How a clever little idea (one you can adapt & copy), put an awful lot of ‘doggies in the window’…

Today I’d like to share with you a very positive little story that my Head Minion unearthed whilst doing research for something rather clever he’s working on regarding social media (more on that another time)…

This story involves an animal shelter and the current phenomenon regarding ‘Pokemon GO’. For those unfamiliar with Pokemon GO, it basically involves wandering round with your face stuck to your phone hoping to catch ‘virtual’ monsters in specific, real locations.

As you can probably guess, this isn’t exactly my specialist subject – and probably isn’t yours either – but this story provides us with a fantastic example of how some ‘out of the box’ thinking can really turn a phenomenon like this to your advantage.

An animal shelter in the US starting posting a few local ads which said something along the lines of ‘if you are an adult and are a bit embarrassed about playing Pokemon GO, we’ll rent a shelter dog to you for $5 an hour so it looks like you’re actually walking a dog’.

Quite a clever little idea, you’ll agree … and one that got some quite incredible results:

The animal shelter now has a massive waiting list of people willing to pay to walk one of their dogs.

The shelter has now made so much money in ‘rental fees’ that they have been able to entirely waive adoption fees.

When the people who have rented the dogs are out walking they have posted pictures of themselves doing so on Facebook or Instagram … other people seeing the posts are then contacting the shelter asking to adopt the dog their friend was walking.

On more than one occasion, the people doing the ‘renting’ have found they bonded with the dog so have adopted it – even though they didn’t know they wanted a dog.

This has all resulted in so many adoptions that the shelter now has no dogs available to ‘rent’ and there is a waiting list … so they are currently bringing in dogs from other local overflowing shelters so they can be ‘rented’ and ultimately re-homed.

Although I’m sure very little of what we are doing online can directly ‘piggyback’ quite so easily off this particular trend … you do need to remember, it’s just a trend, and there will be another one along soon.

Before you know it, something just as popular as chasing virtual monsters will become the ‘must have’ or ‘must do’ thing and when it does, make sure you take notice and see if there is any way you can use it to cause the same kind of massive growth in your business.

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

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Until Next Time

,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

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Why it’s not all about doing it like a ‘Pro’…

All of this glorious weather puts me in mind of a day I spent recently racing JCBs and suchlike at ‘Diggerland’, which, regardless of how you dress it up, is just an excuse for a grown man to muck about like a 10 year old in a full size Tonka toy.

I was accompanied for this little adventure by my good friend Ali Campbell and of course, our wives, who attended partly as spectators but mostly to ensure we actually came home.

Of course I didn’t win, but enjoyed myself immensely and lifted loads, manoeuvred around this and that and even dug a few holes expertly enough to end up, both literally and figuratively, around halfway down the field… then sat back to enjoy ‘the final’ which is where my tale really begins…

Now, the first contestant for the final – we’ll  him ‘Dave’ – (names have been changed to protect the innocent) who, his wife informed us enthusiastically and a great volume, had spent 15 years as a digger driver, and was here as a ‘treat’ because he missed it so much now he had started driving lorries.

The other chap seemed to be very much the underdog, because despite reaching the final, he did look like he’d be much, much more at home in an Audi or a BMW rather than anything with a bucket on the front…

You would have thought that anybody with half a brain would have had their money on the ex-pro digger driver being streets ahead on this, completing the course and be sat eating his way through one of the particularly ‘interesting’ looking ‘truck stop’ breakfasts before the other guy had completed the first task.

Well, that’s where you, I and everybody else would have been wrong. As our ‘pro’ had lifted the first item and was now executing a very precise turn to go back and complete the rest of the course, his competitor picked up his item and just slammed his vehicle into reverse, negating the need for making a turn, and in doing so, building up a unassailable lead.

On crossing the finishing line a sorry second, our pro was not happy at the new chap’s unconventional technique, and was even more unhappy when it was explained that nowhere did it say they had to make the turn, and he just assumed they had to because that’s what he had always done, so despite all his protests was left crying into his breakfast…

Clearly there’s a couple of messages here – firstly that assuming you’re doing something properly because  it’s same way you’ve always done it, though something I know we’re all guilty of some times, is not really the way to be doing things…

Secondly that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been doing something or how much experience we may have, a fresh pair of eyes coupled with clever and innovative action, can beat it all. In our business it’s not always about having the biggest list or best websites (though that does help) – if that were the case then nobody new would be making any money online – and yet we see them popping up all the time.

So, if you’re still not happy with what you’re getting from what you’re doing – it might be worth trying something you’ve never tried before … or maybe have another try at something you think you know, but presented with a new and innovative twist (and on that subject, keep an eye on your inbox over the next week or so)…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Isn’t it time you took advantage of this…?

I know we probably shouldn’t, but here at HQ we’ve been playing something of a cat and mouse game with the ‘enforced’ installation of Windows 10. From starting off from a very straight forward ‘Would you like to upgrade to Windows 10’ our friends at Microsoft are now stooping to a level of subterfuge only normally reserved for slipping a family pet or small child their unwanted medicine in an effort to try and get people to upgrade…

So, why are we resisting? It’s not as though it will cost us anything, it’s even supposed to be an improvement on Windows 8 (which, to be fair is very likely) yet we’ve all been clicking on the button that said ‘No’ then the button that said ‘Reschedule’ and hoping it will go away. It’s certainly not a techie issue or anything that mentally taxing … but when it comes down to it, it’s the simple fact that we are all resistant to change … which, you’ll agree, is pretty daft.

After all, as a million motivational posters (or just common sense) will tell us ‘change is inevitable’  – yet while things around us are constantly changing – it’s changing our own minds that usually presents the real problem.

Take building your own website. When I started in this business it took forever and half a dozen techies to come up with something that looked like it had been created by a small child using crayons. Internet speeds were so slow any pictures appeared after your visitor had read at least three paragraphs in front, and if, heaven forbid, you wanted to actually change anything, you had to get your army of techies to do it for you.

I can completely agree with anyone who, given the above scenario, didn’t fancy having a go … but inevitable change has meant for nearly the last half dozen years, and especially within the last two or three … that if you have something to build a website for, three or four pieces of original content and an afternoon, you can build a perfectly serviceable website.

Remember, you don’t need to sell anything if you don’t want to. You can place adverts for eBay, Amazon, or any one of a thousand Clickbank products (other networks are available, of course, that’s just the first one that came to mind) T-Shirts can be quite profitable too, if your subject matter is congruent. You could even sell the advertising space yourself, if you chose, using websites like fiverr.com.

You can tap into free traffic from social media … if, for instance, your website is about your dog, you can ‘share’ links to your content on various dog related groups on Facebook or Twitter (or any one of a hundred other networks) to get visitors back to your site.

Will this make you a millionaire overnight? Almost certainly not. What it will do, is show you that the kind of thing that may have put you off previously isn’t actually rocket science, or anything like as expensive – in fact I’ve just sent my Head Minion scurrying off to find out exactly how much, and he tells me that that doing the exact thing I’ve described should cost you less than £5 a month.

Out of everybody reading this, I probably wouldn’t be too far adrift in suggesting that a large number, despite wishing to make a part-time, full-time or life changing income from the internet, have not even entertained the idea of having their own website, because they believed it’s too complicated or too expensive to even try … well, in that case it’s time to change your minds, because the chances of you being able to do it quickly and easily have changed for the better…


Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The Toughest Of Marathons Has Very Little To Do With Running (and why that is brilliant news for all non-techies who want to make money online)…

As much as it irks me to say so, the boy “done good.”

Lee Stuart Evans, the chap that looks after all my financial products here at HQ, has returned in one piece from ‘The Toughest Footrace on Earth’ – the Marathon des Sables.

For those new to this particular event – it involves running what amounts to 5 marathons in 5 days across the Sahara desert carrying all your food and kit for the week on your back.

Lee has had much to say about his time in the desert, not least at the celebratory dinner we had for him on his return (where I strong armed him into showing all his photos and the videos he made whilst running the course) and much of it, for reasons of decency, I can’t go into detail about here – but straight away something became blindingly obvious.

Quite simply, it was that this whole event actually had very little to do with running – and I can reveal that is, in fact, brilliant news for all you non-techies out there who want to make money online.

Let me explain… the ability to run 20 odd miles quickly was, in this case, very much a secondary concern. In fact anyone who had approached this event purely on athletic ability alone might not have made it much past the first sand dune.

This was not about who could run the fastest, but about who was the better prepared, who managed their resources most effectively and those who carried on when it was much easier to stop and give up.

Lee had spent more than six months preparing for this – trying out different bits of his kit for weight and endurance, lived for a week from the freeze dried meals he would be taking with him and doing and re-doing everything he could think of so nothing would take him by surprise when it mattered.

His backpack going out was the optimum weight, right down to cutting some of the handle from his toothbrush to keep the weight down. When running the race his water management was planned to the millilitre and during the times when even that wasn’t enough – he still kept going, and earned himself  the nickname ‘tenacious little b***ard’ from our Gallic cousins.

In the same way this event was about so much more than just ‘running’ … making money from the internet is about so much more than just knowing all the techie stuff. You need to know a little bit, of course, so you don’t get caught out if you’re not following somebody else’s plan – but if fear that you can’t make a website is holding you back from doing anything at all, then you’re perhaps looking at this from the wrong angle.

I’d go far as to say that if you had a half decent business head on your shoulders and no techie knowledge, you’d be more likely to do better in this industry than somebody with all the tech skills and no idea – in fact those ‘techie types’ that you’re so envious of … they would probably end up working for you.

I like to think I’ve done quite well (all things considered and after overheads and expenses of course) in this business and I can assure you it’s not through my extensive knowledge of all things ‘techie’ … I know where all the bits fit together so I (mostly) know what to ask for – but if I was to try have a go myself I’m sure everybody would be not only disappointed but slightly amused with the results.

So, if you think that you need to be some sort of techie genius to make a difference online, and are holding back from even trying, then I need to tell you that’s not the case all, and that good preparation, management of your resources and the ability to ‘stick with it’ will count for an awful lot more than you think.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

 

Why Adapting & Applying A Good Idea Can Be A Recipe For Success…

As you can probably imagine, ‘She Who Must…’ is quite partial to a weekend excursion in the (it seems ) never ending search to find things with which to fill up the house. I am more often than not dragged along on these ‘adventures’ to make all the correct noises when various small furnishings and curiosities are waved in my direction, as well as to give the casual observer the impression that what is going on might be some sort of joint decision.

The saving grace to these longer excursions is the very real need for a good sit down and a cup of tea at some point … and I have to tell you about a quite excellent experience that also provided another example of something we can apply to our online businesses.

Tea on this occasion was at ‘The Vineyard’ in Berkshire (just down the road from the place that I’m told doubles as ‘Downton Abbey’) and as you might suspect with a name like ‘The Vineyard’, the establishment was slightly more famous for its wine selection (in fact one of the largest in the country at over 30,000 bottles) than it’s afternoon teas … but the clever way they crossed over the ‘matched’ wine experience to this much more humble activity (without at all making it seem over the top or ridiculous) was really rather brilliant.

Whereas, if you dined there, the restaurant sommelier would discuss with you and recommend the best wine for each of your courses, with afternoon tea, their tea ‘sommelier’ came out and recommended a particular tea (right down to blend and age) to go with the sandwiches, the subsequent scones jam and cream and finally the little cakes and pastries… and I must say she got it spot on.

Being of a slightly mischievous turn of mind, I did of course try each of the teas with exactly what they weren’t supposed to go with, just to make sure – and true enough, you shouldn’t be sipping green tea whilst nibbling on a chocolate éclair…

The whole thing added an extra dimension to the experience, an experience I’ll be looking to repeat quite soon, and judging from how busy the place was, I was not the only one that thought it was a good idea … and with the ‘matched tea’ option adding almost half again to the cost of the whole afternoon tea, for what amounted to, in terms of expense for the venue, a couple of extra cups of tea – there is a fantastic increase in profit as well as a mechanism to attract extra customers.

So, how can we translate this to what we do?

Well, the world wide web as we know it is not much more than 25 years old, and I don’t think I’d be far wrong by suggesting that almost everyone reading this is a little older than that, so there is a wealth of experience we can bring forward to our online businesses from whatever it was we were doing before.

Did you perhaps work in a retail environment where your customer service standards and practices, if you applied them to your online business would put you head and shoulders above your competitors  … or were you part of a logistics business where the processes involved now give you an insight into how to streamline your online business so you can outperform the others?

Of course it doesn’t have to be quite as sweeping as that (though it could be), but you’ll agree that by applying techniques you will have learnt elsewhere, you will probably not only improve your online endeavours, it will probably give you a unique and memorable edge that can only be to your advantage…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down


 

Why People DO Judge Books (As Well As Plenty of Other Things) By Their Covers…

The look on his face was totally incredulous … “So Tim,” said Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap that looks after my financial-type systems here at HQ, “What you are telling me is you’ve just bought this wine, and you can’t even drink it for 15 years…?”

Now, when a man who believes that a perfectly acceptable way to spend your leisure time is to run across 150miles of the Sahara desert happens to think you’ve done  something a bit odd, it might be time to stand back and take a look at yourself … but my reason for obtaining this particular wine now rather than in 15 years when it will be ready to drink was twofold;

First and foremost, I was making sure that I could actually get hold of some; and secondly, by letting the wine age at Lowe Towers instead of the Wine Merchants, I was also saving myself a pretty penny or two in the process.

This week’s Lowedown is not another tale about wine, however; (though I do have a great many :-) ) the only reason I mentioned it at all was because young Evans had not really noticed the wine as much as the box it came in…

I’ve mentioned the concept of an ‘out-of –box’ experience before in the Lowedown and this was another brilliant example. It illustrated perfectly that how an item is presented influences what people think of it before they even try it, that first impressions mean a lot and that people certainly do judge a books by their covers.

The item in question was assembled with dovetailed joints, a hinged lid, and the top of the box was inlayed with a darker wood. On the inside, was a brief biography of the wine, vineyard and the people behind it (a text that was also used as a watermark on the labels themselves). Even with a moderate knowledge of wine, you could tell that the three bottles in this box were of value, and indeed something special.

Alternatively, if something turns up at your door looking battered and forlorn and very much like it was packaged by a complete idiot, you might unpack it expecting it not to do the job as described (if it worked at all) and you would probably have minimum patience with it before asking for a refund.

With a couple of notable exceptions (like http://www.lingscars.com where the website is deliberately made to look awful but is actually quite easy to use once you’ve un-crossed your eyes) if your website is the equivalent of that battered and forlorn package, your visitors won’t stay long and almost certainly won’t do what you spent your time and money getting them there to do.

It doesn’t matter how good your information is, if it is poorly presented then often it will not be perceived to be as credible as something that is presented in a more attractive manner.

At this point though, I must insert a very large ‘However’… I am not suggesting (or ever will) that visitors to your site need to be greeted by some sort of whizzy animated sequence or you have your site redesigned at massive expense…

That type of thing is all well and good, and might leave a truly spectacular impression … provided, of course, that your visitor has the same state of the art computer and lightspeed internet connection as the person that designed it. To somebody still using Windows Vista in a cottage halfway up a hill somewhere remote – the only impression they’ll get is that the site doesn’t seem to work.

The answer then is simply that your site is clean, clear and tidy and people can navigate easily around it. It might require a ‘freshen up’ but if your site is on the WordPress platform, that can often be achieved by changing the ‘theme’ which is usually a quick job, often can be free to do and doesn’t have to involve anything too techie…
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Be Successful Without ‘Blowing A Fuse’

There I stood, in a pair of Tartan trousers, holding a fire extinguisher … next to me, resplendent in his kilt, was one of my closest friends, also holding a fire extinguisher … we were both poised, ready to leap into action  – all because our ‘Burns Supper’ had just taken on a whole new meaning…

The day, of course, had started in much calmer fashion – I made short work of the almost obligatory huge breakfast that greeted my arrival North of the Border for a special ‘Burns Supper’ with my good friend Ali Campbell, and together we set about adding some extra illumination to the festivities…

Ali now lives in the beautiful Scottish countryside, nestled quite a way away from even the nearest streetlight, and since moving in he has had to have much work done to bring the property up to the 20th, let alone 21st Century, but one of the things still on the to do list was a particularly aged fuse box, last maintained by a previous owner with something of a blind spot when it came to putting in the right fuses…

This error might never have been exposed, if Ali had not connected up a great many heaters to keep his guests warm … and (egged on by my good self of course) a sound system you would normally associate with the O2 arena – but this, surprisingly, was not when the fire started…

There were enough flickering lights and sparks to make you believe you were in a mad scientist’s lab – and with a rather spectacular ‘bang’ – the fuse blew. It was replaced with one of like value, and we went about our business, not knowing that the wiring was now coping with a load much, much, greater than it was built to deal with … and yes, this was when the fire started…

Of course we saved the day (and had quite a lot of fun doing it), and once the amperage error had been rectified we were free to spend the evening with more friends, speeches, ‘The Address to the Haggis, various toasts, Snooker and Scotch, rounded off (rather excellently I thought) off by a few words from a ‘guest speaker’, one of the ‘Auld’ enemy … yours truly 😉

There is, of course, much we can carry over to our own situations from such events…

Firstly, always know the breaking point of any system or process you have in place. Naturally, building something that operates effectively no matter what happens would be very useful indeed, but systems that work in extreme circumstances are often not cost effective the rest of the time. (For instance, a bar that had ‘Saturday Night’ staffing level every night, just in case there was a ‘bit of a rush’ are probably wasting resources 6 nights out of 7).

Secondly, if you can, double check that what you are doing is correct, and that you are not merely repeating what the chap before you did … as there’s always a chance the chap before you was an absolute buffoon.

Thirdly, ensure you have a safety measure, a ‘plan B’ in place for those extreme circumstances, even if they might seem unlikely (like making sure you have fire extinguishers to hand even if everyone else thinks the entire country is too damp for anything to catch alight before mid May).

After all, you don’t want your business to be paying out for all sorts of tools that you don’t necessarily need – but you do need to find a way to cope with an unexpected but very welcome surge in orders.

It needn’t be complicated, you could train a family member to help out when you get a peak in your business, or have a virtual assistant ‘on demand’   to carry on processing orders or managing your helpdesk/emails while you take a well earned breather. Either way, you need to make sure that you can make the most of it all … and not blow a fuse.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business LoweDown

 

May The Focus Be With You….

It’s taken me a while to mention it, but I did get round to watching the new Star Wars film towards the end of the Christmas break – and, to be frank, it left me a little underwhelmed.

When I mentioned this at HQ, it was greeted with looks of incredulity from my ‘Minions’, followed up by the kind of gasps and sighs you would normally only expect if you were to say something inappropriate about a beloved Grandparent.

The conclusion was that I just wasn’t ‘into’ that kind of thing – which led –  (as I am also the one who misses many of the pop culture references and ‘in jokes’ that often fly around the office) to the further conclusion that quite a lot of popular TV, Movies and Social Media ‘events’ have passed me by.

It has to be said, however, it’s not something I’m unhappy about.

It’s the same for those of us who get looked at with utter dismay when we haven’t got a clue what is going on in any of the popular soap operas or reality TV shows, or who would greet a discussion on Football with a slightly glazed expression.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down these things as lowbrow or worthless – I would be equally lost in a discussion about astrophysics as I would about The X Factor – the point I’m making is that I have quite a sharp focus and that it has helped me greatly in achieving the things I have … and as a result some things have fallen by the wayside.

To put it another way – It doesn’t matter whether the last book you read was ‘A Brief History of Time’ or the Argos catalogue, the simple fact is that you will get better results from 30 minutes dedicated, focused attention on your project, than you will spending hours ‘working’ with your laptop open whilst also watching the box-set of ‘Breaking Bad’.

I’ve found that the same sharp focus has also shaped what I do in my business. I found out early on that I was really quite good at a couple of things, but less than brilliant at almost everything else – so I set about finding people to do those things I was less able to do, and that then allowed me to focus on what I knew I could do well.

The thing it’s important to remember is that you don’t necessarily need stacks of money to work this way. (I know I certainly didn’t)

You can often trade favours (i.e. ask somebody to do something you might struggle with – and in return you do something for them) or do deals with people so that they get a percentage of your profits for the project – easy on your cash flow at the beginning, and often more lucrative for them when the project is a success.

Not everybody will agree to this type of deal – so you’ll have to ask more people than you normally would if you just had the funds – but if you have a restricted budget it’s certainly a better way forward that trying to struggle through yourself, and a much, much wiser step than just throwing in the towel when you find something you are unable to do.

So, when I think a project isn’t moving as fast as I’d like, there are a couple of things I do that might also be useful to you…

First of all, I look at what I’m doing and identify and remove any unnecessary distractions … and secondly I ask myself If I am trying to do something that might be better-off being done by somebody else … and who should I get to do it ?

It may sound rather basic, but I have found that much of what we do, and the problems we encounter, can usually be helped massively, or solved altogether by a simple, common sense solution, rather than resorting to something too involved or technical.
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Here’s How To Get Your Project Online TODAY, And It Shouldn’t Even Cost You A Penny…

It’s the most common reason I hear for never even starting an online project, in fact I’ve already heard it three times this year…

What some of us might call the ‘techie’ side of it all – the arranging of things like hosting, building a website or setting up of email responders – even though it’s easier to do than ever, and despite the fact that you could even pay people to do the whole lot for you for around £100, it seems the time, money and commitment involved are a deterrent to some.

So, how about using a Facebook page instead?

It’s free to use, involves no mucking about with websites or emails … it is called, rightly, by some as ‘the internet within the internet’ because it’s an environment that people feel comfortable in, and don’t really like to leave…

Facebook is also accessed by just about every device on the planet, and works perfectly on almost all of them, displaying whatever people are after on whatever they are using – so you are maximising your possible audience without worrying about whether your site is compatible with the latest iThingy or automatically translates what you have to say into Mongolian or Mandarin.

Where this all becomes useful to us (especially if you are one of those concerned about cost and commitment) is that you can trial an idea on Facebook without getting in too deep … in fact, you can try as many ideas out as you like on Facebook, without it necessarily costing you a penny.

It would seem then, that a well run Facebook page could remove the need for a website completely … but before you cancel your hosting and move all of your business to chez Zuckerberg, a word (or fifty) of warning…

Along with all the undoubted positives of having a Facebook page, you need to remember that your page is owned by Facebook, not you, and they can do whatever they want with it.

So, if Facebook decide for some reason (and you’ll have to agree they are prone to some strange decisions) that your page is no longer to their liking, they can remove it with little or no warning – then that’s also your entire business gone … just like that.

Facebook also control how much of your audience actually gets to see what you are telling them (unless you pay extra to ‘boost’ your post), so most of the time it’s doubtful that what you say would reach even half of the people who have ‘liked’ your page…

Another thing to take into account is that Facebook can be a bit ‘various’ about which links you post on your page – try to post for instance a link to a gaming site or many things you might find on Clickbank, will get you a polite (or sometimes less polite) refusal.

So, with all that in mind, may I suggest the following to those who are unwilling or unable to commit to the expense of a website to start their venture…

Start off with a Facebook page – utilise the options to join groups and share content in your chosen niche to gain ‘likes’ for your page, and occasionally post allowable links to niche specific products for which you would receive a commission, as you perhaps would to an email list in the more familiar internet marketing business model.

If what you are doing starts to gain some traction, you can upgrade and add a relevant website safe in the knowledge that you’re not barking up the wrong tree (and still have a business if Facebook decide to torpedo your page, or do some update that drops your page to some social media black hole) however, if you are getting absolutely zero response, you can simply set up a different page in a different niche and try again with little damage to your budget.

You’ll agree then, that even if you have no budget at all, or are concerned (or simply can’t be bothered) with the perceived fuss and bother of setting up a website, here’s something you can use to dip your toe in for a ‘no risk’ start. Not only that – it’s something you can start on today.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If You Want to be More Successful – Simply Eat More Haggis……

I have to start with something of an apology. I was so keen in my last email to try and get you all up and running after the Christmas break that I totally neglected to wish you a Happy New Year – something I would like to do now – if somewhat belatedly.

My New Year was, as it often is, spent north of the border, enjoying plenty of Scottish hospitality and greeting 2016 with some enthusiastic if slightly inexpertly executed traditional dancing.

I recounted my dancefloor exploits on my return to the two young ladies who do the hoovering and dusting at Lowe Towers, and even demonstrated a few steps … but I mention this not to give you the possibly unnerving mental picture of myself twirling around in a kilt … but as an explanation of how our conversation arrived at the subject of Haggis.

One of the young ladies, who was a local girl – made ‘that’ face when I mentioned Haggis, and declared that she would never eat anything like that, whereas the other, who had grown up in Romania, said that they had a similar dish over there, but it was certainly less traditional and more of a necessity, as often, when she was growing up, the type of more ‘interesting’ bits that famously make up Haggis were all there was to eat.

Now, I’m not going to get sidetracked into a ‘Youth of Today’ type rant, as valid as some reading this may feel it to be, but would like to focus instead on the first girl’s reluctance to consider trying something a bit different, even when the chap extolling its virtues was somebody who evidently knew a thing or two about what makes a half decent bit of tuck.

I know we can all be bit like that with new ideas, where we can steadfastly voice our opposition to something without a) knowing that much about it or b) ever trying it – however, I must point out that the most successful individuals I have encountered in my life have been those who not only left themselves open to encounter ‘new’ things … they actually went and sought them out.

So you’d probably agree then, that if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting – that there would be condiserable merit in trying something that for some reason you dismissed out of hand the first time you came across it, or is completely new to you but you were avoiding because it looks like it might take you a long way out of your comfort zone.

Like the much derided Haggis, it might be made up of bits that don’t strike you as too appetising – but when you try it you could well find that in reality it is actually quite good, and the only thing you really don’t understand is why you were so worried about trying it in the first place…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The ‘Cyber Monday’ Lessons We Can All Watch And Learn From…

For those who weren’t aware, the recent scenes of squabbling, scrambling and distinctly un-British behaviour in the shops you might have seen on TV were the result of something called ‘Black Friday’ a phenomenon we now appear to have contracted like a virus from the US.

Following this massive physical shopping binge – we will have the online equivalent upon us soon with ‘Cyber Monday’ when all sorts of online shopping records will be broken, millions and millions of pounds will change hands, yet there will also be frayed tempers, bad language and frustration here as well – something you wouldn’t have thought would happen when buying things online.

The majority of this will occur when we encounter a website which, in a effort to be cutting edge, has animated introductions, logos everywhere you look and state of the art graphics you can only really see if you have the latest device or iThing … but navigating round the site is a bit of a ‘mission’, and most worryingly of all for a sales site – gives you little idea how you actually buy something.

I’m sure we’ve all sat in front of some of these sites going round in ever decreasing circles, wondering if it’s actually worth it at all, and how this can actually be less fuss and bother  than getting in the car and just going to the shops yourself.

The trick here, clearly, as with so many things online – and especially when you’re trying to sell something – is to keep the buying process simple.

Just because technologically we can do some fantastic things online, it doesn’t  mean we have to. Look at Amazon – despite all the things their detractors may say, it’s not hard to buy things from Amazon, which is why people do – in their millions.

Compare that with a site where you have to tiptoe through four pages of flashy graphics to eventually find an ‘add to cart’ button, then having to undergo a tortuous registration process so you can receive six emails over the next week reminding you not to ‘miss out’ on the item you wanted, but couldn’t work out how to buy, or was (and still is) out of stock.   

When you think about your own sites – they key thoughts should be ‘what do I want the visitor to do? – and how do I make that the easiest thing for them to do?’.  This should be your first consideration – it should define how your site looks, how you navigate round it, everything.

The journey between your customer deciding to buy, and getting the email saying ‘thank you for your purchase’ should be simple, obvious, straight-forward and involve as few clicks as possible … and will beat a more complicated but prettier looking process very single time.

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Right Then, Here’s How You Can Benefit From My Forthcoming Forex System…

You wouldn’t think it – but the last 18 months or so has proved that Forex trading can be an emotional business.

I’ve seen thriving accounts (and the confidence of the person using it) dented beyond repair by somebody getting bored, greedy or simply thinking they know better,  and placing a trade that ‘almost’ matched the criteria … then goes wrong.

I‘ve also seen people close trades early for a £20 instead of a £50 profit because they second guessed the system and got jittery, and when an inevitable loss occurs (as it does with forex trading) simple arithmetic dictates that their overall profit wasn’t much to write home about.

So, you’ll agree then, that as good as any trading system is – any good results can be blown out of the water completely by the brain behind the finger clicking the mouse having some sort of ‘moment’ and doing something very off-plan.

You could argue that one easy solution would be to take the user out of the system completely and just let the computer do the trading automatically.

If that was the case, you would of course argue much more loudly that If you’re going to do that – those automatic systems trading your money without being there (or ‘trading bots’ as they are known) had better be really, really good … and tested … and tested … and tested again.

That’s exactly what we’re doing. For the last year or so Lee-Stuart Evans has been testing a legion of these trading bots, including, we have to say, everything that was already commercially available … and found them wanting.

So we created some of our own, and ended up discarding over 90% of those – then tweaking and refining those that remained until we have something we are happy with.

The testing though, is far from over…

The fact is we still have months of testing to go … Don’t get me wrong – what we have already is very profitable. Even with the previously mentioned 90% of now discarded ‘useless’ bots taking huge chunks out of our profits … we still managed to be 34% up, and that’s in just under a year since we started making the results public.

I’m sure you’re curious to know what the returns have been like without the ones we scrapped ‘dragging’ the results down  … well, that’s what we’re going to be monitoring and publishing over the coming months, because we want the finished article to have a cast iron track record before we make it available.

So why am I telling you all this now ?

Well, over the coming months I’ve asked Lee to provide updates to how things are going, for everybody to read … and you’ll be able to see them yourself by clicking through from a banner, just like the one at the end of this post.

It will take you through to my ‘Waverley Financial’ site where you’ll be able to read the ‘full’ version of Lee’s update as well as how you can be at the front of queue to benefit from this when it goes ‘live’ … click on the banner below and take a look now…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why Other People Doing Better Than You Can Be A Good Omen…

I’m sure many of you will remember a couple of months or so ago I mentioned that Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap at the helm of my financial products had the slightly disturbing hobby of running distances far above and beyond the call of common sense – and at the weekend he was at it again…

He was taking a ‘brisk wander’ along the North Downs, named by the organizers as ‘The Omen’ and rather predictably given the name, run over the small matter of 66.6 miles … and despite what you or I might think – Lee was far from being alone at the starting line.

About a third of the way in, as they were getting toward the end of the ‘first marathon’ Lee and a compatriot found themselves in first and second place, and whilst Lee was perfectly happy with the pace – his friend wanted to ‘push on’ and gently disappeared over the horizon…

It turned out he wasn’t the only one thinking it was all a bit easy early on, so over the next half hour or so Lee was overtaken by nearly the entire remainder of the field – and at this point I think most of us would probably tried to ‘up’ the pace too … as we would perceive it as ‘bad form’ to be left behind – well, that or thinking ‘what’s the point’ and giving up altogether…

Lee, however, kept on at what he himself would describe as ‘snail’s pace’ and soon came upon some poor chap who he vaguely recognized as someone who had sailed past him earlier on, but now had not only hit what runners describe as ‘the wall’ but looked like he had fallen down several flights of stairs as well…

Now, I think at this point, some of us might have been sorely tempted to say something along the lines of ‘I told you so’ and carried on – but Lee decided to help this guy and coach, encourage and cajole him on over the rest of the race and (being as the race length was some 20hrs) on through the night.

They crossed the line with 6 minutes of the 20 hrs to spare, and strangely enough Lee, who had been 2nd 40 odd miles before, overtaken by just about everybody except the chap he stopped to help … was still 2nd. Only his friend who had upped the pace had finished in front of him … all those that had whizzed past him wishing not to be left behind had dropped out and not finished at all.

The obvious lesson here is to pace yourself – and this works just as well if you’re wanting to do something as sensible as build an online business or something as daft as run 66 miles up and down hills for almost an entire day.

There will inevitably be people faster out of the blocks than you -maybe they have more experience, more money or more time on their hands, or might be just plain better at it than you are. That is no reason to overstretch yourself to keep up with them, or to see it as something already lost and lose heart and give up.
I’ve seen many people get off to a flying start – only to throw all their toys out of the pram the first time things don’t go their way … and I’ve seen people overstretch themselves to the point that they are mentally and financially exhausted before they see any benefits of their efforts.

The key is to do things at your own pace – for some it will be plain sailing – that’s just the way of it – but for the majority it’s just a case of keeping at it & plugging away … and just like Lee you might be pleasantly surprised with where you finish…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Are You A Good Hunter or a Bad Hunter…?

Well, of course that’s what Range Rovers are for… isn’t it ?

You see, there was a chap putting some fencing up for me at the far side of one of the fields at the rear at Lowe Towers … I wanted to have a quick chat with him, but he was little more than a speck in the distance … and my Range Rover was conveniently close … I thought, well, it’s my field – why not…?

