The Importance of Having a Game Plan

I want to talk today about how important it is to have a game plan.

What do I mean?  Well having a game plan for one aspect of your business might run something like this:-

#1 – You create a new product.
#2 – You release it with 100% instant commissions using the 7 Dollar Script.
#3 – You send an email out to your subscribers letting them know it’s on sale.
#4 – You tell your buyers that you’re offering instant 100% commissions directly into their PayPal account and that here are some tools they can use to promote it – banners and the like – with their aff link built in.  All they have to do is copy and paste the code.
#5 – You contact a few people who are likely Joint Venture partners and tell them it’s 100% commission.  Some promote and get all the cash, and you get another pile of buyers join your mailing list.
#6 – You tell these new buyers about your affiliate scheme etc. and they start promoting for you too.  Some of these people will be succesful marketers and will have their own mailing lists.
#7 – Go to #1.

Okay?  I’ll testify that you can run a very successful business that way, that naturally grows over time.

Having a game plan allows you to make and take low-risk decisions.  Low risk because you pretty much know what the outcome will be – long term you’ll make a profit on your efforts and increase the size of your business.

I believe this is where most people fall over.

Most people try a little bit of this and a little bit of that – which is fine – I like to try different things out too – but they don’t concentrate on their core business.  The stuff that really works.

And that might be because they’ve never really found anything that works.

Or not given it enough of a chance to make it work.

I’ve found that you need to set yourself a few rules that you work with.  I call them my #1 Rules, and I have plenty of them for all sorts of different situations.

I’ve found that as long as you concentrate on the #1 rules, any other lesser rules you might set yourself don’t really matter that much or don’t have a big enough impact on your business.

(This is a rule in itself, called the 80-20 rule.  I do almost everything by the 80-20 rule and I think most successful business owners do too without realising it.  I ask myself – “Do I need to do something about this, or just let it go?” – 80 times out of 100 it can just be let go.)

My #1 rule related to having a game plan is:-

“Every project must pay for itself as soon as possible.”

So if I take new staff on, I want to see results in 2 weeks that at least pay for their keep for the month.  There are no free rides, and nobody in my business is an expense.

You could probably adopt this yourself.  Think about it.

You may believe that you can’t afford to take anyone on full time.  But if what they do for you brings in enough income to pay for their keep, and you end up with new products and a new long term income stream, then it was well worth hiring them wasn’t it?

But let’s say that you’re not ready to make that commitment yet and you want to see how things go.

You still need a unique new product.  The emphasis here is new and unique.  I’m not saying you can’t do what someone else has already done, I’m saying that PLR probably isn’t going to cut it if you’re looking for JV partners.  (There’s at least one exception to this and I’ll talk about it another time.)

I’ve had many people approach me to promote products that I’ve quickly realised were PLR, and I take that as an insult because I’m quite capable of using PLR to create products myself thank you.  I don’t like being suckered into promoting products that may be quite widespread as it does my reputation no good whatsoever – that’s my logic and I’m certain most other marketers feel exactly the same.

PLR is great.  But it’s of no use when dealing with JV partners unless you’ve taken the time to make extensive changes to it and it really is your product.  (Most people can’t be bothered and that’s where they get it wrong.)

You need something that you know no-one else has.

And you need to be able to make genuine claims like “I created this myself” or “I paid $xxx to have this created for me.”

(Believe me when I say this will make you feel a whole lot better when you come to promoting it.)

Tomorrow is your chance to have a totally unique WordPress theme created for you from scratch and to your specifications by one of my designers.  They are all extremely talented, and I want to point out that it does take a (relatively) long time to put together a theme because there’s a lot of work involved in doing it.

First there’s the design itself (2-3 days), then converting to a WP theme (4-5 days), and finally the coding tweaks such as extra sidebars and additional page templates (2-3 days).

It’s a big job.  If you were able to do it for someone else, ask yourself how much would be a fair price for you to charge for the service.

