The Newest Addition To The Stirling Clan

Big news! On July 12th 2012, we welcomed a new baby daughter into the world and into our family. Please say hello to Tiffany Stirling.

Tiffany

It’s still hard to believe that I’m the father of two amazing children. I always thought the day when I’d be a father would be forever away. Like when I was in high school and even after getting married. It was a concept that seemed unreal to have happen to me.  2 years ago that unreal idea became real when my son Chino was born. I can’t say I was ready to become a father then and I can’t say I was ready to become a father of two. Maybe no father is ever ready.

Chino and Tiffany

But of course, your own children, although very testing of ones patience are adorable  and you can’t help but love them. I know that just ooozez cheese but it’s true. I wouldn’t trade my kids or my wife for the world. They are the best things that have ever happened to me… even if they do prevent me from sleeping, throw temper tantrums and create a mess at every meal time. Heavens knows what it’s going to be like when they start fighting with each other!

As for working at home and living with a 2 y.o. and 12 day old baby, it’s pretty tough. I’m typing this at 11:58 pm when the house is quiet. It’s the only time today where I’ve had more than a 30 minute block of solid time to do something productive.

It looks like I’m going to have to put in most of my solid work time in these late night blocks for a while… but that’s fine. I think it’s so important to spend as much time as possible with your kids as they are growing up. It’s a once in a life-time event and the last thing I want to do is miss it and wake up 20 years down the road and see my kids have grown up and leave the house.

Stu and Tiffany

I figure as long as I’m earning enough money to pay the bills and keep a roof over our head and food on the table, that’s all we need. The beauty of running an internet business is that a lot of my income is hands-free. I’m so glad I put in the long hours in the years before I had kids to create these auto-pilot revenue streams so I could spend time watching my family grow up.

Well this post was a bit longer than I expected it to be but these are my thoughts and feelings right now. If you’re a work at home parent too, you’ll probably be able to empathize with me. I get to spend time with my family and when I want work on my business, I walk upstairs and sit down at my PC. Is there any better job in the world?

Thanks for reading,
Stu Stirling

 

5 Skills You Need To Be A Master Marketer

The biggest secret to becoming a master marketer is simply adopt and emulate marketers who have already mastered the art.

So then, naturally you’d be asking what are the skills that great marketers possess? What makes them different to the average marketer who gets average results.

I don’t claim to be the word’s greatest marketer or have any outstanding skills, but I strive to learn from and try to emulate them. So I’m always looking very closely at those more successful  than me so I can think act and run my business like them. Here are a few skills I have noticed among the great marketers I’ve had dealing with.. whether on a personal level or looking at from a distance.

Persuasion – This would have to be #1 skill when it comes to marketing. Marketing really is just persuasion. You’re trying to persuade people into trading their dollars and time for whatever it is you’re selling. From crafting offers, writing sales copy and emails to working with business partners, JVs and affiliates, your success is largely determined by how good your persuasion skills are.

Time management – Every entrepreneur or self employed business person will testify that time management is key to getting ‘productive’ things done. I can tell you as a work at home dad, it’s one of the biggest challenges I face. It takes real self-discipline to use (the limited) time you have to the best you can to get productive work done. This could really be the difference between the speed at which one succeeds. Sure if you learn the other skills but are slow at implementing them, then it’s naturally going to take you longer. As they say, “money loves speed”.

Delegation – Everyone has just 24 hours in a day, 2 hands and 1 brain. The masters of marketing have a team around them to tear through the work so they can ‘run the show’. The biggest trap online entrepreneurs get into is trying to do everything by themselves.  It’s inevitable that you will hit a plateau very quickly if you stick on this path. The only way to grow is to delegate work (outsource) to competent staff around you. It may take a little time to train them in the beginning, but it’s worth it to have more hands on the job and your mind free for the long-term success of your business.

Patience – Success simply doesn’t come over night and I’ve never seen any truly successful person who is always looking for the quick buck. The successful marketers are always level headed, calm and relaxed. Possibly because they’re already successful and don’t need to worry about money coming in, but I would think this is a skill or trait they’ve always had. They realize that for true success, you need a plan, and there are several steps in a good plan, and sometimes it just takes time for that plan to unfold. The result of waiting and executing a bigger plan however results in a much greater pay day.