So, it was while I was hurtling across the field when the subject matter of todays email occured to me (which I’ll explain in just a minute) … but was replaced almost immediately with a second, more urgent thought, one which made me revert to a more pedestrian pace almost immediately…

This field was, for the most part, meadow grass, and the reason for the emergency braking was that I just remembered it previously had something of a mole problem … and had collected all of the spoil and debris from their excavations in to one heap…
This heap, given the height of the meadow grass, would be completely invisible until it was far too late … and whilst I had intended on quite a ‘showy’ arrival beside the chap at the other end of the field – an unintentional ‘A Team’ style leap before landing my Range Rover next to him would have done his heart no good at all…

Before all this unscheduled excitement I was thinking about that old saying, a ‘Bad hunter chases, a good hunter waits’ which, in a nutshell – points out that rather than chasing down your target waving a spear in an extravagant and very labour intensive manner – it might be better to simply hang about by the path to the local watering hole and jump out when your target inevitably but eventually goes past.

Which, if you transfer that strategy over into the online world, might be useful if you are finding that you don’t have as much time as you’d like to ‘chase’ your customers down and keep coming back empty handed…

So, instead of pursuing customers across the internet with expensive advertising and perhaps slightly too many emails with the aim of instant results … you might find you would be better off finding out where you ideal customers are likely to be, and set your ‘stall’ out nearby in order to attract and collect your customers that way.

This can take longer to bear fruit than ‘chasing’ certainly, but may well be a better use of your time if it is your scarcest commodity as it is less effort (and cheaper too) to share a link back to your content from a Facebook group for your niche and ‘wait’ for a response, rather than spend time on keyword research and producing an ‘ad’ that will ‘chase’ them around everywhere they go online.

Remember, it’s your online business you’re building, and no-one knows better than you what other commitments you have … so you have to judge what are the best uses of your time and resources and if you simply don’t have the time or money to go for quick results we all crave… there is nearly always a more sedate alternative…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How my school engineering project predicted Lady Gaga will make you more money online than Snail Racing…

At school I was really quite good at engineering … in fact at one point all I wanted to do when I was older was to design engines.  As it turned out, I chose a different path entirely and maybe the results of one of my school projects reinforces the idea that maybe I may have made the right choice.

This particular project was for a drill stand. All of the plans were perfect the design was as good as any of my teachers had seen and this was showing all of the signs of being a total triumph … that was, until we took things to the next stage…

You see, we only had the capabilities to cast in aluminium, and my design really, really needed to be in cast iron – but I was so intent that I wanted to make this drill stand that I carried on regardless.

When finished … it looked exactly as it should – it even matched the plans exactly. It should have been perfect but because it was made from aluminium instead of iron it was a little on the ‘bendy’ side … which anyone will tell you is not something you really want from a drill stand…

So, what does this all have to go with snail racing and Lady Gaga?

Well, let’s say you really, really, love snail racing. If you’ve paid attention to what you will have been told in this industry – you’ll know that this is not only a niche but a micro niche, full of passionate fans … so if you wanted to create a website – you would be forgiven for thinking this was a winner.

And to a certain extent – you wouldn’t be wrong. But the limited size of the audience and number of products you could market to the snail racing fraternity would limit your earnings from such a website, regardless of its quality and relevance – in short, a perfect plan but in practice, because of the resources available to you, about  useful as my slightly bendy drill stand.

However, whichever way you want to measure it – be it number of websites brought up by the search ‘lady gaga’, number of Facebook followers/fans or anything else, you’d have a lot of trouble proving that snail racing was more popular than Lady Gaga – even if she has been off the radar for a little while.

Also, the number of products you could market to Gaga fans is almost bottomless … so if you were going to make a ‘first’ website, with the sole intention of making a bit of money quite quickly and not looking to tick any personal boxes, would you pick the subject you were passionate about with a small audience with just a few products or a more ‘cast iron’ proposition, something you didn’t really care too much about – with a potential traffic source of millions and endless things other people will pay you to put front of them ?

So, as you spend more time with you online project, you need to be sure whether you are striving for a personal or financial goal, and be absolutely sure you have picked the right path to get there. If not, it’s not too late to change lanes for a little while – and maybe spend some time developing a website that will fulfill a few of those financial needs, so you can go back to developing that long term project that’s closer to your heart … without having any pressure to make any money from it straight away…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Paintball for the Big Boys…

For some strange reason, ‘She Who Must…’ thought I would really enjoy being sat in a real, full sized tank driving around and blowing things up (with paintball type ammunition anyway) …so she bought me a sort of ‘Paintball for the Big Boys’ day out for my Birthday.

Of course, she was completely right – so off I tramped to the middle of Leicestershire, dragging my good friend Ali Campbell along as my accomplice for the day…

Soon, we were sat in the training room – resplendent in our newly issued overalls, and some things became immediately apparent – firstly, they wouldn’t be using pictures of us on the recruiting posters any time soon – and also that this was going to be hot, cramped, dirty, and noisy … and tremendously good fun.

Tank Story.png

Given last week’s ‘stuck in the sauna’ shenanigans, you would have thought I really wasn’t keen to be trying to squeeze into any more confined spaces – but contrary to what I may of thought, it seemed that it was only really those of above average height that would have issues so I spent most of my time slightly hunched over to accommodate the distinct lack of headroom.

Of course – there were other new things in store as well – I have been driving for over 30 years – and despite having a couple of cars with about the same fuel economy – driving and steering this tank would be a completely new experience for me…

There was no real steering wheel or pedals to speak of, and I was expecting to find it a bit challenging but the simple use of the two levers to take care of it all was quite simple once it had been explained to me, and I’d had a bit of a go …  Also the loading and firing of the gun was much simpler than I expected and even more fun than I could of imagined…

We spent a happy couple of hours ‘playing’ in this tank, driving around, firing the gun and finally having a ‘head to head’ against two other chaps in another tank (yes, we won) … and yes, while it was fun, it was also dirty, cramped and noisy and I developed a whole new level of respect for those that do this kind of thing for real, especially in circumstances that nobody would consider fun at all.

It was an interesting day all in all (and the late-ish pub lunch was excellent too) in that I found the brand new parts that I thought might be a problem, weren’t anything like as difficult as I thought – the driving and steering which meant doing something I was familiar with in a completely different way, and that worked out fine too … even the prospect of repeating a less than positive experience with the cramped conditions didn’t have the result I thought It might have.

I’ve often found though, that when it comes to giving new things a go – they are rarely as hard as they seem. Of course anything new will seem a bit strange and take you a while at the start, but that’s because it IS new to you.

Some will learn more quickly than you, some will have a little more experience and be whizzing off over the horizon while you’re still trying to start the engine … but it’s not what everybody else is doing that matters, but that you, at whatever speed,  get there in the end…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The Importance Of Having Your Sheep The Right Way Up…

My rather relaxing afternoon at Lowe Towers was interrupted by a hesitant knock on the door, and because years of ‘interesting’ encounters have made me re-define what counts as ‘odd’ … opening the door to a young lady who had tied her horse to one of my gateposts didn’t seem strange at all – in fact all seemed par for the course right up until she said “Excuse me – could you help me turn that sheep the right way up…?”

Now granted, it was my field, but they were my neighbour’s sheep and I will even admit that as I followed her out the sight of the poor stricken creature, flat on its back with its feet in the air led me to fear the worst…

I stared at the sheep for a minute, not knowing really what to do, and preparing to break the news to this young lady about the sheep’s unfortunate demise, when against all probability it made a plaintive bleating noise and waved one of its feet in a generally pathetic and feeble manner.

We gave the sheep a tentative push and this was all it needed to right itself and toddle off back to the rest of the flock, looking none the worst for all that happened, and as if this sort of thing happened to it every day…

So Tim, I hear you say, is the ‘moral’ of this week’s Lowedown going to be that if we feel stricken like that poor sheep, don’t fret, as we’re probably just a little push away from being ‘righted’ and back on track?

Well, yes, that would have been rather good – but as you know that already, what I’ll do instead is continue the tale slightly to encompass events a few days later … so you can raise a smile as I was put in a very sheep-like predicament myself.

I was sat in the Sauna at the Gym, and decided to lean back slightly – which was fine apart from the fact that as the space involved wasn’t quite wide enough for a healthy and robust character such as myself – and I kind of ‘popped’ into the space rather snugly and came to rest with my right arm tucked in behind one of the sides.

Naturally, I enjoyed my sauna – but as my thoughts turned to leaving I discovered that with my arm tucked where it was … I was going nowhere. The sensible thing to do would, of course, have been to attract the attention of others and ask them for  a hand – but all that was going through my mind was that poor sheep with its pathetic bleating and feeble waving  – so I spent a very long time performing a very undignified wriggle to eventually free myself.

So yes, all you do need at times is a little push to get you going, but often there is something in your head that stops you from asking for help. The important factor is that you don’t make that thing any bigger than it really is, or that it is even relevant to exactly what you’re trying to do now.

You might have had negative experiences in the past – we all have – but if that negative experience was based around you not being the greatest salesperson or only having ten minutes to spare when you needed an hour … what you need to ask yourself is – are those things a factor here … and if not – what’s stopping you ?

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The Only Stupid Question Is The One You Didn’t Ask…

There have been some strange arrivals here in the last couple of weeks … First of all, a Scotsman sent me a knife in the post…
Normally, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a good thing … however as it was a traditional Sgian Dubhs (pronounced ‘Skean Dhu’) – sent by my good friend Ali Campbell as a present for my recent Birthday, I was actually rather impressed.
It came with a note saying it was to help me become ‘More Scottish’ – though it had no instructions as to which parts I had to cut off to make that so… 😉

Secondly there was a much appreciated box of Quality Street addressed to my Minions – as an apology for ‘asking all those stupid questions’ – now whilst gifts of chocolate are always welcome, I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate that there is no such thing as a stupid question

I am fully aware asking for solutions to what might appear to be the simplest of problems might seem embarrassing or silly, especially when you’re asking it in front of a roomful of people, or directly to someone who you might consider to be an expert  … but it is a necessary part of the learning process.

Or to put it another way – what is more embarrassing  – asking a question that makes you feel uncomfortable, or missing out on making £1000, £2000 or even more each month for the sake of finding out just one thing you didn’t know?

Asking ‘stupid’ questions is all part of the learning process, I’ve done it – I can assure you that every single person here at HQ has done it (and will freely admit to occasionally still doing it, too) because that is exactly how we find out things that may escape those who simply assume things … and in doing so limit what they can achieve.

For instance – with my ‘Cash Curator’ system, we still have people asking what products they will be ’selling’. They may also even have trouble getting their heads around that, with this particular system, you don’t have to sell anything to anybody, ever … that you don’t need to be ‘salesy’ to succeed – and that, although it is done online, all works around a simple principle that has been working for at least the last 50 years, long before the internet even existed.

So, never assume you know the answer, that something ‘must’ be this or that based on what you know already … and that the most simple, vital piece of the puzzle, the one piece that is the difference between where you are and where you want to be might just be one ‘stupid’ question away…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

It’s The Little Differences That Make All The Difference…

Big things are afoot here at HQ…

Websites are being ‘polished’, training videos are being made – causing consumption of both coffee and Kit Kats (management issue only) to reach record levels … in short – the culmination of what is, for some here at HQ, nearly two years of work is nearly upon us…

This ‘Lowedown’ however, isn’t me telling you about my next project … you can be sure I’ll let you know all about it when the time comes – but for now, at least, it’s got to stay all hush-hush…

What I wanted to talk about today, prompted by all this activity, were all of those last minute tweaks and changes that can make all the difference to your project … differences that can really add up and make your project either a massive success or an uncomfortable struggle…

There has been plenty of ‘move this here’, ‘make that bigger’ as well as quite a bit of ‘that’s a bit superfluous’ and ‘that needs to be a bit more detailed’ – the kind of things you can’t really gauge until you see all the component parts working together.

It can be a lot of fuss to sort out … it can mean people having to redo a bit of work that was perfectly fine at the time but now doesn’t quite fit with something else – it can even mean re-jigging things over and over until they run completely smoothly … It can, in short, be a lot of effort for what might seem a little gain – so should you bother doing it?

Yes, absolutely.

The best way to iron out any kinks or things that just don’t look as right as they should, is to have some sort of ‘dry run’ of what your potential customer/user/visitor experiences as they interact with what you have to offer…

Another way of thinking of it is as a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ … when a production might find out that an actress won’t get through that door in that dress … or that a scene change takes far too long … or that a particular piece toward the back of the stage just isn’t lit well enough … and they have a chance to put everything right before presenting it to a paying audience.

Remember, I’m not suggesting that you fundamentally change what you’re doing at the last minute – that can cause a mixed message to the user about what your project is (or, in fact, isn’t) – and can leave the impression that what you have to offer is neither one thing or the other, or had extra bits cobbled on at the 11th hour (like when you can see they’ve stuck a contrived ‘happy ending’ on what is an otherwise ‘edgy movie’ to up the box office receipts and please the backers.)

I’ll close, then, by saying that so often in this business, it’s all in the detail … it can be as much as just changing a couple of words (or sometimes even just one) … changing a background colour or the size and emphasis on a certain piece of text.

These things are often not apparent until you undertake a ‘dry run’ or ‘dress rehearsal ‘ of your project in its near finished state – you will inevitably end up with a list of things it might be much easier not to bother doing as they ‘won’t make that much difference’ … but I assure you, you should never ignore even the smallest of them…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Save Time And Money By Knowing When The Best Thing Isn’t The Right Thing…

Last weekend saw me being marched, mostly against my will, around Camden Market. I know at this precise moment you’re thinking ‘What could Tim possibly want at Camden Market’ and to be completely candid I couldn’t think of anything either – so I left ‘She Who Must..’ with ‘ring me when you’re finished’ instructions and went to find something more distracting in the surrounding streets.

Now this kind of aimless bimble usually involves me stumbling upon some sort of delightful café or bakery … or encountering somebody marvellously entertaining and eccentric – but on this occasion all that my small adventure could offer was … a shop that sold trainers.

This was, actually, perfectly fine as I have recently re-started my exertions at the gym and actually needed a pair – but the look I got from the various staff members and other customers (none of whom looked older than about 20) as I walked through the shop door, was quite something.

A few polite enquires uncovered the fact that this was more of a ‘fashion trainer’ shop, favoured in the main by those who communicate using only the bare minimum of syllables and lack the ability to pull their jeans up properly – so I was directed instead along the street to another shop that catered for runners…

At the new place I was able to explain exactly what I wanted to the very knowledgeable chap behind the counter who found me something that fitted the bill, providing the right amount of support and comfort … and without trying to sell me something I really did not need.

You see this was a shop for serious runners, mad folks who think of nothing of going on a 15 mile warm-up run before the ‘proper’ one … in fact if I’d just walked in and said ‘give me the best pair in the shop’ I would have been presented with something that cost almost the same price as a small Romanian car.

So, I left the shop perfectly happy, with exactly what I needed, and thinking about a chap who had emailed the office a few days before…

Let me explain further and you’ll see how one thing reminded me of the other … This chap (let’s call him ‘Mark’) wanted to know what we used for sending our emails for newsletters and suchlike … and I could have just answered his question and moved on – but instead I got Head Minion to contact him and find out more.

‘Mark’, it turned out, was quite new to this business, had got off to quite a good start and wanted to build the relationship with his customers and subscribers, and didn’t think trying to do it all from his gmail account was giving the best impression … so he asked what we used here at HQ, assuming we’d use the best thing for the job – so he could do exactly the same.

Sensible enough thinking, certainly – until you consider that what we use here is not only an email sending tool but does a multitude of other things as well, all for quite a large number of customers, partners, affiliates and subscribers, and if ‘Mark’ had copied us and bought the same thing … he would have a tool vastly overqualified to deal with his current needs, and a truly eye watering monthly bill.

What was better for him, as he discovered when he had a chat with Head Minion, was not something that cost a fortune, or even $20 a month … in fact he was (as he was just promoting his own products to his own subscribers), pointed in the direction of a service that didn’t cost him anything at all, and won’t until he gets a few more customers.

The point here, you’ll agree, is that it’s important for all of us, whether it’s me buying trainers or ‘Mark’ with his autoresponder, not to necessarily get the best tools available, but the best tool for what we are doing at the time, that is appropriate to the resources and needs we have at the moment.

Getting this one thing right can not only increase the amount you can get done, but also, by buying whatever is a perfect fit for you at the time, you are keeping a rein on your outgoings, which for many small businesses can be the difference between struggling and enjoying success…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why We Sometimes Wish Our Online Business Came With A ‘Montage’ Sequence…

I really love a film reference or quote … I am, after all, the one with the in house team who call themselves the ‘Minions’ (after the little yellow chaps in Despicable Me) though I must point out that life here at HQ isn’t quite like that …. though a few casual observers have pointed out that the TV series ‘Blandings’ might not be too far off the mark…

With that in mind, what I wanted to talk about today was a particular type of sequence common to many films, one which illustrates a less than desirable trait of human nature, one which we must all have exhibited at one time or another.

The sequence I’m referring to is the ‘montage’ … the sequence that is inserted about two thirds of the way through a film, to indicate the passage of time as the protagonists undergo some sort of training, or complete a particularly complicated or onerous task…

This ‘montage’ is usually backed by some triumphal music and will culminate in smiles and congratulations, all the hard work done … and in at least one case that springs to mind, standing arms aloft at the top of some steps while a crowd begins, quite spontaneously, to start cheering below.

Where this brings human nature into sharp focus is that this sequence, containing as it does the only part of the film where any actual hard work takes place, is just glazed over, rushed through and practically dismissed in a couple of minutes…

Is it because the filmmakers have, almost entirely correctly, identified that nobody is really interested in the hard work, and would just prefer to jump straight to the ‘good’ bit at the end with all the rewards…?

Unfortunately, there are no ’montages’ to be had in our industry – even when a plan is laid out in front of you; there is still work to be done to get the ‘promised’ results.

For example, if you’re creating your website, time still needs to be spent on the wholly unglamorous task of making sure it is in the right niche to get a reasonable amount of traffic without hiring a horde of SEO experts or having an advertising budget that would make Coca Cola blush.

It may not take as long as say, getting a conventional business off the ground, or as ‘hard’ work as the job you want to leave behind … but there’s still work that needs doing – and in our enthusiasm for getting things going, hurrying as fast as we can to get to the bit where we see results, we can often forget that simple fact, and rush through the crucial but boring steps and get them wrong … or more damagingly, do things properly, but grow restless with the time the more mundane bits take and give up entirely.

So, to finish then, I’m not going to tell you ‘Life’s not like the movies’ because I’m pretty sure you already know that. What I will say though, is that whilst an online business, in whatever form, can be got off the ground more cheaply and easily than a traditional one … and yes, the rewards can certainly outstrip anything we might achieve offline, we must be careful not to forget that it is still, when all is said and done, a business, one that needs to be run well and looked after like any other…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The ‘Obvious’ Isn’t Always The Answer – And How You Can Take Advantage of it…

I’ve always been slightly dubious of the phrase ‘It’s obvious’ … because the ‘obvious’ is usually the result of some poorly informed assumption, often arrived at by not looking at something closely enough…

Take for instance online gaming … not my field of expertise, and probably not yours either … but if I asked you to think of a ‘gamer’, you probably would have in mind a male, probably late teens to mid twenties with a poor attempt at facial hair and minimal social skills…

Yet, if I was to tell you that a great many more online games were in fact played by ladies than gents you might understandably raise an eyebrow … until I pointed out they’re not all playing ‘World of Warhammer’ (though a great many do) or even shouting obscenities into a headset whilst gunning down some virtual zombies or terrorists … but are in fact racking up a great many hours playing games like Farmville or Candy Crush.

I know this isn’t what would ‘obviously’ spring to mind as online gaming … but what makes it interesting for us, is that the amount of advertising the user is exposed to while they play makes this format every bit as profitable for the game producers as it is would be if they charged you the best part of £50 for it on Amazon.

This is just another example of how things have moved on so that you can profit from what you do online without having to sell anything. Which is, you’ll be pleased to hear, good news for those of us who think they are no good at, or not comfortable with, ‘selling.’

I’m not suggesting we should all go out and invent the next ‘Flappy Birds’ because, quite frankly – 99% of us would not know where to start … but if we look at the overall concept – we can certainly adapt it to take advantage of it.

Facebook, of course do it, and the best bloggers have been doing it for years … but the concept of creating an online environment where a visitor is informed or entertained over a number of pages or length of time whilst exposed to carefully targeted but not intrusive advertising is really catching on in a big way…

As I pointed out before – this is a great opportunity for those who may feel they might have previously ‘underperformed’ due to not being ‘salesy’ enough … to create or present niche content to attract and amuse people, pop some adverts around it for people to click on if they choose, and leave the selling to somebody else.

Of course, this plan does require a fair amount of traffic … but on the other hand, you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who would be willing to visit if they know you’re not trying to directly sell them anything…

In conclusion then, let me underline the fact that there are so many more ways of making a profit from your online efforts rather than the ‘obvious’ internet marketing model – there are online services you can provide to small businesses (a very lucrative area currently you might do well to get onboard with) as well as the kind of ideas we’ve explored today, because it’s not just all about doing it the same old ‘obvious’ way…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Honest Guvnor – I Never Did Nuffin’ … How Facebook Risk Alienating The People That Could Help Them Beat Google…

This edition of the Lowedown may be a bit shorter than usual … this is because, if left unchecked – there is a very real danger of it all developing into something of a rant…

It all started with a chap my ‘Minions’ (the tongue in cheek name my in-house team have given themselves) were giving a few pointers to. He was doing quite a good job of getting traffic from Facebook ads, but before they could give him the benefit of their experience to improve things even further … his Facebook advertising account was ‘permanently disabled’

The ads he was running were no different from those he had been running for several weeks, did not involve anything on the usual ‘naughty’ list – and had only ever had one ad banned months ago, for having ‘too much text in it’ (?)  … in fact, looking at the email from Facebook, you can see he was actually banned for, quite literally, nothing…

As you would expect, contacting a proper, real human at Facebook can be somewhat challenging, but is nothing compared to finding someone there who will give you a straight answer to a simple question … and if any of this sounds familiar – it’s exactly the same type of ‘Because we said so…’ policy that has turned Google from being the people’s choice into being what many now consider to be something of an ‘evil empire’.

We all know the bulk advertising from the chaps that are trying to get the world addicted to Candy Crush and suchlike are what Facebook really want … but Facebook is also the place where smaller businesses are wanting to advertise to become the big businesses of the future, so treating the ‘little guy’ with such short sighted contempt now means they are hobbling their own business.

In fact, what you’ll end up with are growing businesses with massive advertising budgets – and Facebook right at the bottom of the list of people they want to work with.

It seems the online industry is one of very short memories. Just a few years ago the ‘only’ place you could really advertise was Google … but by banning a large body of people from advertising they actually created both the environment and the customers for any competitor to succeed easily just by offering an alternative advertising platform … and it seems Facebook are now doing exactly the same…

It is the considered opinion of those here at HQ, that if Facebook could get the ‘search’ part of their business sorted out … they could pose serious problems for Google, and probably even overtake them (though more on that another time, I think) – but by driving small businesses away they are making it much, much harder for themselves … and not so much building up speed as shooting themselves in the foot…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The Success Of Your Business Might Depend On The Quality Of Your Lasagne…

It was almost four years ago now that I created, after much experimentation and effort, a particularly fine Lasagne. In fact, I was really pleased that nearly everybody who has tried it – both that first time and on the occasions I have made it since –  told me it was, if not the best … almost the best Lasagne they had ever tasted.

A good part of the reason for its success was down to the little touches that were added to it to give it that bit extra … but as a result the process was a little more involved than usual, so I kept some crib notes to remind me of those tiny tweaks that made all the difference.

Alas, as part of a recent moving around of all things kitchen related, ‘She who must…’ had one of her ‘clearouts’ … and the cookbook, which had my notes kept safe and sound between the pages …. got sent unwittingly on its way to a charity shop.

By the time we had realised what had happened it was long gone, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth and I set about trying to re-create it all from memory … a process which, I must add, is still ongoing…

Now, everybody has a pretty good idea how to make a basic Lasagne – you can even buy plenty which are ready made, straight off the shelf – but adding to it through extra effort and experimentation gives you something that is unique, memorable and hopefully praiseworthy.

We all know it’s easier to just make a basic Lasagne – but the important fact is nobody really wants just ‘basic’. They might, through budgetary or time restraints settle for basic – but what we all really want is the one that’s got everything in it.

Of course I’m making a comparison with an online business here … but one that goes a bit deeper than just ‘make sure you offer that bit extra’.

You see, whilst it takes a lot of experimentation and effort to create that first success, we should never assume that everything after that will be easy, and fall into place automatically. Re-creating that success can be just as difficult in its own way, not allowing complacency to slip in, not thinking ‘will it really matter if I don’t do this bit’…

Let me finish by saying that every little thing you did to add to the quality and value of what you have to offer matters, so make sure it all goes in – make sure you’re never, ever, just offering ‘basic’ – and make sure you have the capability of re-creating this every single time.

Oh – and when you do – remember to make sure you keep any notes you happen to be using safe… 😉

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Two Important Lessons in Planning….

Longtime readers of the Lowedown will know I have a ‘thing’ about planning ahead. It’s what I do in my own business … with the projects that are coming to fruition this year being six, nine or even twelve months in the making.

Of course this has to be balanced with also having a certain amount of flexibility to allow us to react to anything untoward or unexpected falling into our laps. You can’t ‘expect the unexpected’ but we do make provision so that if anybody here (including myself) or anybody we work with gets hit by the proverbial bus … nobody is left floundering.

It’s fair to say, though, that the ‘Ready, Fire … Aim’ internet industry we all work in is not exactly famed for its dedication to planning, with people often jumping on whatever is newest and trying to use it to their advantage … in fact I’d go as far as to say the biggest amount of planning most of us will do is the planning of the family holiday.

With that in mind, I’d like to mention a couple of things quite close to us here at HQ, each offering something useful on today’s subject. The first is the result of some very careful planning, and the second being something for which the planning has only just begun…

A splendid young man by the name of Dale Hudson, who happens to be the son of one of the ladies you might speak to if you ever phone the office, has, along with a friend, just departed for Hong Kong. This is with the intention of cycling through the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn through Asia and Australia and ending up in Brisbane.

This was the result of many months of planning and fundraising (though they are quite self effacing about the amount of effort they put in) and you’ll agree, it all sounds absolutely fascinating. They have set up a website/blog to update the world on their progress, and are even making a documentary about the whole thing … you can read everything and see all the work that went in here: http://www.betweenthetropics.co.uk/

The other concerns Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap in my office who is very much at the core of my growing range of current and forthcoming financial products…
Now, whilst being a level headed chap when it comes to all things to do with the money markets, Lee has a habit of doing slightly ridiculous things in the name of charity, particularly when it comes to running excessive and unnecessary long distances at the drop of a hat.

He has been keen, for several years now, to take part in the Marathon des Sables, which, for those blissfully unaware is the small matter of running 156 or so miles (providing you don’t get lost) across the Sahara desert … in 50 degree heat.

I was convinced he was utterly mad, so Lee decided to prove he was up to the task and get in a ‘bit of practice’ by entering himself for something called the Thames Path 100…

He did consider this to be a bit ‘Namby Pamby’ because despite being 100 miles and only having a 50% finish rate … it is all mostly flat and run on quite well maintained surfaces. This is the same man, however, who thought nothing of running the 23 miles from his home to Tylney Hall on the morning of our Christmas party, then getting changed to attend the festivities and finally leaving the dancefloor around 2am…

So, with only a little push from me, he has now enrolled and begun planning, training and preparing for the Marathon des Sables … not this year – but in 2016.
Completing this challenge will be a truly mammoth undertaking – so the correct amount of planning needs to go in to ensure things go as smoothly as they possibly can.

Even with the exacting medical, there have still been fatalities in this race … and this acts as a sobering reminder of the potential outcome of going in without a plan at all…

Right then … we’ll be setting up a small website to cover all of Lee’s shenanigans shortly, and like Dale’s tropical efforts will have permanent links from my blog and the re-vamped Waverley media site as soon as my Techie Minion has completed the rest of his ‘to do’ list …

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

“I Could Do That…”

The New Year is, traditionally, when we all unhatch our new plans (or decide to jump onboard something we put on hold because of Christmas) and will usually involve us seeing something somebody was else doing, (and doing rather well) and thinking ‘I could do that’

Yet, we can often be still sat there in March, April or even after, still not having started anything at all, wondering quite what went wrong that big plan we had…

So what happened…?

It seems that after the initial ‘I could do that’ there can be little twinges of self doubt, which cause ‘obstacles’ – both real and imagined – to roll in until what seemed so simple just a few minutes ago is now completely obscured behind an unassailable mountain of problems…

I’m sure you know all the standard ‘reasons’ that get in the way … being ‘too old’, ‘too young’, ‘too busy’, ‘too poor’ or even ‘too dim’ to do whatever it is that is in front of us … but all the time seemingly forgetting what it was that made us think we could do it in the first place…

I’m not talking about walking in blindly in a cloud of optimism either – I’m simply suggesting that we put our doubts under the same exacting level of scrutiny as we seem to do routinely and quite effortlessly with any opportunity that comes along…

If you think you’re too old … does age really have anything at all with what you want to do? … and if so, what is it about your age that makes it a problem, and how can you then solve that problem ?

Take yours truly, for example. I have confessed many times to being very good at a couple of things, passable at a few others and laughably poor at pretty much everything else..

The relative success I have enjoyed seems to have come in no small part as a result of finding ways of getting round those obstacles and problems I entirely lacked the knowledge or the resources to solve at the time.

So, if you see something and think ‘I could do that’ … don’t let that thought disappear in the face of the very first doubt. Instead, start by making sure any doubts you have are based on a real problem, not a perceived one…

Then, examine that problem carefully to try and discover a solution … so that in a couple of month’s time, you’re not sat there wondering what happened, you’re actually enjoying all of the financial and personal benefits that first sprang so vividly into your mind when you first thought ‘I could do that’.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

There’s Nothing Revolutionary About Saying The Right Thing…

The other day I came across something that rather caught my eye… amongst all of the ‘happenings’ at a local venue, was an appearance by the rather magnificently named ‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’.

‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’ are actually a string quartet, and I m sure a truly excellent one … but I what I found fascinating on this occasion was just their name…

You’ll agree, the very phrase ‘drawing room’ immediately brings to mind the more well to do classes and just reeks of establishment, the whiff of cigar smoke and rather good Port… but the addition of revolutionary instead gives the phrase a slightly unruly, unkempt and probably untrustworthy quality.

I was left overall with the idea that a ‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’ would be a place that perfectly sane, well adjusted folks would enter, but would leave instead with ‘views’ on the natural order of things and start doing things of a turbulent nature like asking for a pay rise or leaving the heating on all night.

Yes, that last sentence was very tongue in cheek but the comic exaggeration will hopefully underline just how much just one word can change the whole feel of what is being read – and it’s that I wanted to talk about today.

You see, when visitors come to your site, open your emails or read a printed piece you’ve sent them, the very first thing they read is all important… so choose those words very carefully.

For a start, you need to say something that confirms they are in right place (if it’s your website) and will make them want to read the rest of what you have to say.

My copywriter (well, this is what he tells ME, anyway) takes almost as long with the first few paragraphs of any work he does for me as he does the rest of it put together because he knows if the reader’s attention hasn’t been grabbed at the start… the rest won’t get read anyway.

So, if you’re not a professional copywriter or don’t have years of experience under your belt – how do you know when you’ve written the right or the wrong thing? Well, you quite simply look at the results…

You could send half of your readers to one written piece, and the rest to another, and see which gets the best results … then by changing small pieces and testing the results again (and again) you’ll see what works and what doesn’t…

Of course, you should always be tweaking what you do, building on the good results and learning from the rest … and remembering that if things aren’t going that well, just changing one word can make all the diiference…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Don’t You Know Who I Am…?

It was back on the second morning of a particular quick getaway that I began to get a little worried….
Despite being quite a distinctive and hopefully memorable chap, I usually can walk around without anyone batting an eyelid (a situation I don’t mind at all) … yet, in less than 30 hours at this hotel, surrounded by various oligarchs, retired footballers and the occasional ‘what’s-his-name’ from TV, no less than a dozen people I had never spoken to in my life said ‘hello Tim…’
I began wondering what I’d done to deserve such recognition … I was a regular guest at this particular hotel, certainly, but there was no explanation why I had suddenly become so ‘public’
I was racking my brains for anything I may have done to achieve such notoriety, but compared to some of the other guests I was basically anonymous and, believe it or not, extremely well behaved.
The mystery was solved by a glance in the new edition of the hotel magazine – I was mentioned, alongside my photo in their list of ‘famous’ guests underneath Angela Merkel and some US vice president – but above the footballers and soap actresses.
If you’re stifling a bit of a giggle at the thought of me being mentioned as ‘famous’, I can assure you it’s nothing compared to the good laugh I had, or the near apoplectic state reached by ‘She Who Must…’ who teased me mercilessly and repeatedly pointed out that they must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel…
A reminder, if any was needed, that the solution to a problem is usually very simple if not immediately obvious. I could have spent days wondering what was going on, when the answer was plain for anyone to see in the hotel magazine … (which I rarely looked at, as being a regular guest, I already knew all about what the hotel had to offer.)
We can all overthink things sometimes, especially with the complexity that is usually attributed to the things we do online, it is easy to expect the answer to a problem to also be complex … but that’s not always the case.
If your website is unusually quiet, it may be for many reasons, many of them nothing to do with you.
It may well be quiet because your content is poor, or your offer is terrible … but one quiet phase might also be because Christmas is looming large and people are looking at different things online (for instance spending more time buying presents on Amazon than doing whatever it was they usually did on Facebook) or that the country where a lot of your traffic comes from has a public holiday. (Like Thanksgiving in the US for examplee)
So, if things are suddenly not going as planned, before you decide to make sweeping changes or re-think your entire strategy, just have a quick check to make sure it’s not something head-slappingly simple that familiarity has caused you to overlook.
All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If You’re Paying For Your Traffic, You Need To Read This…

A couple of months ago, you may remember I told you about an office debate regarding the virtues of SEO versus just buying your traffic, and found that in a majority of cases, you would be better off spending the time you might spend on all but the most basic SEO working in the pub and then spend the resultant wages on buying traffic.

