Today everyone is selling something on line. But there are so many choices out there that it leaves one wondering what the best method is for me?

Today we are going to be covering many of the common carts and the pluses and minuses of each.

WooCommerce– This is a free shopping cart and has been relied on for years. The issue is if you want to accept payments from someone other than PayPal, you will need to buy add on packages. Most of the common ones will cost $49 upward to $199 each. As you can see, these extensions can add up quickly. Also there is a NEW policy by PayPal that if you are a NEW PayPal customer, you will have to have all of your WooCommerce purchases confirmed by the customer before payment will be processed.  As you can imagine this could be a headache for you, and the client.

Ithemes Exchange– This is a great little plugin that is similar to WooCommerce. The plug in is free however, like WooCommerce, the add-on pack is an additional $197.00 per year. This does give you over 20 add-ons including

  • Membership Add On
  • Shipping Charts
  • Canadian Tax and US Tax Charts
  • Hook ups to your Autoresponder
  • Product Variations
  • And lots more.

This plug in is very easy to install and configure and is recommended as a great starter cart.  It also does not have the PayPal restriction as WooCommerce has.

Ecwid Shopping Cart– This cart had both a free plan with 0% transaction fees as well as paid plans up to $69 a month. Their plans are based on the number of products. You would take payments via Paypal or it supports over 40 other payment providers. It also includes a complete shipping chart so that you can ship via multiple carries.

1Shopping Cart- This is a great cart with some great features. It includes a autoresponder and a basic CRM feature in the monthly fee.  They also have no limits on the number of contacts.  They allow you to hook up your favorite merchant account to the cart. If you do not have one, you can sign up through them and get a small discount. They also will lover the percentage that they take on the sale.  In many cases this is lower than the fee PayPal takes.  The starter package runs $34 per month and the ultimate package will cost you $249 per month.  Note the starter package DOES NOT include Affiliate management, but for $34 a month, this could be a cheaper option than paying for an autoresponder program and the additional PayPal fees.

Ontraport– This cart is a nice alternative to Infusionsoft. The cost of this cart starts at $79 a month and limits your contacts to 1000. The next package will cost you $279 a month and allows you to have 25,000.  This price also include the ability to add memberships and affiliate management. Like 1shopping cart, is also includes an advanced CRM and autoresponder programs.  There is also a “If-Then” feature that will help you expand and build your sales funnels via your shopping cart.

Infusionsoft This is considered one of the best carts out there. It can be expensive and is recommend for the coach who is making at least $75K or more. The prices start at $199 a month and can cost up to $599 a month for the complete system. It is also based on the number of contacts. The starter package only allows up to 2500 contacts. For coaches that have a large email base, they would have to buy the complete package that allows 10,000 contacts. This cart allows for a full build out of sales funnels, a complete CRM and a complete Sales mismanagement feature. It is important to note here that most coaches that choose this will also have to find a VA or an Infusionsoft certified professional to manage the program and build your funnels. Support is there to help but at times this could be limited and wait times could be a little long, however if you are earning the money and making the sales, this is a great option for the higher end coach.

It is also important to note that there are other ways to accept money. Today Mailchimp, Aweber and Active Campaign allow you the option now to add PayPal buttons to their emails and allow you to accept payment via this system. Also naturally, you can use the PayPal button codes as well to accept payments. In fact, ActiveCampaign also allows you to build funnels and many of the common features of Infusionsoft for a starting price of $9 per month up to $300 a month.  Again, this is based on the number of contacts that you have on your list.

There are also other free carts such as ZenCart, OpenCart and many others that you can also choose to use. Most of these also are hooked to using the PayPal or Stripe payments.

The key to find the right cart for you is to determine what do you really need from your shopping cart. Do you want a CRM? Multiple Shipping Platforms? Affiliate Management? Sales Funnels? Multiple Payment Methods? Autoresponders? Once you know what you really want, the next step is to compare pricing and also ask for a free trial and take the time to really test them to make sure they meet your needs.

If you are needing more assistance in picking or setting up your shopping cart, we are here to help. Click here to set up your free consultation call today.

