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5 Reasons Why Switching Off the Internet Can Help You Build a Better Online Business

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online business

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve considered starting an online business at some point in the past. Perhaps you’ve even started one already. It could be as straightforward as joining an affiliate network program or starting an eBay store. It can also be as complicated as designing and manufacturing an entirely new product or starting a software company.

No matter what path you’re currently on, you’ve likely spent many hours on the Internet researching the competition, looking for the right suppliers, buying your domain and tweaking your website design. You’ve also probably spent hours being distracted by online advertisements, irrelevant articles, social media and mindless videos.

While online connectivity may be exciting and appear crucial to planning out and growing your business, I would argue that being so attached to this global network actually diminishes the overall quality of your work and reduces the likelihood of your success.

In fact, in the early stages of business planning and development, there are at least five reasons why turning off the Internet and sitting down with an old fashioned pen and paper will actually lead to better business results.

Below I’ve outlined five of the most important reasons why disconnecting can lead to better business in the long run:

1. It jump-starts your creative side

The Internet is an amazing tool. It let’s us connect with people and things and ideas in an instant, from anywhere in the world. The creation of this interconnected information-sharing network has become one of our greatest accomplishments as a species, but it has also become one of our biggest weaknesses. The ability to find out the answer to any question with one Google search, or to distract ourselves from boredom with the push of a button, makes working out creative solutions to challenging problems unnecessary.

By turning off the Internet for an hour, or an afternoon, you will immediately start to regain control of your creative side. You will become aware of how much time you used to spend surfing the Internet to alleviate boredom or find the easiest solutions to your problems. You will then look for ways to fill that time.

I urge you not to go back online, but to see how productive ways can channel that energy. Meditate. Write down daily goals. Plan for the week ahead. Go for a run. Whatever you do, make it your own, and don’t rehash the thoughts and feelings you see being overshared online.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

2. It lets you connect with your customer

Another huge benefit to turning off the Internet and stepping away from the hive of like-minded people you find online is that it lets you connect with new potential customers in the real world.

Sure, conducting market research for your next project by creating a Leadpage or Launchrock site will help you gauge interest of potential customers online within a certain group, but by speaking with real people “in the street” about what inspires them or what problems they are facing on a day-to-day basis will help you build a deeper understanding of your target audience and develop a better service for your customers.

You may even be able to get ideas from people outside of your target demographic by speaking with people “adjacent demographics” – people you would normally never interact with online. This might seem obvious to some of you that read this, but I’m constantly shocked by how many people I see going through life unaware of what is going on right in front of their noses.

I see them walking from place to place with their headphones in and their smartphones out, oblivious to the amazing opportunities to connect with people and provide real value to those around them. Unhook, unplug, and ask one person a day about something that matters to them.

3. It makes you plan ahead

If you have the intention of starting an online business, unplugging from the Internet is perhaps the best way to start to develop a successful plan for starting and launching one profitably. More than 9 of 10 startups fail in their first year of business.

When you unplug from the Internet, either by turning off your wifi router (as I did just now to finish this post), or sit down with a pen and a pad of paper, you immediately cut off distractions and pop-ups that get in the way of doing deep work.

Setting aside a block of time of at least 2-3 hours of “deep work” per week (at the very least) that is focused on completing one strategic task or goal is crucial to the successful development of any business, online or in an office. The more frequently you are able to cut out distractions, the more you will be able to produce quality results for your business.

4. It forces you to start small

In business, you are either selling a product or delivering a service. You typically sell that product or service to another business (B2B) or to a consumer (B2C). The basics for every business are the same, but it is how you use the tools at your disposal that determines whether you will be successful or not.

Often, entrepreneurs face what is called “analysis paralysis” when attempting to build a new online product or service. The Internet marketplace is so large that they don’t know where to go first. Whose problem will I solve? How will my product be better than my competitions’? What industry trends will I capitalize on?

Stepping away from the Internet simplifies things, and it makes you think hard about what you do best and how you can deliver that to someone, anyone, who is willing to pay for it.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

5. It drives you to take action

More important than anything else, unplugging from the Internet will force you to flex your action muscle. When you take a step back from the continuous stimulation of social media, online advertisements and entertainment, you will realize that the only thing that will help you get what you want is immediate action.

How has unplugging from the online world helped you with your business? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal Osborne is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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Startups

The Problem Is Not Your Website Or Your Product.

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spend a lot of my time talking to business owners. They focus on their product, their marketing channels and trying to make more profit.

I met one such business owner who was in the plastic surgery business. Their product (boob jobs and nose jobs) was not working. Their website sucked and people clicked off as soon as they visited it.

People would call their office, get put on hold, listen to the on hold message and hang up.

This business didn’t seem all that special. I’ve talked to many businesses and didn’t think for a microsecond that a plastic surgery clinic could ever teach me anything valuable.