Persistence – Winners never quit. Rocky was spot on there. Winners get to be winners because they never quit. This goes for any successful person regardless of it’s a marketer, sports person, actor or professional. Persistence is the key. If you really want to be successful, you have to hold on through the rough times. And realizing there are going to be rough times is a part of being in business or life. Expect there to be hard trials but remember just like there is night and day, if you hold on and try to overcome the hurdles, you will come out on top. It’s easy to quit, but quitting won’t get you to where you want to go.

To your success,

Stu Stirling

p.s. What other skills have you noticed that successful marketers posses? I know they have a lot so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

7 Tips For Staying Creative

Ever feel like your creativity has gone out the window and wondering when/if it will ever come back again?

For entrepreneurs, it’s necessary to keep creativity levels high. As we are all one-man shows for the most part, we have to think and make the executive decisions on what product to create next or how to promote this affiliate offer etc, all by ourselves – or at least it feels that way most of the time.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could give yourself an instant boosts of creativity just like pressing the nitro button in a video game? Well, there is no switch for creativity button, but I’d like to share a few tips for keeping your creativity levels high.

Optimize Your Work Place

If you work from home on your internet business, your work space is probably in the corner of the living room with the TV in the other corner and your wife around the corner bugging you to take out the trash. It’s hard to get creative and just plain get work done in a room with distractions. Another idea could be to put up a poster with inspirational quotes.

Borrow Ideas

When you run out of ideas, just go and do some undercover spying to see what others are doing and borrow their ideas. For example when you can’t think of a good topic for your next blog post, go take a look at what your favorite blogger is writing about and some ideas will come to you. Don’t copy, just borrow ideas.

Mix Things Up

Monotony is the biggest killer of creativity. When we do the same thing over and over everyday, we get too lazy to think of new things. Do something random! Play some music really loud and jump up and down on your bed. Make a prank call to your local pizza shop! Go outside and so some somersaults in the yard. It doesn’t have to be so outrageous, but do something out of the norm to keep things interesting.

Join A Mastermind Group

I mentioned earlier in the post that as entrepreneurs, it seems like we have to do everything ourselves – but if we do, it’s easy to burnout – and that includes thinking up ideas. Talking with and bouncing around ideas with other like-minded marketers is a great way to come up with new ideas and keep the fire going. There are many times after a good chat session when I have felt really pumped with mind-energy to go out and press forward in my business.

Listen Or Read Inspirational Material

Similar to chatting with mentors or peers in a mastermind, listening to or reading good inspirational material is a great way to boost your inspiration. Hearing success stories from others in your field is a great confidence booster. Some of my favorite speakers are Zig Ziglar, Gary Halbert and Robert Kiyosaki.

Take a Break

Have you ever heard about the guy that got his million dollar idea on the toilet seat? I don’t doubt it! Like I mentioned about mixing it up, taking a break let’s your mind relax and makes space for new thoughts to enter. I myself have had several “strokes of genius” when I’ve been away from the PC. When you’re searching for inspiration, how about go for a walk or listen to some music?

Keep Up The Momentum

This is key! When you’re on a roll with coming up with new ideas and getting a lot of work done, it’s easy to keep it going. Keep going – and actually, as you keep going, new ideas will present themselves as you work more. Take note of any new ideas on a notepad next to you as you work on one thing. Finish what you’re doing and come back to your list of ideas. You can use this list when you think you have run out of ideas again.

To your success,
Stuart Stirling

p.s. What do you do to stay creative?

What Is The Right Niche For You?

When you decide that you want to start an online business, the first thing that comes to mind is often “what kind of niche market am I going to sell to?”

At first you might instantly think “the money! I want to go where the money is!”. While that’s high on the list for most marketers, it’s not the only single thing to consider when choosing the right niche for you.

There are two main things you want to consider when choosing a market before you dive right in.