Of course, this got the old grey cells going, and I tasked a couple of my ‘Minions’ (I’m not being harsh – my in-house team decided to call themselves this, which, if you know the film ‘Despicable Me’, is actually a joke at my expense) with coming up with some pointers so you get the most from every click you pay for.

I told them not to re-cover old ground by reminding you about targeting – there’s enough said about that already – what I wanted were things we can do after we’ve actually got that click…

In an effort to look intelligent, they came up with quite a few, which I will have them put down in detail during the coming weeks over on the Tims Minions site (and obviously I’ll link to them from here when they have) but in an effort to keep this to a reasonably bitesize and actionable length, I’ll just go over a couple here…

Firstly, make sure that where the click takes them is exactly where they need to be. If the link they clicked was ‘Three ways to remove cat hair from your sofa’ make sure it takes them to that particular article on your site, and not just to the homepage of your website about cats – this may seem obvious but we couldn’t believe how many people are making this one simple error.

Secondly, give your visitor plenty of reasons not to hit the back button. It is a sad fact that regardless how good your copy or call to action, the majority of visitors won’t actually do what you want them to when they land on your page.

So, rather than leave your site entirely, give them options that take them to other pages that give you another bite of the cherry … for instance a list of other articles at the bottom of the page that will keep them on your site and reinforce the idea that they need your service or really, really ought to subscribe to your newsletter.

Thirdly, and this one made me raise an eyebrow and I required the Minion in question, to ‘explain himself’ was the option of actually having other peoples advertising on the page. Obviously not where it will distract them from buying, joining your list or whatever else it was you wanted them to do, but ‘below the fold’ or right at the bottom of the page, places they are likely to scroll down to just before they are about to leave your site.

So, in conclusion, if you’re paying for your clicks … don’t waste them. If the page converts your visitor into a buyer or a subscriber, all well and good – but remember more than half of the time it won’t, so you need to give your users another alternative rather than to use the back button, giving you more chances to get your message across .. and if all else fails, try and monetise that last, exit click.

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

A Tale Of Two Sofas…

“Hi Mate – Got Your Sofas!”
“You’re Four Hours Late … And I’m Not Your Mate”

This was the brief exchange that accompanied the arrival of my new sofas, more than four hours late, just a few days ago. However, this was not quite how you would have pictured it if you had been stood next to me in the showroom a few week before..

It all started when ‘She Who Must…’ decided we needed some more sofas – words that will no doubt fill most of the chaps reading this with a familiar  feeling of dread, as they will know the hours of ‘joy’ that awaited me.

True enough, there followed many visits to several ‘too trendy for words’ showrooms full of breathtakingly expensive furniture  and salesman with perfectly managed facial hair (but curiously enough, no socks) and a few trips along a great deal of the M4, before it came down to a choice between the final two…

One of these was from one of more down to earth boutiques and the other from somewhere we had discovered online , then popped over to to take a closer look. The only difference, it seemed was that the boutique sofas seemed to be about four times the price of the other ones.

As you know, I don’t exactly have to watch the pennies … but it is only common sense, regardless of how much money you happen to have, not to pay rather a lot of money for something when you can have what appears to be the same thing for a quarter of the price elsewhere.

Of course I had my doubts, but I am also fully aware that often high end retailers of various housewares are not above getting a manufacturer to put their logo on a bath, chair or whatever and then charge seven times the amount the manufacturer sells the unbranded item for.

To be fair, the ‘cheaper’ example piece was very nice indeed, and the chap who showed us round managed to answer my questions until I was moderately satisfied (apparently the savings were to be found by limiting the options on the range, buying those few materials in bulk, and not having a big shiny shop draining the profits … but I still had my doubts.

Still, the result of a conflab with ‘She Who Must…’ was that we would opt for the cheaper version, and with the assurances that our order would be of the same quality as the one we had seen at their HQ, we left to await delivery…

Which brings us to just a couple of evenings ago when they were delivered four hours late… and on arrival had very little in common with the one we had seen first hand – the pattern on the striped material didn’t line-up between sections, the seat filling had been replaced with something inferior to what was ordered without any notification and the legs weren’t even on straight.

Of course these issues are in the process of being sorted out, but the lesson for us here is to always make sure that, unlike this bunch of rudderless buffoons, what you deliver in your business is every bit as good as whatever it was you showed them prior to taking their money.

Whilst you will always get those who have an almost microscopic knowledge of your advertisement but almost no familiarity with, or willingness to follow, any instructions you may have provided for them to achieve the advertised results … you have to ensure that you at the very least give them what you said you would.

I know it seems like quite a basic thing to say, but if you planned to sell fifty of something and you end up selling five hundred, I’m sure you can imagine there must be a temptation to cut a few corners to lighten the workload a bit … however if it was the quality of what you were offering that got you those five hundred orders, subsequently abandoning that quality is not the way to go.

Better to talk to your customers to let them know the situation, or get in extra help (provided they can also offer the same level of quality as you advertised) rather than do a rush job, and potentially damage your relationship with your customer more than asking them to wait…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Mix It Up’ for Maximum Impact…

Here at HQ, we are often asked when the optimum time is to send that email, or that piece of printed mail so it gets the best response and for maximum impact – or to put it another way … to get the greatest number of sales and make the most money ?

Well … the answer, I’m afraid, is not a short one.

Nor would it be the same answer I would have given you 10 or 15 years ago. You see, since the advent of the internet and massive increase of the use of mobile technology, the way we receive information has changed massively.

Conventional wisdom used to be that you communicated with people on a weekend when they had time to ‘deal’ with it, and that used to be absolutely correct – but the recent blurring of lines where work stops and home life begins can mean that it is often not the case at all.

What we have now is a world where (rightly or wrongly) people will live chat with their family members at their desk whilst also doing work, respond to texts from spouses or do their online shopping during their lunch break, sat at their desks using their work computer.

Also (again, rightly or wrongly) they will also do work ‘stuff’ out of hours like answer work emails while they are on Facebook in the evenings.

The upshot of all of this is that in the last few years people tend to ‘ring fence’ their weekend and keep that for messing about with the kids, hobbies and not look at things nearly as much as they would during the week.

So, if the weekend isn’t the prime time it used to be – when is ?

The answer then is to not be predictable in any of your communication, be it email or anything else. If you communicate with the same people at the same time every week, it is only human nature for them to get ‘used’ to the routine, and over time, attach less importance to it … regardless of how important it actually is.

Better then, to vary when you speak to people, so that your subscribers do not subconsciously pre-judge the importance of what you have to say, so you can get your message across to achieve the best possible response.

In a nutshell then – there isn’t really a carved in stone time to communicate, but instead introduce a level of variation so that makes your email or letter a subject of some interest rather than part of a repetitive routine…
Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Do You Have a Pop-up Profit Plan?

Don’t be alarmed by the use of the word ‘pop-up’ … I’m not going to start advocating the use of those dreadful things that irritate you while you’re browsing … but actually a different kind of ‘pop-up’ altogether – one that’s entirely more popular…

I recently had a particularly splendid evening which involved a gorgeous meal cooked by one of the country’s top chefs … but without actually setting foot in a restaurant. The venue was in fact the chef’s house, and although published beforehand, the menu consisted only of what the chef wanted to cook – and I must say the intimacy and informality of the whole thing gave the evening extra appeal.

Part of the reason for this intimacy and informality was that the chef in question only does this a few nights a year (which is why the term ‘pop up’ is applied to this sort of affair). It’s become quite a phenomenon with the chefs enjoying it as much as the guests (though it might seem like a bit of a busman’s holiday to you or I) and the idea seems far too good not to migrate over to the online world.

So could you, aside from the information given on your website – invite your subscribers to receive extra information in a separate event where you communicate more directly and enhance the relationship with your customers…?

You might stop and think at this point – isn’t that just doing a webinar? Well, in essence yes, but when we think of webinars now, we think of things we tune into at the same time every single week – and of communicating with subscribers of different levels of experience, all at the same time.

When you apply the whole ‘pop-up’ idea to this you can do things more as and when, for smaller groups who may have a specific thing or share a particular problem. You may well find that these smaller groups are the ideal forum for users to talk about things they wouldn’t bring up in front of a larger audience.

We’ve been doing them for a couple of weeks to see how well they would be received – and the response has been almost unanimously positive – so we’ll certainly be doing more in future – and I will conclude by strongly recommending you consider adding them to your repertoire of relationship building tools…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Social Media or Socially Medieval…?

With the increasing trend of young couples announcing their wedding or the impending birth of a child ‘officially’ on Facebook … and the fact that if you want to have a ‘proper’ argument with anybody these days it just has to be done on Twitter … you may be forgiven for asking that if you’re not on every Social Media platform in existence, are you missing out…?

Outside of my business, I use social media very sparingly. I really can’t see what’s wrong with actually speaking to people and have long been of the opinion that anyone over the age of 30 using the term ‘LOL’ should receive some sort of short custodial sentence.

On a business level, though, you probably need to be using the same types of Social Media as your prospective customers. For most of us, this will be just a Facebook Page and a Twitter account – or if your business is in a niche where there is a strong visual element – like fashion or interior design – having a Tumblr or Pinterest account wouldn’t go amiss.

New Social Media platforms seem to be emerging on an almost weekly basis, so what you must be careful of, is not to dive in with both feet and start using any new social media platform without first at least having some idea how it operates … and it might be an idea to open some sort of trial account and having a look around so you can make all of your mistakes before opening the account that will become your business presence.

Rest assured, though, that the same golden rules apply just as on any other type of media – social or otherwise … utter nonsense is still utter nonsense and  good intelligent useful content is still good intelligent content … regardless where you are posting it. If people like what you are doing they will share, repost, reblog, repin, retweet or ‘like’ it.

One word though, if you are contemplating trying a new social media platform … I’m told that all social media still ‘loves’ pictures – so you may well get even better results if your words of wisdom are accompanied by an image. Stock images seem to be fine and I’m also told that if you don’t fancy paying out for them, you can find plenty of free ones, perfectly legitimately at www.sxc.hu

So, are you a complete Social Media novice? … or are you at the other end of the scale and most of your new business comes from your thriving, growing Facebook page or Tumblr account? Either way, I’d be interested to know what you think – drop me a line at timlowe@markiteer.com and I’ll send a copy of my ‘Millionaire Mindset’ to any that particularly catch my eye…

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Our Research Suggests…

I always cringe slightly when I see a news story containing the phrase ‘new research suggests’, because I know that over the next five minutes I’m going to be told that whichever fad, gadget or lifestyle choice that was going to help me live forever only six months ago is now just as likely to make my head explode…

The likelihood, of course, is that neither will happen, and that the result of that ‘new research’ was heavily dependant upon who was being asked, how they were being asked, and who was doing the asking … or to put it another way, any research you conducted regarding, say, ‘interior design’ just outside Laura Ashley, would get different results to any you did outside Halfords…

The other thing about research is that it is really, really, really boring to do. Obviously I delegate it now, but back when I did it myself … the list of things I would rather do instead was very long indeed.
Researching on the internet can take a very long time. There’s niche research, competitor research and keyword research just for starters, and it all needs doing while we’re all ‘fired up’ to get things rolling quickly and we’d much rather be doing the more fun stuff like putting our site together.

As a result, often the research isn’t done quite as thoroughly as it could be…

We see it all the time. My Minions have cast their eyes over many ‘failing’ websites only to find that the site is excellent, the lead capture and follow-up is excellent, the product is brilliant but the site is drowning in the same niche as bigger competitors who buy a similar, inferior product by the container load and sell it on Amazon or eBay for a fraction of the price.

In this situation, there’s no way the little website will be on the first page of Google and the competition means the cost of advertising would bankrupt them quite quickly. So in short, they’ve manged to do everything brilliantly – except do their research … and for that reason they really are going to be up against it.

I’ve often thought the phrase ‘First, Find A Niche’ should be expanded on in any set of ‘how to’ instructions in our industry. I think it gives the impression that it can be done in five minutes, and it just doesn’t convey how important it is.

I’m not entirely sure the answer is to outsource the research either. My Head Minion, before joining me, outsourced a lot of his research but only got back what he suspected were ‘half hearted’ results … and the only way to check the validity of what he was getting was to basically do it himself anyway (which obviously defeated the object of outsourcing it in the first place)

In conclusion, I think ideally we’d all like our research done for us automatically, where we could just turn on our computers and it would churn out a list of customers for us, complete with their contact details, and all we had to do was just offer them what they needed – surely that would be a ‘no-fail’ way of running an online business ?

As ever, I’d be interested to hear what you think – would a business like this just be ‘pie in the sky’ or could it actually ever be achieved? I look forward to reading your answers…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Don’t Be Guilty of Premeditated Stupidity…

I have been talking in recent weeks about the sometimes arbitrary nature of many rules  – and how they can be an obstacle to getting things done. The ‘Pièce de Résistance’ of utter daftness though, is when we see something that not only inconveniences the customer, serves no purpose whatsoever AND potentially costs the company that makes it both customers and money…

To really illustrate how daft his can be, I need to tell you about what happened when I first boarded the ship on my recent cruise…

We’d been on board a couple of hours, been plied with a few drinks and taken to our room where I noticed that while all of ‘She Who Must’s…’  mountain of luggage was present and correct .. one of my bags, the one I usually take everywhere and contains all my usual paraphernalia, was very conspicuous by it’s absence.

A quick enquiry with our steward, (a sterling chap with whom I concocted various schemes to stretch many of the ships ridiculous rules to breaking point … but more of that another time) saw him disappear and return with a quizzical look … apparently it had been confiscated and impounded because it contained an ‘illegal’ item…

My sense of bewilderment continued as I was escorted through various decks to the security area where my bag sat in an area all of its own with the security staff creeping around it as if it was a sleeping lion.  What, I asked, could I possibly have in my bag that was so dangerous it merited such extreme treatment…?

Well, it seemed in my usual bag, the one I just shoved everything that could be useful when I’m out and about, among the spare pens, phone chargers and the like was, not a small nuclear device, or a canister of nerve gas but … my Swiss army knife.

The same Swiss army knife with a blade shorter and blunter than the knife I would be using to cut my dinner an hour or so later – really, if I wanted to hurt somebody with it, I would have to throw it at them. It might be an unkind thing to say, but it did seem the ‘security team’ had taken it upon themselves to impound anything sharper than them…

Of course I got my bag back (I did, however, have to wait until we docked back home to get the knife) but it was the conversation that I had with the ‘Security Chief’ that I still have trouble getting my head around…

If I had decided to, during dinner that night, have a funny turn and carve my way though half the guests with my fish knife in a murderous frenzy, it seemed to be less of a problem than leaving me with a Swiss Army Knife, that was used almost exclusively because it had the right size screwdriver to fix my glasses … because any action I took using the Swiss Army Knife would be pre-meditated !?!

I feel that I need to almost apologise for the excessive punctuation, but I thought the level of abject buffoonery involved merited it.  Now, imagine for a moment you were encountering this in the high street or online … of course you would not put up with it and you’d go elsewhere.

Now, obviously you can’t impound your customers …  but you certainly can impede them with things like making the most popular features on your site hard to find by not having a link on your homepage … or asking them to enter their login details every time they go from one application to another or, the biggest sin of all – making your order page too complicated. (For instance, asking your customer to fill in both billing address and delivery address, even when they’re the same … or there is nothing to ship.)

This actually happens more than you think, especially if your site is quite old, and the newer features have been added more recently and are all crammed in one sub-menu, or you used to ship physical products and now they’re download only … but you haven’t changed your order form template.

It’s silly stuff like this that can make all the difference, so give your site (or sites) a quick test-run to see if you’ve made anything hard to access or left something ‘lying around’ that might get in your customers way…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

This Shocking Fact Surprised Even Me…

It has to be said, most things do not surprise me. Least surprising of all is that when I travel abroad, ‘things’ tend to happen…

For instance, nearly getting in a massive amount of bother for apparently secreting a ‘deadly weapon’ in my luggage (actually, that one takes a lot of explaining so I’ll have cover that next time) now seems to be merely par for the course, as did finding yet another grumpy French Taxi driver…

I had intention of going over to Monaco, so toyed with the idea of instead of just getting a Taxi straight there, getting the cab to Nice airport (which was a little bit closer) and hiring a car for the day and having all the extra flexibility that came with it.

I did not enjoy my conversation with the Taxi driver at the front of the rank. The quote to Nice airport seemed quite excessive for the 6 or 7 miles involved and when I asked why the Taxi driver spent the next five minutes doing what my Head Minion would describe as ‘going off on one’.

His subject matter was, for the most part as unintelligible as it was venomous – the only word I could make out was ‘Anglias’ and it was supported by some interesting hand gestures … luckily, a second taxi driver explained more reasonably that the trip to Nice airport involved fighting through some appalling traffic jams so was therefore more expensive. 

Armed with this information, I decided that going straight to Monaco was the better path. But there was no way I was getting in the cab with the first snarling halfwit, and told him so in a way that absolutely no hand gestures were required at all.

Because there was some ridiculous rule that the front cab had to taken first, I had to wait while the first driver was taken for a walk to calm down and smoke half a packet of cigarettes, and he then left shortly after with some poor unfortunates in his cab who had not witnessed his outburst … leaving me free to take the second cab…

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what did surprise me, and how it is all connected to mad French taxi drivers…

Well, it wasn’t that well over a quarter of my website traffic doesn’t come from traditional sources like laptops or desktops, or the fact that for most other businesses, it’s much, much higher (closer to half in fact). What actually did surprise me was the fact that nearly all of those businesses have done absolutely nothing about it.

Think about it. These businesses have done nothing about the fact that nearly half of the people who go to their website, ultimately with the intention of spending money on a product or service – are looking at the business website on their iPad or more usually their phone and because the website was built to look good on a normal computer … having their screen filled with half a logo – or worse.

 

What do these people do when confronted with half a logo or text so small they can’t read it? Of course they go elsewhere. People are so used to getting the information they want almost immediately, that if website A doesn’t have a readable answer, they’ll just move onto website B instead.

The message here, of course, is even if something is the ‘first cab in the rank’ by being #1 on Google or anywhere else for that matter, if it is even slightly hard for people to get what they want, they will simply do what I did – which was to leave the unintelligible nonsense behind them and take the next option.

Again, I’m sure you will have your own thoughts on this subject, so please feel free to hit the ‘reply’ button and tell me what you think…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

It’s 2014 … do You Even NEED A Website ?

The other day, my attention was drawn to a post on a Facebook page by a local businessman who had (probably in response to seeing excessive advertising from Wix and the like in his newsfeed)  declared – no, I don’t need a website it’s 2014, not 2004…

Which did, of course, start the debate here at HQ … with all the other platforms around (principally Facebook) that you can display & communicate on, usually for free … why would you go to the time and expense of actually having a website?

It would be easy to understand those that stood in the ‘no website’ camp. They would tell you they do as much business via their Facebook pages as their websites, That Facebook has plenty of traffic, no mucking about with SEO or Google … it is, in fact ‘the internet within the internet’ that people feel comfortable in, and don’t really like to leave…

However, we came to the conclusion that, people who take what they do seriously, will definitely need a website … and strangely enough, for exactly the same reasons I just stated above…

That’s because along with all the positives of having a Facebook page, the underlying but obvious factor is that it is a page on Facebook. It is owned by Facebook, not you, and is subject to whatever Facebook want to do with it.

So, if Facebook decide for any reason (and they don’t have to give you one) that they don’t like your page (even if they thought it was wonderful yesterday) – they can remove it ….

That all may sound a bit medieval, but it happens more than you think … and if your Facebook page is where you get your business from, that’s also your entire business gone … just like that.

Another recent development within the last 12 months or so is that if your Facebook page has 15,000 or so ‘likes’ any post you make will only be shown by Facebook to around 10% of those people – if you want any more than that, you have to pay to ‘boost’ your post.

So again, if all your business was coming via your Facebook page, that’s 90% of it gone overnight.

The other factor in why people may interact with businesses as much as they do on Facebook is of course the vast array of phones, tablets, phablets (yes, really) and various iThingies to access the internet, as well as the more traditional laptops and desktop PCs … and Facebook works perfectly on all of these, displaying whatever people are after in whatever they are using.

So the answer is, then, that of course every business needs a website … but you’ll agree that to get the best from that website, it needs to act more like a Facebook page, with the same accessibility but at the same time still be 100% under your control so the business can grow without the worry of your main online presence being shut down or stifled as part of the latest ‘update’…

I’m sure there’s more to be said on this matter than can be contained in one email … in fact the debate in the office went on long after we all should have been doing something else, so I would appreciate your take on the subject, and look forward to hearing what you have to say …

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Could Your Problem Be Solved By Using A Little ‘Italian Common Sense’…?

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that the rules we encounter are the ‘enemy’ of common sense, and are just there to impede our progress at every turn … but an encounter with an Italian gentleman reminded me that rules don’t have to be a problem as long as you don’t look at them in purely black and white terms…

It was during a recent cruise that ‘She Who Must…’ and I stopped in Livorno in Italy and ventured forth towards Pisa (of leaning tower fame) and then over to Florence with the intention of learning as much about these two cities as we could in the shortish time available. To do this we had the benefit of a witty, charming and intelligent local chap called Ignatius (English spelling) who ensured we didn’t miss a thing … and at the same time also introduced me to the concept of ‘Italian Common Sense’

“Tim,” Ignatius mused as we wandered around the sights, “If I see a pretty girl walking past – I look at her, it’s just common sense … or if the wine is very fine or the food is particularly good … why would you not eat and drink … it is common sense.”

I could find no flaw in that … or with his observation that “You are driving down a long straight road, and there is nothing else in sight except a Stop sign at a crossroads, you can see for miles and there is no traffic coming in any direction. Now, the Americans, the Germans … even you English, Mr Lowe … you would stop, even if there is no reason to. But if nothing is coming – why would you stop? It is just common sense not to do so, is it not?”

As somebody who has sent more than one clipboard waving flunkey away with a flea in their ear myself … we of course got along famously … and I was wondering exactly how we could all apply a little of Ignatius’s ‘Italian Common Sense’ to improve our lot…?

Now, before I get a deluge of finger waving emails containing the phrase ‘flagrant disregard’ I should point out that, yes, rules are important when they serve a purpose and keep people safe … but I’m sure you’ll agree there a very few rules that you could consider to be applicable 100% of the time..

This is because, often lost amongst all the ‘Thou Shalt Not’ that gets put in our way, is the actual reason why a rule was made in the first place … and it’s knowing what that reason is, that happens to be the important bit of a rule – not just obeying it blindly

So, what we often get is people with no imagination following rules for their own sake and other people, with even less imagination than that, making sure they are being followed, all without the vaguest inkling why any of it’s being done (think: “place your liquids in this plastic bag and no you cannot put those of the person travelling with you in the same bag…”)

What you and I should look for is the reason behind the rule, see if is applicable to our own situation, and make our own decision based on that … to do anything else makes about as much sense as not eating good food, not drinking fine wine or pulling up at a stop sign when there is clearly nothing coming for miles.

Don’t just think this applies to the kind of rules dreamed up by people with clipboards … for us it applies every bit as much to the arbitrary rules we impose upon ourselves and are usually enforced by those we speak to on a daily basis … rules like “I can’t do this because – I’m too young or old, rich or poor, know nothing or have been ‘bombarded’ by too much information…”

I think I can safely say that without exception we’ve all been told at some point that we’ll ‘never get anywhere’ or were going to ‘fail dismally’ by plenty of well meaning souls who know ‘how it all works’ … but believe me when I say it’s those who tend to apply a bit of ‘Italian Common Sense’ to the situation that seem to do quite well for themselves…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

 

Why ‘Hyperspace’ Isn’t Necessarily Better Than A Snail’s Pace

It seems these days we can have pretty much anything we want, delivered or downloaded to wherever we happen to be, in just a matter of moments … my question today is – because we can do things ten times faster than we could five years ago… does that present just as many issues for us as when things arrived really slowly – quite literally, bit by bit…?

As you’ll see, faster is not always better … as was shown to quite graphic and hair-raising effect while I was on my recent Port Tasting trip…

Our first taxi driver must have previously enjoyed a career as a getaway driver and considered a tenth of an inch as a perfectly acceptable distance to keep from other vehicles, either in front or by the side, and travelled along at speeds you would only normally hear mentioned on Star Trek…

We arrived at our destination a bit shaken but in just under 7 minutes, a fact that is especially significant when I tell you we made the same journey in similar traffic the next day … and it took 28 minutes. I joked at the time the second driver was in fact the brother of the first, and presumably drove in a more sedate manner in case he met his bother coming the other way…

I think, given the choice, only a small minority of people would have opted to be in the first cab, slightly more in the second but I think I can safely say most of us would have preferred something in the middle, as we get quite uncomfortable when things happen either too quickly, or too slowly.
Taking it back into the digital world for a moment, imagine you had paid a hefty sum for something you’d bought online … which is delivered via download and takes only seconds to arrive.

Now, without the digital equivalent of a really good ‘out of box experience’ (I’ll come to that in a moment) … it would only be human nature to look at what was sitting in our downloads folder and think ‘is that it?’

I think we have the expectation that as much effort went into creating our new purchase as we put into earning the money to buy it, and when we add that to a natural distrust of anything that might look like a ‘rush job’, it is easy to imagine the customer feeling shortchanged …

This, of course, means that they start using the product in a negative frame of mind – and increases the chances of them refunding when they might not otherwise have done.

So, how do we turn this potential stumbling block to our advantage … well, there are plenty of ways of doing this, but here’s one that springs to mind that is quite easy to implement…

How about something along the lines of an ‘introduction video’ that your customer would download first, and would play while everything else downloads. It could just be thanking them for buying your product and re-emphasising the benefits of what they are investing in or even be a ‘quick start’ guide showing them how to get going.

They could then start using your product in a different frame of mind entirely and get the full benefit from it, something that they may not do if they are feeling a little hard done by…

As always – I look forward to hearing what you think, or what your solution to the problem would be … and there’s a FREE copy of my new book ‘Tim Lowe’s Millionaire Mindset’ for whoever comes up with my favourite…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Ignore This Simple Rule And Watch Your Customers Just Fly Away…

I’m sure you will have heard me talk about my ‘Special Case’ … if you haven’t, don’t worry – it’s nothing sinister – just a specially designed box that I take with me on my travels to transport back home any bottles of Wine or Port that particularly catch my eye.

However, on my recent Port Tasting break, those halfwits at BA had some sort of luggage belt issue going on and failed to fly my ‘Special Case’ over with me … and when they did finally get their act together, they intended to fly it over and deliver it to my hotel ASAP… which would have meant it arrived one hour after we had actually left on another BA flight (so it’s not as though they didn’t know where we would be…)

As you can imagine, I felt a ‘brief chat’ with BA was required, and resulted in them being told to leave the case exactly where it was … and any bottles that took my fancy were to be shipped direct to Lowe Towers at BA’s cost. Now this was particularly handy as my case held just 8 bottles … but with BA now picking up the tab for shipping I’m sure that you can guess I picked up a few extras…

But the fun didn’t stop there … you see, my instruction to not bother flying my ‘Special Case’ over had been ignored, and in a bout of well intentioned incompetence, BA had sent it over anyway so we could pick it up from the airport when we arrived to take our flight home.

This, you might think, was rather good of them – except for the fact it was now over the other side of the airport at ‘arrivals’, which could only be accessed from ’departures’ (where we were) by getting clearance from, it seemed, about a dozen security chaps, each one more harder to locate than the next…

So,  90 minutes, 4 piles of paperwork and countless security guards later we got to ‘arrivals’ only to find the case had now been transferred over to where we had just come from … so I was less than amused when I boarded the plane – with my ‘special case’ having to be carried on as hand luggage.

Was my ‘Special Case’ allowed to be put in a store or vacant spot on the plane where it would have fitted perfectly without causing any trouble?

Of course not  – due to ‘health and safety’ it had to be stored in a overhead locker which I then had to strain to reach because the steward, also quoting ‘health and safety’, was ‘unable’ to help me … a situation which could have very easily ended up with me dropping that very heavy case on somebody’s head.

What’s the lesson here? … when you mess up badly, (something we all do occasionally) and the customer comes up with a simple way to make it ‘right’ … then just do it an don’t try and be clever.

‘Over delivering’  is all well and good on products or services that you’ve created and know back to front, but try it with something you have little or no control over (and that you’ve already got wrong once) you can easily make matters even worse….

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why it’s Better To Be Occasionally ‘Lightweight’ Than Permanently ‘Lite

I have just returned from a short break with ‘She Who Must…’ port tasting somewhere nice and warm, and while overall I had a splendid time, It started with me thinking the natural order of things had been thrown into chaos and the world had, quite simply, gone mad…

You see, after we had been at our first port tasting for several hours , I was rather distressed that ‘She Who Must’ had matched me glass for glass … and I felt a little light headed whilst she did not…

This was followed by a quite splendid spot of late lunch at which ‘She Who Must’  scoffed more of the rather excellent cheese and Iberico Ham than I seemed to be able to manage … and started talking of ‘pushing on through’ to dinner whilst I was actually going to suggest a restorative nap.

The result ? … ‘She Who Must’ dubbed me a ‘Lightweight’ … it must be my age.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of my stay putting things to rights, and the word ‘lightweight’ was not heard again … but never being one for half measures, I still maintain it is far better to go in resolutely and perhaps fall a little short (as I did on the first day) rather than go in half hearted and only achieve a fraction of what you could have done.

I see it so often with ‘lite’ (a word I truly detest) versions of this and that, including products in our own industry where you can buy a rather limp, apologetic version of what you actually wanted for a fraction of the price.

For me, it always sets the alarm bells ringing … that it’s all about lack of commitment, and a level of compromise that makes me wonder if it’s actually worth the effort …

Which then presents this rather uncomfortable question – what are you offering to your business, a fully committed version of yourself who’s willing to go the distance … or are you just going in ‘lite’, and splashing around a bit and seeing what happens ?

Before we go any further, let me perfectly clear I’m not talking about the amount of time or money you are able to commit here…

You can achieve more with half an hour’s resolute action than you can with any number of days skirting round what needs to be done, and get much better results from following through with something you paid just a few pounds for, than you would with thousands of pounds of materials sat idly on the shelf.

I read many years ago that if you treat it like a business, it pays you like a business, and that if you treat it like a hobby, it pays you like a hobby … so if you’re not happy with what’s coming out of your business … you could maybe take a look at how much you are putting in…

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Exactly How Much Information Is ‘Too Much’ Information…?

Seminars … Meetings … Bootcamps … Workshops. Call them whatever you want – I have been there at literally hundreds of them.

At some point, usually just before the first coffee break … somebody will be talking about the challenges we all face in this business and utter the phrase ‘there’s too much information out there’ or complain about ‘information overload’ … and nearly everybody else in the room will nod sagely.

Now, of course I understand totally what people mean when they say that, though it has to be said also that it is very much a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type of statement, and poses a practically unsolvable problem.

You see, we are all hungry for results, and usually those results are wanted quickly … so the temptation is to jump in with both feet and absorb everything we can possibly lay our hands on…

But … because we were blissfully unaware of how much we didn’t know – we are soon swamped with a mass of information which may, or may not, be relevant to what were actually are trying to achieve.

To makes things even more interesting, we all start from different places, working toward different goals, so will require different amounts of information to get things done … information that we will all take different amounts of time to process, before we’re ready to move onto the next step.

You’ll agree, it’s like only having one class in a school … teaching the same thing to all the children at the same time, regardless of age, ability or what they have already done … and paying no attention at all to what the children actually wanted to learn in the first place.

Now, I’ve been thinking about this very problem for a while now and am currently working on something a bit special that may serve as the perfect solution … (but I’ll have to let you know more about that in a couple of weeks time) … but for now, the best solution is to concentrate on just one thing at a time…

It may seem obvious, but the amount of enquiries I get from Lowedown readers who seem to think they need to be brilliant website creators … SEO experts … fully conversant with both Facebook and Google advertising … complete Social Media whizzes … and then in their spare time create products and offer outstanding customer service … and they think they need to do all this by, at the latest, next Tuesday…

Clearly, this would be next to impossible to achieve, and it’s certainly not the way I, or anyone else you may ask for advice, did things when they first started out.
It is a case of picking one or two aspects, working on those until you are confident with them and then adding more stings to your bow – which is, really, pretty much the same way we learn everything else.

