Notes From An Introvert: Exposure & Profit – A Supercharged Event!

Exposure and Profit TorontoIt’s not often I become easily inspired. Heck, I’ve read just about every self-help book and watched every TED talk there is. So in my mind, I’ve seen it and heard it all. It’s a bit distorted, I know. But I’ve set my mind on making new waves of inspiration for my readers and myself.

I thrive on helping others grow – feel better, be happier. It’s the reason why I’ve chosen all of my careers in helping fields. So when I decided to go to Kelly McCausey’s (my business coach) Exposure and Profit live event last weekend, I went in support of her – at first. Along the way, I accumulated some unbelievable and unsolicited inspiration that surprised me and left me wanting more.

Dealing With Cold Feet

I would be lying if I said I didn’t get cold feet once the date was approaching. I’m, well, an introvert and although I love people, mingling in a group setting is just not my thing. It never has been as it sucks the energy out of me, drenches my thoughts, therefore, affecting my ability to engage in small talk. You wouldn’t know it if you lived in my home though. I’m as loud, bubbly and teenage-like as they come. They say being extroverted comes in handy when networking. Many people report that the connections made at live events can literally help your business explode. So, in an effort to unfold my big plan for Sparkplugging, I was all in – nerves and all.

After the first day’s worth of presentations were over, I couldn’t help but to perseverate over the aha’s. The second day was the same and I began to indulge in regret for not participating in the mastermind session the day before the main event. My loss indeed.

Beyond all of that however, the energy there was cosmic and reassuring. I walked out feeling like I could conquer the world. I completely get what the whole buzz surrounding live events is all about now but I think this one was especially special.

Wow! What Takeaways

“What would awesome you do?” – Nicole Dean

Nicole an at Exposure and Profit TorontoNicole Dean was one of the keynote speakers and took philanthropy to another level for me. Nicole’s message spoke to my soul, as she believes in making the web and world a better place – ditto! She goes to an animal shelter and hugs kittens as a way to give back, which not only helps her have a better day but also socializes the kittens so that they are more adoptable. Also inspiring was the fact that her online business has allowed her husband to quit his job, which translates into more time for them to spend together. What an aspiration for newcomers like me! Tidbit: The importance of giving back.

Connie Regan Greene at Exposure and Profit

Self Publishing is a stepping stone to greater opportunities.” – Connie Ragen Greene

Connie Regan Greene encouraged that you can be an author of a book if you want to be. Connie has written several books (in physical form) without the help of a major publisher. She described the ease of the process and her wisdom on the importance of owning your content. She gave some extraordinary examples on how your can turn what you already have into a book, info product – or any other format for that matter. Tidbit: Do the work once and keep profiting from it over and over.

“When in doubt, embrace discomfort.” – Justin Popovic

Justing Popovic at Exposure and ProfitJustin Popvic was another keynote speaker whom I admire for his appreciation for personal development. He literally quit his job cold turkey before he launched his business. He shared (with pictures) his array of emotions throughout the years as he was managing the trials that crossed his path as he was growing his business. Tidbit: Get through the lows to get to the highs. Absolutely moving!

Dan Morris at Exposure and ProfitRachel Martin at Exposure and ProfitDan Morris and Rachel Martin- Besides frequently reminding us that his name is, ummmm, “Dan” (you had to be there to get it – pretty funny guy), he and his partner Rachel talked about knowing your audience.

“When fans become cheerleaders, you achieve leverage.” – Dan Morris and Rachel Martin

Things like what they say, think, feel and do are crucial in your leadership and it will turn your audience into raving cheerleaders. Also, have you ever considered sponsorships? Well, surprisingly it’s easier than I thought. Tidbit: Don’t be afraid to approach companies for sponsorships if they have a product that can be beneficial for your audience.

“Video is mandatory” – Derral Eves

Derral Eves at Exposure and ProfitDerral Eves’s presentation rocked the world of most attendees. Five seconds is all you have to capture your audience attention when you’re using video in your marketing efforts. Let’s just say, he did just that to a T during his presentation – very insightful info + entertaining! However, what was most touching was how he captivated the hearts of viewers in a video he put together for his brother who needed a kidney transplant. The video raised double the amount of money his brother needed to get his kidney. If you ever wondered about the power of video and You Tube, he’s your man. Tidbit: You want your videos to create some type of reaction for your audience whether they like it or not. Why? Because You Tube gives you credit for engagement so either way you benefit.

