I just introduced this blog through my other blog, my main business blog, which I’ve never mentioned before but will now. It’s called Mitch’s Blog, which turned out to not be as original as I had thought it would be when I named it. Still, I’ve had the other blog for almost 4 years now, I believe. I had kept the two blogs separate except for the blogroll because I had wanted a separation of the two (actually 3) businesses, but hey, it’s all about promotion, right?

The other blog was set up with the original WordPress template, which pretty much suits me just fine. I have looked at changing templates in some fashion, but they never tell you everything you should know if you’re thinking about changing templates. All the stuff you have on your present blog doesn’t just move over; you have to add it all back on there, which could make things at least time consuming if not somewhat problematic because, unless you thought about copying it all to other files beforehand (I’m talking about copying all the code that goes into making these blogs in the first place) you’ll be going back and forth between templates, trying to copy and paste, all while still being live; that just doesn’t get it done.

However, if you do look at the other blog, you’ll notice one slight change from the norm. The surrounding color of my blog is the same color as my main business site. It took me awhile to figure that one, one of those “nights” where I stayed up until 4 in the morning because I just had to figure it out.

All I had to do was create my original color as a new picture file, name it the same as what it was already called, then upload it to the proper place. I then noticed that the main background is also a picture file, and were I so predisposed to do so, I could change the look of that also. But I decided to leave well enough alone, as my wife says, because, well, I was getting tired.

I also learned how to add a sidebar to the comments area, which isn’t a default on the original template, and that was a big deal to me. Now I see that I can actually add a sidebar to the other side, but for now I think that would be overkill. At least when I found the template for this blog, it already had two side panels, which is what I was looking for in the first place.

I think I’ll stop here for now, but in some of my succeeding posts, I’m going to talk about things to think about when one is thinking about setting up a blog; stay tuned.
 

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Last week I went to this presentation which was the beginning of a local interview series with successful entrepreneurs in town. The first guy on the list is a millionaire many times over, but he’s done it the unconventional way. In his life he’s owned maybe 20 or so businesses, at one time 12 at once but now is down to “only” 4. He hasn’t known anything about a single one of the businesses before he bought them, but learned early on that hiring people who do know about those businesses and that he could trust went a long way towards making them successful. And he did all of this without a college degree, and he still shuns, as much as possible, computers; doesn’t even own a cell phone.

However, he said his biggest boost comes from self promoting himself as often as he can. To whit, one thing he does is hands out at least 500 business cards a month. Now, this works out better for him that for most of us because on all of his business cards are at least two pictures of these custom cars he makes for celebrities and rich people all around the world, with the least expensive being sold for $90,000, the most expensive going for $300,000. I’d be handing out my cards at a rapid pace if I had that as part of my legacy also.

He also has two other things that most people don’t. One, he wears an ascot and always wears very bright colors. Two, he wears an engraved gold name tag with his name and the name of his most visibly prominent business on his jacket at all times. He said this gets people talking to him instead of him having to open up conversations, which then gives him a reason to pass his card along to them, and because of the cars he knows people will share the cards with others, and it’s possible that they’ll end up in the hands of someone who wants to do business with him. It certainly makes him memorable; no one who meets him forgets who he is.

It’s all about branding, and trying to decide how far you’re willing to go to brand yourself. I think about myself when this issue comes up. Online, I have articles of all types all over the internet, I belong to a bunch of online networking groups, and I have 3 blogs, yet I’m probably still not all that well known because, after all, the internet is in this big place called the world. Offline, I belong to some organizations that have the same people there all the time, I’ve been in some specialty magazines but those people don’t really ever know who I am, I’ve given some presentations here and there, but otherwise I might as well be called Anonymous, just like everyone else.

So, the trick for all of us is to determine how far we’re willing to go, and of course, depending on our business, just what’s appropriate to help us stand out. For instance, if you’re a lawyer, walking around in a clown suit may not get it done. But we all have to find our way of advertising ourselves if we hope to make it big in this world, especially if we want to work for ourselves.