So, would you agree then, that the problem might not be that there is ‘too much information’ but rather that the perception of how much we think we have to learn before getting started is much greater than it actually is?

I look forward to hearing what you think…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Watch Your Bottom Line Grow by Having The Greatest ‘Guest Experience’ Around…

‘Guest Experience’ … yes, it’s one of those phrases that make us cringe, the kind of phrase invented by those who call a drainpipe a ‘Rainwater Management System’ and has the sole purpose of making something sound more important or complicated than it actually is.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that in the US, they are very big on the whole ‘Guest Experience’ thing – and do you know what? … It ‘sort of’ actually works…

When I stayed at the St. Regis in Washington D.C. the other week, I encountered an excellent chap called Alex (who you’ll hear more about in future Lowedowns) who was not only the ‘curator’ of the St Regis ‘Guest Experience’ but also the hotels ‘Cultural Attaché’ … who, in fairness, didn’t take himself nearly as seriously as you might think, really knew his stuff about the area and even took guests on quite entertaining guided tours of the hotel – delving into the history of the building, in all its previous incarnations.

All of this, of course, added more character to the stay – and as a result the St Regis became much more than just four walls and a bed, which I am certain leads to many word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat bookings – especially from their ‘high end’ clients.

Creating a good ‘Guest Experience’ of your own can really affect your own business by decreasing refunds and increasing repeat business.

Remember, by the time the customer is using your product or service, you’ve already paid out for the advertising that got them there, or put in all the effort optimizing your SEO or plugging away on social media … so why on earth would you not do your level best to keep them onside?

Now, I’m not saying interrogate everyone who asks for a refund … after all, if you offer a no quibble guarantee it must be exactly that … but what you must do is work hard at cutting back on the things that may make people ask for a refund in the first place.

For instance, run yourself through exactly what happens post-purchase. Getting people set-up and started is usually one of those key points, as once you customer is up, running and happy – you are spending less of your time on support and your customer will carry on paying for your product or service for that much longer.

Let me give you a quick example: Say you have a product that is a 12 month course, being charged at £30 a month…

If your ‘Guest Experience’ at the beginning is particularly poor and you get a refund rate of 40% during the initial guarantee period, and then a more normal rate of people cancelling their subscription over the following months, each customer would be ‘worth’ an average of £129 over the course of that year.

However, if you improved your ‘Guest Experience’ to the point where that figure dropped to 20% of refunds in the first month instead of 40%, even with the same subsequent cancellation rate, your return per customer over that year would grow to around £179…

As you can see, even in that rather basic example, that’s an extra £50 per customer, without any additional cost to you except tightening up your ‘Guest Experience’ … not to mention a greater percentage of satisfied customers who would be more likely to buy from you again, and again…

So, next time you hear a phrase like ‘Guest Experience’, before you dismiss it as a load of transatlantic nonsense, delve a little deeper, see what it actually entails, and see if it can be adapted to help your own business.

All The Best
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Go On, Be Original – It Will ‘Take Their Breath Away’…

Regular Lowedown readers will know that one of the things I believe in very strongly is that to be successful, a key factor is injecting some of your own personality into everything you do …  as this will make you memorable in your customers eyes, and stand out against a backdrop of what are often faceless, identical alternatives.

I discovered another excellent example of this on my recent ‘fact-finding’ trip to the US, when, while on a day’s R&R, I decided to take a helicopter tour around (and down) the Grand Canyon.

My pilots name was Cody, though this was not the unusual part (I sort of assumed that all US helicopter pilots would be called Chuck, Brad or Cody) what set Cody apart, was that Cody wanted, very badly indeed, to be ‘Top Gun’ era Tom Cruise.

In fairness, beyond having the same number of arms and legs, Cody bore no real resemblance whatsoever to Mr Cruise, but had gone to enormous effort to exactly mimic the sunglasses and short sleeved shirt … and I’m sure it will come as no surprise to find the particular helicopter company he had chosen to work for was called ‘Maverick Tours’.

Strapped into his helicopter, we took off and began the tour with the Top Gun Theme on the helicopter PA, with the tour commentary punctuated with other snippets I seem to vaguely remember from the film, and finally emerged from the canyon itself to what can only be referred to as the ‘whistly bit’ from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Was the route Cody took through the canyon, or the information he gave us in his commentary, any better than what you would get from any other Chuck or Brad? – probably not … but the way he’d injected a bit of personality into proceedings certainly made it more memorable.

So, if I were to repeat the Grand Canyon tour again at some time in the future – would I make a beeline for ‘Cody Cruise’ again – of course I would … and would I recommend that anyone else considering the Grand Canyon tour to seek out Cody rather than spend a rather sterile tour with somebody else?  Definitely.

It’s the same with everything we do in our businesses. What we do can look almost identical to everybody else – especially to anybody looking from the ‘outside’.

Typically, the one business or individual that will find the most success will be the one that offers all the same things as the others, but also has that little bit of extra individuality or personality that makes them memorable…

Remember, the one thing that is definitely unique about your business is you, and the way you inject your personality into your business  and ‘do the same things differently’ can really make it stand out from all the others.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why You Should Never Try And Second Guess Your Customers…

Before we start today, a quick ‘paw’ update … the thing that was neither ‘Gout’ or ‘A Splinter’ turned out to be, after a brief minor operation, some sort of fibrous lump causing the discomfort. This, however, wasn’t the important part … the important part as far as this edition of the Lowedown is concerned, was why they got my lunch wrong…
I had ordered both the baguette and the goujons, but the orderly type chap thought he knew best, and without checking with me, assumed it was an either/or and only brought me just the goujons. Obviously I was disappointed, and expressed my displeasure to the greatest extent that having only one working hand would allow…
As I sat recuperating at home the next day (not using the hand wasn’t that difficult, but the stuff they gave me for the pain did nothing for my co-ordination). I was wondering how often, just like that orderly, we think we know what our customers want, better than they do … and the possible pitfalls that await us as a result.
When you’re putting together a particular product or a system, I know that often there is a minimum requirement regarding time, financial investment or prior knowledge involved . This will of course limit how flexible you can be and will inevitably exclude some people.
You’ll agree, then, that whenever possible, you should try and offer a variation of options to cover as many different levels of time, investment and knowledge as you can … in short – giving the buyer what they want.
This can arrive in a number of forms, either as an initial product with an ‘upsell’ offering more support and help or even a ‘downsell’ where a cheaper version is offered , in exchange for the buyer doing a bit more of the ‘work’ or for a greater payment a bit further along the line.
This model has been somewhat abused in our industry to the point where often the buyer isn’t sure what they’re actually getting , or to get something that actually works they have to get all of the upsells, which was not really what they wanted when they clicked on ’Buy’ for the first time. For this reason, I suggest anybody should use this method rarely, and be absolutely transparent when they do.
The preferred option is to offer all of your options at the same juncture in the sales process so the buyer can effectively compare the merits of each and make the best informed decision. These would often come in the shape of, for instance, ‘gold’, ‘platinum’ and ‘diamond’ packages… (you notice Silver and Bronze have been discarded as they imply second and third best … and nobody really wants that.)
As a final note, while you’re offering as much choice as you can, be wary of erring on the side of making things too complicated so try and stick to only three or four options offering a range of prices and levels of support so you can attract as many buyers as you possibly can.
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Isn’t It Time We Had A National ‘No Nonsense’ Day ?

Today, Saturday May 3rd is quite a special day it would seem…

It appears to be one of the few days that isn’t the ‘national day of’ something or other, one of those quite annoying trends of American derivation (as are some of the dafter days I will mention further on) that appears to be working its way over here.

Tomorrow is, I’m told, national Star Wars Day, a date much derided because it is based not only on a film but also on a pun (May 4th be with you), but how is that any dafter than many of the other ‘special’ days or weeks we hear about ?

Whilst I totally understand and support national days like St Georges Day (a magnificent day for more than one reason) or a day dedicated to raising awareness for a little known disease or condition, or for a group of people having a particularly tough time … but when it comes down to things like world Pig Day or National Karaoke Week (both a sad reality on the other side of the Atlantic) I really do shake my head in dismay.

Of course, many of the ‘national’ days or weeks for certain products or industries are a blatant marketing ploy, but one we might do well to avoid in our industry – because despite the fact they get medium level publicity from many local news and current affairs programmes that have a schedule to fill, it is by its very nature only temporary.

This is because anybody that is likely to have filled their cupboard with spuds because it’s national potato week, will the following week have the same space filled with something entirely different that’s flavour of the day, week or month … with the previous fad already abandoned.

It is precisely the same with jumping with both feet into whatever the latest ‘fad’ is in our industry … of course you should keep an eye what is going on, and find a use for any elements that are a good fit for the way you already do things, but making wholesale changes for short term gain is very rarely a good strategy.

It is better surely to set yourself aside as providing something that none else could or would offer (the ‘USP’ you will hear mentioned over and over again) to present you with a steady stream of business that you can build on rather than have extended fallow periods broken only by short unsustainable bursts every time you manage to grab onto the coat-tails of the latest fad…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

By The Way … I don’t have a section on any of my websites called ‘Really useful stuff you really should have but won’t cost you a fortune’ but if I did – ‘30 Minute Infographics V2‘ from ‘friend of the Minions’ John Banks would certainly be in it.

It can make the often tedious, bewildering and frequently expensive job of creating good looking, eminently shareable graphics for your website or Facebook page into something relatively quick and easy to do, and costs less than £20. If you do any sort of marketing on, or get traffic from, any sort of social network at all, I suggest you take a look.

Here’s the link http://jvz6.com/c/76905/89961

 

Would You Be Better Off ‘Abandoning’ Google ?

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it discussed … nor will it be the last.

Is it better to play the Google ‘game’, research your keywords, work on your SEO, keep your content fresh and relevant and get those all-important backlinks … or just abandon Google altogether and pay for your traffic.

There’s a frequent debate in the office regarding whether you would get more traffic if you spent time on doing SEO-type stuff, or spending the same amount of time in some form of extra paid employment then spend the resultant wages on advertising.

After many pages of scribbled notes, furrowed brows and a few sharp intakes of breath, it was decided that the answer was … it depends.

You see, if your site was extremely ’niche’, then the SEO route would probably be better, as there is every chance that your site would show just as high in the rankings as any results you may have paid for, no matter how cheap they were.

On the other hand, if your site was in a more popular niche then the amount of competition would mean there are so many more sites to get past on the SEO front, and the amount of work needed before you saw any results at all would be enormous – which could mean you may well give up before you ever really got going – so in this scenario, paid advertising may be the better way forward…

The amount of competition will, of course, mean that advertising will not come cheap, even on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but you would certainly get some traffic to get you started.

The other answer, the ‘Tim’ answer if you will is, as you would expect, to do both … or at least a bit of both. There is nothing to stop you spending part your time working on your SEO, and the rest doing whatever it is you do to get funds so that you can advertise.

This way you are equipping your site to attract a steady stream of natural traffic, (if not now, in the future) while you at least get some early results from the paid advertising, even if it means you’re not quite getting the amount of return you may have originally envisioned.

The lesson here then is that while commitment is admirable, you should never to put all your eggs in one basket – especially the one marked ‘I’m going to try and do everything for free’.

Aside from the fact that your time isn’t really ‘free’ – doing things this way from scratch can be a long, hard road. Instead, mix in a bit of paid traffic so there’s still a bit of instant gratification, some immediate results that could take an awful long time coming otherwise … and that early traffic will also tell you whether or not you have been barking up the wrong tree entirely.

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

20 Ways To Waste Your Time Instead Of Getting On With What You Should Be Doing…

Firstly, please forgive the rather tongue in cheek title of this edition of the Lowedown, but as you read on, you’ll see it makes my point perfectly…

We all love a ‘Top 10’ type article … and don’t advertisers know it. A visit to almost any site will present you with a selection of ‘recommended reading’ ‘related posts’ or ‘from around the net’ type stories all promising to list the ‘20 greatest fashion disasters’ ‘top 10 movie mistakes’ or ‘5 biggest secrets the food companies won’t tell you’

This sort of thing is obviously very popular … and I suspect we’re all going to weaken and fall into this particular time-waster trap every now and then, so when you do – keep one eye on the techniques that are being used.

Firstly, look at the copywriting tactics used … whilst far from new, the methods used to create the titles are specifically written so you click on them, so they may merit some study …

So, even whether the article you clicked on was quite niche like ’20 ways to clean your Labrador’ or something more general and emotive like ‘The 5 best pictures I’ve ever seen (the 3rd one made me cry)’ examine what it was that appealed to you and made you want to click through and read more .. then obviously have one eye on this when you write your own ads, article or email titles…

Secondly, the delivery of the information all follows a similar pattern – where the nuggets of wisdom you clicked through to read are almost buried under a pile of advertising and delivered as a list or slideshow … which means either you have to scroll past a whole load more advertising as you work your way down the ‘list’, or every slideshow frame refreshing the page so that a new mass of advertising is displayed.

The result of all this is, of course, that whoever owns the website exposes the visitor to a lot more advertising for just the one click, and generating 5, 10 or 20 times the amount of revenue they normally would.

It’s an interesting business model which is only really viable if a post goes spectacularly viral, so the obvious strategy is to make the content as shareable and clickable as possible to get this to happen, (regardless of actual quality of content).

Let me be clear though, I’m not suggesting anybody copy this model exactly (for the very reason I’ve pointed out above) … what I am suggesting is that you see what and how you can adapt their techniques to work for you … something like, if your articles or posts are a little ‘wordy’ try spreading over several pages to increase any advertising revenue or look at the way these article titles have been written and use similar tactics in your own work…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The 5 Minute 37 Second Working Day…

Patience.

Some of us, like Birdwatchers, fans of Cricket and those waiting for something intelligent to be tweeted by a celebrity, obviously have it in abundance.

As for the rest of us … and some here at HQ, or more specifically back at Lowe towers would include me in this camp … well, we probably wouldn’t count it as our strongest suit…

So it would be fair to say then, that  if I was to tell you that you could use this handy trading system to profit in as little as 5 minutes and 37 seconds a day … it would appeal even to those with the smallest amount of patience…

What’s more, I’m told you’ll only need the smallest of bankrolls to get started, there’s no websites to build, nothing to sell (so no customers) and no techie stuff to worry about. In fact, it all arrives on one of those USB drives you just plug into the side of your computer … and you’re off.

So, if your working day did actually only last 5 mins and 37 seconds … what could you do with the rest of the time?

Well, to start with, not necessarily anything you wanted, because I’m told usually the initial returns are quite small, but as your bank builds you can really unlock the kind of lifestyle you may not have thought possible…

And, as all you need is a laptop and access to the internet, you can ‘clock in’ from pretty much anywhere in the world … (or even, just like the couple behind this system, from your own 44ft yacht)

As a quick reality check though, I have to point out that it’s not all ‘plain sailing’ … if you look at the results (you can see them, warts and all right here) you’ll see one month you would have only made £20, and another, actually  lost £220…

… but on the other hand, the rest of the year would have seen you pocket somewhere between £1470 and £6920 each month … which adds up to a rather handy £31,630 … not bad considering there was no tax to pay … and had a working day which lasted only a few minutes.

So find exactly how you could end up pocketing a days wages in the amount of time it used to take you to write your to-do list, click here now

It could make all the difference…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. This might not have you buying your own Caribbean Island just yet, but I’m sure an extra £1470 or even £6920 would make the end of the month that bit easier … and if you’ve looked at other trading systems and thought it all looks a ‘bit much’, then this is certainly worth a look … click here now

Put Everything In Its Place, Including Your Business…

‘She Who Must…’ often tells me we have ‘Storage Issues’ … but, as Lowe Towers is quite substantial by most people’s standards, I’ve always maintained we have enough room …  yet unauthorised furniture occasionally appears – only to be sent off to be professionally ‘roughed up’ and come back an entirely different colour…

This is, apparently, so that ‘everything’ has a place. Now, far be it from me to suggest that ‘She Who Must…’ is ever anything but entirely correct, but I think she does make a point here that is particularly valid as a reminder to almost everyone reading this…

I’m not going to start suggesting that ‘everything having a place’ means you should all start tidying up and keeping your desk clear (after all, you know what they say a clean desk is the sign of…) but instead that, where, and just as importantly when, you work on your business, needs to have its own dedicated ‘place’ among everything else that you do…

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a room or area you can just shut the door on when you’re ‘working’, maybe you don’t … but you do need to try and create somewhere you can go without being disturbed too often, and focus on what you are doing without the kids running past every five minutes, the dog needing to be let out or the other half filling you in on their day.

It also helps if you can make set times for doing things, so maybe you do your business stuff while the other half is watching the soaps or the football, or after the kids have gone to bed … and believe me, half an hour’s dedicated time on your business is worth any 4 or 5hrs sat with your laptop on the sofa in front of the TV.

This may seem obvious but take a moment to be honest with yourself about the last time you shut the door on the outside world and dedicated at least half an hour to getting things done without getting distracted by non-business emails, what’s happening on Facebook or checking out something online that is only marginally relevant to what you are actually trying to achieve.

It is one of the great ironies of this industry that, when you start your home business, it is usually with the intention of spending more time with your family … and yet the first thing you normally end up doing is spending what little time you actually had at home locked away trying to get things going.

However, if you spend that time focused on working hard at doing the right things, it shouldn’t be too long before you start seeing the rewards on both a financial and personal level…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is This A ‘You Too Can Have A Range Rover’ Kind Of Ad?

Yes, I know  it’s kind of an odd title, but, as you’ll see, this comment left on Facebook about one of my ads unearthed a few interesting points about how Facebook advertising works … but more importantly an insight into what makes people tick…

A few weeks back , I started my new ‘Tim Lowe Marketing’ Facebook Page (please feel free to pop over and click like) 😉 and accompanied it with a new Facebook advertising campaign to acquire likes, and also the occasional extra reader for the ‘Lowedown’.

Now, as anyone who reads regularly will know I’m a strong advocate of continual testing and improvement, so this campaign started of with around 28 different ads…

Words are always important, but the big thing with Facebook ads, it would seem, is the image that accompanies it – it needs to ‘grab’ the attention of the Facebook user despite everything else that is there to distract them. I trialed a couple of dozen images … obviously some of me, some of happy people round laptops, some quite abstract … in fact every type you could think of…

It turned out that the most liked, the most clicked, the highest converting ad over the testing period was not happy, attractive people sitting round a laptop, or some abstract graphical representations of success, but the one which sported a picture of me dangling out of my Range Rover.

All that was left now was to run the ‘winner’ as a full campaign … and that’s when the most interesting thing occurred…

A few comments started appearing underneath the ad, the most reasonable being the ‘Is This A ‘You Too Can Have A Range Rover’ Kind Of Ad?’ comment which forms the title of this piece, and a few more less complimentary ones about me deliberately using that image to ‘tempt’ people in … when the reality is that this image was chosen from a host of others because it was the one that people found the most attractive…

I’m sure you’ll agree that what it comes down to, is that we are all attracted by images like that (and while I would maintain that me standing on the footplate of my car in a Surrey churchyard is not exactly me ‘flaunting my wealth’, but I’m sure you get my point) the problem is often that we are not honest enough with ourselves to admit it…

After all, we all love shortcuts … or a ‘magic button’ that gets things done the easy way – why wouldn’t we? The prospect of getting exactly what we want for little or no effort would appeal to anybody despite what the reality actually is … and although we know that some things we see online are at best ‘dubious’ … I suspect some might prefer it if it was true.

This led me to another thought – one I’ll leave with you … are the people who sell ‘Make $40K in 5mins’ type systems for $47 – the ones that have me shaking my head, almost on a daily basis – are they creating false expectations … or are they in fact merely satisfying a demand ?

All The Best,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Sore Paws, and Pause For Thought…

Well, the results are in and it’s not quite as expected … the number one suspect for my ‘Sore Paw’  – (which was Gout), is now out of the running and instead  it looks to be something entirely more trivial, though all of the great medical minds that have prodded me over the last week are yet to decide exactly HOW trivial…

So, whilst I’m not making light of people who do suffer with Gout (let me be very clear on that point), at least it seems like a proper ‘gentleman’s’ affliction, and not at all like the new front runner, which is suspected to be … wait for it … a splinter.

A deep and very painful splinter, yes, but nonetheless a splinter. So, while I await the scan which will reveal all, the ‘General Quack’ has given me some tablets to reduce the swelling in my paw, so it doesn’t resemble one of those giant hands readers may remember Kenny Everett sporting as ‘Brother Lee Love’

The mention of splinters in paws will for many bring to mind the ancient tale of Androcles and the Lion, you know, the chap lost in the desert, who, contrary to what we’d expect, pulls the splinter from the injured lions paw, only to be spared by the same lion, much later on, when he finds himself cast into the arena.

The tale is a simple one, making a direct link between a single act of kindness which resulted in a life saving event … and despite the statistical unlikelihood of anything like this ever actually happening, we can all easily translate the message into ‘reap what you sow’’ what goes around comes around’ or ‘Karma’

Now, I’m not a big one for talking about things like Karma … but it is not unreasonable to suggest that if you are fair and honest in the way you go about things, that in the majority of cases, you will be treated honestly and fairly yourself … and if you are repeatedly dishonest and underhand, word will get around and nobody will do business with you.

To put it more bluntly, it’s always easier to go for the short term gain – the equivalent of Androcles running away, or doing the lion a mischief with a nearby rock – and to make a ‘quick buck’ by making dubious promises to customers and offering them things based on how much money it makes for you, and not how useful it is to them …

It is much harder to build relationships and provide useful, honest advice … not jump on board every ‘launch’ or fad product that comes along.

This will define, as your business grows, whether you are someone who will, in general, be supported and have your efforts applauded … or be someone who others will want to see ‘eaten for breakfast’.

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Nearly an Armful … or, more probably, ‘Carry On Jabbing’

Despite several weeks of being ‘stoically brave’ and at least two decent attempts at ‘bucking up’ … my left hand had progressed from merely uncomfortable, to the point of being quite painful, so I decided to take myself off to the Quacks for a prodding.

A brief chat with the General Quack soon led to an afternoon to be spent with the Consultant Paw Supremo who decided the cause of my discomfort was one or more of a short list of moderately unpleasant things … but to be sure which one it was, he just had to take some blood. I was then bundled off into a separate room to be greeted by two Nurses – a diminutive Slovakian who introduced herself as Marianna, and her more robust South African colleague.

As there are other things I would rather do than have needles stuck in me, I tried to bring a bit of levity to the situation by asking Marianna if she had ever heard of the Carry On films, and instead of the expected ‘no’, delivered an almost perfect ‘Ohh Matron’ … as made famous by Kenneth Williams as ‘Dr Tickle’ in, I believe, Carry On Again Doctor…

It turned out Marianna was often in hot water for ‘sending up’ the senior staff using her near faultless Dr Tickle impersonation, and continued to amuse me as she tried, and failed, to find a vein from which to draw the necessary blood.

Marianne’s more substantial colleague now stepped forward and tried to extract the sample from less conventional places, only with even less success … and was now hampered by Marianna fussing around in the background, maintaining her Amazonian colleague had hurt me and the only way to make up for my multiple puncture wounds was a cup of tea and a biscuit…

Now, ‘squabble’ is quite a strong word … but nothing else springs to mind to describe the scene next to me as I sat there – only to see another chap glance round the curtain … a chap, it seemed, who was one of those public school types who only seemed to be able to communicate by using a series of exclamations … “ah you’re one of Magnusson’s chaps aren’t you?” … “Blood is it?” … “Should be done by now really” … “Here let me…”

Before this new arrival was allowed anywhere near me, especially waving a needle around in a rather haphazard manner, I had some questions … “Who exactly are you?” being foremost among them … the newcomer replied that he was the Consultant Urologist from down the corridor (but there’s nothing wrong in that department!)  – and coincidently the one who was the most frequent recipient of Marianna’s leg pulling…

So, needle in hand, and every word he uttered being repeated back to him as ‘Dr Tickle’, he piled into the chaos enthusiastically but couldn’t get any blood either – but it didn’t stop him trying…

So the real scene that eventually greeted the Paw Supremo was truly one to behold … a scene, quite aptly more at home in a Carry On film than reality…

The Consultant Urologist waving a needle around, barking ‘nearly got it that time!’ and ‘one more go!’ the two nurses squabbling in the background, stopping only so Marianna could do her impersonation, and me sat in the middle of it, looking more amused than annoyed and thinking maybe if I ran a hospital, it wouldn’t be entirely unlike this…

All of this, finally, gets me to the point I was going to make … sometimes; sorting out a problem does involve getting in some outside help, and what they get up to may be slightly out of your comfort zone and, like my visit to the Quacks, seem more than a little like chaos at first…

This however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Often getting that extra bit of help may be exactly what you need to progress, to help you do those things that you don’t know how to do, or to open your eyes to resources you never knew existed.

I’ve continually found that the answer to a problem is usually only one email or phone call away … and it’s deciding to ask for that help is often the stumbling block…

Until Next Time … (And with all due apologies to the medical profession and in particular the consultants in question, who I sincerely hope will continue to try and mend my sore paw!)

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Time to Reflect, Assess & React

Quite short and sweet today, because as much as I know the vast majority of you enjoyed the recounting of my experiences in the South of France (and that was just the bits I could tell you) the fact remains that its now March, and over 1/6th of this year is behind us … already.

So, for some of you reading this, that news might be a painful reminder that all those big plans you were saving until ‘after Christmas’ are still sat there untouched and gathering dust and that ‘getting a  move on’ might be the next thing on your ‘to do’ list…

But for others who have taken action this year, it’s already the ideal time to reflect on what you’ve done so far this year … what worked well, what went not so well – and things you won’t be trying again…

‘Why so soon?’ You might ask – well for a start it’s not that soon, it’s March – and regular ‘stock takes’ of where you are and what you’ve done allow you to make frequent small manoeuvres instead of massive sweeping changes … and also because, quite frankly, it’s never too soon to stop doing something daft.

I’m sure some of you, especially those who may been subjected to corporate ‘leadership training’ a decade or so ago, will be familiar with the ‘Gordon the Guided Missile’ speech by John Cleese, (I think it’s proper title is the ‘Importance of Making Mistakes’ if you want to go looking for it in YouTube)

As much as I love all things Python, I won’t repeat it all here – but instead, summarise … just like a guided missile enroute to its target, you need to check and adjust regularly, correcting those frequent small deviations, or ‘mistakes’ along the way.

What this means to you and I, is that by making those small corrections as you go, you’ll lose hardly any momentum at all … and you’ll also find that those regular reviews don’t allow you to develop the same emotional attachment as you would to something you’ve had on the go for 6 months … where the thought of making wholesale changes might cause you to give up altogether.

So, take some time over the next day or so to ‘tot up’ where you are with your year so far, make any adjustments you need to make with things that aren’t going so well … and, of course, make provision to do lots more of those things that are bringing the greatest rewards…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why Just One ‘Johnny Cab’ is So Much Better Than Any Number of Imaginary French Taxis

Today, I’d like to talk about customer experience. Getting a customer ‘in the door’ either physically or figuratively is probably one of the most expensive and labour intensive things you have to do … so when they’re there it’s key that they leave happy, and are likely to come back again, preferably quite regularly, and ideally for bigger and better things as your relationship with them grows.

Firstly, let’s look at my customer experience at Heathrow … where, because ‘She Who Must…’ and I were only going to be away a couple of days, I had booked in advance into business parking because it’s cheaper and easier than getting a taxi.

The car park gate has number plate recognition so you are let in without any fuss, and because I booked in advance I know I had a space. Then, best of all, we got into one of those automatic shuttle taxi things (I always call them ‘Johnny Cabs’ after the ones in Total Recall) and were in the terminal in just four or five minutes…

Contrast that, then, with what happened while we were over in the South of France…

This was the day after the ‘Gallic Shrug’ incident I talked about a week or so ago. We had reached our destination, met up with our friends and decided to spend the evening at one of the areas famous and exclusive eateries.

Now, despite this being a Saturday evening, it turned out the vast majority of places to go were not open that evening – or indeed any evening this side of Easter … and everywhere else had been booked weeks in advance.

As I never like to take ‘No’ for an answer, after some ‘negotiations’ I was able to organise a booking in a rather exclusive restaurant secreted away in a vineyard. Our friends had been in the area for a week or so already, and had been using a local taxi company for their various trips here and there, so it was to them we explained our travel arrangements … a 7 seater taxi, for 7pm.

7pm passed … and my friend‘s ‘chase up’ call to the taxi company not only resulted in a denial about any arrangement involving taxis, but a complete refusal to acknowledge that my friend had been using his taxi all week, or even that he existed atall…

Calls to other companies could not garner us another 7 seater, but we were promised 2 cabs, provided we could wait until 8pm.

8pm came and went, and along with it the last vestiges of my patience… a brief ‘instructional’ phone call eventually resulted in not two, but only one taxi with the owner explaining (with compulsory ‘Gallic Shrug’) that despite what he may have promised on the phone, this was as many taxis as he owned….

So, at Heathrow, the service I had booked in advance was accessible and working, all the correct resources were available – and it all went smoothly,  with no further prompting from me to make it happen … what most of us would, rightly, class as a good customer experience.

Yet just over 24hrs later, the experience with the French Taxi drivers was one of them not following through on promises, denial of responsibilities, providing inadequate resources and just plain being dishonest to get the job, and then doing only half of it.

I think it’s relatively easy to grasp the point I’m making here, so I won’t go into too much detail except to say, if the ‘French Taxi’ scenario is reminiscent of how you do things, and you’re not getting the kind of results you want to, then that’s probably why…

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Avoid Your Own Valentines Day Massacre

Even though Valentine’s Day was over a week ago,  I’m sure that, just like me, you’re still hearing tales of woe about one poor chap or another making a right hash of even the simplest romantic gesture.

It is certainly a reminder that, no matter who you happen to be, and no matter how much experience you’ve got, you can sometimes be the recipient of criticism, even when you think you’ve done the right thing…

I think this was highlighted best by those poor souls who chose not to hand over their offerings of flowers or chocolates in person, but those who opted to have them delivered to their other halves’ workplace …  a surefire way of gaining a few brownie points you would have thought…

It turned out that yes, it was a good idea, but only up to a point … that point being when a larger box of chocolates or bunch of flowers arrived for somebody else, or one of her workmates asked – “What’s he been up to then?” or “What’s he done wrong?”

If we then take the analogy into our own industry, you see situations all the time where somebody has an uphill struggle with something brand new, because it is ‘not tested enough’ … but once it has been proven, it is then criticised for now being ‘old hat’, and the person who developed is suddenly a ‘has been’.

You just cannot legislate for this … I’m sure I’m not the only one to receive communication from those who don’t want to be involved with something because it looks ‘too difficult’ … only for the next message to be about someone keeping their distance from exactly the same thing because ‘something that easy must be too good to be true’ …

Just two quick illustrations that often, when you are trying to do something new or different … there will be someone looking to find fault with it.

You could be forgiven for thinking that you can’t keep everybody happy, and that somebody, somewhere will always go to immense effort to find in a way to fail rather than a reason to succeed – and then be very vocal about it…

I’m not really convinced it’s as simple as that – but I do know that just as surely as you have to fully address and satisfactorily resolve any genuine customer concerns, you need to rise above any petty baseless sniping aimed in your direction.

The trick is of course, to accept that it ‘goes with the territory’ and carry on plugging away, and not waste more than you absolutely have to trying and satisfy those who are purely looking for an argument rather than answers.

All The Best,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Beware The ‘Gallic Shrug’…

The South of France…  playground of the rich and famous, home to hundreds of millionaires and holiday destination for thousands more … where you would expect standards to be, at the very least, excellent … the facilities to be exemplary and the level of service throughout all the various nightspots, eateries and the entire infrastructure that feeds them to be absolutely faultless…

Or so you’d think…

It didn’t even start well. We got off the plane and ‘She Who Must…’ made a beeline for our luggage while I popped off to collect our pre-arranged hire car … only to find the desk completely shut.

I managed to corner an employee from the company in question, who was wandering around in a generally rudderless manner and who, despite working at an international airport only seemed to speak French…

However this seemed perfectly OK to him as he greeted my every question with what will henceforth be known as the ‘Gallic Shrug’…

I’m sure you’ve seen it … the palms are raised upward before the shoulders are shrugged and the lips, pursed in an expression of quizzical innocence make the sort of noise that, ironically, you would expect to be made by someone treading on a frog…

Anyway, the ensuing interrogation, punctuated by various amounts of pointing and waving, established that the only open desk was actually in the other terminal. So, armed with directions, I set off, and after nearly 30 minutes of walking I still had not arrived, but could, however, see the building … on the other side of a busy motorway. 

After the compulsory ‘Gallic Shrug’, the next uniformed buffoon I accosted directed me to the shuttle bus that ‘ran every ten minutes’ where I waited twenty minutes (Gallic Shrug from the driver) before being safely delivered to the other terminal … and another closed car hire desk.