Email is the glue in your marketing” – Alice Seba

Alice Seba at Exposure and ProfitAlice Seba knows the power of email marketing. I’m on her list and she sure practices what she preaches. One of her messages is to leverage the power of email because your email list is yours, unlike your followers on social media platforms. She advocates to send emails all of the time. And, if your subscribers don’t want your emails or are angry that you are selling them something, they are not the right people for your list. So, they need to go. Tidbit: Train your audience to do something in every email you send.

Kelly McCausey at Exposure and ProfitKelly McCausey  is content curator extraordinaire and although she did not present on a topic even though she hosted the event, I can vouch for the great information she brings to the table all of the time as my coach. At Exposure & Profit, Kelly provided some darn good tidbits. For one, she shared her reasons for not presenting and subtly described how, since starting her business; she always brought the “experts” to her peeps. In essence, you don’t need to be the expert; you just need to find them based on what your people want.  So if you feel like you don’t know enough of anything to start your business, well, you don’t have to.

Mission Accomplished (well, partially)

So there it is. The event was pegged as an “introvert friendly” affair, which was appealing to me and I’m sure most other introverts in the room. My goal was to take lead of my special attributes and make the most of the event on my terms; although, I wasn’t opposed to stretching out my limits. I made checklist for myself as a way to push my boundaries. I decided I was going to approach some pretty cool people (most of them speakers) whom I admire in the online marketing business space. I wanted to thank them for their inspiration. Did I do so? Here it goes….

  • Nicole Dean (check)
  • Alice Seba (check)
  • Connie Regan Greene (check)
  • Sharyn Sheldon (check)
  • Justin Popovic (well, not quite) But 4 out of 5 is not bad. And just in case you get to read this Justin, your PLR rocks!

As far as I’m concerned, introversion is the new cool. Even though group settings are less than ideal for me, the energy and connections made at Exposure and Profit blew my “innie” socks off my feet.

Wish you were there? No prob. You can get the recordings right here.

Making Sure You Know About: eBook Publishing Boot Camp

Every year D’vorah Lansky of Digital Publishing Cafe brings together a team of book industry experts to share their experience and message.  Since self publishing and digital publishing is growing at an exciting rate, I wanted to share it with you.

eBook Publishing Boot CampThere will be fourteen interactive workshop sessions in three content areas:

  • eBook Creation and Publication Workshops
  • Content Creation and Multimedia Workshops
  • Book Marketing Strategies for Your Book

Check out the Speaker Line Up:

  • Jim Edwards: Write Your Ebook To Publish And Sell On Amazon Kindle
  • Val Waldeck: How to Prepare and Publish Your Books for Amazon’s Kindle
  • David Wogahn: Publishing to Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords
  • John S. Rhodes: The Print-on-Demand Revolution
  • Kristen Eckstein: When & How to Turn Your eBook into Print
  • Jason Matthews: Why Google Plus Hangouts are the Way to Go
  • Bob Jenkins: Grow Your Business with Teleseminar Conversations
  • David Perdew: eBook Editing for Maximum Profit
  • Dr. Jeanette Cates: Magnify Your Message with PowerPoint
  • Alex Mozes and Danielle Leslie: How to Create a Course with Udemy and Earn $$
  • Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart: Successful Book Launch Strategies
  • Connie Ragen Green: Become a Kindle Bestseller in 30 Minutes a Day
  • Susan Baroncini-Moe: Leveraging Influencers to Sell More Books
  • Sandra Beckwith: How to Build Buzz for Your eBook

Interested in digital publishing?  I’ve published a few items on the Kindle platform recently and I’m encouraged by the results.  It’s clear we need finesse to make the most of it and events like this one help show us the way.

You gotta love virtual events, listening from the comfort of home, attending live or catching up on your own schedule. (That’s my preference – usually at the gym!)

Get registered for the eBook Publishing Boot Camp here.

P.S. Look for more from D’vorah here on Sparkplug CEO soon, we’re going to be a stop on her next virtual book tour to launch “21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour”.

The Truth About NAMS

This is a guest post by Regina Baker.

NAMS (Niche Affiliate Marketing System) is a bi-yearly event hosted by founder, David Perdew. The NAMS event was created for the newbie, intermediate and advanced internet marketer seeking to find out in-depth information on how to profit as an affiliate marketer. One of the things that impressed me about David is his integrity and passion for inspiring others to reach their goals by providing a step-by-step system for anyone with a desire to LEARN, COMMIT and (apply) ACTION.

This past weekend included the above and more. I opted for Intermediate classes, however found myself in the newbie classes as well because I wanted to hear what each speaker had to say on both levels.