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Well, it seemed to make sense, so I’ve now officially become an affiliate for Joel Comm’s Adsense programs, especially his Adsense Secrets 4.0 book. I wrote a review of it on my Reviews of Everything site if you’re interesting in learning more about it.

So, now you’ll understand why I have the affiliate link below; I never said I didn’t enjoy the book, or that I didn’t learn anything from it, when I wrote about the bit of controversy a little bit ago. So, read the review, then think about buying the book. Or just click on the ad below and go to the site on your own.

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Trying to build upon my attempt at marketing my new ebook, I’ve decided to try to run an Adwords campaign for it. I’ve set myself up with the starter program, rather than the standard package, mainly because I’m not ready to deal with all the extras that the standard package gives you. I wanted to start slow, see what happens, and then see how I feel about it all.

This isn’t my first attempt at using Adwords. I first used this same program to market my first book, Embrace The Lead, where I had many clicks but didn’t make a single sale. Then I tried to use it to market my Evaluation Module, but got very few clicks. I ran each of those for three weeks, then discontinued it.

This time around, I’m not sure how long I’ll be running it. My first thought is that this may be more useful to more people, and therefore I might get more clicks on it. The second thought is that it looks like I’m being hit for $1.05 for each click, and with what I’ve budgeted, that’s not going to get me all that far. I know the ad is showing up because it tells you how many impressions there are, which means how many times the ad is showing up on their advertiser pages, so I know it’s showing up. And one of the difficulties you have is that you get three lines, the first line 25 characters, the next two 35 characters each. One really has to be creative about this sort of thing.

So, we’ll see how effective this all turns out to be. I’ll keep you posted.

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Just because some of us can spot a scam a mile away doesn’t mean everyone can. I’m usually pretty good, as in the case I’m about to tell you about, but I know I’ve been at least confused a couple of times by something. However, I’ll then do some research on it to figure out just what’s going on. For others,… well, if they know me, you know who they come to. 🙂

Such is the case of the letter that came to a friend of my wife’s. She had applied to some people to become a secret shopper. For those who don’t know, some companies hire people to go shop in their stores, then report back to the company how they were treated, what the store looked like, or any other comments that are requested. This is an industry that’s estimated to generate nearly $600 million in revenue a year in the United States; ouch.

Anyway, the woman was suspicious for one reason, luckily; they sent her a check to start off with, for $3,850.00. I’m not exactly sure how much real secret shoppers get up front, or even if they get paid up front, but that certainly is an odd amount. So she showed it to my wife, who brought it home to me.

The first thing that struck me is that the business name and the corporation name weren’t the same. Also, the corporation address was listed as being in New York City, but I didn’t immediately recognize the area code, which, upon research, I learned was in Canada. Nope, that didn’t jibe.

Now it was time to look up the companies listed. The first one I looked up was Monster Market Place. And there is a company with that name, but it’s an online company that’s actually a shopping directory. Nothing about secret shoppers there, but a host of news stories come up talking about the topic of scams and what they term “monster market place”.

So, the scam had been outed, but I needed to make sure. So I looked up the second name, Lamarche Associates, and there is a company with that name; an independent insurance company with offices in 4 states, but none of those offices in NYC.

Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you about the letter. This was the “deal”. They wanted the shopper to go into a specific store to test out how well they handled the process of wiring money through Western Union. The amount they were supposed to wire was only $250, yet they were getting a check for the amount I mentioned above; very much overkill. And come on, a wiring money test? Who’d fall for that, right?

Well, it seems a lot of people all across the country are falling for that. One of the news stories highlighted a guy who got a check for $2,500, kept $250 and wired the rest of it to the number he was given; yup, bogus. And, unfortunately, you have to pay back the bank; this guy was already out of work, so he took a major hit.

Don’t fall for obvious scams, folks. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a couple of websites you can go to in order to learn about legitimate secret shopping gigs. One is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, and another is Volition. Secret, or mystery shopping, doesn’t pay well, but some people think it’s fun.

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