 

Today, social media is prevalent. It’s the preferred communication among the younger set and studies have shown that a considerable amount of hours are spent on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during work hours. Most companies would respond by banning social media site access in offices as it is believed to take away from the productivity of workers. But this strategy simply boomerangs negatively, with employees instead opting to resign and move where rules are not as strict or resort to checking their sites on their own devices with data plans anyway.

In a nutshell, this is the best way for companies to deal with it: lose in the battle but win the war. Accept that social media is not entirely good or bad in itself, it is just a matter of having the right perspective and providing the right controls – the kind that respects the employee and at the same time, benefits the organization. Here are some ways to accomplish this in the long term:

1. Have a social media policy.

Most strict rules come from a place of fear. For companies, they are usually afraid of what the employee will share and the amount of hours they will spend online. First of all, owners should work with HR in accomplishing a holistic rule list when it comes to content. What’s deemed as confidential? What can help the marketing team? Be specific and if needed, list down the documents which can harm the company if shared. The last thing the company wants is to have an open ended memo which can be interpreted in many ways. Having so also protects the employees from other colleagues who may want to malign them online.

Instead of coming from a place of fear, come from a place of opportunity. Word the policies in such a way that they benefit the employee instead of seeming to stifle them. The goal is not to censor them but to ensure their safety and privacy as well.

2. Set smart limits.

The amount of bandwidth that is used for watching movies on YouTube for example can be detrimental for the company. So instead of banning the sites altogether, opt to have a social media hour for example so that these sites are not on round the clock. Rules such as not allowing downloading of movies or music are understandable. If the company security is compromised, invest in tablets which anyone can use for socials instead of individual PCs logging in.

This way, employees shift their mindset from something negative to positive. They are seen as the responsible adults that they are who plays a big role in maintaining the professional integrity of their workplace.

3. Provide the content.

When it comes to marketing, employees are the best brand ambassadors. It’s literally a gold mine usually untapped by most organizations. Since people are inclined to use social media, why not make them talk about the efforts of the company as well?

Nothing beats a company’s employee when it comes to announcing all its messages. And with the right guidance, it just might be the secret sauce to the company’s sustainable success, one post at a time.

 
You have heard many positive things about hiring a virtual assistant. Friends in the industry may have informed you about how working with a virtual assistant has either made their life easier, added value to their business or both. After learning about these benefits, you are convinced that hiring one would definitely help you grow your business and free up more time to pursue your passions. But the question is, do you know where to find a virtual assistant?
Follow these tips to help you find a VA to hire.

1. Look for virtual assistant agencies.

The increasing demand for reliable and competent virtual assistants has led to the rise of VA agencies like yourvirtualassistants.net. These agencies may have VAs that specialize in one type of task such as copywriting or web design, or they can offer several services and serve as a one-stop shop for your business needs. To ensure that you are working with a legitimate agency, do a background check prior to hiring them or anyone from the agency. Ask for references, check their portfolio and see what their past clients say about them online. Once you decide to hire them, have a contract that stipulates the work hours, your requirements, and other conditions that you and your VA have agreed upon. It would also be prudent to have a non-disclosure agreement, especially if you plan to share your personal details or trade secrets with your VA.

2. Check freelancing platforms.

Popular freelancing platforms like Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Elance will help you find virtual assistants for various types of jobs. You can create a free account and post job ads for the type of VA you are looking for. There are literally millions of contractors on these freelancing platforms, and it may be challenging to attract the kind of applicants you need. The key here is to write a detailed job description that communicates what you need from your virtual assistant. Make your job description as enticing as possible by also including how your virtual assistant will benefit from working with you.

3. Post on social media.

Twitter is a good place to start. Just tweet about your job opening and add a #virtualassistant or #virtualstaff hashtag. You can also look for VA communities on LinkedIn and Google+ and post your job ads there. Any of these three ways will help you find your ideal virtual staff. To save your time, remember to be clear on your goals and the results that you are looking for from your VA and include these in your job posting.

Richard Branson said it best when he boldly declared that time is the new money. For many years, management has declared that those who work long hours are deemed more productive. But today, it just isn’t so: time is the new standard with which people are judged and the more hours of it spent on working, the worst it is for a person’s well-being and reputation.

