Client Spotlight: Saving Money with More With Less Today

Lori started her frugal blog called More With Less Today in January 2009 to help fill the void of the “empty-nest”. I’ll let Lori take up the story:

I have always been a bargain shopper, a coupon user, and hated to pay full price for anything. Back in the day was everyone was living large, my friends used to mock me and call me a cheapskate. Now they ask me for advice!
More With Less Today
I had so many sources to share but did not have any technical knowledge at all. I began following Yaro Starak’s site www.entreprenuers-journey.com to try and learn how to put a blog together. I quickly learned that I didn’t know enough to succeed and I just wanted to blog. I didn’t really care about how to set up a blog.

I emailed Yaro and asked him to refer me to someone who could help me and he put me in touch with Joel. That was almost 3 years ago and I still use Joel almost monthly. He has patiently helped me with with revisions and redesigns to my site as I learn more about what works and what I want my site to look like.

That leaves me free to grow my site and I now have over 50,000 new readers each month. I just added two categories that I am excited to share with my readers. The first is a grocery coupon database where you can type in the brand name of a product, for example “Yoplait” and be directed to all the Yoplait coupons available today. The database will tell you where to find them if they are in a Sunday newspaper supplement or magazine, or if they are printable, you can print them right from my blog.

The second category is called “Today’s Good Deed” which highlights easy and inexpensive ways to bless and help others with our surplus and also features companies doing good things so we can support them with our dollars. For example, with Yoplait, you can enter codes from pink container lids and 10 cents from every lid code will go directly to Breast Cancer Research.

I hope you will stop by for a visit. I want to help busy people save more money on the things they need so that they have more money for the people they love!

Thank you Joel for your continued support. I could not have done this without you!

I wouldn’t be here without clients like you too Lori! Thanks for sharing your story. Lori’s site has great money saving tips and constantly updated coupons, so take a look.

Is Collaboration The Answer?

I work with a lot of clients in a lot of different fields. For the most part they are individuals and/or small businesses trying to make their place in the world. Whether it’s business services, life coaching, physical products, or just talking about subjects to show their expertise, often they’re doing it alone.

I have (what I like to think) a very successful collaboration with Andrew Rondeau of We Build Your Blog. We run several things together including the successful all-in-one blogging and website course Income Blogging Guide, and the upcoming WordPress plugin to see all your stats in one place, Pro Blog Stats. We each bring our own unique skills and experiences to make things better than if we did them alone.

However I don’t see many others collaborating or joining together. A lot of people seem to be struggling on their own, setting up a site, producing content, driving traffic, getting business, and so on.
ampersand symbol
I often think why don’t more people find others that do what they do online and join up? I guess there are a few barriers:

– Trust. If you haven’t met this person before, and perhaps may not meet in person for a long time, how do you trust them?
I say look around their site, look on their social media profiles and see what kind of person they are. Contact other people who may have dealt with them, and see what kind of experiences they have had. Gut feeling is also often a good sign, however you have to be careful, see below.

– Relationship. How do you know you’re going to get along with this person and they will do what they say they will do?
You don’t. You can try it and see. Start small, perhaps write a guest blog for each other. Perhaps collaborate on an eBook, or a webinar or a small product that doesn’t take much time and see how that goes.

– Money. How can you trust this person will pay you money that is owed to you?
Well if you’re currently earning $0 then half of nothing is still zero. However there are safe guards you can put in place. You can alternate payments, perhaps someone pays for the domain name, the other for hosting. Income can be split at certain levels, so when you reach your first $100 then it is split. Don’t wait until it’s $1,000. Keep a spreadsheet or online Google Document that both have access to and can see income and expenditure on.

I have a problem letting go and sharing things and (when it comes to outsourcing) delegating, but I don’t believe I would be anywhere near where I am today without collaboration. What has been your experience?