I chose to attend NAMS for the opportunity to gain additional insight into affiliate marketing as well as to meet people ‘in person’. Having been online for over 10 years, it was time to see people in person, to get a feel for who they really are ‘off’ the computer. Seeing people for the first time was truly an experience that I’ll treasure for a very long time. Everyone was so friendly, hugs were exchanged, private conversations took place, getting to know each other on a more personal level happened all weekend! [Read more...]

What is NFIB Virtual Summit?

nfib-virtual-summit-full-logo

The NFIB Virtual Summit is an exciting, informal online conference we are hosting on September 15, 2009.  No travel arrangements are necessary – you can attend from the convenience of your home or office!    In case you are not familiar with NFIB – we are the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.  NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.

NFIB is proud to be the host of the Virtual Summit because now – more than ever, it is important for small businesses and entrepreneurs to come together to participate in open dialogues about critical issues that are directly affecting your business.

Who should attend the summit and why will it be beneficial to them?

This virtual conference is focused on entrepreneurs and small business owners.  It will give them a chance to meet and network with peers and industry experts.  This conference format is an exciting new way to connect, discuss the issues, learn from experts, and most importantly – find solutions to better your business.

What features/topics will be discussed at the NFIB Virtual Summit?

Inside the virtual “Auditorium” – NFIB, eBay, Google and Facebook will present webcasts on topics including:  “The Keys to Success for Your eBay Sales”, “Digital Marketing and Social Networking”, “Healthcare for Small Business”, and “Focus on the Economy”.

Will there be any Q & A sessions available for those attending that may have questions about topics talked about?

Each of the webcasts in the “Auditorium” will be followed by a scheduled chat session in the “Networking Café”.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask industry experts questions – live!

Looking at the site I see an auditorium, exhibit hall, networking cafe, resource center and information. Can you explain what those areas are for and how they will work during the conference?

From the main lobby, there are numerous rooms to explore.  You can download free resources into your “virtual tote bag” in the “Resource Center”.  The “Exhibit Hall” will feature sponsor booths including eBay, Google, Solveras, Dun & Bradstreet, as well as our media sponsor, SBTV.  The booths will include prize giveaways, free small business resources, and will be staffed by company representatives to answer any questions you may have.  The Networking Café will be open for people to connect and network, exchange virtual business cards, participate in live schedules chats, as well as contribute to the “Hot Topics” message boards.

Registration is free with the promo code bgg737.   Register online at:  www.NFIB.com/VirtualSummit

Spark at Idea: Making Real Life Connections

spark-an-idea

Last week’s Spark an Idea Thursday was about Making ‘Real Life’ Connections With People You Know Online.

Interestingly enough, my Spark an Idea round up post is late because I was away from the home office ;ast Thursday and Friday making several great ‘real life connections’ with women I’ve met online over the last six years ;)

Here’s what our Sparkplugging Author’s have to say:

  • Leslie says to attend live events.
  • Traci recommends joining the Smart Solopreneurs Meetup Group.
  • Lynette says to be the first to reach out to someone else.
  • Michelle suggests picking up the phone to talk with your customers.
  • Brandie likes to have virtual coffee with people. (I’ve had VC with her before!)

If you’d like to chime in on next week’s Spark an Idea topic – “Spark an Idea about Motivating Others” , we’d love to have you join in.  Grab our image and make your post by 9am EST on Thursday the 23rd, then tweet me to let me know and I’ll include you in the round up post here on Sparkplug CEO.

Will You Take a Netbook to Blogher?

my-acer-mini

I bought myself a netbook this year with an eye for light and easy access to email and blogs while on the road.  For a light occasional traveler like me, a netbook makes perfect sense.

I’ve read a few comparisons and reviews but wasn’t terribly influenced by them.  You can end up paying more for some high end netbooks than you’d pay for a full blooded laptop if features and keyboard size are important to you.

Sparkplugging Author Lynette Chandler admits that netbook keyboard size is a factor for her and from the comments on her post, it’s important to others as well.

For me, price was pretty much the only factor in my decision.  I’ll admit that I didn’t even bother comparing features.  I spent less on my Acer Aspire One ($238) than I spent on my BlackBerry Curve ($300) in 2007 so it felt like a no brainer.

I’ve been working with my little Acer for a little over a month now and I’m satisfied with it.  I don’t mind the small keyboard at all – I’m not using it for hours on end after all and compared to thumb pecking with my Curve, it’s a dream to manage.