The car hire people, I was told with another Gallic Shrug, had moved to an office in the car park, where I eventually found the right chap who told me the Mercedes I had booked was not available (Gallic Shrug) but I could have a BMW which was waiting for me in row J…

Row J, as it turned out, was not actually between rows I and K at all, but inexplicably hidden around the corner … so it was another 10 minutes and two more Gallic Shrugs later that I eventually contacted ‘She Who Must…’ (who was about to put me on the missing persons list) and told her I was on my way…

I should have, by now, known better.

The directions I was given, along with the signposting got me quite quickly to a point where I could actually see where I wanted to go, less than 400 yards away, but every conceivable way of actually reaching it ending in a roundabout, surrounded only by ‘no entry signs’

It was at this point I just brought the car to a halt, phoned ‘She Who Must…’ gave her directions to the roundabout, and told her to meet me there. This, of course, meant that I was causing something of a traffic jam – but don’t worry, I had the perfect solution…

I just greeted every beep of the horn, every flashed headlight and every raised fist by raising my palms upward, pursing my lips in an expression of quizzical innocence and shrugging…

As much as it would seem like the moral of this story is ‘have nothing to do with anything that’s even vaguely French’ … I’m afraid more practically I should point out that the message is, for those in any doubt – just because you think something really ought to be of a certain standard, make sure it is beforehand, and don’t simply assume … as you might well be caught out…

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. The tale doesn’t end there … there is more to come, including how some standards of French service can lead to you being locked in a Vineyard and why French taxi drivers seem to be entirely unaware how many taxis they actually own…

How Simple Changes Can Bring Huge Results…

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Now, I’ve always been very self-motivated, and never really had too many problems on the get up and go front – certainly where my business is concerned anyway.

However, I am aware this is not the same for everybody, especially those ‘one man band’ type businesses like mine was at the start … it can be easy to feel detached and occasionally meander around a bit when left to your own devices, or get stuck in a bit of a rut and get fixated with something small and only partially significant, when much bigger things are going awry…

Of course, when it comes to overcoming this hurdle, you already know what doesn’t work – endless to do lists, buying products to help with your time management (and end up not having time to open them) – I’m sure I don’t need to go on … but there are some simple things you can do to keep it ‘fresh’ that can have quite big ‘knock on’ results

For instance, simple changes to your your routine – strict timetables are great for self discipline, but if you keep them the same it’s easy to get too comfortable … try answering your emails at a different time of day, or trying to ‘hit’ that long term problem first thing in the morning rather than in the slightly drowsy hour just after lunch when you never seem to get too much done.

Try getting out and about – I’m not necessarily taking about spending the day in Starbucks, but I always used to feel better for a stroll at lunchtime, even if it was just to the post office and back (which was less than half a mile from my old home office).

The break, the fresh air and the change of scenery got the grey matter working again, and I always found I was more productive in the afternoons when I’d taken a break than when I believed myself ‘too busy’ and tried to work through.

Finally, talk to other people … if you don’t have anyone to hand you can use as a sounding board or fresh pair of eyes, you could try and connect with others on forums or communities or Facebook groups dedicated to your particular niche or field of expertise.

A quick word or warning here though, choose your contacts carefully – forums and communities can often be full of (and I’ll put this as politely as I can) whingers who are just looking for other people to whinge at about how difficult or ‘unfair’ it all is for them. So, when identifying others to connect with, it is vital you find other who share your mindset as well as your particular niche.

Interaction like this is important because I’ve found that things always improve and grow when you talk about them with others.

This year at HQ we’ve all been standing during our Monday meeting while we talk through what is happening in the coming week – we are achieving much more, because of the closer proximity to each other (no table in the way) and the extra sense of urgency that comes from just standing up.

I know that this is certainly not a new idea, and definitely not to be confused with the awful ‘huddle’ US style meeting favoured by some, but the act of changing something we did regularly has freshened the whole thing up and as a result we are getting a better results, and more of them

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How Passive Income Can Mean ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’

When I was at the Gym the other day, I’m afraid I might of caused something of a ‘scene’ … there I was, doing my workout with my trainer, when one of the other Gym regulars, a particularly charming lady by the name of Natalie (she had previously identified me as a fellow ‘mischievous’ type)  who was enjoying the Christmas music every bit as much as I was, asked, quite simply, ‘shall we dance…?’

Well, how could I refuse? … there we were, Natalie, Rob (my trainer) and I, all dancing along to Mariah Carey, while everyone else not only resisted our attempts to get them to join us, but also looked at us as if we were a little ‘odd’ … even though, for the most part, they themselves were either rowing on dry land, running and going nowhere or cycling on a bicycle that was welded to the floor…

Regardless of the ‘Bah Humbugness’ of my fellow Gym members, it reminded me of the subject of Xmas music, and it’s parallels to the kind of passive incomes that can be earned online.

Depending on where you look, the chaps from Slade will pocket something like £800,000 in royalty payments for the annual airing of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, and Fairytale of New York’ pulling in close to £500,000 for the Pogues, and the aforementioned Ms. Carey around £330,000. Still getting paid, for work they did just once, in the case of Slade, as long as 40 years ago…

It’ not just Xmas music, though – I’m told Carl Douglas of ‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting’ fame still lives comfortably from the royalties of that single hit … so, the question is – how can we replicate this in our online businesses ?

Well, if you think about it, what they’ve done is created something and receive a steady income from interest in it – just like if you were to write a book, or built a certain type of website…

You see, If  you created a ‘niche’ information website about, say, ‘The History of Bulldogs’ and surround your content with congruent advertising and affiliate links to relevant products on Amazon (books on Bulldogs, special Bulldog owners mugs etc.) … and did the necessary tweaks to make sure it could be found easily by those searching for information about Bulldogs …  this would then create income for you regardless of whether you were sat at your desk, walking your dog or sunning yourself in Barbados, and would continue to do so with very little intervention from you…

Of course, a simple site like this is not going get you the same numbers as the chaps in Slade, but what is to stop you creating, 5, 10 or even 100 of these  – all built and just sitting there, making you money with little or no involvement from yourself…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Well, That Was Embarrassing…

Last Sunday, there was some sort of ‘seasonal fair’ type effort going on in the country hotel which also houses my gym. I wasn’t really interested enough to notice whether it was to do with Christmas or Weddings, but it did seem to involve lots of poor chaps being marched toward the building by their nearest and dearest with distinctly resigned looks on their faces.

It also involved the car park being completely full, so I was redirected to the ‘overflow’ parking in an adjacent field by some chap wearing one of those yellow vests.

I won’t bore you with the details of the workout, because the important thing here was that while my personal trainer was putting me through my paces … it continued to rain, and rain, and rain…

When I emerged from the gym an hour or so later, energized but slightly tender … I really could not believe what I was seeing… the downpour had turned the field in which I had parked into something that could be described optimistically as ‘a bit spongy’ … but  much more realistically as a paddy field.

The first escapees from the ‘fair’ had already tried to leave , and they had got, at best, ten yards across the field before becoming thoroughly bogged down and were in the process of being pulled out by a mildly amused looking chap driving something that looked like (but may not have been ) a tractor.

Now I wouldn’t go as far as to use the word smug, but it was with no small amount of confidence that I got into my driver’s seat, thinking ‘ I’ve got a Range Rover this will be no problem … I’ll just pop onto the grass verge, go round all that lot, and be on my way…’

Before you paint me as some sort of villain, I should point out that I would normally have stopped and help pull a few people out myself, as I always do when snow seems to bring normal life to a standstill around Lowe Towers, but this particular Sunday, ‘She Who Must…’ was putting together one of her special Sunday Lunches … and it would be extremely unwise to be late.

So off I went … but before you could say ‘what can possibly go wrong’ it became apparent I had chosen an even boggier route, and was, like everybody else, completely stuck.

I was not expecting much in the way of sympathy … especially from the chap with the tractor who now tried to pull me out, (nearly getting himself stuck in the process) or from the procession of people going past either smirking, pointing, laughing or a combination of all three at my predicament.

I just sat there, looking distinctly sheepish, aware that I had committed the nearly impossible, almost unforgivable sin of getting bogged down in a Range Rover…

Of course I phoned ‘She Who Must…’ expecting a few harsh words about my timekeeping, but she saw the funny side and instead contacted as many of my friends as she could … and instructed them to phone me, just to ask me where I was … one of them laughed for nearly a minute…

So, I think, the point I should be making here is one about over confidence, and thinking you are indestructible (or unsinkable) when you most certainly are not.

Past successes do not always guarantee you future success, especially if you take your eye off the ball and start thinking this is all bit easy, or treating the people who were instrumental in your success, or even worse, your customers, with disdain … it can all go very sour very quickly and the effects on your online reputation can be not only be disastrous in the short term, but take a very long time to repair … and considerably more serious than sitting looking embarrassed as your shiny Range Rover slowly sinks into the English countryside.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How Dinnertime Disappointments Can Lead To Online Success

Desperate News … the Italian is closed this evening and I am having to eat raw fish again in the Japanese tonight…

Before we go any further, I should explain that I’m currently on a quick break somewhere nice and warm, but most importantly that I selflessly gave up last night’s ‘Italian’ or ‘Big Steak’ in order to satisfy other people’s lust for Chinese Prawns and Crispy Duck, on the understanding that I would be well fed tonight – but alas, as the Italian is closed, so it’s raw fish or the buffet…. 

I’m certain nobody would blame me for not wanting to delve into the Buffet, somewhere the whole meal is over in less than an hour and the only entertainment is watching parents trying to get their unruly offspring to sit still long enough to feed them food… 

…food which was once, to be fair, quite appetising, but has quickly turned into a well prodded mush resembling something that was shot at close range with a blunderbuss … and then only partially cooked.

So despite my noble sacrifice, despite all my plans, it just hasn’t gone at all as I intended and I’m stuck with a situation that I’ve just got to make the best of.

Even though this is a very tongue in cheek, over dramatised version of events – I mention it to illustrate that minor things go awry with monotonous regularity, and it’s usually with something considerably more important than what I’m having for dinner. 

Now, I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times that everything on a project has gone exactly as planned, and given my relative level of success in this business, I would suggest that even that minuscule percentage would be considered by many to be quite high… 

So I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s not so much the amount of things that go right for you that define your level of online success (although they are important) … it’s how you react to, and deal with, the amount of things that go wrong. 

I’m not going to say anything as trite as ‘it always pays to have a plan B’ or ‘be prepared’ because you may spend so long building back-up plans that you never get anything out there … but what I would suggest is to make sure you know enough about what you are offering so that you can react quickly and find solutions to what is causing any genuine and valid concerns among your customers. 

So, if your project is twitter based, you don’t need to know all of the minute intricacies of how the system works … but you do need to know the basic mechanics, so you can see where the problem might lie and which bits need tweaking, adapting or in some cases fixing or replacing. 

Just remember that nothing goes perfectly all the time … and when things don’t go as planned, it doesn’t have to be a disaster – if you can react to the problem, adapt or correct the situation quickly you can prove to your customers that you have the ability to follow-up on your promises, even in difficult circumstances, and not just ‘sell’ them something…

Until Next Time,
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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Can You Actually Make Any Money Online Without Spending Any Money…?

I know start-up capital can be an issue for some, but I am often left wondering why those with moderate means are obsessed with trying to get their online endeavours off the ground without spending any money.

This is, I’m sure, based around the ’well, if it doesn’t work, I haven’t lost anything’ principle – that is, at best, flawed logic … and ignores entirely how much money you could have made if you actually had invested some cash and made it work.

Now, if I was discussing a quote with a plumber and during the conversation he let it slip that his only training consisted of free tips he’d learned from the internet, I wouldn’t let him within 50 yards of my house and I don’t think you would either. Yet in our industry there seems to be some badge of honour involved with deliberately making it harder for yourself.

After all, we are not actually talking about the amounts of cash that stop American Governments from functioning, but more the sort of amount you’d spend to replace a small TV or get your boiler fixed.

Let me be plain though, of course you can make money online starting with nothing or at least next to nothing … I’m just saying that, if you’ve got it, things can be a great deal easier even with £200-£300 to invest … or to put it another way, it’s a lot easier to turn £200 into £300 than it is to turn nothing into £20.

Say, for instance, by doing the right things, you go from nothing to making £200 from your efforts in 3 months (more or less is easily possible, I just picked that figure at random) … which, if you really did start with nothing, is pretty good stuff.

However, if you did have £200 of ‘start up’ cash you could have used, but instead had the ‘I’m not spending anything’ mindset, it could easily have cost you thousands in ‘unmade’ cash…

You see, in month one you could have turned that £200 into £300-£400, in month two turned that into £600 and in the third month you could have upward of a £1000 sat there … that’s a difference of around £800 just 3 months … and over the course of a year ?  – well, you can work it out if you want but I know which I’d rather have…

I know what you’re thinking – “that’s all very well, but how do I actually do the ‘turn £200 into £400’ bit” … well, there plenty of options available, just get in touch and we’ll see what we can do…

By the way … if you want to make money online and you really are starting with nothing, of course I can help – don’t forget there’s a list of resources here, nearly all of which are free, have a free trial or free ‘lite’ option … and don’t forget to ask the Minions for a few ideas and nudge in the right direction (It is, after all, what they’re there for).

That’s All For Now,
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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

By the way … if you want to make money online and you really are starting with nothing, of course I can help – don’t forget there’s a list of resources here, nearly all of which are free, have a free trial or free ‘lite’ option … and don’t forget to ask the Minions for a few ideas and nudge in the right direction (It is, after all, what they’re there for).

So, Does Your Product Have the ‘Shiny Wing Mirror’ Option ?

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I must admit to being more than a little excited … no, it’s nothing to do with my results at the Gym (though I am very pleased with them) … it’s not even my new ‘£17K a month’ system that’s got me all hot under the collar (I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out about that one) … what’s really got me excited is my brand spanking new F-Type Jaguar…

Yes, of course it’s got extra everything, and yes, of course I got a great deal on the final price, but that wasn’t really the interesting bit … the interesting bit was how it was sold to me, and how much extra I ended up spending as a result…

Now, I have always said the money is in the back-end, but let’s face it, an F-Type Jaguar is already about as back-end as it gets  … and while I was fully aware I was being put through an up sell process, it wasn’t the type of upsell that we in this industry are used to (where upsells are at least the same price, right up to three times the price of the original purchase).

It was more a kind of bolt-on type process, like you can get with some mobile phone packages, except where we were starting was anywhere but basic. There was a plethora of different, extra, little bits …  all less than 1% of the original price – but they soon added up…

You could have the normal wing mirrors or the shiny ones for that little bit extra … and of course once you’d got the shiny wing mirrors you’d want the shiny vent covers to match, seatbelts to match your upholstery, plus a dozen or so ‘boys toys’ on the inside that gave you extra buttons to press or changed the lighting according to which driving mode you were in…

It all gave a very bespoke quality to my purchase, and I was pleased with every one of them but, even with me flexing every single one of my negotiation muscles, these individual tweaks and options put nearly 20% on the sale price.

What I left with, was an F Type that was unique to ‘me’ … just as Elaine Paige (who was leaving just as I arrived at the factory) left with one that was unique to her, as did the chap from rock band Iron Maiden, who had his and Mrs Maiden’s names embroidered into the seats and had the Jaguar badge – which is in fact called a Growler (no sniggering at the back please) – swapped for the ‘Eddie’ skull motif that is the band’s trademark mascot.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has got to do with your online business, after all, we’re not selling cars … well, neither, strictly speaking, were the folks at Jaguar – with those little extras and options, they were actually selling individuality and exclusiveness … and you can do exactly the same with your products.

If you’re offering 3 month’s support, maybe, for a little bit extra offer 6 … or a series of ‘extra tip’ type emails delivered to their inbox to give them the ‘edge’  … or some sort of progress chart or timetable to measure where they are whilst using your product … I’m sure you can think of a few that would work very well for what you are offering right now.

By offering these little extras to your customers, not only are you giving them the chance to tailor their purchase to exactly what they want, you are also adding a dash of exclusivity and individuality, and at the same time adding a handy percentage to your bottom line – definitely food for thought…

Until Next Time,
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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Should You Really ‘Copy Success’…

I saw one of those inspirational type posters earlier this week, and whilst I’m not normally a fan of such things (The only one we have at HQ is a picture of Alan Sugar pointing with ‘You’re Fired’ underneath) 😉 this one actually got me thinking…

The exact wording escapes me, but what the arty font and feel good picture was telling me basically boiled down to … “If you wish to be successful – copy success” … and while this of course is wisdom of a sort, you need to also apply some common sense but make sure you are actually copying the right things.

For instance, of you were looking for something on which to model the sales text for your latest project, you may think it wise to model it on the sales text of the best-selling product in the same field … but this, unfortunately, may well be the wrong thing to do.

You see, just because it’s the best-selling – it doesn’t mean it’s the best converting.

Let me explain … if a thousand people visit a website and ten buy, without reaching for the calculator we know we have a conversion rate of one percent. However, if only four hundred people visit a different website and eight are sold (giving us 2% conversion), the first website may have more sales, but the second is converting at twice the rate … so if you want the best sales page, you really should be copying that.

What you need to add into the equation as well as the product and the sales process is how much traffic it has received … and a major part of this; especially at a certain end of the market … is how appealing a particular product is to affiliates.

Those with a cynical eye could even look at the way some products are structured and suggest they were created with the affiliate in mind rather than anyone else, and the majority of the effort has gone into making something other people are willing to sell for you, and not creating the best product possible.

It is not uncommon for 75%-95% commissions to be offered; with even 125% in some cases (yes I know that doesn’t seem to make business sense but there are often back end products that make up the difference) and you really can’t blame affiliates for promoting these products rather than any others.

Now, I’m not saying this is a good or bad way of doing business, I’m just saying things like this can skew what, on the face of it, might be ‘obvious’ results … so, if you wish to ‘copy success’, by all means please do … but I would urge you to look very closely indeed at what you are using for your inspiration, just to be absolutely sure you know what it was actually successful for…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Ten Buck’ Offers … Genuine Value Or Just An Expensive Squeeze Page ?

I’ve never really followed football, but with all the merchandise sales and other sponsorship benefits, I can see how a Welshman could be worth over £80M, but I am at a bit of a loss as to why the same coke you can buy anywhere else, is, in a Paris hotel, 13 Euros (plus 27% sales tax, plus room service charge) … but it also should be noted that a glance in a shop window in that same city will tell you that a pair of red soled shoes can easily be £6000.

We all have our own take on the relationship between cost and value, something which has been highlighted by the fact that many of the products you can now buy on portals like JVZoo, and an almost endless stream of WSOs, seem to be available for less than £10…

This new wave of offers has been seen by some as proof that, up until now, everything in our industry was seriously overpriced and that the world has ‘finally’ come to its senses … however, a closer look will show you that while some of these cut-price offers are genuinely brilliant value, the rest are exactly the kind of thing that was previously being given away, for free, as a ‘lead magnet’.

So, instead of it  being like ‘the old days’, back before Google took a rather dim view of squeeze pages and a  ‘free report’ was just that … you are now paying a fiver (more, if you buy the Upsell) for practically the same standard of content – which seems to me to make as much sense as buying that hotel Coke…

The trick here, as with so many things, is to be part of the minority offering real value. The fact that there can be so much mediocrity at this level presents the opportunity to really to stand out by delivering something really special, even if it is at a slightly higher price point.

If you can offer something to your customer that is worth considerably more than they paid for it, then of course they will be interested in your other products … of course they’ll open your emails when they might ignore others … in short you could use this platform to make a dramatic first impression and take some major steps to building a relationship with your new customer.

Weigh that up against the ‘value’ of something at a cheap and cheerful ’10 bucks’ that is so non-descript that the buyer can’t even be bothered to ask for a refund.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is It Time To Stop Getting In Your Own Way…?

Is It Time To Stop Getting In Your Own Way...?Well, that’s it … we’ve just had our last bank holiday until Boxing day, and nearly everybody we know is either back, or just about to return from, their summer holiday. In a few days the words ‘school run’ will re-enter conversations, and even those of us who don’t have to make one, will wonder where all the extra traffic came from…

In short, for most of us, life is returning to ‘normal’…

So what now? … well, I’m sure somewhere there’s a list of things that were being ‘put off’ until after you got back from holiday, or were going to do ‘when the kids go back’ … and I’m willing to bet that, somewhere on that ‘to do’ list, is something that’s been holding back your online efforts … the question is – what are you going to do about it…?

Now before we go any further I am not suggesting a collective pressing of noses to the grindstone and putting of shoulders to the wheel … this is not a ‘buck up’ or ‘get on with it’ type of email at all…

I would suspect that very few people who are not getting the results they want put it down to laziness. I would suggest instead that those who are frustrated by what they are currently acheiving online, are, in fact, switched on, not afraid of hard work … but are very, very, busy.

Nobody ever started an online business because they had to ‘fill’ four hours a day … our lives were already full of family commitments, our full time jobs (if we had one) and not forgetting the things we actually want to do … all before we tried to shoehorn in some time to make a bit extra online.

So you might be correct in thinking those who have succeeded online were not necessarily  the cleverest, or the most tech savvy, or the workaholics who stayed up all night to get it finished (though I have done that once or twice) but those who found the best way to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done.

I know we all want better results for our online businesses, but I also know that a couple of extra hours won’t appear by magic. What we have to do is create the extra time by unburdening ourselves of the bits we may not be that good at … struggling putting your website together? – get somebody on Fiverr.com to do it. Don’t know how to build a squeeze page? – hire somebody on eLance to knock one up in five minutes – not got the first idea with SEO? – outsource it to experts, who can replace your hours of head scratching with results…

It really is easy to get tied up in the ‘one man band’ mindset, and thinking you shouldn’t or can’t spare a few pounds to shift those roadblocks out of your path, it really doesn’t cost as much as you think, and could well add some momentum to your business so that you aren’t writing the exact same ‘To Do’ list as your New Year’s resolutions.

Until Next Time,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

When It Says VIP … Make Sure It Is VIP (and NOT like this)…

One of things that I found interesting about my latest trip to New York was that nearly all of the VIP type upgrades I made actually added something to the experience, whether it was less time spent queuing, a slightly different area to stand-in which afforded a better view, or more access to tour guides or staff to give you more information, or provide anything you wanted.

Those ‘extras’ I would consider to be worth the additional cost, and should I go to New York again when it is quite busy, I would certainly make the same investment as they seem to know what VIP means … which that is in stark contrast to this example of what happened to me a couple of years ago in the UK…

Well, the good news was that ‘She Who Must…’ had spotted that one of the favourite bands from her single days had reformed and was on tour. The bad news was the way you could actually see them was to stay at the holiday camp they were playing at.

So I promised to be on my best behavior and off we went…

On arrival, we were asked if we wanted to upgrade … ‘She Who Must…’ had booked ‘Silver’ level accommodation, which was, to be fair, pretty grim (I think if you opted for ‘Bronze’ you probably had to dig your own hole to sleep in) so I parted with an extra £180 for us to upgrade to ‘Gold’.

‘Gold’ still consisted of the same Prisoner of War type accommodation except we now had a slightly bigger room, with slightly bigger sofas, a bigger TV and we were actually provided with towels, which was handy as it never occurred to either of us that we might have to bring our own.

It was the same story in the ‘restaurant’ area, which looked very much like a school dining hall with 1970’s era motorway service type tables and chairs. Again I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to the ‘Yacht Club’ VIP type area … and of course I said yes, and parted with, I think, another £40.

The ‘Yacht Club’ turned out to be merely a roped off area in the same hall, with the plastic tables disguised only partly with our ‘VIP’ paper tablecloth (which had to last all weekend) and the food was stacked on some slightly less decrepit serving trollies … and, as you can imagine, if I hadn’t promised ‘She Who Must…’ I would be on my absolute best behaviour, heads would have rolled…

So again, two lessons here, firstly that a percentage of people will always want to feel more exclusive and want to upgrade to some kind of VIP package, so you can add extra value to your business by making sure, whenever possible, that you offer one.

The second lesson is, now that you know those people will upgrade, is not to exploit that negatively and make the ordinary version so awful that people have to upgrade to the VIP package … but instead to use it as an opportunity to make sure any VIP package you offer is worth the money – and then some.

In fact, over-deliver on what you promised … and make sure you evoke the same thoughts as a visit to New York, a trip to Disneyland or an evening in a fine restaurant, and not the same ones as a weekend in a slightly grubby holiday camp….

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

After You Buddy… (or International Adventures In Queuing…)

You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t do anything beastly while I was over in New York, and in fact, my visit brought home a couple of things I long suspected were not ‘all bad’ about our friends in the colonies…

I’ll explain in a minute – but first, please bear with me while we rewind a few years to an incident at the BA fast check-in desk, when a small child asked her mother why they were queuing while I was wandering past the line and straight through. “Well darling,” she said, “He thinks he’s FAR too important to queue up with everybody else”.

Now my ticket allowed me to do this, I wasn’t pushing in or doing anything untoward, but I still cringe now at the memory of those words … how very ‘British’ of me ;-).

In the colonies however, a different set of rules apply entirely … On my recent trip over I had purchased some sort of special VIP pass that allowed me to go to the front of the queue when waiting for the hop-on hop-off tour bus that I was using to get from one ‘attraction’ to the next … so as I again walked past the queue, some of whom looked like they had been waiting for several hours, I really was fearing the worst…

I eventually reached the front, and made apologetic noises and conciliatory hand gestures to the poor soul who’s place I was about to take, and while I was busy trying to simultaneously shrug and point at my VIP pass (not the easiest or most attractive series of movements) the chap just smiled and said “No problem buddy, I was too cheap to get one of those – you paid for it, you stand there.”

It was exactly the same at all the other places on the trip where I had also paid for some sort of VIP access … either a separate entrance, a doorman who unclipped the barrier and ushered you through, and on one occasion, when the ‘greeter’ type person saw I’d ‘upgraded’ they all but barged everybody else out of the way to make sure I was the next one to go in…

So, two messages there then … firstly, when it says VIP, make sure it is VIP, which is something I’ll go into more detail about in the next ‘Lowedown’ … and secondly, the huge difference in reaction on either side of the pond to somebody ‘upgrading’ themselves.

What would have got a multitude of dark looks, hostile muttering and advanced tutting back here in Blighty, received very few derisive comments and more than a few grudging looks of respect in the colonies … and I’m sure you’ll agree that somebody of an entrepreneurial bent would get a lot less of the ‘so you think you’re something special’ or ‘getting too big for your boots’ treatment over there too.

I’m not suggesting you do anything as daft as  become ‘more American’ (and under no circumstances should you ‘high five’ anybody, ever) 😉 … but you would probably do well to convince yourself that, despite the reaction you get from others, there is nothing wrong with trying to better your situation, and when you succeed, accepting the rewards of efforts without guilt.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How The ‘Curse Of The Faroes’ Revealed One Of The Biggest Money Making Secrets

I will admit my experience was coloured slightly by a very unwelcome bout of the flu, but I’m certain even without the distraction of my affliction, I would be hard pressed to find too much to recommend my visit to the Faroe Islands … a place that, on first impressions, seemed so dull that watching paint dry could easily be the national sport.

 photo TimBean_zpsa243c61f.pngMy visit there was one of the first stops on a cruise around that part of the world, and, whilst I was aware that the more breathtaking scenery was to come, this early jaunt, characterized as it was by fog and drizzle, did nothing to put me in the holiday spirit.

The Islands are inhabited by 48,000 people (an oft repeated fact reeled off by our unsurprisingly dour tour guide) most of whom seemed to be wearing the same type of hat. We were shown the Football stadium (seats 5,000 – only one on the islands) and other mundane ‘landmarks’ (all included because they were ‘the only one on the islands’) … then, with all the ceremony of a magician about to use the phrase “and your card is…” our tour guide informed us of the highlight of our trip … the ‘wood turner’ (again, the only one on the islands)

Now this is actually slightly more interesting than it sounds because those with a passing knowledge of the Faroe Islands will know there aren’t really any trees, so I was a mite curious as to how this chap managed to ply his trade…

The wood turner in question (again, complete with approved Faroe Islander hat) had actually built a sheltered area in which he had planted trees and for years nurtured them against everything the elements could throw at them, and when they finally reached maturity he carefully cut them down, then stored them and allowed the wood to season for many months before … he made lampshades out of them.

Not tables, chairs, or even quirky souvenirs, but lampshades. Lampshades that could best be described with the word ‘interesting’, as well as the words ‘how much?’ as they seemed more than a little expensive … and, despite every tourist being dragged to the workshop, they were still, for the most part, gathering dust.

So this chap was going to an extraordinary amount of effort to create something only he wanted to make, which because of the time effort involved cost way beyond what most would pay – and then going around looking a bit glum because business was poor.

I can’t help but think that maybe he should have had a chat with whoever was selling the hats everybody seemed to be wearing.

It’s a simple fact that, no matter what you are selling, whether it be face to face, by mail or online, and how much focus you put on it … if you’re trying to sell something nobody actually wants … you’ll find it blooming hard work.

That’s because it’s always easier to sell what people actually want.

Sounds ‘headslappingly’ simple, and some might counter it sounds blindingly obvious, and that it doesn’t really need pointing out – but if you look around there are plenty of people who are using the ‘Faroe Islands Wood Turner’ business strategy.

It is easy to be ‘wedded’ to an idea or pet project, try, and then discard system after system in an effort to shift a few units of what only you think is a good idea.

You may be completely happy doing this, which is fine, but then you’ll also have to wonder about those who have taken the other path, done the research into what people actually want, are supplying that to a hungry market (and raking it in) while you are still struggling…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Make Money Online The Ant & Dec Way (Talent NOT Required)

With the weather set fair for another ‘scorcher’ of a weekend, you could easily be forgiven for putting your online endeavours to the back of your mind … but it is worth remembering that anything you do happen to set into motion around now will be under full steam come September and you’ll be miles in front of anybody still putting away their bucket and spade…

 photo tim_6-1_zps884bb6bd.pngIf you’re not into trading, don’t actually have a product to sell, have any sort of list or much in the way of cash to get set-up the usual way forward is to set up a conventional ‘niche site’ where you would target a keyword in Google, say for instance ‘safe dog tick removal’, provide related content for people to read or watch, and making money from promotions and the advertising surrounding it.

OK, you think this might sound like a bit of a tenuous way to earn a crust, but remember that this is basically how ITV (and every other commercial TV or radio station for the last 70 years) has operated … and the idea of course is to get the amount of viewers that Harry Hill or Ant and Dec manage and not the poor soul on at 3am on some channel nobody’s ever heard of.

However, when it comes to the content you need to attract the right amount of traffic to make this pay (a niche site can be a real ‘slow burner’ of a way to make money online) the dilemma is usually whether to go for quality (so people read and engage with what you are saying, share your content socially and you get many return visitors) or quantity (where you have so much content that you feature in the search results for nearly every long-tail keyword in your chosen niche, so that you are bound to get visitors)…

Well, I’m afraid my answer to the Quality vs. Quantity dilemma is … you need both.

Obviously, if you need to create a large amount of high quality content, don’t try and do it all yourself … unless you are the content writing equivalent of Superman you will not even scrape the surface of what needs to be done, burn yourself out and achieve nothing except an encyclopaedic knowledge of something you weren’t really interested in.

So we go back to the two stock solutions … either get somebody else to do it – or automate it.

The outsourcing route appeals the most to me (well actually as I have Minions to do it, I suppose I should call it in ‘Inhousing’);-) and most of us would go to places like Elance,  oDesk and Freelancer (or even the ‘cheapie’ option of Fiverr) where you can hire a writer (or writers) to create your content according to your criteria and keywords.

You can monitor the quality quite stringently and order re-writes and corrections until you are completely happy. This ‘editorial’ role is less time consuming than actually writing, and if you have a small team of people creating your content, your website can grow really quickly.

Of course, the ‘human touch’, regardless of how well you negotiate rates with your team of writers, will be more expensive than getting software to do it, so I realise that necessity will mean some of us have to go down the automation route…

The problem with automating content generation is that it can be a little hit and miss, which is why I would rather employ a human to do it. However, if you are taking the automation route, get one that you find easy to use (it is supposed to save you time after all) and that has a full money back guarantee in case you can’t get on with it or are disappointed with the results. There are plenty on the market, but after despatching Head Minion to take a quick peek, I’m reliably informed the one that is currently being raved about is this one here.

Now, I’m told it does seem to cover all the bases when it comes to content creation, but I should mention that if you choose to invest in this, that it is being sold via the rather amusingly named portal called JVZoo (which is a bit like clickbank) and it only costs £30, so please use your common sense and be aware that at that price there are bound be ‘upsells’ (that you don’t have to buy of course) that will want you to part with a bit more money to get it all done that bit faster and more easily…

…which in this case might be exactly what you want, or on the other hand you might find them every bit as irritating as I do and spend five minutes hitting the ‘no thanks’ button.