Podcast: How Income Blogging Guide Can Help You With Debbie Bills

This week I have a great audio interview that Andrew and I did with one of our wonderful Income Blogging Guide members, Debbie Bills from Happy Maker Now. It’s only about 22 minutes long and will give you more background on what you can expect from becoming a member of our blogging course. If you’d rather read it than listen to it, there is a full transcript below. Thanks again Debbie!

[audio:http://blogtechguy.com/audio/Debbie_Interview_May_5th.mp3]
(Press the Play symbol above to listen. If you can’t see the button, click here.)

Andrew: Hello there, we’ve got Andrew Rondeau and Joel Williams from the Income Blogging Guide Membership Course and today we are gonna be throwing several questions to our guests today and its Debbie. Now Debbie should tutor you about herself in a moment. Now Debbie’s been a member of our course for the last 18 weeks or so. So, I’m now going to introduce you to Debbie, and she is just going to tell you a little bit about her background. So Debbie just tell us a little bit about your background, your career, and maybe a little bit about your blog and what niche and that sort of thing.

Debbie: Ok, career-wise, when I was in the corporate world, I work in more the accounting field. I did take up years to raise 3 daughters that I have. And then when I went back to work it was in the accounting field. Many in card dealership, however, about 5 years ago, the dealership I was working in changed management, and the management wanted to bring in their own people so furthermore I wasn’t around. I decided, oh it took me about two to three months, didn’t really wanna get back in to the workforce. One day I decided I wanted to make a website dealing with happiness. Yeah, my family thought I was crazy, my husband thought I was crazy due to the fact that I really didn’t like computers or know anything about them. And that’s when I started my journey on trying to build my website.

Andrew: What made you choose happiness?

Debbie: All of the things that I had been through in my life, raising my children as a single parent and finding out what happiness really is and it is just the simple things in life and I decided I wanted to express that to people because I see so many people out there just struggling and getting caught up in the material world. And that’s just not worth at.

Andrew: So, what’s your domain name? Tell us your domain name and when did you start this? You said you left the corporate world about 5 years ago. It took you 2 to 3 months to make a decision. So, when did you start this?

Debbie: I started this, I’m thinking back now. About 2004. Coz it took me awhile to try to find somebody to help me get the website together. And I learned a lot in that process too. My domain name, I’ve actually went through several of them but now its, happymakernow.com. I did start out making happy shirts, yeah, that worked for a while. But I learned a lot.

Andrew: So happymakernow.com is your current domain name?

Debbie: Yes, it is.

Andrew: So, over the last, 2004 I think you said, so that’s 6 years ago. So from 6 years ago you started out, what made you come to the Income Blogging Guide Membership Course in only 3 months ago rather than, and so what have you been doing in those past 5 years?

Debbie: In those 5 years, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject and I have ben doing a lot of research and trying to learn how to build a site, who to get to help me build a site. As I said before I am not very technical about things. And I have gone into some of the courses that they’ve offered over the internet. I have found that yes I have learnt more as I go along but there was a lot of the details, the small details that not being very technical, I was having trouble following. And trying to set up the site like I needed to set it up. I had no idea how to do any of the social networking or anything like that or even the you needed to do this. And so I knew I was missing stuff and I went to this 1 course that did kind of point me in the right direction and then I came upon you guys.

Andrew: Ok so you’ve already invested some of your money in other products and other courses . So why then invest in another course? Why then think, ok I now need to go and join our course? Why did you think that?

Debbie: Because when I was reading your blogposts, both of you guys, it was giving me information. And it was giving it to me in simple words. It was guiding me, showing me examples, telling me the exact steps in what you might say layman terms and not computer terms. Kinda like a doctor you know, telling you what’s wrong with you and he uses all these big terms and you’re not understanding it. You say you put it in English and you guys were doing this for me. Just by reading your blogs and the information you’re putting out there.

Andrew: So why didn’t you just carry on reading our blogs rather than buying our course?