For entrepreneurs, even more so. As the captain of their respective ships, they should be the ones at the forefront of espousing work life balance and showing the right way by being out the door by 5pm. Of course, this is easier said than done. With responsibilities ranging from business development to marketing to operations, what is a consummate business owner to do?

Here are some ways to help you fight the workaholism plague and get back your hours:

1. Hire people correctly.
No aspect of a business is affected by the concept of opportunity cost than human resources. As a prized commodity, people in a business can derail or fast track its progress. For the business owner, hiring correctly makes the big difference from sleeping eight hours a day to literally being hospitalized every two months due to exhaustion. It is not just about choosing the right people, but more so, hiring the people and putting them in the right places in the company where they can be most productive and effective. Also, the number of people to hire counts a lot.
In the end, the bucket stops at the top and if the owner cannot hire right, he or she will end up doing all the tasks needed to keep the business going. The best way to mitigate this problem is by opting for outsourcing. This does not place a big strain on the company budget but at the same time, it quickly fills the spots needed. Hiring a virtual assistant allows business owners to focus on conceptualizing strategies and other tasks that require high level decision-making.

2. Stop multitasking and know one’s strengths.
For one, it is not effective, and two, studies have shown that multitasking can successfully do just one thing: shrink one’s brain.
Instead, set a timeline for each task and delegate. This frees up the hands of the entrepreneur to focus on the things they do best. As much as control is the name of the game, it does not do anyone any good.

3. Rest.
It’s easy for people to run on adrenaline, but what good does it make a person? Exhaustion simply leads to bad decisions, which then lead to more wasted time rectifying mistakes whether big or small.
Instead, rest. Sleep the right amount of hours and wake up refreshed and ready to go. Have time for leisure and other pursuits as these will help fuel creativity. The time it took to take a nap or to go for a quick swim may save you from signing a wrong contract.

4. Know what matters and tackle them during peak performance hours.
As Robin Sharma, a leading motivational speaker and consultant for many CEO’s, says: what gets written down gets done. A list that’s filled to the brim is not a good list. Priorities are few or else, they’re not really what it’s supposed to be.

The best way to solve problems is by first knowing what time one is at the most optimum level of productivity. Then, begin with the hardest tasks. Eat thy frogs first and the rest shall be peanuts—with a few minutes to spare after.

Starting a business is one of the best and worst decisions a person can come up with. As much as being your own boss brings with it a level of freedom and independence, entrepreneurs are also the most stressed and harassed, having to deal with the needs of the business almost 24/7 without rest. While you can see business owners spend their weekdays doing activities they love other than business, it does not mean that they have fewer responsibilities.

Simply put, choosing to be in business is hard work and it takes a lot of commitment from a person when they finally take the plunge. Here are some ways to break into the jump and make it more manageable:

  1. Know the market.

The last thing a person can do is invest all their hard earned savings on a whim. It is important to remember that getting into business is part intuition and part calculated risk, but is never about gambling. Following one’s passion can be great, but it also makes for very risky business decision basis. Knowing your market is one of the first crucial steps that you should do when starting your own business.

Today however, an article on Entrepreneur suggests that knowing your market today shouldn’t be limited to getting details on their income, gender, ethnicity or education. Entrepreneur suggests taking your marketing strategies to the next level through personalization and customization and that means understanding the lifestyle of your customers. Understand the lifestyle of the generation where your target market belongs. You can also do your research by area. There are also tools that you can use to study your target market’s behavior, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

  1. Know the underserved market.

Another good way to get into business is by knowing the underserved market. What makes your life miserable? One may be surprised to know that it’s also what makes others’ unbearable and these underserved customers are actually willing to pay for a service or product to ease off the hassle.

Being in the underserved market also makes one a highly uncontested market, something the bigger players will be very wary to get into. This translates to income at the fastest way possible. In addition to knowing the underserved market, it would also be good to think of how you can beat the competition. Jim Koch of Boston Beer co. and Samuel Adams Boston Lager says in an article published in Business Insider that your business is only feasible if what you are offering is cheaper or better than the alternatives.

  1. Prepare for the worst.

Although getting into business is a true act of faith, one must also not get into it without a safety net of at least six months. Anything is possible in business, unfortunately, including bankruptcy. If the person has a family to support, blindly getting money into a business without ensuring that they can live comfortably is a reckless move.