The appeal of niche sites is of course that they are an excellent source of passive income … your site will still be up and earning from ads and promotions regardless of what you are doing, but of course they often take time to get going, but if you’re not a trader, or a salesman, or a ace product developer, this could be the way forward…

Here are those links again:

Outsourcing:
Elance
oDesk
Freelancer
Fiverr

Automation:
Rapid Content Wizard

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

And as if this piece wasn’t long enough, there’s also a P.S…

If you do want to set up your own niche site but don’t really have the first clue how to go about it, get in contact with my Minions timsminionstutorials@gmail.com and they may be able to set you up a site, ready to receive content completely free (you’ll have to pay your own hosting cost of course)

When It’s Time To Turn It Up To ’11’…

When I’m in a slightly mischievous mood, I have been known to spend the time it takes my computer to warm up in the morning to go wandering round HQ and ‘prodding’ various Minions (usually waiting until they’re right in the middle of something else) and asking them awkward questions I already know the answer to…;-)

Regular readers will be aware that I do this almost entirely in jest, and I do tend to ‘play up’ the whole ‘Evil Boss’ thing here at HQ for mutual amusement (to the point where it was suggested that a planned trip to see Despicable Me 2 should be treated as  a training exercise…);-)

Of course, I do run a business here so it’s not always like that; the amount of hard work (doing the right things, naturally) that goes into getting the kind of results we consistently achieve here would make more than a few eyes water (and has sent others running for the hills), which is something I make no apology for…

So as well as doing a lot of work we also have a lot of fun, two seemingly contradictory ideas … but it obviously works.

It’s not something that can be summed up by using a throwaway phrase like ‘work hard and play hard’ because it’s more than just a case of swinging between extremes, about being one thing OR the other – it’s about maintaining a consistent level intensity, where everything is turned up to the maximum, regardless of what you are doing…

…and it could easily be argued the difference between perceived success and failure could be down to the level of that intensity.

Without that level of intensity, you could be doing plenty of things right, certainly enough to go on to much bigger things, but despite that you could easily end up plugging away, offering 50 quid CD-Roms to the same few hundred people forever and never earning much more than you would in a job.

Of course, not everybody can turn up the intensity of what they are doing just like that, and nor should they – for instance nearly anybody trading successfully in Forex or on Betfair with a £1,000 bank would get the jitters if they suddenly had to do exactly the same thing with £10,000, and you would have to be extremely sure of yourself to find something that was converting at 5% with a small advertising budget, and then just throwing the kitchen sink at it.

Everybody is capable of the level of intensity it takes to do really well online, some have it ‘on tap’, and some have to build up to it in a series of steps, and in some cases be helped up the steeper steps by those that have been there before … so if you think you are doing ‘everything’ right, you may well be correct, but just not thinking big enough –  and it could be as simple as taking what you have and gradually turning up the volume…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Turn Your Hard Work Into A ‘Win’.

 photo TML_zpsabe539e9.jpgIt seems in recent times, people in the online world will go to great lengths and deem it their duty to give us a ‘reality check’, to solemnly tell people that it’s not easy and that it’s all hard work … and whilst that may well be the case, it’s only half the story – because while it can be all hard work … hard work isn’t ALL there is to it…

I have conversations with people all the time who have worked hard and ‘got nowhere’ (by which they usually mean they’ve not made any money) and that is because in the online world (and where it almost certainly varies from the job you’ve trying to escape) you don’t get paid for working hard, you get paid on results.

It can be quite unforgiving … nobody will pay you for trying, they certainly won’t pay you (unlike a lot of jobs) for just turning up each day … which is why it is important that when we make the decision to have more money and spend more time doing what we want (by ironically, initially investing money and spending more time ‘working’) that we spend that precious time doing the right things…

Imagine this… you spend weeks working away making the perfect product, spending hours over every single minute detail … but then only a few hours into putting it in front of people in the right way, you won’t get the rewards you might well expect, become disillusioned and potentially discard an opportunity that may well resulted in considerable success.

One of the best ways to know how to put all your hard work to good use is to follow some kind of plan, and that means follow a plan properly and not follow it in the ‘did the bits I wanted to do’ sort of way that we are sometimes prone to do … this keeps us working hard on the right track, and spreading your efforts over everything that needs doing.

Another way is to join forces with somebody and both work hard on separate parts of the process. As you know, typically in the online world, this would usually take the form of a ‘JV’ where somebody has something useful, valuable and profitable to share, but only poor ideas on how to share it, teams up with somebody with the knowledge and means to put it in front of the right people.

So if you think all your hard work is going to waste, may I suggest you consider moulding that hard work around somebody else’s plan … or combining your efforts with another to turn all that hard work into the all important ‘result’ and reap the rewards of your efforts…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

On Your Marks, Get Set GO! … Then wait for everybody else to catch up…?

During my trip to HQ the other morning, the large amount of inappropriately parked BMW X3s and large yellow cardboard arrows made it apparent that School Sports Day season was in full swing, and I braced myself for the oncoming deluge of opinion I see every year bemoaning the lack of competitiveness of such events, and how it does not equip children for life in the ‘cold hard world’…

However, whenever the final decision is made on whether it’s ‘political correctness’ or ‘health and safety’ that happens to be to blame this year, some of us will be more concerned that the real point may have been missed entirely…

It’s not only that there are no winners or losers (especially as ‘losing’ can be just as an important lesson as ‘winning’ … and certainly more valuable than just doing ‘OK’) It’s simply that not everybody is (or has the desire to be) a ‘team player’ and making everybody all work together taking part in some sort of airy fairy nonsense where they don’t know what they’ve achieved (but are told they had fun doing it) is not stifling competitiveness or ability…but individuality

The notion that the individual should subjugate their ability ‘for the good of the team’ is something that should make any sane person despair. Even if, like me, you’re not really a sports fan, you cannot have failed to notice that the defining factor in whether a team has ultimately raised a trophy or not has usually been one person taking responsibility for the outcome and making and outstanding individual effort.

That translates over to everybody reading this … your entrepreneurial side has come to the fore because you don’t want the same as everybody else … you want to make an outstanding individual effort and to be recognised and rewarded as such.

You don’t have to be as obviously individual as, for example, Albert Einstein or Mozart were at an early age, to know that individuality is often frowned upon by authority … I’m sure that the headmaster of many a ‘celebrated’ former pupil who has gone on to greater things will admit the future ‘hero’ spent just as much time sat outside their office as any the less celebrated ones.

So, being ‘individual’ isn’t necessarily the easiest of paths, one that others may criticise you for taking, and accuse you of being selfish or ‘getting ideas above your station’ … but ask yourself, did you really start your own online business, with financial and personal rewards it can bring, just you so you could wait for everybody else to catch up and all cross the finish line together..?

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

This is SO Unfair … I Hate You! (some useful tips on how to avoid becoming a business teenager)

I have to start by assuring everyone that the title is not some kind of bizarre rant on my part, but is in fact the catchphrase of the Harry Enfield character ‘Kevin the Teenager’. This hilariously ungrateful character was brought to mind after I posted a video of last week’s special training session online…

This video, you may recall, explains absolutely everything you need to know, to create a £100K a year business of your own from scratch … there’s nothing left out, it’s completely free to watch and amongst all the positive feedback was this one comment that really had me scratching my head … “Do I really have to watch it all … it’s a bit long isn’t it?”

This person, we can only assume, must be going through what I can only describe as the online business equivalent of a ‘teenage phase’ … and I’m afraid there’s quite a lot of it about.

Metaphorically speaking, we all start as babies in this industry, then we learn at our own pace and eventually have some degree of success, and that’s when it can all go a bit wrong…

This is the time when all the things we have worked so hard to get are now taken for granted and seen as our ‘right’ … and the small level of success we may have enjoyed (often due to the help and intervention of others) leaving us with the very mistaken belief that we know everything … and then throw a prima donna sized tantrum when we have to do anything to either maintain the status quo of our business, or heaven forbid, up our game a bit so we can take things up a level or two.

This usually leaves the older and wiser heads to placate the customers and associates we’ve upset while we’re doing the business equivalent of sitting in our rooms in a huff with the music turned up too loud.

Luckily, like teenage tantrums themselves, most of us grow out of this phase and look back on that period of our business career more than a little sheepishly, but unfortunately some refuse to grow up and you sometimes have to decide that they need to take their attitude elsewhere. In over a decade (12 years to be precise) of doing business in this industry, I’ve had to say this to people I have worked with, and would not hesitate to do so again if someone’s attitude or actions were to the detriment of customers.

In short then, teenage phases are probably unavoidable (after all in this industry we are all quite ambitious and have a tendency to want things our own way) but this has to be tempered with the realisation that no matter what we may have done, there is always someone richer and cleverer who has been getting it right for even longer, and the sooner we get past that teenage phase, the better it is for everyone…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The More ‘Evolved’ Approach To Making Money Online…

 photo TimHead-1_zpseed67078.pngIt is certainly true that the only constant in life is change, and, if you have been part of the internet community for more than five minutes, you’ll know that things online can change very regularly indeed. The good news though, is that when it comes to making money online the large majority of the change is not, as we are told, revolutionary, but is, in fact, purely evolutionary…

It is often the case that, when a certain trend within our industry has had its time in the spotlight, you will be told that ‘nobody’ is doing that anymore and it’s time to jump on the next bandwagon … from eBooks to eBay, from building ‘Google Sniper’ niche sites to ‘Google Friendly’ blogging, or trying to keep up with the latest social media craze from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest … and all the while hopping between Sports, Forex and Share trading.

But if you’re looking to do more than just aimlessly rush off to where you are told the next pot of ‘easy’ money happens to be, you can see that the changes to established online ‘money makers’ are not as drastic as you might be led to believe…

Take eBay for instance … it is, of course, correct that the days of selling a slice of toast for several hundreds of pounds are long gone, but, far from ‘nobody doing it anymore’ there are many people with thriving businesses on eBay, and more are starting up every day. It is simply the case now that many eBay sellers will have evolved their business to include a complimentary Amazon store which is in turn linked to their own ‘branded’ ecommerce site, whilst leveraging social media for extra traffic and to build their customer relationships.

In other areas, owners of ‘jack of all trades’ sites that may have covered, for example, everything to do with tropical fish, are instead still holding their own against the ‘big boys’ that can spend thousands on SEO and advertising by evolving their business to become more ‘niche’.

By using a combination of both long tail keywords and highly targeted Google Adwords campaigns they get their potential customers to their ‘micro niche’ sites that are tightly focused on just one aspect such as, in the case of the tropical fish website above, specializing in those little plastic castles people buy to keep the fish amused.

Naturally they’d need several of these micro sites to turn a decent profit, but again, that is possible quite cheaply due to the evolution of WordPress and the continued development of themes and plugins that mean even the most complicated of sites can be put together by almost anyone.

The most obvious form of evolution though has been in the world of what most of us would call blogging. Blogging has long been viewed as the preserve of the ‘hobbyist’ and not really associated with making money online (quite the reverse in fact) … but what many ‘bloggers’ who have continued to add useful and informative articles on their respective subjects have done is created massive ‘authority sites’ that Google loves and now dominate the search results.

The traffic generated by this is making the owners of these blogs, either through active promotion, or just from advertising revenue alone, many thousands of pounds every month.

The story here then, is that online fortunes are not always made by people who are in the ‘right place at the right time’, or those who jump from one ‘next big thing’ to another, but in fact by people who stick to the plan, and have learned to adapt, and above all evolve with the ever-changing environment of the internet.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why On Earth Would You Do This To Your Email List…?

 photo tim_6-1_zps884bb6bd.pngI arrived at the office yesterday in an even more positive mood than usual … despite the last bout of ‘prodding’ of my problematic back leading rather ominously to another scan, the results had pointed to exercise as being the way forward –  rather than, as I had feared, a more drastic solution involving the words ‘hammer’ and ‘chisel’…

However, when I ventured further into HQ, I found my ‘Head Minion’ simultaneously both shaking and scratching his head, with his face bearing the same kind of expression you usually see after the reading of a particularly cringeworthy joke from a Christmas cracker…

We had been asked, by another marketer, to promote their latest ‘launch’ … and amongst all the details about how the best affiliates could win holidays and flat screen TVs (but unsurprisingly very little about the merits if the product itself) was a swipe file of ‘killer’ emails we could send out to, apparently, ‘really crush it’ (which I’m told means do really well).

However, it would seem that the only killing and crushing involved would be damage that sending out this type of nonsense will do to the relationship with the people on your email list, because the contents of this swipe file approximated to four lines that read something like…

Newbie makes $42,000 in first 3 days online…
click here to find out how
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…there may have also been something about ‘shocking truth’ or ‘this is what the gurus don’t want you to know’ in the ‘variations’ to send out on subsequent days – but that was about it.

Now I know that the myriad of email writing courses online will tell you to write as if you were writing to a ‘5th Grader’ (which I’m told is about 10 years old) and these emails are written to just ‘get the click’ and send you to the sales page where the real selling is done … but when I receive an email that talks to me like I’m some kind of halfwit, I tend to hit the delete button – and I wouldn’t blame you for doing exactly the same – even if you WERE 10 years old.

To compound the felony, even if you’re only on half the mailing lists I’m on, you’ll probably receive three or four of these emails, all from different marketers, all saying the same thing, all insulting your intelligence … now what does this tell you about the value they place on their relationship with you?

You can, if you really have to, use some of the better emails of this type to form the absolute bare bones of your own efforts, and then inject your own personality (and quite a bit of substance) to say what it is you like about the product, and why you think it may be of benefit to the reader. (Of course if you can’t think of anything beneficial to say about the product then perhaps you might want to rethink promoting it altogether).

Of course it is possible to make some money by sending rather sparse, obvious emails, but it does seem an awful lot of work … burning your way through nearly all of your list every month and having to commit huge amounts of resources to replacing people you’ve treated like a battery hen instead of an intelligent human being who wants, just like you, to generate an income online.

In fact, to somebody like me who still converses with, or works alongside, many of the same people I have for the last ten (or more)  years, those sort of ‘smash and grab’ tactics all seem more than a little unnecessary…

Until Next Time,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Testing, Testing 1 2 3 …. 4 5 6 7 8….

LB ScreenI am often asked if I can take ‘five minutes’ to critique various websites or emails, and, as flattering as it is, I nearly always have to decline. The main reason is that I just can’t help everybody, even though I’d like to, simply because, if I wanted to offer some useful advice, something beyond the obvious stuff you can get anywhere, it takes so much more than just ‘five minutes’ to take a look…

Let me explain … when I’m locked away with my copywriter on a big project, it can take weeks rather than days to come up with something I’m entirely happy with and every last detail is gone over and over to make sure it’s the best it possibly can be. It is this attention to detail that has contributed greatly to the level of success I continue to enjoy, and is also why if I ‘critiqued’ somebody’s work it wouldn’t be fair on everybody else who had the same request, because quite simply I would never get round them all…

It was for this reason, of course, that I ‘assembled’ my ‘Minions’ (their choice of name, not mine) 😉 to help with things like this, and since they started last year, have helped hundreds of Lowedown readers (and a few followers of their own) with their various queries and problems.

However, there is one common problem you won’t need myself, a Minion or anybody else to help you with, and is one I had myself just the other day…

I had been working on a written piece with my Head Minion, and got it all to a stage which I thought to be exactly right, straight to the point and really powerful. Even my copywriter could only offer a couple of tweaks and it was considered to be, pretty much, ‘job done’…

Then, the theory that it was maybe too direct, too straight to the point, and that it might exclude some people was re-considered and more tweaks were made … but by taking some of the directness out of it, it made the whole thing, I thought, a slightly ‘weaker’ piece.

So we were left with the quandary of whether to stick with the direct approach and possibly exclude some people … or go with the ‘weaker’ message and run the risk of getting a lower response overall.

Now, in situations like this, when you don’t know what to do, the easiest thing to do (and by no small coincidence the worst thing to do) is absolutely nothing. You will, however, get exactly nowhere dithering and blithering around … so what you need to do is precisely what I’m doing myself and test both theories on a small sample and see which gets the best result.

So, when you’re torn between two (or more) ideas about which is the best choice to make … of course experience helps, as does having greater knowledge on the subject, and yes I’ve found that these give me a ‘feeling’ for which one will be most successful, which is nearly always right … but the only way I know it’s right, is by testing it … and I suggest you should always do the same.

All The Best,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

To Upsell, Or Not To Upsell, That Is The Question…

 photo TimForFreeInfo_zpsb648080a.jpgIt seems to be the agreed wisdom in the ‘make money online’ community that the best time to sell to your customers is “when you’ve just sold them something and they’ve already got their credit card in their hand”. This, on the face of it, seems to make perfect sense … but if you get it even the tiniest bit wrong, you can do the complete opposite and really, really annoy the exact same people you are trying to build a relationship with…

So what, then, are the golden rules when ‘upselling’ to a customer who’s just bought something … and how do you really make the most of this opportunity…?

Well, the number one word here is congruency. If your customer has just bought a manual on SEO, don’t offer them an ‘extra’ of a Forex system (no matter how good it might be). Those that get the best results when ‘upselling’ offer something that will make what was explained, shown or instructed in the original purchase happen more quickly and easily. For instance, in the case of the SEO manual I just mentioned, a good upsell would be a series of videos taking you step by step through the instructions given in the manual, or even (though this might be more ‘backend’ than ‘upsell’) offer an outsourcing service that will do all the SEO for them instead.

Once you’ve got the right thing to offer, you need then to offer it in the right way … I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘what you’ve got will solve your problem, but you can solve it more quickly and easily by using this as well’ works better than the ‘What you’ve just bought, actually doesn’t work that well, but if you buy all this stuff as well … you’ll actually be getting what you wanted in the first place’ approach so beloved of so many of our contemporaries who sell on Clickbank. (You might make plenty of sales using the second technique but you certainly won’t end up with too many customers).

And a quick word about endless exit pop-ups … When it comes to getting that extra ‘downsell’ or squeezing the email address out of anyone who visits your site, I know our American cousins swear by them. However, I’m also sure there is a considerable amount of time spent swearing at them, and by using them you might put yourself in the same bracket as the pushy double glazing salesmen who sticks his foot in the door.

There is of course the question of why to offer an upsell at all – if the ‘extras’ make it faster and easier, why not put it all in the product in the first place…? Well, in the example of the SEO manual above, the extra cost attached to making the videos may price the product out of the reach of some of your potential customers … for the sake of something that, if you’ve done a good enough job with the manual, will be far from essential for most of them.

So, like most things, if done correctly and with common sense, upselling can give your customers that little extra ‘something’ they might need … and you some extra revenue, but used inappropriately or in a cynical attempt to squeeze every last penny out of your customers, will be damaging and ultimately affect the longevity of your relationship with your most valuable asset.

Until Next Time,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

She Was Only a Grocer’s Daughter … What’s Your Excuse?

Yes, I’ll agree, it’s a slightly provocative way to start … but something occurred to me as I stood there watching the funeral procession of Baroness Thatcher that really could provide a wakeup call to those who might feel they are stuck in something of a rut…

Whatever the problems of a woman trying to get herself taken seriously in the world of politics are now, they would have been far, far greater back in the 1950’s when Margaret Thatcher first put herself forward as a Conservative candidate … and also lacking the ‘background’ we might traditionally associate with MPs of that era … I’m sure most of us in her position would have written off our chances of ever becoming an MP, let alone PM.

But by this point she had already gone from her local primary school to winning scholarships first to the area’s most prestigious girl’s school, then to Oxford, put behind her a rejection from a promising career at ICI for being “headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated” before eventually qualifying as a barrister the same year she gave birth to twins…

You’ll agree, the only thing longer than the list of obstacles she faced was the list of things she achieved to overcome them.

Which brings me back to the question, if a grocers daughter from Grantham can overcome all of that to become a Prime Minister so significant that she was honoured with a state funeral, a funeral at which her children would sit side by side with the Queen … what on earth is standing in the way of you making a few quid online?

And I don’t mean this as a ‘buck up’ email (though I am expecting a few enraged replies from readers who think I do) what I mean is … what is stopping you? Take each thing you regard as an obstacle and look at it, and decide whether it really is a problem, or simply your perception of it?

It is moving away from the thought that ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’ to the simple belief that following a certain series of steps, with an extraordinary amount of focus on following through to complete those steps, that will bring the outcome and results you desire …  almost regardless of who you are or where you are starting from…

So, if you think that doing what is necessary to succeed may be beyond you … just ask yourself if the distance you need to travel between where you are now and what you really want your life to be, is any greater than the distance travelled by Maggie from a grocers shop in Grantham to the front door of No.10 … and then get on with it.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

By The Way … If you are of the Twittering persuasion (or least would like to be), Social Media whizz Clair Trebes has written a guide which has got the definite thumbs up from my Minions (and not just because they are featured in it) 😉 It distances itself from the usual saturation tactics that typifies most manuals of this type, but concentrates instead on using Twitter as a tool to build and maintain relationships with your contacts … it is literally only a few pounds and well worth a read, especially if you’d like to have a ‘go’ at using Twitter, but don’t have a clue how to do it effectively.

Click Here Now To Get Clair Trebes’ Easy Twitter Guide

Why We Must Mark The Passing Of Greatness…

This week of course started with the sad news that Baroness Thatcher had passed away. Whether she was known in your household as ‘Thatcher the Milk Snatcher’, ‘The Iron Lady’ or just as  ‘Maggie’ … the impact she had on this country and its people during her decade or so as Prime Minister is undeniable, and is almost certainly a contributing factor to why you are reading this today.

I, naturally, make absolutely no apology for being a supporter of Mrs Thatcher’s policies during her time as PM … and I don’t just mean her magnificent leadership during the Falklands War or her very thorough ‘handbagging’ of those nasty little European types in Brussels over farm subsidies … but also the fact she steered Britain through a difficult period of great change not only to the industrial and political structure of this country but also to what people living here thought about themselves.

By this I mean that many who would otherwise have been restricted to a life living in state owned council housing, working for nationalised industries constricted by the disproportionately powerful unions instead had a right to buy their own home, and for what they earned to be defined by their own actions and not agreed on, en masse, on your behalf by a union.

The ethos (one we take for granted today) of being non-reliant on the state, institutions or unions, of stepping away from the crowd and taking responsibility for your own actions and reaping the rewards of doing so … all have their roots in that period when she was Prime Minister.

Of course I know that entrepreneurs existed for many years before 1979, but the ‘Thatcher Years’ saw a change in thinking that meant it was OK to start up on your own without being a ‘traitor to your class’, thinking you were ‘something special’ or having ‘ideas above your station’

I realise she was not everybody’s cup of tea but the quite frankly despicable, disgusting, cowardly halfwits who were throwing parties to ‘celebrate’ her passing really are beneath contempt … even those who do not count themselves among her greatest fans must be careful they do not blame her for simply being the one who was at the helm when the country had to be steered away from an unsustainable path … as we all know it is common for those who will not take responsibility for their own actions to blame those in power for their ills, and Mrs Thatcher as Prime Minister was very powerful indeed.

So, if you agree with the tributes being paid to her or not … you cannot deny that a figure of enormous significance is no longer with us … you cannot deny the effect she has had on the way that you, someone who doesn’t want to blend in with the crowd, someone who doesn’t want the same life that gets doled out to everyone else, can now achieve those things … and you cannot deny her part in why you think that it can even be possible in the first place.

Until Next Time,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

In Three Months Time You Could Be Kicking Yourself … If You Don’t Do This Today

Tim LoweOne of the many things I was mulling over earlier was the way some of us manage to talk ourselves out of succeeding and how, when given enough time to ponder, will carry on asking more and more intricate and convoluted questions until we finally get a negative response … or instead of planning how to succeed will sit there and work out how it is ‘impossible’ to make something work (despite the fact that others might actually already be doing it).

As we all know, at the root of this kind of behavior is the fear of failure (because never starting means that you can never fail) and the longer we persist at it, the more highly evolved that behavior becomes until we actually no longer know we are doing it, we just never seem to get started with anything because things just ‘weren’t right’ or we ‘weren’t sure’

As someone who has seen that path walked by so many, and then seen the massive results that can be achieved once that behavior has been put to rest, I know how common a stumbling block it can be … and I also know that you can sit there with all the questions and calculations you like, but it basically comes down to this … you won’t know unless you try.

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The Next Three Days Could Be The Most Important of Your Year…

I read a number of years ago that it was during the Easter Holidays that the most DIY was done in Britain’s homes, which is why I’ve always found it a good idea to book a short break around now to somewhere nice and warm, therefore putting as much distance as possible between myself and anything likely to need rubbing down, nailing up or painting back at Lowe Towers…

… and when you take into account that the Easter holidays are, by no coincidence, also the time of the most DIY related accidents, you’ll understand when I suggest you might not want to spend the weekend mucking about with power tools and maybe spend it doing something that ensures you finish the weekend with all the same bits you started it with. photo TimHead-1_zpseed67078.png

You see, Easter is also a good time to look back on what has been achieved so far this year, and decide whether or not to forge on with your plans exactly as they are, or if things need a bit of a ‘tweak’ depending on what has been learned since Xmas … and if what has been achieved in 2013 falls into the bracket between ‘not much’ and ‘nothing’ then I would urge you to get started right now … or you might not start at all.

You see, after Easter there is a steady progression of things that can stall your attempts to get off the ground … a brace of bank holidays in quick succession, early summer bringing the first ‘decent’ weekends of the year, then there’s family holidays, school summer holidays and before you know it, it’s nearly October and your thoughts are turning toward Christmas again … and, if you’re not careful, that’s another year gone.

So, whatever it is you have planned, whether it be a website or two, dipping your toe into sports trading or, like so many already have this year, making your first profits from Forex trading … now is the time to get things underway…

Oh… and if you’ve already got something sat on the shelf that is sitting there gathering dust that you just haven’t ‘got round’ to starting it yet, it might be worth remembering that I did that once … and when I finally opened it and got stuck in, it enabled me to make MASSIVE improvements to my lifestyle, and at the same time, gave me the ability to generate more profits than even I thought were possible

Have a great Easter,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

I Can Almost Guarantee You Weren’t Expecting This…

 photo tim_6-1_zps884bb6bd.pngStranger things have happened … but to be fair, not many…

Picture the scene … It’s a quietish Sunday morning at the gym, and the duty manager scans the room and carefully spots his target … he walks past the line of bending and stretching Lycra clad gym bunnies and instead approaches a stout, sturdily built even, chap on the treadmill … he clears his throat and says… “erm Tim…, ahem, would you mind if we put your photo on the gym advertising… we’d like you to be our ‘Gym Buck’?”

No, I won’t blame you for laughing – after all, I did… I mean, Tim Lowe, Millionaire (that was always the idea) or Tim Lowe, Inspired Marketer …? (On a good day, certainly) … but Tim Lowe, Gymnasium poster boy…?

Apparently it’s because I’ve gone from being very, very fat and unfit to merely fat and ‘quite fit actually all things considered’… lost a considerable number of inches off my waist, and shown the right attitude to training throughout.

I’m sure another reason is that not only do I look like a ‘real’ person, but maybe one that might usually have avoided the gym for want of looking daft, or thought that there was just so much to change that it wasn’t really worth starting…

That, of course, is a common problem – and not just when it comes to shifting a few pounds … for instance just a quick glance at my Facebook newsfeed (and if you’ve got ‘make money online’ or ‘internet marketing’ among your listed interests, you’ll know exactly what I mean) there are plenty of ‘sponsored stories’ popping up of slick, shiny, meticulously coiffured chaps with their high tech videos selling all manner of highly polished systems that would leave anybody who was entertaining the idea of making money online with the firm belief that they’re so far behind everybody else that they might as well not bother…

Now, during in my decade or so as part of our online community, it’s always been this way – there is always someone richer, faster or cleverer than you – and there always will be. Despite all this, the number of people making a living (if not a fortune) online increases every year. (and yes, some of them are the ones with the slick and shiny videos)

What they did first though, and the real key to their success was to get the basics right … basics like offering value, building a good relationship with their customers and following up on their promises…

So, I’m not guaranteeing that if you decide to get started today, you’ll find massive wealth and success online, not at all … one guarantee I will make  however, is that if you always sit there putting it off, finding reasons not to start, you will never, ever make a penny online.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Honour Has Been Restored … Normal Service Has Been Resumed…

Before I start I would like to announce that… ‘She Who Must…’ declared Thursday night’s steak excellent, as was the sauce … so honour has been restored and normal service has been resumed…

…and that, really, is the way it should be … after all it’s probably no secret that I go into everything with the real and genuine expectation that things will all work out very much as I had planned … and anything that doesn’t go to plan, like that rather unfortunate episode with the steak a week or so ago, is just a temporary glitch.

I would like to point out that this belief is not based purely on blind optimism or arrogance, because there’s a massive amount of preparation, research and testing that takes place before a project ever sees the light of day (and is also the reason why some projects never do)…

That’s not to say attitude isn’t a big factor too … for instance, if you take the reverse attitude to mine and see any success you have as the anomaly, and as soon as the inevitable glitch occurs, you believe it was ‘good while it lasted’, and now that things are going wrong they are ‘back to normal’ … if you ever do end up fixing any problems, it will not be with the expectation of success, but that more problems will be along soon.

So I would urge you then to ‘share’ my point of view … that if you prepare properly, (or are following a proven system) the expectation that things will go at least quite well is a perfectly sound one, and not at all fanciful or ‘airy fairy’. That being the case, any day it doesn’t quite go to plan is just a bump in the road rather than an apocalyptic event that will bring everything crashing down in a heap.

You will know that I don’t really go in for overused quotes or reeling off clichés like the one about getting back on the horse that throws you off, because you already know them, but I will close by saying that just because it’s been reduced to a cliché – it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. A quick mention on my Facebook Page, and that was it … the last Matt Fyles’ V-System has gone and the big ‘Sorry … SOLD OUT’ sign has gone up on the website. I know this means I’ll get at least two dozen emails from people who now want one, but I did promise Matt that was ‘it’ when these last few were snapped up…

And whilst those already enrolled with the V-System will continue to benefit from Matt’s knowledge, anyone else who would like to dip their toe into the world of sports trading will have to instead start with Matt’s ‘How To Be A Sports ProTrader’ book, which Lowedown readers can download for free here: http://www.sports-trading-success.com/

AITradesafe: When It’s Perfectly ‘Ordinary’ To Make £300 Before Breakfast…

I’m sure the world has gone quite mad … in the last twenty years or so, if steak
was required at Lowe Towers, it was cooked (with, may I modestly add, no small
amount of skill) by yours truly … and not once in those twenty years has any one
of those steaks, presented as they were in any one of a host of excellent sauces,
been greeted with anything but the most favourable of reactions…

However, the other evening, when I do have to admit I was the tiniest bit off my
game on the catering front … (which I must say, would normally not have been an
issue) and coming on the back of the previously mentioned ‘She Who Must…’ special
outing to that advanced cookery course … well, it brought forth a unprecedented
response that made me fear for her sanity…

“Darling,” I was told “I’m afraid this steak is a little under cooked for me … and
this sauce has just a touch too much salt in it” all I could offer by way of reply
was a stunned silence which was deepened further by the comment two minutes later
… “The wine was an excellent choice though, and it would have matched perfectly,
if only there had been the right amount of salt in that sauce”

Rather than subject her to the same series of stares, sighs and extended silences
that usually greet any of my helpful comments at the dinner table, I instead
resolved to write it off as a fit of madness, as it seems there’s quite a bit of it
about at the moment…

Take my friend Andy Ireland for example … whereas I’ve worked hard for the last
decade or so to build up a Multi-Million Pound business and am always set my sights
on getting the absolute most out of everything I do … Andy thinks it’s perfectly
OK to do a little bit of work in the morning and go out for the rest of the day,
happy to have made more than enough to live very comfortably, with no great desire
to make a fortune … well I ask you – what is the world coming to! 😉

As you may have heard, he’s developed a stunning new Forex trading template that
takes all the ‘nonsense’ out of trading in foreign currencies, he’s tailor-made it
for the ‘the ordinary man in the street’, just like him … and for that reason he’s
insisting that I tell you about the sort of return that is REALISTIC and genuinely
achievable by ‘normal’ people!

So whereas I would normally tell you how you could turn Andy’s system into a
fantastic regular income of around £8K a month, he’s having absolutely none of it
… instead I’ve got to tell you about how you can easily pocket daily returns of
£64 … £171 … £283 or even £303.

He said – “Tim, not everyone wants to be rich … most people would be happy with an
extra £1,000 … £700 … or even £500 a week, especially if they didn’t have to
give up what they’re doing now to get it…”

Regardless of whether you agree with Andy you can’t argue with the effectiveness of
his system … In fact, here’s a video diary Andy made for the first week of
February 2013 so you can see for yourself how simple and profitable the AITradesafe
template is to use. He took the same £300 that he recommends you start with and more
than trebled this money in a single week, turning £300 into £1028.77 with just 5
days of trading…

To watch the video and see what Andy’s system can do for you … go to
http://www.upto1000percent.com/video.php now

It really is so simple … all you need to know is that four lights of the same
colour indicate it’s time to open a trade (… you’ll see what I mean when you watch
the video) and as soon as one or more of those lights changes to the opposite
colour, that means the price is starting to move in the opposite direction and it’s
time to end the trade … and ‘sell’ for a profit.