Debbie: Because I needed all the information and help I could get. I was determined not to give up and with the information you were giving me on our site, it was telling me that your course, you would know what you are talking about and I wasn’t wrong on this.

Andrew: Alright so, yeah that’s really good and I’m still curious on this other bit where you say you’ve tried other courses, so what are they not telling you what to do, what are they not telling you?

Debbie: They were telling me what to do but not how to do it.

Andrew: Right, so it’s the how to.

Debbie: Step by step.

Andrew: Give us an example.

Debbie: I’m the type of person that needs a manual you might say, a step by step guide. I can watch a video and write down the steps, you know, steps that way. But when I got into you guy’s course. I found is that you’d show me the video but also you would print it out and pardon the expression, use arrows to where I needed to go. And I need a complete roadmap when it comes to the technical stuff with the computer.

Andrew: Right. Okay. So throughout your, some of your courses, you’ve mentioned that technical aspect and that sort of thing. It sounds like that’s how the course has helped you. Would that be right to say?

Debbie: Yeah, you know, because somebody would say you need a plugin and I’m saying ok what’s a plug-in? You guys, you know, in other courses I’ve taken they would say you know, you need a plugin, you needed to add rss feeder and so on and so forth. And I’m saying what is it? And you guys would bring up a subject like that and then you would explain exactly what it is, how to use it and how to put it into your site. And that was the part that I was not getting this from other courses, you know, I needed the stuff but I didn’t know what it was.

Andrew: Yeah, Okay. I understand that. I can understand that. And I think that was the whole point that Joel and I came up with the membership course, so, that gap was missing. Coz Joel and I are a very, we’ve done it all in the same switch we share and we know how to tweak them and how to implement them and those sort of thing and I think that was the reason that we found so many people wanting that technical how to do it side. Rather than just install this and off you go. So, I can understand that. So, out of the weeks on the course that you’ve covered so far. If you can, I’m gonna say customize your mind back to all those weeks. What do you think you see, the one or two things which you’ve really enjoyed or really learnt from. The most important things you’ve learned from over those last 16, 17 weeks.

Debbie: Ok, it started with pointing me out on doing keywords, which you have to start to kinda build a platform and then going on down to doing, setting up the blog like it needs to be setup and now I am in the part of also creating the content for the blog because you do, in the course, you do both through in exactly how to do this, you give examples of words to use, when you need to highlight things so on and so forth, using the pictures, using links to link different things in your blog. Setting up your blogposts like it needs to be setup to get your traffic and then also right now it’s going to getting that traffic. Before, you know I could put something up there but nobody would read it. And you guys are teaching me how to get people read what I am putting up. I am starting to get, I am getting comments back on my site. And I do need to bring in some income which is coming because of the way you guys are teaching this course and teaching me how to use my affiliates to bring in that income and how to build my own product. And that’s what you did for me.

Andrew: So, it sounds like you’ve experienced some benefit. Coz you know Joel and I always say from the very outset of our course. Blogging is hard work. You know, making an income via your blogging, your online business is really, really hardwork. You gotta work at it not all day everyday but you gotta work at it at certain number of hours everyday.

Debbie: But you guys have made it fun. I do want to put that in. You guys have made it fun because of the map that you give a person to use.

Andrew: Right. Yeah. Ok. Ok. I can see what you’re saying from that side. Because you’re only in the first few weeks of the course. That it sounds like what you said was that you’re getting more traffic, you’re getting, you’re building up relationships from comments and that sort of things. Although its small, some income is starting to come in, although it’s small. But let’s just say, Joel and I are very open in our sales technique, whether it’s the wrong thing to do, I don’t know, but the ethical thing to say is that don’t expect income overnight. When you start your online business, when you start in any blogging career, something like that, it takes a good 4, 5, 6 months blast of doing things via the plan which we gave you, each day everyday to create that income and. We’ve, Joel and I have gone through those pain periods but it’s having that plan and getting there eventually. So, go on, go on…

Debbie: See, that is what I appreciate because you guys are not leading me astray, that this is gonna be done overnight and you can, like you read some of these sites, the gurus and stuffs like that, you can do this, you can do that. No, you guys are in the real world. Yes, it’s hardwork but it’s fun and there’s no just trying to sell somebody something.