If like most people you wanted someone else to do it and could then find the right person with the right level of design and PHP coding skills (it’s very hard), then the designer would probably charge you a couple of thousand dollars at least, apply restrictions on what you can do with the finished product, and likely not supply the PSDs for you to edit.

My designers are brilliant graphically and their level of PHP coding ability is high (you’ve probably already seen their work), but charge a lot less than you might expect.

With a fair bit of legwork (it’s not easy finding good people), I have an opportunity to take on a couple more designers, but as I said above, one of my rules is I need to make sure I have work for them and that they pay for their keep.

As long as I can pay their fees and get your job done as well as my own, then I consider myself to have made a profit from it.

From your perspective, as long as you have a game plan and can immediately make your money back on the work, it’s well worth doing.

If you don’t have a game plan or you don’t have a clue on what to do then this isn’t for you.  Wait until you’re truly ready.

Here’s two game plans that I know work well from personal experience.

#1 – Get a theme made.  Sell it to your mailing list.  Immediately make 3 or 4 times your investment followed by ongoing sales through your affiliate scheme.
#2 – Get a theme made for a client.  Charge your client 3 or 4 times your investment.

And if you don’t have a mailing list or a client, then here’s your chance to get a product made for you and get your business off the ground, just like I talked about above:-

#3 – Get a theme made that will appeal to pro-bloggers and the IM niche.  Sell it for $10 with 100% commission using the 7 Dollar Script, find a few JV partners to kick start it and build a mailing list of buyers.  Promote some other related product to your new list and make your money that way.

And that’s how business is done.  🙂

You make an investment, you follow your game plan and you make back your money and then some.

Watch out for more news tomorrow.

If you want to know more right now about having a game plan and how to approach your business, go watch the presentation on 30 Day Projects.

Update:  A slight temperature and an overwhelming need to sleep scuppered my plans to launch this week.  I’ll get back to you with this shortly.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business, Product Ideas, WordPress Themes

Subscribers vs Complainers

Or… Adults vs Children.

After a few years of running an online business, there are a few things you take for granted. But then every so often you get reminded that not everybody knows what you do.

I’ve had a reminder today as I’ve been checking through my email.

I have a good set of what I would call “golden customers”. I never get any complaints from them, they seem clued up, and they buy some or all of my products, and I recognise them by name, often having exchanged communications about something or other somewhere.

When I say I don’t get complaints, that’s not strictly true, but they do it in such a way as it’s more a comment than a complaint. When that happens I either do something about it straight away if I can, or make a note in my “to do” list.

I’m human, I have downtime and I don’t always get things right. I got over the ideology of always trying to do it all just right quite a while back. Now I aim for “good enough” and it usually is. I then pick up the pieces later.

Tim Ferris says it’s better to take action first and then ask for forgiveness later. I agree.

Okay, so I have some great customers and even what I would call very good working relationships with some of them.

But then again, on the other hand… 😉

Here’s something you learn early on and then forget about or learn to put behind you and ignore.

Some people are what I would politely call “thick” or if I was unkind about it, “whiners”.

It doesn’t matter what you do, and it doesn’t matter how much time you spend trying to help them, they will demand more and more as if it’s their right. And at the end when they’ve finished with their tantrums or got bored of you and moved onto the “next big thing”, they’ll have one last complain and drop you like a hot potato.

And you’ll feel dazed, confused, and wondering about human nature.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It’s exhausting dealing with those people.

But of course there’s always the good news. What you eventually learn to realise is that:-

#1 – These people are in the minority – just 1% or less is my estimate.
#2 – You don’t owe them anything.

Looking at point #1, to begin with you don’t immediately see that the people who do complain and who are most vocal about it, are just a tiny fraction of the rest of the good people you deal with.

It’s a sort of “negative multiplier” that grips your emotions and makes everything seem worse than it really is. It’s very difficult to shake to begin with as you have no experience of what’s happening to you.