Since I am home most of the time, it hasn’t received any heavy use so far.  I will occasionally take it to my comfy recliner to answer email and have used it to watch Netflix movies in bed a couple times.  I have to say, that’s been my favorite use so far!

While poking around Amazon I just discovered that you can actually buy a netbook very similar to mine with access to the AT&T 3G service.  You pay just $150 for the netbook, then it looks like the monthly service plan runs about $60.  If you spend a lot of time away from WIFI access this could be attractive I suppose.

So, what’s your plan?  Is a netbook in your future?  Do you have your eye on something in particular?

Is PayPerPost/Izea Setting the New Standard for Marketing Transparency Ethics?

Many of today’s bloggers (luckily) weren’t around last year when Google completely shook up the blogosphere with their crack down on paid links. Whether you agree or not with Google’s stance on the issue, Google felt like companies were too easily able to game their search engine rankings within the search engines by buying links on blogs.

Bloggers who had been selling text links in a wide variety of ways were suddenly being penalized for their actions. Most of them, myself included, were pretty much blindsided by the move. Most bloggers only sold sidebar text links or did paid reviews for companies that were relevant to their topics and that they wanted to endorse anyway. We were faced with a decision: lose our text link advertising and/or review revenue by putting “NoFollow” tags on paid links, or risk getting de-indexed by Google.

Bloggers weren’t the only ones that paid a heavy price after this shakeup. Two companies hardest hit by ‘the new sheriff in town’ were TextLinkAds and PayPerPost.

But PayPerPost had been under fire well before the Google fiasco. As a written review broker, they didn’t require their bloggers to disclose that the reviews were sponsored. This no only pissed off WOMMA, who was setting the ethical standards of word-of-mouth-marketing, but it also pissed off a lot of bloggers. I did a handful of paid reviews through another company, and set a high bar of transparency and disclosure when I wrote them. I didn’t want PayPerPost’s bad reputation to rub off on me – so much so that I stopped doing paid reviews at all because there were too many people doing it wrong and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

Soon after the Google shakeup, PayPerPost changed their name to Izea. I wasn’t phased. I assumed it was a simple rebrand of PayPerPost and I continued to keep my distance. Izea even asked me to present at their IZEAFest in 2007 and 2008 and I completely blew them off. I wouldn’t touch it.

Fast forward to now, and I am at a party at BlogWorld this last weekend. I run into Ted Murphy, the founder of PayPerPost. I had really enjoyed his panel last year at BlogWorld07 about finding & obtaining venture capital funding and we started talking. And then he starts pitching me on the newest initiatives with Izea. I do an internal eye-roll and look for a way to get out of the conversation. (LOL)

But then Ted tells me about SocialSpark and their new ethics standards. Bloggers in the program are required to adhere to 100% disclosure, 100% transparency, 100% real opinions, and (this is when my jaw dropped) 100% NoFollow on any links in their review posts.

I was completely impressed. Oh, my gosh, I thought, Izea finally got it. They listened. And they acted. But then it got even better. Ted told me about their plans to roll out an affiliate network that would require affiliates to disclose that the links are affiliate links. Suddenly Izea not only had worked to meet the ethics standards of WOMMA, but they were now exceeding them. And there is NO other affiliate program out there requiring this level of disclosure.

I interviewed Ted at BlogWorld this year, because I think they are a fascinating case study:

  • You might have to work years to overcome bad first impressions. Had I not run into Ted at that party, I would have continued to ignore Izea forever.
  • Work fast to correct mistakes. I’m not sure how long it took PayPerPost to transition it’s business model to what it is today, but if they had reacted sooner when all of the bad attention was on them, they would have been able to correct people’s assumptions about them much faster.
  • They listened. They may have been resistant at first, but they listened. I completely respect them for that.
  • They are walking their talk. Izea was recently accepted as a member of WOMMA, which is no small feat. They didn’t have to go beyond WOMMA’s ethics standards, but they did. That tells me that this isn’t just a show, but they mean it.

Lastly, I can only imagine how hard this was to go though for Ted. As an entrepreneur, you want to build something based on your vision. But when your vision doesn’t jive with most of the population you are trying to appeal to, it must be difficult and humbling. Rebuilding your company like Ted did is SO MUCH WORK, and quite frankly, a lot of people would have given up faced with these challenges. But I find it inspiring that he has been able to push through so much and reposition his company in a really respectable way.

By the way – here’s my disclosure: The only reason I’m writing this post is because I wanted to. Ted didn’t ask me to do this, nor is anyone paying me to. ;) I just love seeing what other entrepreneurs are doing and spreading the word when they deserve it.

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