Andrew: I’m not gonna backfire on us to a certain degree, there are obviously people that who won’t buy our products or our membership course because we don’t overhype and we son;t say you’re gonna be owning a thousand dollars by next week because there are some products out there which do say that. And they’re more inclined to go and buy those but we don’t wanna work with people like that, we wanna work with people who we try and manage personal expectation, who are in for the long run. So that’s why we try and have that sort of approach. You mentioned quite a few times the good things about this course and I thank you for that. What hasn’t matched your expectations? What would you like Joel and I to do more of or differently or anything like that.

Debbie: Oh there are some weeks on you give the guide every week at the end of the plan for the week, should I say.

Andrew: Yeah.

Debbie: And sometimes I’m looking at that and say, Ok, they have this and that, oooh, ok, how am I gonna get all this done? And sometimes I think it’s a little too fast but for some people it probably would be. But due to the fact that this is all, it’s like learning a new language to me. I have to kind of not get discouraged because maybe it’s going too fast and what I am finding in that aspect is if I do get a little behind, I can go back on my downloads that you’ve given me and you know break it down a little bit for my self each day that way too.

Andrew: Right. Ok.

Debbie: So sometimes, it’s just maybe you know I can’t go back fast but hey, I’m working on it.

Andrew: Yeah, without defending it too much. There’s a lot to cram in. You know, there’s a lot to cram in six months if, coz the course isn’t just about blogging, it’s basically providing, you know, at the end of the six months, you have your own online business and running it like a business and if you look at your, and blogging is just, blogging is just one aspect of that. Coz you know the whole point of it is to generate an income for you. So you have to look at it from an online business and to, to provide you with all of the information and all the different aspects and topics covered in creating your own online business. There’s a lot to cram in in six months. So, yeah, sometimes the lessons are pretty meaty, pretty big. It’s quite weird because other people say it’s not fast enough. You know we’ve had one or two comments where its saying people are saying, can we have all of the lessons in one go. That’s what they’re saying. So, we’re all different, I can now say, some people are being overwhelmed in some weeks and some people want it a little bit faster and it’s just getting that balance right. So….sorry, go on.

Debbie: What’s nice about that though Andrew is the fact that if, like for me being a little slower, I can still go back and pick up the information because of the downloads that I get from your course.

Andrew: Yeah, and another, another plug, if I may, is don’t forget that once you have, I’m just gonna say graduated, I would say graduated from the six months course, you still have access to Joel and I for all your questions forever with no extra cost. So, I know there’s something like a mark in your statement and a bit of a plug but it’s true, you know, at the end of the six months, you’ve paid your fee per month for 6 months and then after you pay no more but you still get access to Joel and I for your questions and you’re right, go back to a lesson if you’re not too sure about that come and ask us. So, you know, that’s the whole point of, you know that, Joel and I are very much into, we like to help people, we like to provide the best customer service we possibly can and we like to respond to feedback as well and that’s why we’re so open on, you know, give us the feedback, how can we do things better. Now, before we go, what, you said some great things about the course, you said how you’re benefiting from the extra traffic and the extra comments and that sort of thing and also just starting to bring in a small amount of income although it’s small. If was sitting on the fence, I, let me put, I haven’t, let’s pretend I haven’t purchased the course and I’m thinking about purchasing it. What would you say to someone who is thinking about investing in the course.