And these are the 2 questions to ask yourself, (and not necessarily in this order)

1. Is there money to be made in this niche?

2. Am I passionate about working in this market?

Ok, let’s talk about the first one first, “is there any money to be made?” Of course, if you’re doing business for profit, you’ll want to get into a profitable niche rather than one that isn’t right?

Some people say that you can monetize any niche, and although that might be true to some extent, some niches are more “full of buyers” than others. You want to know which ones have the buyers so you’re not wasting your time with tire-kickers.

So how can you tell if a niche is profitable?

A good way to gauge how many people are buying is by looking at how many products are for sale and how much marketing is going on already in that niche. If you go to a related site within your potential niche and see a lot of advertising going on, then you can assume there is money being made!

Another way is to go to a popular affiliate market place such as clickbank.com and check out the latest top selling products. I say ‘latest’ because as the times change, so do popular and profitable niches/products.

Next, are you passionate about the niche you’re looking into?

Even if you find a profitable niche, you may not have the passion to give it all you have keep at it before you make your venture a success.

For example, I wouldn’t enter the “stamp collecting” niche even if it was lucrative, because I’m simply not interested in it (no offense to any stamp collectors out there).

Being an Entrepreneur, a home business owner, Internet marketer or whatever you want to call it is more than just a way to make a living, it’s a lifestyle. And it’s a lifestyle that requires hard work and dedication, just like many other “jobs”.

Luckily for us, we can choose what we want our lifestyle and “job” to be – that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur!

Make sure you choose a niche you have a love for, something you can see yourself doing everyday.

Even when times get tough, you will still have enough drive and enthusiasm to battle through if you’re doing something you love.

Another point I might add is that it’s ideal that you have some kind of “expert” knowledge about your niche topic. Most of the time however, we are experts at what we love, even if we know it or not.

Sometimes we forget just how much we know about a certain topic because we’ve been “into it” for years. Don’t short sell yourself by thinking you don’t know enough about one type of niche.

Chances are you know 95% more than the rest of the world on the topic you have a passion for.

Stuart StirlingAnd as you know, knowledge is power and that power can be translated into great products and services you can sell for profit!

To your online success,
Stu “Sensei” Stirling

4 Steps To Better To-Do Lists

A successful business is an organized business. As you know, working from home as an entrepreneur, there is a lot to organize and do everyday to run and grow our businesses successfully.

But despite all the things you have to do, you probably have days where at the end of it, you think to yourself….“I got jack squat work done today!”

Sometimes there are just so many things to do that we run around like we’re on fire and don’t get any productive work done.

We’re all over the shop, doing little bits over here and little bits over there but never getting any real solid work done.

That’s where a “To-Do” list becomes a life (and time) saver.

A “To-Do” list gives us direction and helps us focus on the most important tasks of the day.

Have you ever used a “To-do” list? If not, why not?

If you are, then you’ll know how this simple little system can have big payoffs.

Here are my tips for using “To-Do” lists in for my home internet business.

Step 1. All you need to make the most basic to-do list is a scrap piece of paper and a pen.

But you probably won’t want scrap paper littering your desk. Instead, invest in a whiteboard you hang on your wall or a weekly planner you keep on your desk, like me.

Some people might use software or have a “to-do” list file on their computer, but I find that a real thing I can look at anytime is much better.

Step 2. Then you write down all the things you want or need to do.

They can be things you need to do today, tomorrow or this week. Write them down in any order for now.

When you can see all the things to do in front of you, you can free up space in your head. it might sound silly, but that’s how I feel.

I can see what I have to do at a glance so I don’t have to think about it constantly. I know which tasks are most important too, but sometimes I will circle or highlight ones that are a high priority.

Step 3. Then, keep it nearby. Don’t forget about it. When you get distracted, look at the list.

You might not want to do some of the tasks. If they seem too daunting, break them down into smaller tasks.

When you think of a new task to do, write it on the list.

Step 4. When you complete a task, put a line through it.

This is when you feel a little warm feeling of accomplishment and a little less weight off your shoulders.

When you have your work set out in front of you, and not all jumbled in your head, it makes getting work done a heck of a lot easier.

If you’re not already using a To-Do list, try it and see how much more productive you can be with your time.

Stu Sensei