Thoughts, Vision and Success

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Have you ever decided that you were going to turn your life around, make big changes so that you can start towards achieving some specific ambition, some dream?

The decision to ‘turn over a new leaf’ and make a new start, either in your life generally or in some particular area of it is the first and obviously essential step to get you from where you are to where you want to be. In addition, to achieve that turnaround you will probably need some new information, a new technique or a new teacher but with that, unless you’re an unusually determined and focused person, you may be easily deterred from your chosen path unless your mental state is so clear, so firmly set on the achievement of your vision that temptation cannot lure you into some easier alternative. Most of us find it difficult to understand the power of our thoughts but it has been scientifically demonstrated that what we think about is what we act upon and what we act upon is what we are most likely to achieve. Thoughts of course are an essential part of vision and when we can envision ourselves in the new state we aspire to, it‘s a big step towards actually getting there.

As in the familiar quote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, most of us would be more likely to succeed in our ‘thousand mile journey’ if we recognised that every single little step we take in the right direction will help. Unfortunately the reverse is also true and every single time we deviate from the direct path or fail to take the next step towards our goal, we are actually moving away from it. It isn’t usually very difficult to make the next tiny but well directed move but it is at least equally easy not to do so or even to move in the wrong direction.

A few years ago I spent an enormous amount of money to receive training in various aspects of Internet marketing and I did learn quite a lot but I never managed to apply what I had learnt in such a way as to achieve my goal of becoming a successful online marketer. To this day I’m not sure whether the problem lay in my own inadequate efforts to implement what I had learned or whether my new learning had too many gaps in it to enable me to put it into practice effectively. Eventually I found that I was spending more money than I could afford in order to maintain subscriptions to the various, essential services and facilities but making hardly any money in return and, with a metaphorical sigh of relief I gave up. I’ll never know how close I may have been to the achievement of my goals at that time.

Later I discovered much better and much less expensive sources of learning online and, with the benefit of my previous experience I was able to tell in advance which facilities were genuinely capable of helping me achieve that goal and which were not. I am still learning, still applying the many new disciplines necessary, not so much to manage the practical aspects of the marketing as those aimed at maintaining my vision and not losing sight of my goals so that no amount of difficulty would cause me to doubt my ability to win.

I have realised that there is absolutely no substitute for that determination, coupled with gaining the necessary know how. Now I am achieving the success that eluded me before and I have learned many invaluable lessons. The first and foremost of these is how easy it is to get off track, to allow yourself to be tempted into skipping some tiny and apparently insignificant step along the way. My purpose here is to warn you that once you have made the firm decision to create major changes in your life, found the right tools and started to implement them, your own mentality can still get in your way by tempting you with what seem like tiny deviations from your path;  just deciding to hit the ‘snooze’ button and take ten more minutes in bed when you had intended to get up and spend those minutes on some small but important task before work can be the beginning of your path to failure. Repeated several times, doing this instead of following your plan will become a habit and that habit, combined with a few others is very likely to multiply and lead to the complete abandonment of your journey to your dream.

If you’d like to know more about some resources that will help you on the road to achieving major financial goals, just follow one or more of the banners around this blog. These facilities are among the finest and most effective you can find anywhere. To learn more about ‘getting your mind right’ you would do well to read some of the most effective literature on the subject. Examples are ”Think and grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “What’s Stopping You” by Robert Kelsey”, “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson and “The Compound effect” by Darren Hardy. I have also enjoyed and greatly benefited from the writings and recording of Dr Wayne W. Dyer.

I sincerely hope these thoughts will help you towards realising your own visions.

Tony V Watson

"Make Haste Slowly"

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Some years ago I ran my own aviation management consultancy company and during one year or so I had the great pleasure of working with a distribution company in New Delhi, India run by some very astute entrepreneurs who had become good friends of mine during my time in an earlier employment.  My role this time was to introduce to the Indian company some aviation security equipment designed and built by an excellent German manufacturer. Although it was no place of mine in the normal course of business to advise my Indian friends , I do remember on one occasion, counselling one of them that we could be most successful by adopting a fairly cautious approach to the particular strategy we were then considering. I used the expression “Make haste slowly” which is not something I am in the habit of saying but which just seemed at that time to be the appropriate way to express what I wanted to say to him. This expression, which I don’t think had occurred to me for decades prior to that was something that my mother used to say to me when I was young and which had clearly remained in my mind all that time until the occasion when I needed it.