Debbie: I would let them know that for the last 6 years I’ve went through 3 different people trying to get a website and a blog setup, I have spent money that, I got something out of it but not what I should have and the system that I find with you guys, this course that you guys have is like buying into a franchise because you have every step from the technical to the marketing to the making product, you have every step in this course for somebody to succeed with. And if you buy a franchise, they’re going to also let you know you’re not gonna make money immediately, you have to take it step by step to set it up. And that is exactly what you guys, it’s like you’re helping people build a franchise from your knowledge.

Andrew: Right, Yeah. That’s quite a good way to put it. I quite like that.
You know I do want you guys to get a big hit or anything but hey, you’re good.
Well thanks Debbie, I really appreciate your time and thanks for asking all of that questions, I know there’s 2 more weeks to go before you sort of graduate. And I know that you’ve done certain things so far just so to keep up with everything. So thanks once again. It’s Andrew and Joel from Income Blogging Guide and we’ve been speaking to Debbie Bills from happymakernow.com and thanks for the smart choice and be with you all very, very soon. Thanks. Bye

Debbie: Thank You.

Andrew: Thanks.

Interviewed By Joanna Penn

A great client, and writer, self-publisher and blogger extraordinaire Joanna Penn interviewed me the other day. We talked for around half an hour on a lot of topics, but mainly about blogs for authors. You can listen to the interview here, and while my accent may put you off me, Joanna’s will endear herself to you! In her log post she also describes all that we’ve talked about in case you don’t have time to listen.

jopenn

The Creative Penn is aimed at people who are interested in writing, self-publishing/print-on-demand and internet marketing for their books (in print/ebook or audio format). She also has a highly recommended course called Author 2.0 (NOT an affiliate link) that teaches new and seasoned authors how to use Web 2.0 tools to write, publish, sell and promote their book.

I enjoyed the interview and hope you find it useful too. Thanks Joanna!

Home Fire Protection Case Study

ImprovX is a company that develops home fire protection systems. Looking for an easy way to update their site, we decided to use WordPress to make this possible.

Essentially a customized free theme, changing the background, adding the logo, customizing the colors, adding an opt-in form and so on was only a couple of hours work. As usual, adding the content is the most time consuming aspect, and that’s still a work in progress.

Home Fire Protection

I added a “lightbox” effect on the Media page, so photos of the wildfires opened larger in the same window. Also on that page, we added a branded demo video

There is a password protected page for fire departments to get access to locations of where the fire protection systems are located. Adding a contact form is easy in WordPress, and the blog appears on a separate page from the home page, giving it more of the look of a traditional business website.

An About page, some Testimonials and an overview of the Products complete the blog. Pretty quick, simple, yet good looking and very visible.

Overall it was relatively quick and simple. There are still a few more tweaks to add to the site and enhance it’s ease of use, plus content changes, but the design is all done.

Take a look at the site if you want to learn more about ways to protect your home from wildfires or have a look at the press release that talks about how a homeowner saved his house from a wildfire.

Wealth Success and Women

One of my clients is Wealth, Success and Women, which is an alliance of entrepreneurs empowering women to become successful entrepreneurs through business education, mentoring and networking. The Millionaire Diva Mastermind is their free program that focuses on inspiring, educating and empowering women to build successful businesses so they can live a Millionaire Lifestyle!

wsw

Heather Jumah, founder of WSW is a serial entrepreneur having built several businesses to six and seven figure success. Heather, along with her partner De Anne Harris, are the women people turn to when they want to take their business from a great idea to six figure success in 12 months.

WSW provide a huge number of free resources such as weekly teleseminars, bi-weekly mastermind groups, monthly networking events in select cities, weekly open Q&A calls, a member’s forum and a training site with audios, worksheets and a step by step to 6 figures coaching program. While WSW is focused on assisting women, they welcome men to join as well, so check them out.

If you’re a client and you’d like to be featured in a post, or appear in my Recent Clients list, then please let me know!

Over 100 Clients Milestone

Snowy tree

A milestone passed my by a couple of weeks ago without me noticing, when I hit over 100 unique clients since beginning my business in the second quarter of 2008. Of course I’ve done many more individual projects, over 300, but I was pleased to see over 100 people from all over the world have trusted me to help them on their blogging journey.