From my perspective, it feels like a run in with a school bully and it gets me in its emotional squeeze. They’re like children and they never grew intellectually past their teen years into mature adults.

We’ve all met them. The loudmouths. The people who “won’t let anyone get one over” on them and will make sure everyone knows about it.

After a while online dealing with them, point #2 kicks in and you realise that these are the very people to give the least amount of time to. You should instead be concentrating on the 99% of people who are truly great and a pleasure to communicate with.

The people who buy your products, and who make useful comments and send you links to interesting stuff, and most importantly say “thank you” and are generally polite and understanding to deal with. These people are the adults and who you really want to do business with.

In my experience it can be difficult to get to this point in your own personal understanding and awareness, and I call it “positivity blindness”.

It’s easy to notice the big noisy loudmouth bringing everyone down, and while you’re busy looking at them, you completely miss the fact that everyone else is pretty wonderful when you stop to think about it.

Well, most of them anyway. 😉

So what’s bought this post on?

I’ve been checking through my mailing lists unsubscribe comments for the past quarter. I know what you’re thinking, but occasionally there’s some useful information in there and it gives me an idea on how to change things for the better.

Not this quarter though.

Of the dozen or so people that left a comment, a whopping three said “you send too many emails.”

It’s not the first time that people have said this, but as you know if you’ve been on any of my mailing lists for any length of time, then apart from the welcome emails when people first subscribe to a list, I send very few.

I could send three or four a week, but I don’t. I might change that… Ahem.

Here’s the thing.

If I did send you three or four emails a week, then it’s likely that as an average good customer / subscriber, you wouldn’t complain. You might unsubscribe, and you might leave a comment, but you wouldn’t complain.

But some always will, and they’ll do so big time.

And this may happen to you too with your own subscribers.



The people who are leaving aren’t the people who are a good match for you. If they want to leave and complain while doing so, just ignore them. They’ve gone.

The subscribers who are similar to you, relate to you, and are aligned to you and with what you stand for, probably like you and won’t ever leave unless you tell them to or unsubscribe them yourself.

So if you’ve been building a list, and been a little scared to write to them too often because someone might complain, stop it. Put that all behind you.

The children on your list will always complain, but it’s the adults who buy your stuff and love you for what you do who are the best people to deal with. By letting nature take its course and getting rid of the worst sort, you’re making your list stronger.

Think Pareto, think 80-20 rule.

I sincerely hope that helps you, and that at least some of it has put a smile on your face.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

80% Of What You Do Doesn’t Make Any Difference

This is a reference to Pareto’s rule which says something like 20% of this gives you 80% of that.  It’s otherwise known as the 80/20 rule.

When I worked at Land Rover, our logistics department used it all the time to make stock decisions.

Here’s an example.

20% of your customers will bring you 80% of your business.  (eBay know that, and we’ve seen them acting on removing some of the unwanted 80% recently.)

Conversely, 80% of your customers will bring you only 20% of your business.

So where would you spend your time?  Working with the 80% or the 20% of your customers?

And… 20% of your customers will gripe all the time.  80% won’t.  😉

So the title of this post is a bit of a mind shock if you’ve never come across Pareto before.

80% of what you do won’t make any difference to your internet business.  In actual fact, it’s probably closer to 95% or more.

So how do you know which is the best bit?  Which is the bit you should be doing more of to get the best results?

I think the best answer to that question is “experience”.  It’s only by doing everything to begin with do you learn how to sort the vital from the dead wood.

Once you begin to get a feel for it all and you start to see the light, it becomes easier to see how to improve things.  I’ve had people write to me and tell me how important this or that is, when I already know for a fact it makes very little difference.

It might be important to them, but it’s not important to the bulk of other people.

But of course, you can only get to that stage if you DO things first.  Planning and thinking is all well and good, but getting stuck in is where the money is.

Have you actually done anything today?  The sooner you do, then the sooner you can sort out the 20 from the 80.  Or the 5 from the 95.  Or even the 1 from the 99.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business