Preparing should also include the right paper work to protect the name, the finances, and the assets of the business from unscrupulous people.

  1. Delegate.

Budget may be a concern when you are starting a new business. However, multitasking just to accomplish everything that needs to get done from accounting to financials would not be beneficial for your business. If hiring is not an option at the moment, consider outsourcing to virtual assistants. It is best to outsource tasks that are repetitive in nature, those that are time-consuming, and technical tasks that are not part of your skills set. As a business owner, it is important that you oversee all processes without losing your focus on growing and grooming the business to reach its full potential.

Coaching may be one of the most rewarding jobs out there. After all, what can be more fulfilling than making a living doing what you do best, leading others to accomplish their own goals and watching them grow and flourish as you nurture them? It comes as no surprise that coaching is also one of the fastest growing industries, with an annual revenue amounting to $2 billion.
However, the benefits of working as a coach do not come without challenges and this is where hiring virtual assistants can make a huge difference in how you conduct business. Whether you’re a life, business, health, career, sports, or a personal coach, you can benefit from having a virtual assistant. Read on to find out how hiring virtual assistants can add value to your coaching practice.
1. Increase productivity.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with business-building activities, especially when you are just starting out as a coach. You have to find the time for every important aspect of the business—accounting, administration, marketing, planning and strategizing, coaching your clients, and finding new clients. Delegating time-consuming tasks like scheduling, bookkeeping, research, managing emails, or even updating your social media pages to virtual assistants can help you maximize productivity and achieve the elusive work-life balance for busy coaches.
2. Focus on growing your business.
The more you delegate repetitive and administrative tasks to virtual assistants, the more you’ll be able to focus on growing your coaching practice. Finally, you can have more time to attend training and learning sessions for your career growth, work on growing your network, and strategize to attract more clients.
3. They can do it better than you.
The point of outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants is not just to help you save time by taking several tasks off your load, but also to ensure that these tasks are done in an efficient and excellent manner. If you hire reliable virtual assistants, you can count on them to deliver high-quality work because they specialize in the type of task you assign to them. This is advantageous for you and your virtual assistants because you’re both focusing on tasks that you enjoy doing.
4. Save money.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of hiring a virtual assistants is it the cost-savings. This is a lot cheaper than having a full-time salaried employee. You just pay for the services you need and only when you need them.
Should you hire virtual assistants? Definitely yes if you want to experience the benefits listed above.

 

Interested in finding out more on how we can SAVE you money… Click here to make your appointment today and let’s talk.

In today’s competitive business environment it is essential to find ways to reduce costs and increase revenues while keeping productivity and quality high. One of the best ways to achieve this is through hiring and retention of outstanding employees.

Far too often hiring managers rush through the hiring process due to being reactive rather than proactive when filling positions. With some preplanning in the hiring process and implementation of sound strategies once people join your organization, you will lower the cost of doing business by considerable amounts.

As you prepare to hire consider the following:

• What type of person are you looking for?
• What are the values that drive your company?
• How difficult is the job you are filling?
• Do you have anyone internally who can do the job?
• How long will it take to find the right person for the position?
• What are you willing to negotiate with the potential candidate?

In looking for potential candidates you may want to try more than the traditional employee search. Tap into your network of professional connections. Some of your best candidates may be working for your competitors. Be careful about hiring someone just because they are a friend or family member. Not that friends and family members don’t make good employees – often they can be fantastic. And yet, if you are hiring them only because they are a friend or family member, you are setting yourself up for some big problems. With the wrong choice morale with other employees can go down. With the right choice it is just as likely to go up.

Think through the compensation package. Are the wages fair for the job, industry and market? Make sure your benefit package is competitive for your industry. Find out what other companies are offering as far as compensation and consider matching or beating their offerings.

There are occasions when someone may take a position without thinking through income, benefits or fit. Once they have gotten settled in and are feeling comfortable with the position and the company, they may realize the compensation and the job is not all it could be. That can cause some discontent on their part. To avoid this, do your homework.