I’ve been to Hollywood on holidays and the issues of body image are all too apparent to me. Anyway, this post is not about body image.

I ended up losing this business as a customer — not that I would ever have sold anything to them if it were up to me. I sat down one afternoon and thought about why we no longer did business with them.

That’s when I realized it’s not about your product or your website. All the issues with this plastic surgery clinic and a lot of other businesses I’ve dealt with stem from one thing. Let me explain in more detail.


Your Google Reviews say you’re an piece of work.

I looked up their Google Reviews and their customers said they were assholes.

They spoke down to clients, they didn’t deliver their clients what they wanted, they argued with their staff in front of customers and they treated people like they were nothing more than a dollar sign.

All I had to do was read their Google reviews to see that the problem wasn’t their product or their website.


Your clients tell you every day that you suck.

I asked the plastic surgery what their clients said.

Many of their clients told them that their services sucked and they would prefer to go to places like Thailand where they could get a better product at a much lower price.

The business owner made the mistake of thinking it was their product that was the problem and that a new website will tell clients a different message.

That wasn’t it.


You abuse your staff and they consistently leave.

I spoke with many staff that worked for this business.

Every single one of them hated the company and were not afraid to say what they thought of the business owner.

The business owner would sit outside on a nice sunny day and look across the street at all the yachts and the people boarding them.

They’d sit there and think that every lead they got was going to take them one step closer to owning their very own yacht.

“If only I could deliver more boob jobs, maybe I could have one of those,” they thought quietly to themselves hoping that no one else could hear how ridiculous this sounded.

I can remember multiple times being on the phone to the business owner and having one of their staff burst into tears halfway through the call.

The first time it happened I didn’t think much. After the third time, I got the message. During the short time I dealt with this business, people consistently left. If you made it to the six-month mark, you were some sort of hero and would probably be given a free surgery to say thank you for your work and make you feel worse about your own body at the same time.

It was free noses and boobs in return for daily abuse.

The problem still wasn’t the website all the product.


You don’t solve real problems; you solve your own problem.

A good business solves a problem.

That problem typically affects human beings and solving it is how you make money in business. Solving problems can start out with a problem that affects you, but at some point, you’ve got to start solving that same problem for other people/businesses.

This owner of this plastic surgery clinic was only trying to solve their own problem which was making more money to buy fancy items like yachts.

Only solving your own problem is not just selfish but bad business.

Good business is solving a big problem or lots of small problems for entire strangers who you don’t know thus doing something valuable for the human race.

Solving only your problem will make you poor.

The problem still wasn’t their website or product.


Creating more problems.

Everything this business owner sold created more problems.

They’d film videos to purposely make people feel like their body wasn’t perfect.

They’d write articles suggesting that everyone needs botox to feel young.

They’d take photos of men and women who were supposed to be perfect so that young people would dream of looking like them.

Not only was their business not solving a real problem; it was also creating more problems every day that it existed.

If your business creates more problems than it solves, you’re in real trouble.You need to take a long hard look at the business and become obsessed with doing everything you can to change it — and do so damn fast to limit the whirlwind of problems you’re creating behind you.


The heart of the problem.

It’s the business owner.

The business I mentioned will fail. That part is certain. The problem with the business is not the website or the product.

The problem is the business has no heart because the business owner has no heart.

You cannot focus on your own selfish desires, create really bad problems in the world, treat other human beings like garbage and expect to go buy a yacht and live happily ever after. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Whether you are a plastic surgery clinic like the one I described or a solo entrepreneur, the problem with your business is you.

Fix the problem of YOU. You can’t get away with being horrible forever.
Being horrible is bad business.

Being respectful, kind and valuable is the final answer to the problem with your business.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Entrepreneurs

18 Must Read Business Books for Emerging Entrepreneurs and Startups

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business books

Reading is both relaxation and training for the mind. Who reads, dives into another world. Learning, entertaining and breaking out of everyday life for a short moment. One could go even so far as to say reading is the second most beautiful thing in the world! Whether it is non-fiction or a novel of all the world’s man has created, the book is the most powerful tool. That is also, why we wanted to find out which business book you should undertake in the new year. (more…)

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Startups

Everyone Wants Sales Leads But No One Wants To Sell

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Sales leads are the lifeblood of any business.

Without leads, your business doesn’t make money. That’s why many businesses treat leads like the most valuable resource in existence. Leads are a topic that never goes away and you can never have enough.

Sales leads are the cause of so many disputes in business.

We have it all wrong, though.

Having something to sell is the real answer.


Knowing what you’re selling.

Many companies don’t know what they are selling.

They think they’re selling products or services that magically turn into revenue and light up your accounting software with lots of green, shiny graphs.

Until you know what you’re selling, sales leads won’t help. Getting more sales leads, increasing your Adwords spend, buying more Facebook ads, doing more networking events, printing more t-shirts and producing more ‘content’ for your blog will not help.