To watch the video and see Andy turn £300 into £1028.77 with just 5 days of trading
… go to http://www.upto1000percent.com/video.php now

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. Remember, Andy’s NOT claiming you’re going to be rich overnight … and he’s
certainly not claiming that you’ll be retiring in 6 months on £8K a month (…
although having seen AITradesafe in action, I still maintain you could be) … And
he’s most definitely NOT saying that you’ll be a Multi-millionaire trader within the
next 2 years…

What he is saying however is this … that he can genuinely show you how to make a
long term, substantial and sustainable additional income of £64 … £171 … £183
… £303 on top of what you’re earning now.

In other words, an income that will truly relieve you from the financial stresses
and strains that go with the lives of most ‘ordinary’ people nowadays …
http://www.upto1000percent.com/video.php

‘Be Reasonable’ … Why On Earth Would You Want To Do That?

In the office the other day, I was told by one of my team that I was not a reasonable person … now I’m sure you can imagine that normally, this would have been a career limiting decision, but I know the chap in question does have, to say the least, a slightly ‘sideways’ way of looking at things, so instead of taking ‘measures’ I merely asked him to explain himself…

It was put to me that a reasonable person probably wouldn’t have left their nice cosy corporate management job because they wanted something better … or believed they could take a business on that new ‘fandangled’ thing called the internet and generate the first £1M of sales in around 18 months.

Well, I have to admit, he did have a point – and it got me thinking…

I mean, we meet them all the time don’t we – those ‘reasonable’ people – they might be at work, a family member or friend, but we all know somebody who is aware that our ambitions go beyond what is ordinary, and they will go out of their way and do their level best to make sure we don’t get too ‘carried away’ with ourselves.

The trick of course, is to make sure that ‘reasonableness’ isn’t catching … you see, a reasonable person when told ‘nobody makes any money doing that’ might say ‘erm… yes, you’re right’ and in doing so subconsciously plot their path to eventual failure…

I’ve also know people be so ‘reasonable’ that they’ve spent time sitting down working out how something can’t possibly work, (ironically taking more time and effort than it would have taken to make it work in the first place) and talk themselves out of the kind of success that could have changed their lives for the better.

However … by telling you to be unreasonable, I don’t mean ‘be impossible’ … you cannot expect to make any money unless you have a structure in place that can generate cash, or are following a proven system that can make that happen … but once you have your hands on one (or better still, both) of those two things the biggest and often deciding factor is what you believe you can do with it.

Chances are, everything you’ve got so far, you’ve got by being reasonable … and if you’re not happy with what you’ve got, if it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough … then may I suggest you give being unreasonable a bit of a go instead…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Success Online: How You Can Sell MORE By ‘Selling’ Less…

As you can imagine, when it comes to getting things done, I’m not exactly one for half measures. Over my time in business, however, and this business in particular – I’ve found that whist enthusiasm and commitment are essential parts of any success I’ve had … trying too hard has never worked out well at all…

It was something that was brought home to me this week as I lay on the Physio’s couch having various parts of my body manipulated so I sit, walk and stand without too much complaint – a condition I was told, that was the result of (wait for it) trying too hard in the gym.

Apparently I had ‘overdone it’ and put too much stress and strain on my back … so I left the Physio with a telling off, instructions to do ‘cardio only’ should I step into the gym  – and some interesting exercises to do every half hour…

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem (back at HQ I’d just sack anybody who laughed at me – only joking ;-)) but I was currently in the middle of London, with a couple of hours to kill before I was to meet up with ‘She Who Must…’ for Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall.

Bearing in mind my ‘new’ health regime I opted to spend the afternoon entirely surrounded by cheese at La Fromagerie 😉 before having to get up from my seat every thirty minutes at Cirque du Soleil to do my prescribed bending and stretching at the back of our box … though I’m sure you can imagine my own contortions weren’t quite as spectacular as those happening on the stage…

Of course trying too hard in your online endeavours can have more dire results than getting a few funny looks at the Albert Hall…

Imagine the situation … you’ve built a list, and have a good relationship with that list. You come across a great product that you think will be of great benefit to your subscribers – so you tell them about … and it sells like hotcakes.

The people who bought the product are, by and large, happy with it (or at least see the value of it, even if they haven’t followed through and completed the system) and as a result, you’ve seen some real financial benefit as well.

The temptation now, is to try too hard and do the same thing again the next week, only you don’t have another ‘great’ product lined up – so you pick one that’s just ‘OK’ … and because of your relationship with the list, this one will probably sell well too … but the reaction this time is very different … and this is when the trouble starts.

By trying too hard to squeeze some more money out of the list you have almost certainly damaged your relationship with your subscribers, something that will affect how they judge your recommendations in future, and ultimately how successful you will be online.

I know a lot of people will tell you that the way to make money online is to keep feeding your list every single affiliate offer that comes along, regardless of quality, in the hope that they will buy something before they get fed up with you and go somewhere else … but this is really, really, NOT the way to do it all.

Instead, I’m sure you will share my belief that the only real way to long term success online is not to treat people like a load of battery hens but to build long term lasting relationships based on mutual benefit…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. If you have a WordPress site this could be the best $7 (or even $47) you ever spend … click here now.

Are You Overlooking The Most Vital Piece Of The Puzzle..?

Millionaire MindsetThere’s always something that escapes our attention or is overlooked.

Not because we don’t see it, but because something else has caught our eye instead, and quite frankly … we’d rather be doing that. 

It’s the unfashionable, unglamourous bit of every process … but it’s usually the bit that actually makes it all tick.

Developing the right mindset is never really looked as being as important as the next whizzy cash generating system … but for all that – it is one of the most essential pieces of the puzzle.

And, if you’ve tried a multitude of systems and you’re still not happy with your results … then would you consider that the right mindset might be exactly the one piece you are missing ?

That’s why, some years ago, I developed my ‘Super You’ programme.

It’s not new or revolutionary, just some well ordered common sense ideas you may not have come across yet…

It’s all explained without any hype or psychobabble and comes in the shape of a short manual for you to read … and there’s even a few bits to fill in (yes, I’m afraid minimal ‘homework’ is required) 😉 plus some stuff to watch which goes into detail about how it all works.

And That’s It.

I should also mention that it’s what I’ve used when I’ve got my best ever results … and almost without exception is used by my most successful students…

It’s a pound to give it a try … just a pound, which is probably less than it will cost me to send it to you.

If you don’t think it’s for you – just let me know, you can keep what I’ve sent you … and I’ll even give you your pound back.

If you see the value of it, just stay subscribed and I’ll pop the next part in the post every month for as long as you need it.

To get the simple strategies that increased my income, gave me more free time and dramatically reduced my stress levels working for you … click here now

To Your Success,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. If you find the links aren’t taking you where you think they should – please copy and paste the following link into the address bar of your broswer: http://www.2in100.com/

Making Money Online is DEAD … and Everything You Know is WRONG

I’m sure, just like me, you get emails from others in our Making Money Online community, including some of the ‘big names’ with the same sort of title as the one you’ve just opened decrying the state of things in the face of the current economy and greeting each Google slap or algorithm change as if it is the apocalypse itself … and I hope that, when you get these emails, just like me, you think they might be over-egging the situation a bit…

As damaging as these thing have been to the online industry, they have only, in the majority (but certainly not exclusively) affected those who have tried to repeatedly replace one quick fix with another, and then have to start from scratch again as one loophole after another closes around them.

The truth is, over the decade I’ve been in this business, I’ve tended to notice that those with a solid business model have weathered the inevitable changes and prospered much more than those with any amount of techie knowledge and no idea how to structure that into something that makes money.

So, if you haven’t taken the plunge into starting your online endeavours just yet because you think you lack the necessary  techie knowledge, or that you feel that the whole thing is moving a bit too fast for you to want to get on … I would ask you to take a moment to just consider the basics…

For instance … If you want to make money from a website, you need to ensure there are some means to actually make that happen, like a related product that can be sold to enough people who visit your site, or that your website niche attracts enough advertising revenue to make it pay…

I know that might sound obvious, but there are endless amounts of websites out there which look amazing, function perfectly, but are of interest to so few people (or are of interest to people with no money to spend) that it will never pay its way, let alone make the owner a fortune.

It’s the same with lists … they don’t have to be big, but they do need to have people on them who have money to spend. For example, one of my Minions (as my in-house team have christened themselves) could sit down and with twenty minutes of fiddling about, set something in motion that would  present you 24 hours later with a list of nearly 1000 names and email addresses  – all interested in making money on the internet, and only spend about £30 doing it.

Now this all sounds quite impressive … and the vast majority of people on that list will very receptive and appreciative of the information you give them, and therefore very worthy members of your list … but it is worth remembering that purely from a ‘Making Money Online’ point of view that these people would be somewhere where the relative standards of living are so different that they would almost certainly not be in a position to buy anything from you.

Remember, you can always get other people to do the techie stuff for you, and you’ll be constantly learning new ways and means of getting people to your site anyway … so rather than worrying about whether or not you can do either of those things, you need to make sure you know that, if you want to make money from your endeavours, how at a very basic level that will happen.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. NEW ADDITION TO THE APPROVED LIST … A natty little gadget that allows you to add sales pages and opt in (squeeze) pages to your WordPress site. It’s got some templates already installed which should help you create effective looking pages a lot quicker than you would otherwise.

The ‘Minions’ have already bought a copy which they are using on a couple of websites they are creating, and also to change some pages on their own site.

Of course there’s a website which outlines exactly with this can do for you, and you can see it all for yourself when you click here now.

Help!

The below freezing temperatures we are getting at the moment might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I prefer them, and the snow that comes with them, over the endless gloomy damp days we’ve had recently … though it must be said that earlier this week I might have been tempted to swap…

That morning, as I pulled up outside HQ and went to open my car door, I found that due to the weather the locking mechanism had frozen solid, and I couldn’t get out. The door was well and truly stuck, despite the attentions of all those summoned from their nice warm offices to come to my aid … however their efforts did manage to free the passenger door.

So, rather than be faced with the slightly ridiculous prospect of spending the day running my own business whilst stuck in a car parked outside it, I took the option of this alternative exit…

Now, this may seem like quite a simple task to many … but due to the large amount of bits and pieces there are to fiddle around with on a Range Rover, the console between the front seats is really quite substantial and provides the kind of obstacle that would give Jessica Ennis a few issues, so just imagine the challenge it presented for me…

Anyone at HQ looking out of their window at that moment would have seen me adopting a series of uncomfortable and unflattering positions as I attempted to clamber over to the passenger seat without impaling myself on any gadgetry, and treated to the rather unappetising sight of various bits of me squashed up against the windscreen in a most unflattering manner…

I think the only thing that could have been more undignified was if my back had seized up halfway through the whole sorry affair and left me stuck there with only the option of the emergency services cutting me out to look forward to.

Despite all this, I was actually in quite a receptive mood when two of my in-house team came to me with this idea…

Regular readers will know that my in-house team, in true tongue in cheek fashion, have christened themselves ‘Tim’s Minions’, and over the last year they have been filling their website (http://www.timsminions.com) full of tips, tricks ‘how to’ videos and other resources about blogging, internet marketing and making money online.

It receives thousands of visitors every month, and that number, along with the site itself is growing quite literally on a daily basis, and so it was decided that we should increase the number of advertising spaces available on the site and make them available to everybody.

Before this happens, however, what we’d like to do is give ‘Lowedown’ readers who have a website or service to advertise, first choice of the advertising spots … and at a fraction of the price anyone else would pay.

If this sounds like something you’d like to take advantage of, drop the Minions an email at timsminionstutorials@gmail.com for more details, preferably containing a proof of the ad you’d like to use.

To be fair to everybody, we can do this for anyone who gets in contact before the end of the month, but then as February starts we’ll open any remaining spaces to everybody else … so if you wanted to take advantage of this, I would suggest you do it sooner rather than later.

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Online Success, Vulcan Salutes and The Ability To Clench One Buttock…

So, what is it that the Vulcan Salute (you know, that funny thing they do in Star Trek with their fingers) and the ability to clench one buttock at a time (I’ll have to go into more detail about how I discovered this another time) have in common…?

Well, for a start I can’t do either of them…

Rest assured, my inadequacies are not limited to just these two things. I’m sure regular readers will recall my tales of the list that is kept at ‘Lowe Towers’ of things I’m not very good at … it is updated on an almost daily basis by ‘She Who Must…’ and it must now run into several volumes…

Now I come to think of it, it’s the things I’m NOT very good at that have actually helped to define the level of success I have enjoyed…

Let me explain … when it comes to getting online success, you can’t do everything … which is actually quite good news … because, like me, the chances are you won’t be any good at quite a lot of it…

Which is fair enough, really … after all, if you were doing major work on your house you’d get a plasterer to do the plastering, an electrician to do the electrics and so on, instead of just diving in yourself with no knowledge or experience … because if you did you’d stand a very good chance that your online business will resemble one of those houses you see on those ‘DIY Disaster’ type TV programs…

Since the advent of fiverr.com it hasn’t been that expensive to get things done for you either (if you recall a couple of months ago I mentioned you could get a website set up and ready for less than £25 with no more than the merest inkling of techie knowledge) so there really shouldn’t be any reason for you NOT to be online…

You don’t have to be expert at everything to get started online, you just need to be clear about what you want to acheive … play to your strengths and get the bits you’re not very good at done for you by people who know what they’re doing…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Discover the Missing Link Between You And Your Success

Let me start by wishing you a very happy 2013 … I hope you have had a great start to the year so far, and that unlike some here at ‘HQ’ … at least one or two of your New Year’s resolutions still remain unbroken…

I’m sure you’ll agree with the suggestion that so many resolutions aren’t kept, not because we pick the wrong changes to make (in fact they are usually exactly the right things to change) but that we go about making those changes in entirely the wrong way…

The same can be true of what we do online … we see other people getting better results doing what we perceive to be exactly the same thing as we are, and often attribute this difference to ‘luck’ or some divine force beyond our control … and as a result are not entirely welcoming to suggestions we make some changes to the way we go about it all…

Like everybody else I had the same problem, in fact for me it wasn’t that I was getting poor results, (in fact by many standards I was getting good results) and because I was doing quite well I wasn’t willing to believe there was another way of doing it that meant I might improve that success … which turned out to be a very costly decision indeed.

In fact, if I had started implementing this new programme when I first came across it instead of leaving it on the shelf for many months … I would be several million pounds better off.

You see, when I finally blew the dust off of this and started putting into practice what I read … my business skyrocketed to a level even I was not sure I could achieve.

Let me explain … even if we ignore the other benefits like considerably decreased stress levels and more time to do the things I want, and reduce it down to just numbers … in the five years before I used these techniques I managed to bank £5m … and in the five years since then I have made over £13m

I must stress that this is not a cash creating system or online business in itself … but a programme that allows you, just like me,  to get the absolute most out of anything and everything you are doing … and that even includes re-visiting things you might have previously abandoned – only this time get entirely different results altogether…

You could find this, just like I did, to be the ‘missing link’ between your current level of success (even if you think it’s none at all) and the kind of life you originally pictured for yourself and your family when you first decided to start your online endeavours.

Remember, this is the specific formula I have used to transform my life and to read the whole story of how I discovered this formula, and how you can reap the same benefits yourself can be found here… click here now

To Your Success,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t want price to be a barrier to you unlocking your potential … so, if you are truly willing to take action, I can let you get started today for just one poundclick here now

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

Just a bit of fun put together by my team here at HQ … hope it raises a smile or two…

Twas the night before Christmas, and there in his house
Still some chap sat working, just clicking his mouse.
Then from above came a terrible din,
and he looked at the roof, just in case it fell in.
He found not a sleigh but a super charged car
And a pink-shirted man who had come from afar

Quite round and jolly, with glasses and beard
But no, not in a red suit, (‘cos that would be weird)
He said “Bloody Sat-Nav … this isn’t Lowe Towers…
Now I won’t be back home for another four hours”
As regular readers I think we all know,
That this wasn’t Santa … but some chap called Tim Lowe

The man recognised Tim and said with a cough
(As if he was thinking he would get told off)
“I should be sat downstairs enjoying a beer
But I’m hiding upstairs ‘cos the in-laws are here…
They keep on complaining I’m wasting my time
That I’m useless and won’t make a penny online”

So Tim turned and said “well then, show me your site
Get it fixed up in no time – and working just right….
So Tim sighed and prodded the small laptop screen
And said “Right – move that up to there, and then that in between…”
The man pressed ‘upload’ and then true to Tim’s word
The laptop went ‘bing’ as the first sale occurred…

The man stood and stared as the orders came in,
and then turned around as Tim said with a grin…
“I have to rush now or I’ll be far too late
Or else She Who Must… might end up in a state
I’ll be for the high-jump and that’s never good
I’ll get no Red Wine or any Roast Spuds !!”

So Tim leapt to his car (it’s those trips to the gym)
and waved to the man as he strapped himself in
“It will all work out fine so be of good cheer…
And wait ’til you see what is coming next year”
Then with a flash of Range Rover headlights
shouted “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year from myself, the Minons and everyone else at HQ and Lowe Towers…

Until 2013,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

However You Dress It Up … There Is Just No Substitute For Planning

Last Saturday saw the ‘office’ Christmas Party in full swing, hosted as usual, somewhere ‘stately’ a few miles south of HQ. I really enjoy it as it’s a chance to celebrate with everybody that works for me, or closely with me and is especially popular, particularly in the last couple of years when we have dispensed with dickie bows and ball gowns in favour of Fancy Dress … this year’s theme being ‘Shakespeare’

Mentions in dispatches must of course be made of the  chap who turned up in a dress … the rationale (he said anyway) 😉 being of course that in Shakespearean times the parts, both male and female  – were played by men … but any awards would have been won by the chap who turned up as ‘Yorick’ and who had used stage make-up to create a very special effect indeed.

I like to think I made a quite convincing Shylock thanks in no small part to the quite magnificent costume from Haslemere wardrobe (in fact great minds think alike as many of the guests had gone there seeking Shakespearean garb) and I am always very impressed by the effort put in by everybody who had both the time and talent to put together something themselves.

The rather excellent meal was followed by what could be broadly classed as dancing, also referred to by myself as ‘cavorting’ … but, given the evidence, most accurately described as ‘movements inspired by alcohol’ … I myself took full advantage of almost everything the DJ chose to play … though had he included ‘Gangham Style’ I fear my Monday morning mercy dash to the physio for emergency back repairs would have been even worse…

It was agreed by everybody (including those who don’t usually agree with me) that the whole thing was an unqualified success … so I shall start planning next year’s Xmas Party as I started planning this years … in May.

Now, before you start putting me in the same bracket as those who will buy next year’s Christmas presents in the January sales, please remember that it takes time to ensure you’ve covered all the small details like picking the correct wines to go with each course …  but still allowing enough flexibility to accomodate anything as magnificently spontaneous as an award winning soprano and a man with a bad cold duetting on ‘Baby it’s cold outside’…

I always aim to build the same components into everything I do in business and particularly online. I already know what projects I will be undertaking next year, when and where they will be available, because they were planned well in advance and have in some cases have already been under development for a couple of months.

However … if something new comes along next year that I feel can really make a difference to the way we all make money online, there is enough flexibility built into the plan that things can be moved around to accomodate it.

So the message then, is to take advantage of the time you have now to plan what you are doing in the first few months of next year … to plan in enough detail so that something small doesn’t catch you out … but to make your plan flexible enough that you can put some or all of it back a week or two in case you need to transfer your time and energies make the absolute most of anything that goes really well.

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Some Good News … And Something That Shouldn’t Be News At All…

Last week of course we had the news that Will and Kate were expecting their first child… and whist congratulations are undoubtedly due to the proud parents to be … and yes it is really good to see good news in the papers … the actual reporting of the event had very little to comend it…

Although the statement regarding the happy event actually contained very few words … the acres of newsprint generated by it in the newspapers was really quite breathtaking. This would have been fine if any of it had actually contained anything of substance but instead, what facts existed were stretched gossamer thin over the first six pages of most of the tabloids.

In fact while passing a newstand I noticed that one of the bullet points beneath the headline on a particular newspaper stated that ‘baby will be monarch’ a fact that I hoped would have been blindingly obvious even to the target readership of the newspaper in question…

Unfortunately this kind of behavior of taking the tiniest bit of new information and then squeezing out reams of shallow content is not restricted to the media … for instance how soon after a new website is deemed to be the latest internet sensation will you get an email from somebody in our industry telling you that very website is the answer to everybody’s problems…

Of course, you can then set the stopwatch running to see how long it takes for the next email to arrive … this one of course offering you a product based on making money using that same website or trend…

I’m most certainly not suggesting that this kind of tactic is any sort of ‘scam’ (a word that these days seems to get used in place of ‘not what I thought it was’) but the repetitive, machine like way these products are rolled out would suggest that there can only be a limited amount of original content going into them…

What is probably the case with most (though not all) of the things that fall into this bracket, is that the ‘meat’ or the product is a repeat of the usual ‘make money online’ principles that we all know (or at least should know) with a bit tagged on the beginning about using whatever the latest phenomenon is as a traffic source.

In that respect, at least, they are certainly correct … because although the ways of getting people to your ‘place’ on the internet (website, Facebook page or whatever) may vary greatly over time … the actual basics of what happens when they get there (ie, email capture and subsquent offers, presenting content surrounded by relavent advertising – or both) is really quite unchanged no matter what has come along as the latest craze, popular website or internet sensation…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

My ‘Approved’ List…

It’s ‘Nurse Tim’ time again … not content with being bed-bound (or more accurately sofa-bound) earlier this year … ‘She Who Must…’ has spent the last week with her foot in plaster after having an accident at the gym.

Now, before there is a massive outpouring of sympathy, I would like to point out that the injury occurred whilst in the gym’s coffee shop, waving to a friend, and at no point did Mrs Lowe come within a dozen yards of any equipment liable to involve breaking a sweat.

After the swelling had gone down a little, the hospital replaced the temporary plaster with one of those inflatable boot thingies you see footballers wearing when something untoward happens to a metatarsal … it seems you can take it off for showering and suchlike, and also check how the healing process is going by leaving it off and putting a little weight on the foot.

This was quite a shame really, because had it been a ‘proper’ plaster cast, I was looking forward to writing something ‘appropriate’ on it, somewhere ‘She Who Must…’ could neither read it or reach it to rub it out 😉

As long-time readers of the Lowedown will know I have for many years been a wearer of, and advocate for, Church’s Brogues … a choice that has always not met with universal approval back at Lowe Towers … so when the doctor announced that as part of the ‘She Who Must…’  long term recuperation process, some sturdy footwear would be required – naturally I put forward my recommendation…

The doctor, being a sound chap, of course agreed with me and so I immediately (and, to be fair, once or twice since) ;-), had the pleasure of informing my wife that my choice of footwear was not only my own … it was actually medically approved 😉

I’m always keen to share my good experiences … and although I’m sure you would also find Church’s footwear to be an excellent choice … this is an online newsletter so I thought it would be best to compile a list to good things I have found online … (so, if you want to find out which brand of sausage I prefer, you will have to email me) 😉

‘The Approved List’ is NOT a list of ‘Make Money’ systems … instead it is a list of resources, websites & useful tools I have either used in building my own business or at least wished were around when I first started … it’s completely free for you to access, and will, of course, be updated as and when I find something I think is good enough to add.

You can find the list here: http://timloweblog.com/tim-lowes-approved-list/ and I would urge you to take a look, as you may well find the solution to the very thing that is holding you back could be just a few clicks away…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why ‘Black Friday’ And ‘Cyber Monday’ Are Not Just For Christmas…

I read the other day that people in general have a tendency to overestimate the chances of very unlikely things happening, like a lottery win, plane crash or being hit by a meteorite but in comparison massively underestimate the chances of more everyday occurrences such as being involved in a car accident.

This is because we tend to downplay the risks involved in things we are familiar with – just because we do them everyday … whereas, when something that is perceived as new and different comes along, we will quite happily believe almost any old nonsense about it because we lack that same familiarity.

For instance, if you went back ten years and asked about buying Xmas presents online, you would probably be greeted with sharp intakes of breath, mutterings about scams and credit card fraud whilst they battled the crush at the shops, then sat in traffic for half an hour just to get out of the car park (provided they could find a space in the first place).

Jump forward to this year and early indicators are that, so far at least, as many people have bought online as have physically been to the shops for their presents (and this includes the millions spent on ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’) which I’m sure you’ll agree is a massive change in peoples shopping habits, brought about mainly by a gradual change in attitude that online shopping is now safe to do.

Why is this? well, as more people, either through choice or necessity found that when they bought something online it usually arrived with a minimum of fuss, and their bank account details did not magically appear in the public domain for all to exploit … meaning that the tales of getting a really good bargain online eventually outnumbered the horror stories, until online shopping has become a normal, everyday thing it is to do.

I’m sure you encountered similar waves of negativity when you first decided to start making money online, that everybody you encountered had a horror story to tell you, and that “you’ll never make any money doing that” … but the fact of the matter is that a larger and larger part of the population are now making a either a full or part time income working from home and using the internet.

Of course there’s the ‘Direct Marketing’ aspect to making money online … the current problem is that those who will try and talk you out of your online ambitions (for your own good, naturally) think that is all there is…

Not counting the people who trade online whether it be stocks, Forex or sports trading, there are also those that make a healthy income from the advertising on their website or blog – not actually selling anything at all – just reaping the benefits of providing something that others what to view … something that many TV channels have been doing for half a century.

It might be worth keeping in the back of your mind then, that while we are currently very much in the minority, those who are making a living online are on the increase, and in just a few years from now opening the laptop and starting work will probably be just as common as getting in the car and going to the office, (only much, much more desirable).

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. There’s another way people are making money online that I hadn’t mentioned – I think mostly because my Minion covered it so well on this piece here: http://www.timsminions.com/931/buy-and-sell-website/# 

Don’t Use A Dozen Different Ways To Say Nothing At All…

Tim Lowe Blog

This week saw me taking a trip to Glasgow, for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with business and everything to do with attending a very good friend’s party. Those of you familiar with Glasgow will know that architecturally it is quite like Bath in places … and rather like Beirut in others – and it was the desire not to drive through these more ‘colourful’ parts of the city coupled with the fact I was travelling on a Friday afternoon and didn’t want to be late … that I decided to fly.

Given my track record with airlines recently, I really should have known better, so it was with very little surprise that on arrival at the airport, I discovered the flight was delayed due to fog and spent several hours with nothing to distract me except a decidedly sub-standard burger and watching some poor devil being tutored (or was it tortured?) 😉 by his offspring on the finer points of that ghastly ‘Gangham Style’ dance…

There was, of course, an ironically named ‘information desk’, the staff behind which could do little but point me in direction of a board which read ‘next information at 7.30’ … then at the appointed time announced nothing but instead simply changed to ‘next information at 8.00’…

Now, I know we are all a lot happier when regularly updated with information, and investing in the provision of various channels and mediums to communicate that information is actually a very laudable use of time and money … but it all goes to waste if you do not have also a structure in place that can actually provide the information in the first place.

We would have swapped all the shiny electronic boards, designer desks, iPhone apps Facebook updates and all the other hi-tech ways we were being told nothing for just one of the people on the information desk to have phoned upstairs and asked “Is it still too foggy? – OK. When will you be reviewing the situation again?” … and then let us know.

It’s the same when you do things online … you will be advised to have a dozen or so ways to communicate with your contacts … and yes, I would even say the same … with the one caveat that before you go to all that time and effort you first ensure you have something useful to tell them…

By this I don’t mean communicating every time you buy a coffee, (we are all bombarded with enough of the tedious minutiae of other peoples’ lives as it is), or asking them every five minutes to look at your product without giving them an extra reason to do so … but instead only send them the type of information they actually asked you for when they joined your newsletter or bought one of your products.

It must be very tempting when you see other people online, some of whom you might consider your competitors, updating, tweeting and posting an innumerable amount of times each day to feel you have to try and keep up with them, but if you are just making noise for the sake of it, it will be spotted a mile off.

Better then, to wait until you actually have something worth saying … your message will have extra weight and gravity and stand out among the ‘background noise’ of those going on incessantly about  not very much at all…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Your Passport To Building The Perfect Google Friendly Site?

Another flight, another encounter with perfectly coiffeured, perma-tanned ‘rules are rules’ daftness … and whilst I’m sure not everybody’s flights turn out like mine … the question is – why do they seem to save them up for me…?

This time though, I was for the most part a concerned observer, with the real person at the receiving end of this particular piece of corporate stupidity being an older lady who wanted to do nothing more disruptive than buy some hand cream.

After processing her card details, the flight attendant wanted to see her passport before letting her have the cream, as an anti-fraud measure. The lady asked why she had to prove who she was yet again, as they checked her passport on the way in, was sitting in the seat that the passenger manifest said was for her, and used a credit card with her name on it, which by the way, payment had already been taken from…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Even in the face of this overwhelming amount of common sense, the flight attendant was adamant – it was the ‘rules’ … so the lady had no choice but to get the passport out of her bag. Now, due to some inconsiderate halfwit filling up the overhead storage, her bag (as well as being quite heavy) was about three rows further down (I knew this because I put it up there for her, a chivalrous act that immediately took its toll on my back)

It also turned out due to health and safety ‘rules’ it was perfectly OK for a rather diminutive pensioner to struggle to even reach her heavy bag,  but the taller, younger, fitter flight attendant could only watch her … but eventually with the aid of a fellow passenger the bag was retreived, the passport shown, and content that he had made world a safer and more secure place, the flight attendant finally presented the lady with her cream.

It was only the fact that I had promised ‘She Who Must…’ to beon my very best behaviour that I  did not take the now very smug looking flight attendant to one side and ‘explain’ to that rules were there for a reason and not their own sake and if the reason evidently did not apply, then neither should the rule …

The exact same kind of inappropriate or blanket application of unnecessary rules is something of a specialist subject for the world’s largest search engine, and they appear to have excelled themselves with their latest algorithm change, one that could see a major impact on the online fortunes of many people reading this…

This latest moving of the goalposts was instigated to trump affiliate marketers who deliberately create sites which have the domain name matching a certain product, which, as you would imagine, would help the site to appear on the first page of Google for anyone searching for that product.

An ‘exact match’ site like would have been a very Google Friendly Site and would include affiliate links to the product on Amazon, Clickbank or wherever that particular product was being sold … and would earn a commission for every time someone visited the site, clicked through the link and bought the item.

Many of these sites offer no ‘real’ content (usually just a ‘mock’ review) is based around only one item and was constructed for the sole purpose of appearing on the first page of Google and cashing in on free traffic and affiliate commissions.

As you can imagine, this does not sit well with Google as they want to (they say at least) offer the best and relevant content for their users … so they have done what looks like a ‘blanket’ cull on the first page ranking of a huge amount of sites with matching domain names…

What will this do to stop affiliates manipulating the way Google rank sites to their own ends? In truth, not a lot … in fact what Google have actually done, just like that small minded flight attendant demanding to see the passport, is invented another way of making a simple thing much harder…

You see, the people with a vested interest in bucking the Google system are already putting time and effort into working out what the absolute minimum ‘acceptable’ new standard will be, and building Google friendly affiliate sites accordingly, so in a few months the results page will be just as full of affiliate sites as it was a few weeks before Google wielded the axe…

The ones that actually will suffer will be those who offered their visitors good quality relevant content – albeit in small amounts (bigger sites with lots of content should be largely unaffected) … and because they sensibly decided to use the most relevant domain name for their website … they now stand a good chance of being penalised by Google’s latest masterstroke…

The Logical Answer To All Of Those Annoying Little Problems (And a Couple Of The Big Ones Too)

As part of my new (mostly) healthy Stoutness Reduction Programme I have, in addition to my sessions with my personal trainer – a splendid chap who, after putting me through my paces allows me to punch him repeatedly (don’t worry he’s all padded up and it’s all part of the workout) 😉 I have, at the recommendation of my office manager, booked myself a series of Pilates sessions…

Luckily, (or unluckily) my first lesson did not place me in a room full of lycra-clad ‘Yummy Mummys’ trying to fold themselves in half but instead was a one-on-one with my instructor who had me lie on the ground and think about movements I was about to perform (exactly my kind of exercise)

The reason for this, I was told, was that my turbulent back is not being helped by using some of the wrong muscles for just everyday moving about (and even just standing still) – apparently we all do it to some extent and it’s just that my slightly fuller figure has exacerbated the situation … and I was lying there focussing on, and then exercising to strengthen, the muscles I really should be using … which ought to help the problem.

This was all explained for the rather logical reason that by telling me how the problem occurred, it would also explain why the solution that was proposed was going to work. Now I really like that kind of logic … but it doesn’t seem to apply everywhere…

When things aren’t working out online, but you don’t know what the problem is, you can spend a lot of time (and money) you haven’t got trying find the root cause or end up spending a fortune on a solution that may not be right for your site, or just wasn’t designed to solve the exact problem you’ve got.

This is why I should remind you that, as Lowedown readers you have access to my own in-house team (who as you probably know have, in true tongue in cheek style, christened themselves ‘Tim’s Minions’) who can look at your site and let you know what the problem is, and also provide a helpful solution or two.

