not get the same Google juice that it used to. I have domains for a lot of my football products. Some ranked highly for competitive keywords as late as 2012, despite being nothing but a sales page. Most of those have dropped in rankings significantly since then.

Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome.com is a great example of a keyword rich domain name. Passive Income is huge. Today, Pat’s name is as famous as his website. But that domain name no doubt helped establish him in the early days.

You can still get some assistance by using keyword based domains. But they are not the sure-fire lock for google search rankings they used to be.

Since it can be really hard to buy a domain for high search traffic keywords these days, you might end up with an awkward domain name with lots of hyphens or a really long tail keyword. I’m not a fan of that for your primary domain.

But if a good, clean keyword domain is available… go for it!

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Photo by Daniel Hanson / CC BY 2.0

Branded Domain Names

Branded domain names are pretty cool. If anyone knows the brand, that is.

The problem with most branded names is no one knows what the site is about. In a keyword rich domain, everyone will know what you’re selling.

Of course, we see big brand names like Google, Yahoo or Zoosk. Perfect! They’re famous! You should do that!

Wait a minute. There’s thousands (millions) of cutesy names that did not make it. No one ever figured out what they were or no one cared. A quirky domain name is great, once it gets into people’s heads.

Getting it there can be extra tough, though. You’ll have to put some work in getting the brand name on the tip of your audience’s tongue. And your site needs to make it clear just who you really are between that catchy name.

Fizzle.co is a good example fo a recent branded domain. The guys there are all experts at building a brand and have been able to launch this one despite not having the .com extension. (they have a really fun podcast, too

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Photo by brett jordan / CC BY 2.0

One other tip on branded names: avoid hard-to-spell brands. Lets say you bought a domain like “Candiland.com”. I don’t know what that is and it could very well be a porn site, so I’m not linking it.

You’d pretty much need to make your tag line, “Candiland with an ‘I’!” to get people to type it in correctly. Everyone would expect you to be affiliated with a board game, too. Make sense? I hope so, that was a very belabored analogy.

The Personal Brand Domain Name

Personal brand domains are all the rage now. A large number of the most successful ‘brands’ in the make-money-online space are personal brands, after all.

Take AmyPorterfield.com as an example. Her brand is built entirely around her name. And her picture (which is on most if not all of her promotional materials).

Of course, there’s an example right here – my personally branded site is JoeDaniel.com (and presumably, you are on it).

Everyone should position themselves for a personal brand at some point. You may not buy the domain right now. But put your name out there and buy the domain if it’s $10.

A quick story… in 2011 I considered starting my own personal brand site. I looked up JoeDaniel.com and it was about $400. That’s the thing with personal brand domains – if you have a common name, it won’t be cheap.

That was a lot of money for me in 2011. My business didn’t really hit the afterburners til that summer. I passed on it.

Fast forward a few years, and I decide that I need to have my own personal brand. Thankfully, it’s still for sale. And the price… had gone WAY UP. I don’t know if it’s because someone knew I was into internet business, but they definitely jacked the price up.

Incidentally, the same thing happened with FootballOffense.com and FootballDefense.com. I passed on the domain names without the hyphen when I first started those sites.

Each was about $100 without the hyphen and I picked the one with the hyphen for $10. Once the hyphenated domains took off, the price of the non-hyphenated domain skyrocketed.

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Photo by Photographer Name / CC BY 2.0

Domains and Price

You can get good deals on domain names with extensions like .info or .net sometimes. And .org might sound official.

I am still of the opinion that you should go for the .com if at all possible. And if no one else has it, the $10 – $12 price tag for a year is worth it.

But if there’s a domain you really want, or think your business needs, shelling out for it can be a tough decision. If you are just starting out, it’s fine to put a dash into the name, or an HQ on the end (really popular after it was in a book, I think) and get the .com domain.

I’ve never had anyone steal my domain names or do anything fishy. It happens, but you can’t stop it. Don’t bother buying the .org, .net, .info, .me, .co and everything else for your domain. Just get one.

All You Need To Do Is Decide

Choosing your domain name is a key first step to entering the world of online business. But it is not going to make or break your business. Hard work creating great content and taking care of people in an area you are passionate about will make your business.

If no one comes to your website at first, it won’t matter anyway. Because no one ever knew you existed. You just move.

There’s no absolute finality to the domain name you choose. Until recently, this site was hosted at Webinational.com. A branded name that did not take off.

I moved the entire site over the course of a couple of days. It was not particularly painful.

So get your domain name! My favorite go-to option for buying domains is NameCheap.com. Head over there, type in some ideas to the search box. Pick one out, and get going!

What has been your experience with choosing domain names? Do keyword domains still work? Have you had a branded domain fail? Is your personal brand out of the question because you share a name with a celebrity? I really want to hear your story. Post in the comments!