You’re not getting enough leads or closing the leads you have because you’re not sure what you’re selling.


Are you selling to humans?

Go and Google ten company websites. Pick any ten.

You’ll notice one thing: more than half the websites don’t sound like they are selling to humans.

There’s no human language, very little content created by the people that work at the company, zero compassion and not a lot of humility.

Most websites are designed to sell to robots that can’t stop looking at their smartphone. That’s not us. We’re human despite our phones changing the way we live.

Humans look for thoughtful businesses.
Humans look for solutions to problems that are not being solved.
Humans like a business to stand for something human.


How you sell matters.

Selling like you’re in the office with The Wolf Of Wall Street Jordan Belfort will not help you sell.

How you sell matters just as much as what you sell.

The process you put a client through has to be simple, thoughtful and in their best interests (not yours).

That last point is crucial. Many businesses exist to serve the board or shareholders, but they do very little to help people like you and I live a better life and do our best work.

The values of your company and what you stand for effect the leads. Before anyone ever becomes a lead in your sales funnel they are a person or a group of persons (a business) with a problem.

Many people never make it into your sales funnel because how you sell what you do is wrong.

Paying for more leads is not nearly as powerful as changing how you sell to the leads you have.


Loving the people who do the selling.

Leads are only half the puzzle.

The bigger question is who is selling to the leads? Does your business treat those people who call your leads well? Do the people who call your leads even care or are they after nothing more than a pay cheque?

These are the unanswered questions that get lost in conversations about why your business needs more leads.

More leads won’t help if your salespeople burn them or don’t know how to convert each lead into a customer that becomes a raving fan and introduces more people (leads) for free.


Treat one lead really well.

I had a sales guy that used to work for me. He treated one lead in Queensland, Australia really well. He spoke to him every day. He knew a lot about the persons family. He even went to the leads barbecue.

That lead was so impressed that he referred several hundred (that we could track) leads to our business. Treating one lead really well is far more powerful than buying more leads who don’t care about what you do.

Digital marketing has become a drug that every business thinks they need.

If only the business world knew the power of one lead.


The good cause factor.

Your business may do something simple like mow lawns.

That may not sound like a life-changing business that can take this lead advice I’m giving onboard. “My business is simple,” you say to me.

Well, I’d challenge that. Any business can have what I call the ‘Good Cause Factor.”

Let be give you an example. The local butcher down the road from me has a BBQ every Saturday afternoon where they invite the community to come and eat some food for free. Everyone is welcome including the few homeless people in the area that never buy any meat from their business.

People stand out the front of that butcher and talk about things that are happening in the community. This Saturday ritual has become a place where business ideas have flourished, homeless issues have been discussed and people who were lonely and possibly suicidal, decided to live for a bit longer.

The last part is the most interesting. In my community here in suburban Melbourne, there is a large group of people that suffer from mental illness. When I went through my own battle with mental illness, I went to the local town hall where people gathered who suffered from the same condition.

It was that event every Wednesday that helped me become a different person.The loneliness and the isolation I felt were cured by the simple act of connecting with other people and having the guts to talk about the demons I was facing.

These same people go to our local butcher on Saturday and eat at the free BBQ. The butcher is thoughtful and they know that they are doing something far more important than selling meat; they’re selling connection to the community, and a possible solution for isolation and loneliness that leads to mental illness.

So back to the point of this post, the community butcher is selling a good cause — an X Factor as some people would call it.

What your business does with its resources to help a worthy cause that affects humans like you and I is just as important as sales funnels, lead generation and your product roadmap.

Link your business to a worthy cause no matter how simple it is.


Lead quality.

I lose my mind when people talk about lead quality.

The quality of leads comes down to the quality of people talking to those leads and what you have to offerEven the coldest lead can buy from you if you know how to find their problem — which they may not know they have — and use your product or service to enhance their life.

Quality of leads is a myth. All leads are equal.

No matter what stage of the sales funnel someone is in, they can be converted by the right business, with the right message and the right intentions to serve rather than take.


More leads are not the answer.

I know you want more leads. We all do.

I’m telling you to think much wider and deeper than that. If all we had to do was get more leads and we’d become the next Bill Gates, we’d be all billionaires.

I could go and set up a business that does nothing more than generate leads and call my business the ‘Billionaire Factory.’ One, two, lead, wham, bam and now you’re rich.

Refine your business down to helping one lead.
Make that lead believe in you.

Rinse, repeat.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Startups

5 Digital Marketing Habits Geared for Success in 2019

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digital marketing

The digital marketing landscape is in constant flux. New social platforms are born daily, while others fizzle out, and search engine algorithms are updated hundreds of times a year. What worked last year may not work this year. The reasons you need a digital marketing strategy remain similar each year, but to be successful in 2019, you should practice the 5 digital marketing habits below. (more…)

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