There are some amazing people out there with great foresight and the willingness to work and succeed, and hopefully I’ve been a small part of that, and will continue to be for them and others. I thought I would try and get some interesting stats about my first 100 clients, but I actually couldn’t discover any. 51 were women and 49 men which is on one hand amazing it was so close and the other hand makes very uninteresting reading.

So I’ll just say have a wonderful Christmas (or Holidays, or whatever you celebrate) and all the best to you and your family. Take care and be safe.

Have You Seen My New Testimonials?

A little bit of self promotion for me today, but as some of my fantastic clients have been kind enough to give me testimonials I couldn’t help shouting about it.

Now, you can not only read my testimonials, but see and hear them too! Oriana Green, owner of Green Meditations has left my first audio testimonial, which is very much appreciated and a great surprise. Just press the play button below.

[audio: Joel_testimonial.mp3]

Then Christy Cuellar-Wentz from The Official Mommy-Muse™ Blog sent me my first video testimonial.

So the challenge is on to my past and current clients, if you would like to leave me a testimonial and gain a backlink to your website (and some self promotion) them please simply email and let me know, I would be very happy to hear from you. Text testimonials are absolutely wonderful too, so if audio or video is not your thing then never fear, all are welcome!

Do You Practice Value Based Marketing?

Pure Growth Books

I’ve finally found time to write a blog post since returning from vacation/holiday. I’m currently working my way through my backlog of work and emails, so apologies for the delay getting back to you. On with the post…

My client, and good friend, Patricia Cliff is a business and personal coach. She has a website and blog in one that shows what work she offers, and the values that she does that work by. Working with many qualified health practitioners and therapists, she provides them with the support and framework for success in their chosen field.

Her site also showcases her latest book, Pure Growth for Reflexologists, and promotes her free email newsletter. The blog is simply inserted into the website template to have an almost seamless transition from one to the other.

Her latest blog post is all about value based marketing, so if you’re a health practitioner or therapist (or someone who is interested in those areas), why not take a look and see if you can answer the two key questions she poses. There is also some great information in her four part series on What everybody ought to know about Market Research, plus Patricia shows you how easy it is to create a business plan.

Take a look at Pure Growth Books.

Do You Like Boating Websites?

Ask The Boater

The Fresh News Theme from Woo Themes can be used in many different ways. Ask The Boater is a blog that loves boats! Written from French Bay (Clayton, NY) in the 1000 Islands the goal is to bring you resources, interesting information and fun items to improve your boating experience. Boat sightings is at the top of the list, and they will gladly show a picture of your boat if you want to send them one!

The theme has been customized, tweaked, upgraded and knocked into shape both by myself and my client who has learned a great deal about how the theme works and how to make changes herself. Showing larger featured posts at the top of the blog, showing the boats in detail in an image gallery, and even free boat wallpapers, the site has everything boat lovers could want.

Woo Themes have a variety of “premium” themes, and the Fresh News theme has a variety of options. Features include:

  • Three homepage layouts to choose from
  • The ability to use Fresh News as a traditional blog layout
  • Extended Author Profiles
  • Integrated Theme Options (for WordPress) to tweak the layout, colour scheme etc. for the theme
  • Built-in video panel, which you can use to publish any web-based Flash videos
  • Automatic Image Resizer, which is used to dynamically create the thumbnails and featured images
  • Custom Page Templates for Archives, Sitemap & Image Gallery
  • Built-in Gravatar Support for Authors & Comments;
  • Integrated Banner Management script to display randomized banner ads of your choice site-wide
  • Pretty dropdown navigation everywhere
  • Widgetized Sidebars
  • 8 gorgeous colour schemes!

I’ll be showing you some other blogs based on the Fresh News theme in the coming weeks. In the meantime if you love boats, check out Ask The Boater.