Another key to keeping good employees is to make sure they are treated with respect, dignity and appreciation. This may seem like common sense and yet, it often doesn’t happen. I consult with various types of organizations employee retention and how to gain more commitment from the staff. I often will meet individually, in private, with a cross section of the staff. I spend at least an hour with each employee in a confidential meeting to find out their view of the company. Inevitably, the areas that are most lacking for the employee to be fully satisfied are communication and appreciation.

Once the area of discontent has been identified I design programs for the company in which to address the problems. What is amazing is the problem is often on the way to being solved by virtue of the fact the organization has brought me in. A common comment is, “Finally, someone is listening to me.”

Often, a company’s problems can be lessened with some good coaching and training of management. It is amazing how many managers and supervisors were put into their position without any training in interpersonal skills, management and supervisory skills, and how to communicate effectively. Nine times out of ten the people who need the most training are the ones who think they need it the least. And, they are often the biggest obstacle to the success of a company.

In order to stay competitive on all fronts you must keep your entire team on the leading edge. By doing so you will be in business for years to come with a happy, dedicated and productive team. And that will equal profits

Pinterest is hailed as the next big thing after Facebook and if this is the case then you should do the best you can to be one of the pioneering online businesses to make it big on Pinterest.

With this social networking site, it is important to understand that you can sink or swim with your photos. No matter how wonderfully worded your descriptions are, they won’t do any good if your photos are not worth repinning or if they do not qualify for a single like.

In order to make sure that your images are optimized for sharing and for search engine marketing, then you may want to consider the following tips.

Pin as many original photos as you can.

With photos that you have taken yourself, you get to choose where to link it. Obviously, it’s best to link it to your blog or website, as this will increase your chances of promoting your goods or services. Original photos are also better than repins because they have an increased likelihood of going viral as well.

Don’t forget keywords.

Keywords matter and they should be used as prominently as possible but without being too obvious about your focus on search engine marketing. Here are several ideal places for you to use your keywords in.

  • Replace generic file names with keyword-oriented names, e.g. IMG0014 to lemon_meringue.jpg
  • Include keywords in the first and last sentences of your pin description
  • Include at least one keyword in comments you post on related pins
  • Include a parent keyword in the title or name of your pinboard

Pay attention to the size of your photos.

More often than not, Internet users don’t really care about images that take too long to load – especially when they are accessing Pinterest using a mobile device. They don’t care much either for photos, which require them to scroll down, down, down to see it in its full size. Remember: they need to scroll back up just to repin or like your photo, and not all of them will have the time or interest to do so.

Images are not always photos.

At the end of the day, Pinterest is all about images – and these refer to not only the photos or pictures that you have taken with a camera. It can also be an artwork you’ve created with basic Microsoft Paint or Adobe Photoshop. It can be a full-fledged poster, a visual strategy – anything that can be saved as an image can still be pinned to Pinterest.

In fact, if you are targeting markets that aren’t exactly enamored by reading (such as teenagers currently busy with prom preparations) then you would have better chances of capturing their attention with images that serve as summarized versions of your articles. But of course, with such images you should also provide a link to the actual full-length text. If they like your image enough, they’ll probably be willing to give its accompanying article or blog post a fair shot.

Always start and end your pin descriptions with one-liners.

Naturally, those one-liners must include your targeted keywords. Pinterest only gives you 500 characters to describe your pin and Pinterest users who repin your photos would like to use some of them. In order to make sure that they don’t completely erase everything you’ve written, leave them with one-liners they’ll find irresistible to share with others.

 

Knowing how Pinterest works is just the start. You should also establish a clear link between your Pinterest account and your blog or website. You must also be able to conveniently pin photos to your account even if you are not tied to a desk and with access to your computer or laptop.

Have Pinterest buttons on display on all your websites and blogs.

Pinterest itself has several free buttons that you can use. They already come with the necessary HTML codes to make embedding hassle-free. You should also check with your content management system or CMS provider if they have options for including Pinterest buttons with every blog post you upload. If not that then maybe there are widgets or tools related to Pinterest, which you can host on your blog or site.

Download Pinterest applications in your site.

Pinterest also has its own official mobile application that you can download and use for free. However, there are also a number of paid applications, which are designed to make pinning quick and easy even when you are using a mobile device.