If you could have a list of your keywords to hand and some traffic figures from your hosting, Google analytics (or whatever plug-in you are using on your blog) that will probably speed up the process … and you can get hold of them, not by emailing me  – but direct at their own website: http://www.timsminions.com/contact-us/ or by email at email here timsminionstutorials@gmail.com

Also, if you did want to start your own cash generating website, but did not have the first clue where to begin … please feel free to pick their brains on how to get the ball rolling. Remember, this is a free service for Lowedown readers (and you could probably do worse than signing up for the Minions free newsletter as well) so the advice won’t cost you a penny…

All The Best,
TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

What To Do When Your Life Is Made Up Of More Than 140 Characters

I have just returned from a particularly fine break with ‘She Who Must…’ pottering around on the Queen Mary. All the things I look for in a cruise were quite literally well catered for, and it also allowed me to engage in my favourite hobby of observing and marvelling at the eccentricities of others…

These included an especially posh lady who had her own special way with members of the crew “I’d like a sandwich … A SANDWICH – do you understand?” or “I asked for Mint Sauce … THIS is just vinegar with green stuff in it” and my personal favourite “My hair is getting messed up … tell the Captain he is going TOO FAST”

Her fellow guests were not excused either … most particularly when she got up from her seat, descended on two chaps on the next table with a very loud ‘Do I KNOW you’ and when faced with nervous headshakes and stuttered denials, simply muttered ‘Oh’ and returned to her meal without a single word of explanation.

Of course I simply adore this kind of behaviour, and if I was a ‘tweeting’ person perhaps I would have kept a running commentary on what was going on … ‘tweeting’ regular updates for things like ‘Just seen one of the country’s top bankers stand up, and it seems his back is every bit as turbulent as mine’ may be fine for some – it isn’t really ‘me’ at all…

Although I may come back and write about it afterwards, I am very conscious of the fact that my lifestyle gives me the opportunity to experience things that many others would love to experience … and I don’t think I would be doing that opportunity justice by repeatedly reporting on my own life in real time instead of soaking up everything that experience has to offer.

Not only that, given some recent very high profile incidents of how much can go wrong with an ill advised tweet, and given my track record with upsetting people who are a) needlessly aloof, b) terminally half witted and c) American (three categories which seem to make up a good deal of the people on Twitter) I have for a long time decided only to tweet when I am updating my blog…

You see, whilst the 140 character limit may be about right for getting your point across it does not allow you to put that point in any kind of context … which can lead to the kind of misinterpretations that can be extremely damaging both financially and in the long term relationship with your customers.

However, even if like me, Twitter is not a perfect fit for you personally … for some business projects it can be considerably more useful. I know I am sometimes accused of underestimating the power of Twitter, but the reality is that I believe in using it only where it is the most appropriate way to communicate.

To illustrate this point further, my ‘Minions’ have put together a short video showing you the benefits of a great little tool we’ve been using for quite a while to build up a Twitter following on some other projects … it works mostly on autopilot, doing all the following and un-following for you, leaving you free to just do the tweets – and you can even schedule those in advance if you want … click here to watch the video

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The World According To Neville…

During a lunchtime ‘Stoutness Reduction’ stroll around the grounds of the Abbey ruin adjacent to HQ, I had the type of encounter that will came as no surprise to long time Lowedown readers who recall my uncanny knack of being able to attract the only ‘nutter’ for miles around…

I just happened to stop for a moment, and up popped this chap who, after we exchanged some initial pleasantries, I managed to establish was called Neville …  and as the conversation proceeded, I couldn’t help but challenge him on the rather conspicuous nature of his ‘roll-up’

Luckily, the aforementioned ‘roll-up’ turned to be of inexpert rather than illegal construction, but I’d obviously touched some kind of nerve, as during the next five minutes I was treated to ‘the World according to Neville’…

He informed me (and this is just the highlights) that smoking wasn’t bad for you at all, tar and nicotine only stayed in the body for three weeks and that all the ‘bad press’ attached to smoking was something merely made up by the government to keep us all subjugated … and by smoking he was actually standing up for his rights and rebelling.

Now of course this is utter rubbish and I wouldn’t normally give space to such utterances except it occurred to me on the way back to the office … what if Neville had got it in his head to go and build a website to spread his word to others … surely nobody would give it the time of day – would they ?

Well … the ‘Anti Alien Abduction Helmet’ site we discovered last year is proof that any idea, as far-fetched as it may seem, will at some point across the massive reach of the internet encounter others on the same wavelength who will back up their theories…

You see, it has always amazed me that whereas what you, I and all the other people in our industry say on the internet is constantly under the strictest scrutiny from those in authority … it seems it can often be completely fine to build a website spouting any load of nonsense you like.

The level of anonymity that it is possible to achieve on the internet, coupled with the fact that many people seem to put the normal level of common sense they exercise in normal life to one side when searching on the internet … means that the amount of ‘total bobbins’ that gets viewed is utterly breathtaking.

It is for this reason that a disproportionate amount of credibility is given to some of the ‘Nevilles’ of this world on the basis that ‘they wouldn’t have gone to the effort of putting it on a website if it wasn’t true’ … when instead what we could (or maybe should) be asking is this …  is the internet, with the anonymity it offers – the only place they dare say it…?

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Its Making Money Online … But Not As We Know It…

As a result of the inevitable domestic ‘errands’ that seem to pile up from spending even just a couple of days away from Lowe Towers, and an attempt to get the Stoutness Reduction Programme back on track after a particularly fine meal while I was away … I know I cannot be alone in thinking my weekend seems to be over far too quickly…

Now, The Stoutness Reduction Programme may surprise many long-time ‘Lowedown’ readers …  but what may offer an even greater surprise is the fact that I’ve also engaged the services of a personal trainer.

He is not there merely as some at ‘HQ’ have said ‘to take me for a walk’ (ironically, if you had seen who had come up with this ‘quip’ you might think they would benefit from a good few laps around the grounds themselves) but to make sure I get the absolute maximum from my time in the gym, and without whom I would probably waste a fair amount of time scratching my head over what to many can look like medieval torture devices…

Of course, getting people to help you achieve the results you could not on your own is not a new idea to the Online Industry by any means (nor is it a new subject to the ‘Lowedown’) but during my couple of days away I met a chap who effectively uses a ‘twist’ on the usual ‘gun for hire’ method that we are more familiar with.

Via such portals as Elance, ODesk and the wonderfully cheap and cheerful Fiverr.com, we would usually just get a single job done, like an article or graphic (or that handy list of jobs I covered a couple of weeks ago)  but what this chap has done he has used those same portals to find himself a potential candidate, then trained from scratch the person to do a particular task for him, and builds a relationship with them so they know exactly what they are expected to do, as and when they are required to do it.

Now, confidentiality forbids me from telling you what this particular thing is, but think for a moment how this principle can be applied to what you are doing online … the reason I say this is that with that level of relationship in place you could not only get little things done, but also outsource the bigger things like niche research ?

Picking the right niche is at the absolute root of building an income online, but researching that niche is usually not completed to anything like its proper extent because it is admittedly quite boring and is seen to get in the way of the more ‘fun’ stuff like designing a website…

So imagine this instead … you could create for yourself a system whereby before bed you email a chap or chapess on the other side of the world with your niche ideas, and by the time you sit down in front of your computer with your second cup of coffee the following morning, your little helper has emailed you back with whether or not your niche idea is a viable one – along with a possible list of keywords and available domains for you to get started with…

Now, like everything, that particular example wouldn’t be a good fit for absolutely everybody reading this … but think how you could apply it to what you are doing – if there is a task you find particularly onerous and you are finding that avoiding it is holding you back – but you can’t find it listed on the various outsourcing websites … why not contact people on those websites with a view to training them to do it for you…?

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Set Your Website Up For Less Than £25 … No Techie Stuff or ‘Faffing Around’ Required…

Faffing around … like it or not, it’s what most of us in the online industry seem to spend a lot of time doing. We didn’t plan it that way, after all computers and the internet do, on the whole, make things considerably easier, but I find it also means we can often write off an entire day bumping into one little online niggle after another…

Of course the ‘approved’ way to get round this was to get somebody else to do those bits for you … but as good an investment as this can be, I realise that the cost (or at least the perceived cost) of getting a website off the ground can be very off-putting.

Put that thought to one side for a moment, and allow me to point you in the direction of (or in some cases remind you about) a resource that for many could become the new ‘approved’ method … though let me warn in advance that the resource in question works in dollars so you’ll have to convert that to ‘real money’ in your head…

Fiverr.com has been around for a while and like one or two other sites before it that went on to much bigger things (most notably eBay) it has taken a while to be ‘trusted’ and taken seriously. Even if your own encounters with the site in the early days were, like mine, less than favourable I think you’ll find that given a second chance you’ll be able to find much there that you would quite happily pay a whole $5 to have done for you.

It must be said however, that even now on arriving at the homepage you are confronted with offers from people willing to do things like write the name of your website on their stomach in lipstick or belch the theme to your favourite TV programme for $5 … but dig deeper than the halfwits and imbeciles and you’ll find it a very useful and under rated resource.

At HQ, we mainly use it for are those niggley little jobs that we would otherwise be waiting (or paying considerably more) for like the design of an eBook cover, or some simple website tweaks that our resident techie does not currently have time to do … but if we wanted we could get so many more things done – and so could you…

I’ve just spent less than 5 minutes on the site and in that time I have found people who would install WordPress on my hosting and add essential and useful plugins ($5) design a professional header or logo ($5) Install a plug-in with a ‘fill in the blanks’ squeeze page ($5) and somebody who will set up my Aweber auto responder for me ($5) … so once I’d bought my domain ($9.95ish) and hosting ($7.96/month from somewhere like Hostgator or GoDaddy) and joined Aweber ($1 for the first month) I could get all the niggley techie bits done for a whole $20!

This means I could have a working website, ready to receive traffic and take names without any ‘faffing around’ or doing anything techie, for a grand total of less than $40 (that’s £25) in just a couple of days … and I could even use some of the gaps in between assigning these chaps their little jobs for maybe writing some bits to put on the site and a couple of follow-up emails for the people who will join my list.

But then of course you could even get someone to write that for you as well for … you guessed it $5! … so if you thought getting going was a bit beyond your reach, either technically or financially, the only question now is – what are you waiting for ?

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

What Can A Danish Restroom Teach Us About Effective Pricing…?

I must say, I am quite glad to be back on dry land … you see, I had been convinced (possibly against my better judgement) to undertake a short cruise around the Baltic – and while I was very pleasantly surprised by nearly all of the  countries I visited, overall it pretty much confirmed my opinions about the whole ‘cruise’ thing…

There were several occasions on which I had to give many of the senior crew members (usually individually, but on one occasion collectively) the benefit of my opinion – but more on that at some point in the future. What I wanted to recount today was an event which occurred in a very clean Copenhagen, in a very clean public washroom…

You see, I was followed in there by an extremely metro sexual looking man who appeared to have been vacuum packed into his shirt and was wearing a pair of tight jeans probably better suited to someone a few years his junior … and not only did he trail behind me into the restroom – he also seemed to be pretty keen to get into the actual cubicle I was about to use as well…

There ensued a short game, during which I used a series of noises and hand signals to try and explain in the nicest way possible that what was about to take place was very much a personal and singular task … to which he responded by repeating something in Danish and trying to edge his way further into the cubicle.

By now, anyone would be convinced this chap was up to no good, so I was about to resort to the not so nice way of removing him when this chap finally twigged that I wasn’t a local, and explained in English that the facilities I was intent on using were in fact blocked and he had been sent to fix them. (And I was awfully glad that he explained himself, as his next move was to produce some sort of plunger type device!!)

Now this one all ended with smiles, but it is the same kind of simple misreading of a situation in the online world that can make you jump to some very expensive conclusions. You see, a lot of our first reactions, whether it be online or elsewhere, when something isn’t selling as much as we’d hope, is to immediately reduce the price … but that is often the very last thing we should be doing.

For instance, if there is something wrong with the way you are presenting the product, or the sales copy and only a few people are getting as far as hitting the ‘order now’ button then you will only sell the same amount regardless of the price (and in fact if you have reduced the price you will make even less profit on each one sold)

You need to root out the real cause, which is not always what you might assume to be the problem … so before you consider reducing the price you must ensure that everything else in your process is perfect, to check it is not one of those other factors that is affecting your sales more than the final figure they see on the order page…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

 

Don’t Turn Yourself Into a ‘Failure Magnet’

Now, before we go any further, I would like to make it plain that ‘She Who Must…’ is a very good driver. If you were expecting a typically ‘Tim-esque’ follow up to that last statement – I’m afraid there isn’t one. In fact I mention it only to illustrate that the unfortunate can occur even to the best of us…

You see, pure circumstance will have her queuing at the roundabout in front of the chap who is about to spill coffee into his lap, causing him to stab his foot down on the accelerator, or park in the exact place at the supermarket at which the new trolley boy finds out he can’t guide that many trolleys safely.

There really isn’t any explanation for it … (and even my reminding her that it ‘never happens to me’ doesn’t seem to help ;-)). And it would appear ‘She Who Must…’ is not alone either, and is what my insurance chap tells me is referred to within the trade as an ‘accident magnet.’

It can also feel like that with some things we do online, when something can go horribly wrong due to an almost unbelievable set of coincidental circumstances that leave you scratching your head, wondering if your efforts are somehow destined to failure  due to being cursed from on-high…

Well, despite what certain cheesy films may tell you, you cannot ‘expect the unexpected’ (though you can of course plan for as many eventualities as you are able) and sometimes things do not go to plan and you can end up with egg on your face, a hefty financial loss, some very unhappy customers, or if it’s a particularly special day … all three.

However when this happens (and it happens to almost everybody) … what happens is considerably less important than how you react to it.

If you give yourself permission to let a setback, regardless of size or severity to take control of your future outlook and feelings and ruin your chances of long term success, you will be turning a real chance to change your life for the better into a ‘long defeat’ where you can only see yourself doing the best you can against overwhelming odds on the road to eventual failure.

It should go without saying that this attitude will do you no good at all, as many (including myself) believe the secret to success, fortune and ultimately happiness is we become what we think about the most. If we highlight and internally focus on the negative, complain endlessly to whoever will listen and hone our misery further by hours spent dwelling in it we will become a more negative person … and attract more of the same.

Now, this may all sound like something from ‘The Secret’ … but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not true. As you know, I frequently rub shoulders with people who would be considered by many as ‘successful’ and, almost without exception, they all display the same trait – not only that they consider it a key factor in that ‘success’.

Some seem to have more of a knack for it than others … and the rest of us have to discipline ourselves to do it – but we must learn to dismiss the negative as soon as the lessons are learned and focus on the positive in the situation to, in turn, become a more positive person.

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Did You Hear The One About…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – If it ain’t fun … I ain’t doing it – usually followed by a brief sideways glance to enjoy the sight of ‘She who must…’ visibly cringing at my deliberate use of the word ‘ain’t’…

And the great British art of ‘Banter’, effectively smothered elsewhere by the clipboard waving PC brigade is alive and well at ‘HQ’ where it is dished out and received in equal but not excessive quantities by all. (Proving again how a little common sense applied by people with a responsible attitude can effortlessly replace any number of volumes of tedious HR legislation)

However, it’s not as though we all caper around like a bunch of rudderless buffoons all day … my business is, by most measures, very successful, especially so given things as they are in the wider world, and all indications are that my business will continue to be successful … which means there must be a considerable amount of other things going on alongside all the ‘fun’.

That’s because humour is a brilliant tool, and I will frequently use it to get my point across, either here in the ‘Lowedown’ or in a face to face ‘workshop’ situation, and I’m sure my good friend Ali Campbell could probably go into detail about why this works, using terms like ‘anchors’ and suchlike – but I just know that it does work, and that there’s also another side to it too…

The fact is, I know that you didn’t subscribe to the ‘Lowedown’ merely because you wanted to hear tales of ‘She Who Must…’ the Minions, or accounts of my own notable exploits … you joined the other tens of thousands of readers because I have made upward of £18 Million in the same industry you yourself wish to prosper in, and that makes the words of advice wrapped up in those tales of value to you.

This is the kind of balance between having fun and at the same time achieving great results I would urge you to try and reach with your own endeavours. On one hand you have the ‘fun’ part where you can fulfil your creative urges deciding what you website should look like, or creating your product or free report.

All of that has to be coupled with the 100% serious matter of providing exactly what you said you would for your customer or subscriber … if they signed up to be shown how to start a WordPress blog, that’s what they must get – not deliver something that looks great and is entertaining, but ultimately doesn’t tell them what they wanted to know.

Remember, hard work can be fun, if done in the right environment, with like minded people all working toward the same thing. Rising to a challenge can be fun, with the satisfaction of achieving something you’ve never done before, with the full support and encouragement of others.

But the most fun of all is … celebrating success. I go out of my way to ensure we celebrate every ‘result’ or big effort in a new and original manner – a night of ‘Scalectrix’ racing accompanied by a curry, a barbeque at my beach hut or an evening at Lowe Towers where all are treated to one of my own culinary creations (each course served with matching wines, naturally 😉

So, if your online endeavours are not quite going as planned, it might be worth you taking a look to see if you’ve got the balance right … you need to be offering what your customer expects, and doing so in a manner that will allow them to engage with you and build a long term relationship that is extremely advantageous to both parties…

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

 

Would You Like To Get ‘Fifty Shades’ Of Viral Traffic…?

You will obviously, by now, have heard of a literary work by the name of ’50 Shades of Grey’ a volume which causes raised eyebrows and sniggers at it’s very mention, has already spawned a multitude of copycats trying to cash in on its popularity, and projected it’s author into the realms of the wealthy and influential…

The series has sold 31 million copies worldwide, and now holds the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, even surpassing good old Harry Potter in the process … before this of course it was a bestseller in various digital formats and was read on a million bus and train journeys on a multitude of Kindles and iThingies.

I won’t go into the fact that’s it’s not considered to be a particularly well written piece, even among its genre (it did after all, it seems, start life as a piece of fan fiction for the equally awful Twilight) but I want to concentrate instead on its avalanche like progress to world dominance as almost the perfect example of something that has ‘gone viral’

Of course, things ‘go viral’ all the time … we’ve all seen that video of a woman throwing the cat in a wheelie bin … or some halfwit skateboarding along railings with the inevitable painful conclusion, but where the ’50 Shades’ phenomenon is of particular interest to us is the fact that it is an actual product rather than just something that provides a moments amusement as an alternative to work.

Having your website, video or article ‘go viral’ is, as you would expect, the ‘jackpot’ when it comes to our industry … all that traffic for what is basically free can do nothing but help sign-ups, sales and ultimately the bank balance … unfortunately the chances of getting a viral hit ourselves, especially one of the magnitude of ’50 Shades…’ are slim, bordering on the impossible.

So what can we do to make the most of the principles involved to get our own slice of viral ‘exposure’? What we need to do is create something that will either through the quality, content, uniqueness or the benefit it brings, not only improve the lot of  the recipient, it will increase their kudos to tell others about it as well.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be a website or a product … or even a lead magnet (or free report) it can be any part of your interaction with the online world – it can even be something as small as providing a really helpful answer on a forum that can get people talking about you.

To help things along, always have a link to one (or several) of your websites on all your pieces of work on the internet, or the bottom of any communication, be it email or posted on some form of interactive site, so that if somebody is given you work via recommendation, they can easily find you to join or better still … buy.

Remember, any viral traffic you get is not only completely free traffic, it is very targeted and has also been ‘pre-sold’ because the person has arrived here on a recommendation … so quiyte simply the more of it you can encourage by providing people with something they are more than happy to tell others about … the better.

Until Next Time,

 

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Matt Fyles V System – A Missed Opportunity ?

You will have to forgive this email being slightly earlier than usual, as I am trying to get this sent and squeeze in a 'respectable' breakfast before we get things rolling on what will be the penultimate day of a very, very successful run of workshops…

Matt Fyles V System is, of course, now completely sold out and by the time you read this I'll be welcoming the very last of the attendees before they are shoe horned in to a conference suite somewhere in leafy Surrey (actually I do jest slightly, as everybody does have plenty of room to work in – but it is definitely at the upper limit of people I would usually work with)

This situation would suggest there is something to be said for booking early … but I also realise that not everybody can get everything they need together to attend something like the V system with a just click of their fingers … so if we had to turn you away I'm really sorry – but I'm also really keen to do what I can to make sure you don't miss out altogether.

As this system works pretty much no matter how many people are doing it (I believe once Matt has put you 'in the know', you will be part of a very elite 4% of the whole market) the number events we could put together was limited purely by the amount of time Matt was available before he swanned off to his next exotic location (or possibly Nottingham)

This being the case, I will be spending time bringing what pressure I can to bear on Mr Fyles to agree at least one more event next time he is here, a little later in the year. (I've already tried to make him stay longer this time, but as it's done nothing but rain since he's been over here I can fully understand his desire to hop off somewhere sunny at the first opportunity)

I have to say, I'm not entirely confident of pulling that one off, but if I can, I would like to give you as much notice as possible, so, if you would like to be involved in any further V System workshops, you can register your interest NOW by simply clicking here

…or if you did want to book a place but there was something, anything at all, that stopped you – you can also let me know by putting that in the 'comments' box (So, if we can put together some more dates for you, we can try and solve that problem for you at the same time)

Let me be clear – you are not committing to anything … you are just letting me know that if more access to the V-System becomes available at a later date … you'd like to be the first to know.

I'm off now for my fruit and yoghurt (bet that surprised some people) and to start work on Matt…;-)

Until Next Time,

TimLoweBluePenSig.jpg
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

 

For Heaven’s Sake Man, Buck Up!

On reflection, I think there are a couple of things that I might not necessarily excel at … one could easily point at any number of things happening in the Olympic Stadium in the near future that would not be my forte, but above all those I would still probably put 'Life Coach'…

It's not that I wouldn't get results … but I think the ratio of upstanding individuals created verses the ones left gibbering incoherently under their desks would probably not win me too many awards….

Which is why, when I recently received a 'name check' in the 'Huffington Post' column written by my very good friend Ali Campbell (One of the UK's top Life Coaches, 'TVs Mr Fix-it' and eater of Cumberland Sausages) for my use of the very phrase that is the title of this week's Lowedown, I was very surprised…

I'll give the link so you can read it yourself in just a moment, and I think it was quoted because even in the touchy feely world inhabited by some life coaches, a lack of 'robustness' in the populace has been noted, and the rather excessive rise in unnecessary Health and Safety and 'PC' values has turned many of us a bit soft and stupid.

For instance, I recently attended an event which had an evening Barbeque, and it being Britain there were contingencies for the inevitable onset of drizzle. Now, the erecting of a couple of awning type affairs to keep the rain out of our drinks and off the barbeque is only common sense and a good move by the venue…

However, the fact that we (a group of grown people, with no lack of brains between us) weren't trusted to stand on terra firma but instead on some specially installed non slip matting illustrates my point exactly, further underlined by an abundance of slippery surface signs, which ironically, as pointed out by one of my Minions … were positioned perfectly to 'have someone's eye out'

It's exactly this kind of thing that stops people thinking for themselves, which in the course of your online endeavours would be a very bad thing … because as soon as you encounter a problem or things don't go as planned, that inability to 'think your way out of it' will leave you ready to give up, or equally disastrously doing nothing and waiting for somebody to turn up unbidden, and tell you what to do.

Some things, especially on a personal level, will of course quite rightly stop you dead in your tracks but I often see people avoiding doing some of the things they would have to apply a bit of common sense to, because it's 'too hard' to think for themselves.

Not everybody in the world will achieve the things that we in this industry aspire to, because as I've said so many times before, if you want things you've never had before, you need to do things you've never done before … and at the very top of that list is taking responsibility and thinking for yourself.

Right, now that we're all thoroughly 'bucked up', as promised, I'd like to point you in the direction of Ali's column in the 'Huffington Post' … it is a particularly good read and I would suggest you could do much worse that keep an eye out for Ali's future columns…

Read Ali's Article HERE

All The Best,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

I Turn My Back For Five Minutes…

There was plenty of positive reaction to the giveaway with last week's Lowedown … so much so that I think it may have gone to some Minion heads…

As you probably know, I've spent most of the past week or so at various venues playing ringmaster to the Matt Fyles V System events – so have been away from HQ and unable to keep an eye  on what's going on … and in my absence my Minions have decided to try and be clever all over again.

This time my Minions have put together a collection of little ideas you can use to make some money using the internet, starting today if you want … and, as per standard Minion rules, you should be able to do much of it as cheaply as is humanly possible, preferably using only what is already on your computer … or can be downloaded for free.

This latest offering is laden with money-making gems you may not have considered (or even heard of before), but this little prod in the right direction may be exactly what you need to kick-start your online endeavours, especially if you feel you are struggling with some of what are believed to be the more 'traditional' methods.

You can read or download it on the Minions site (I'll pop the link at the bottom) but if you do wish to access it, you will have to become a member of the site (don't worry it's free) which you can do by filling in the little invitation that will pop up just after you arrive.

'Normal service' (such as it ever is) will be resumed shortly, as you can imagine all of these 'giveaways' (without, may I add, having to watch a twenty minute video trying to sell you something for £500 before you can download your 'free' item) is doing my reputation as heartless and aloof internet marketing 'guru' absolutely no good at all 😉

Anyway, I shall take my tongue out of my cheek for just long enough to say that I hope you, (despite the weather which promises to be appalling) have a fantastic weekend … and that, as promised earlier, you can access your latest giveaway by clicking the link below: http://www.timsminions.com/666/10-real-make-money-online-ideas-ebook/#

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

 

How To Create Your Own Cash and Lead Generating eBook

My 'Minions', it seems, have been very busy … obviously I expect them to be busy, (in the same way they, 'one day' hope to see some wages) 😉 but to be honest – It isn't always obvious what they are trying to achieve…

You see, when I venture down to the lower reaches of HQ, I will often find them looking at websites for such diverse things as the actor Jason Statham or UFO Abductions, purely (or so  they tell me) for the purposes of research … then, just as I am about to invite them up for what is euphemistically called 'an interview without coffee' … they show me websites they have created that are on the first page of Google without spending a penny on SEO or advertising (or anything else for that matter)

Then a few weeks back, they started downloading all the 'free reports' they could get their hands on (readers who have partaken of my 'Listbuilder' course will also know this as a 'lead magnet', something that is given away in exchange for a person's details on a squeeze page or 'hub') I knew the Minion 'Little Grey Cells' were on the go again.

So, what I have for you today is the latest creation from below stairs … after looking at the best of what is out there, My Minions have settled on what they believe is the optimum template for creating your own eBook, (or at the very least jazzing up a PLR eBook you have bought for pennies or something you've had written elsewhere.)

Remember, your 'lead magnet' will probably be the first real chance you have to build your relationship with somebody new to your list, so you need to give the best impression you possibly can, and it is important not only to fulfil the promises you made on your squeeze page but also to present them in an ordered, coherent, and (if you can manage it) stylish manner…  

Now originally I wanted to send this to you as an attachment to the LoweDown to make this a 'no effort' freebie for you but I believe this would cause some kind of havoc with various spam filters so I would instead urge you to visit this page on the Minions website:

http://www.timsminions.com/628/how-to-create-and-format-an-ebook/#

And follow the instructions there to download it. (If you've never been to the site, or haven't been there for a while, you will also receive an invitation to join the site as a member – which I would also urge you to do as there is some very good 'members only' material on there that can only improve the success of your online endeavours.)

A few of the Minions members have already had a chance to give this the once over … one of whom said:  

"This is one of the great all-time biz-op blog posts … It doesn't get better than this"

…something which meant I had a very smug Minion on my hands…

Remember, this is absolutely FREE and could provide you with a real head start in giving exactly the right impression to people who are interacting with you for the first time….

Here's that web address again … http://www.timsminions.com/628/how-to-create-and-format-an-ebook/#

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

Only Read This If You Want To Know Why…

It's funny, isn't it – how you can be standing there all fired up and ready to really get started, then those same old doubts start creeping in and before you know it you've done absolutely nothing and another golden opportunity has passed you by.

You're not alone in this … we've all (and I do mean 'all') done it at one time or another, and it usually has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of what is presented to us … and everything to do with how we look at it…

I was reminded of it, last week while I was half way up the CN tower in Canada, travelling up in a lift … with obligatory glass walls and floor of course, so we can enjoy the view (and those select few of us not so well disposed to heights can stare fixedly at the only panel of wood on the whole contraption for the entire journey) 😉

I'm sure many of you will know that you can also venture beyond the saucer like viewing platform to the very top, where you can stare through the glass floor … which despite being a good deal thinner than you'd expect and secured in place with a selection of girders and beams you'd think weren't nearly sturdy enough … can actually withstand the weight of fourteen hippos tap dancing on it simultaneously or some such nonsense…

For the truly insane however there is also the added attraction of being connected up to a harness and dangled out over the side of the tower to 'appreciate' the view to an even greater extent, and whilst it was all clearly completely safe I didn't fancy it one bit.

Strangely enough, I felt none of these anxieties whizzing round Niagara Falls in a helicopter a day or so earlier, which on the face of it is sitting in a plastic bubble under a spinning blade flying over one of the planets greatest forces of nature (which has claimed many more lives than those who have fallen off the CN tower).

The difference, of course, was what I personally thought about the two activities rather than their actual attributes … and it is for this reason I was perfectly happy sat in the helicopter, but extremely vulnerable in the much safer environment of the tower (albeit stood on a glass floor)

It can be very similar when it comes to trying things online, where despite all the safety measures like money back guarantees and the massive personal and financial freedom it can bring, is still regarded very much the same way as I eyed the see-through floor on the CN tower so out of those who do try, many never really get started or seem to get very far…

Whereas getting up at what is referred by my Minions as 'stupid o'clock' in the morning and driving a car while wearing clothes you only had to buy because of your job in the first place, to go and put in 8-10 hours to pay for what amounts to somebody else's flash car, house in the country or luxury holiday … is considered perfectly sane and normal just because you've always done it…

The difference between those who will manage to change their lives beyond measure and those who will be sitting in the 8.30 traffic jam for many years to come are those who recognise this, see things for what they are, and step out of their comfort zone to reap the massive rewards on offer.

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

How To Beat The Fear That Is Causing You To Fail

Regular readers of the Lowedown, especially those who followed the tales of my exploits 'down under' last year, will know I can be a little less than brave when confronted by a spider. Not the little 'money spider' types, but the rather larger ones that lurk in the corner of cupboards and bathrooms and make themselves apparent when you are least expecting it and usually holding something both valuable and fragile.

It is not the fear of our eight legged friends however, that is likely to stifle your online endeavors (unless of course there is a particularly large one lurking in the corner above your computer);-) it will instead be the fear of 'failing' and the embarrassment, humiliation and criticism we think will follow.

It is no coincidence, I think, that nearly everybody I am aware of that you and I would consider 'successful' are largely unaffected (at least in business terms) by what others think of them, and have developed a 'shatterproof' confidence that shuts the fear of criticism away.

Successful people recognize that opportunity and risk are inseparable, and that failure is an inherent part of the process. In fact I would go as far as to say that I have made more mistakes in this business than many people who have proclaimed themselves to be complete failures and thrown the towel in.

Remember, it is the fear of what might happen that stops us from taking action or seizing that opportunity, and it is typical that many of us can clearly visualize in graphic detail the 'fallout' of it all going 'pear shaped' considerably more easily than we can  the rewards of things going exactly to plan.

In my experience, most of what we fear could go wrong never actually does (though I would also like point out that words 'preparation' and 'planning' are a major factor in this and we should trust to optimism alone) and what actually does go wrong, usually at least, isn't quite as bad as we might have feared.

I would encourage you then, while considering the possibilities of your next project or venture, that you picture yourself actually succeeding rather than reeling off a list of reasons of why it would never work (and if you're honest with yourself it's probably the same list that you've applied to almost any and all situations over the last few years) you may well find it was all that was missing…

Until Next Time,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down

Optimist Prime…

As we start a rather splendid four-day weekend that will be a fantastic celebration of all things British (including it seems, the unpredictability of the weather) coming as it does on the back of a mini heat wave, it seems to me that people are rather more 'up' than usual – in fact one of the Minions came in yesterday with some far-fetched tale about people actually smiling on the train…;-)

I've always been an 'up' sort of chap myself … this actually has very little to do with the success I've had over the last few years … my outlook was generally very positive even back in the days when things weren't going nearly half as well … and I've always believed that things turning out just how I want them is the 'normal' way things should be…

Over the years, many things seemed to have worked simply because I have believed they would … and this is not, as I have said so many times before got some kind of special power, it's just that sometimes it simply does not occur to me that it could happen any other way…

You see, if you truly believe something will work, any of the problems that you happen to encounter along the way are just bumps in the road (and yes, during my decade online I have become fully aware of how large some bumps can be) to inevitable success…

Whereas, if when we look at a project and just 'give it a try' but ultimately believe, deep down 'things like that don't work for me' it will almost certainly come to nothing, because as soon as a decent sized problem is encountered … it can all stop there, because 'something like this' was 'bound to happen with my luck'.

Now there is a famous quote from Henry Ford about thinking you can and thinking you can't, and being right either way, but I'm sure you know all about that already … what I would like to bring to your attention is a far less well known quote of his … which I think sums up more accurately what we are trying to achieve with our online endeavours…

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."

Have A Fantastic Bank Holiday,

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Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim's Business Lowe Down