One application, for instance, allows you to pin photos straight from your mobile device’s browser – something that the official Pinterest app actually can’t do at the moment.

Make a list of possible pins you can use.

Photos, which immediately capture your attention are definitely worth pinning – maybe not now but sometime in the future for sure. You just need to come with a great article or blog post to link such photos to your business. Be sure to list the sites where you’ve seen such photos. Give yourself some time, and they’ll prove handy to your business sooner or later.

Have a camera with you at all times.

The best photos to pin are those that you have taken yourself. As the original source of such photos, your link will then be used every time your photo is pinned and repinned by other Pinterest users. As such, you should not let any opportunity for taking beautiful photos go to waste. Have a camera with you at all times – preferably one with an excellent range of features that include HD resolution, panorama sweeps, options for editing, and filtering effects.

In most cases, the cameras of high-end smartphones would already suffice. It’s actually better if you use a camera phone since this will automatically give you access to the Internet and have it pinned to your board in no time.

Subscribe to a mobile Internet service.

Speaking of Internet access, that’s yet another thing you should have at all times as well. A mobile Internet service will not only enable you to monitor your online business effectively, but it can also make sure that you will be one of the first to pin photos of events that you may be covering with live blogging. With the help of some handy-dandy applications, live blogging and pinning can be easily performed with just a smartphone or tablet.

Hopefully, these tips will be enough to equip your business with all the necessary tools and resources for maximizing the marketing opportunities offered by Pinterest.

 

 

Marketing is one of the most important strategies in business because it introduces the business and its products to the consumers. Video marketing has the ability to take a business to another level as long as the business owner is ready to devote their time and resources. Today, most people are interested in video representation of information as opposed to the traditional text or audio.

With that said, anyone interested in effectively marketing their business should be ready and willing to use all the available resources to propel their businesses forward. It is important to understand video marketing well to get the optimum results. Here are highly effective video marketing tricks to assist you in succeeding.

Good Titles for your videos.

The power of a good title should not be overlooked in the distribution of online videos. Viewers are drawn by powerful and relevant titles which is why you should spend time in creating a title that will attract your target viewers. Keep in mind that the title should represent the content of the video. This means that it should not underrate the video or create a perception of something else.

Always remember that the title will pay a major role in determining the type of people who will be watching the video and taking the necessary action. A misleading title can attract a lot of viewers who will be disappointed in the video and will leave immediately. It is better to have a few viewers who are interested in what you have to offer than a huge useless traffic.

Be Original when coming up with content

People have seen quite a lot of things on videos and to get more attention, you will have to be unique and original. Instead of copying what most of the other people are doing, do your own research and put yourself in the viewer’s shoes. This will help you not only in creating something original, but in attracting the attention of the viewers.

Have A Marketing Strategy

It is crucial that you understand that making the video is just the first step. You will need to take the video where your viewers are and this calls for an effective marketing strategy. It is true that the video will be marketing your business but you will also need to market the video so that it can deliver positive results.

You should use all the necessary resources to ensure that as many viewers as possible are viewing the content. Embed the video on your business website and use social media to push the video to a wider audience. The more relevant viewers you get the more people you will have interested in your business and its products.

Have Goals

When you are creating a video to market your business, you should have goals. This is what you want the video to do for your business, do you want people to click on a link, visit a web site, take part in a survey, or like a social media page? Having well defined goals will assist you in achieving them by setting the marketing strategy properly.

It is possible to have a viral video which is useless because you have not given the viewers a way forward after they watch the video. Make sure you lay out everything in a funnel strategy where all efforts are focused on leading the audience to a particular direction that leads to more sales.

Be Consistent

People are always searching for fresh interesting content online and to succeed in video marketing, you should be consistent in positing new content. You also need to ensure that your new content is not only driven by quantity but also by quality. This means that you should be consistent in posting new content and also in keeping everything interesting to the viewers.

You Don’t Need A Fortune

Marketing does not have to be expensive. This also applies to all its strategies such as video marketing. You do not have to go all the way and get professionals to do the videos. Though quality is important, it is not a must that you break your bank account. Focus on high quality videos that are simple to cut down on the cost of the entire process.