Recently, whilst reading a most impressive book entitled “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson I was reminded of the saying and its meaning when he was describing the process he had adopted in starting a new marketing company. Olson observed that the conventional approach to the launch of a new enterprise, especially in marketing was to spend a lot of money on making the biggest fanfare possible with a widely publicised pre-launch, grand opening with celebrity endorsement and so on.  This time Olson wanted to do it differently, quietly and in accordance with a set of core values, one of which was “Slow down to go fast” and reading this I was vividly reminded of my mother’s advice to “Make haste slowly” which, to be honest had never really made much sense to me when I was young. Olson relates that the new company proceeded to grow at an unprecedented rate for a new marketing organisation and amazingly, passed the $100 million turnover milestone more quickly than had ever previously been achieved in the industry.

Now, as I mentioned, the book’s title is “The Slight Edge” and the Slight Edge principles, embodied in the culture of the company are that real success is invariably achieved by the slow, steady and consistent application of small incremental change. Not in what he describes as “quantum leaps”.

Earlier in the book, Olson used the analogies of a Water Hyacinth plant growing to double its size every day from its miniscule and almost invisible beginnings to the point where one day’s growth took it from covering half of the pond to covering the whole of it. He uses other equally graphic similes to describe the virtually undiscernible growth that every repetition of a simple and tiny action will initially have in any field of endeavour and the way in which that growth compounds to achieve enormous effect if continued for long enough. Time is the key ingredient. Without being allowed to continue over a sufficient period of time, the effect of tiny incremental actions will remain just that; tiny but with enough repetition of the same concerted actions, however small, the combined effect can be astronomical.

It may be easiest to explain the slight edge in numerical applications since the effect of the periodic doubling of a number can easily be illustrated. For example one penny, doubled every day will amount to $10,737,418 after one thirty one day month. If you were to save just 10% of your income and apply a moderate rate of interest to the resultant, growing sum, the total would increase to an astronomical amount after a few years. An example in the book is of two people who each, after graduation, decide to save enough money each month to guarantee them at least $1 million at age 67. One of the two immediately puts the plan into effect and saves $250 per month into an IRA account at 8% interest. ( Yes I know that 8% is not very realistic at the time of writing but the principle is not affected by that fact).

The other friend delays the start of her savings until she reaches the age of 39 and then asks her friend how her savings are getting on. The answer is amazing. After 18 years she can stop adding money to the pot and by the time she reaches 65 it will still have grown to over $1 million. Of course if she continues to invest, her ultimate wealth will grow to many times that amount. Unfortunately for the second of the friends, if she starts now she will have invested $81,000 by age 67 and still only have a fund of about a quarter of a million dollars.

The Slight edge principle of tiny, incremental steps towards an ultimate goal can be applied to any aspect of your life; not just to money and although I can’t go into any more detail in this short essay, I will return to the subject later and do keep in mind that the principle can work both for you and against you. If, for example you decide to lose weight. However, instead of cutting down slightly on your food intake, you continue to eat the amounts and types of food that got you overweight in the first place, then inevitably and inexorably you will continue to increase in weight at an accelerating rate. In every area of your life it’s your decision. These small incremental changes are quite easy to put into effect but unfortunately at least as easy NOT to do. The decision is yours.

Tony V Watson

Make Money With Instagram

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‘Instant Instagram Intro’ was a brief introduction to Instagram showing how easy it is to navigate, submit your pictures, follow other users and see how many followers you have. You may be trying to decide whether Instagram could be a useful contributor to your business’s social media program, and for that you’ll need a bit more information so here are a few pointers to the possibilities.

You probably already try to harmonise the ways in which your business is presented on other social media sites by using, for example the same logo, colours, fonts and general appearance so that your business and your products or services are easily recognisable on one site to those who are familiar with them on another. The company or product name needs to be featured in the same types of ways on Instagram as the other media but it need not be confined to your commentary outside the pictures. Why not add it or your logo to the pictures themselves in the form of a watermark. In this way your brand identity will be absorbed almost subliminally by visitors to your site. As a photo sharing site Instagram offers you some wonderful opportunities to display your wares in new and attention catching ways.

Customers or others who may just be browsing love to get the feeling that they’re seeing something special so as well as the predictable pictures of finished products you may be able to show some glimpses behind the scenes or find other ways to make the visitor feel that they are being given the ‘inside track’. Naturally the best way to approach this will vary widely between different types of enterprises; it will be easier for some than for others. A little lateral thinking however may very well lead marketers of products other than the obviously visual fashion and food brands to represent their offerings by, for example introducing the people behind the brand and showing the company’s offices, workshops or other premises. Some items such as eproducts may present additional challenges and seem more difficult to promote in an essentially visual medium but in those cases perhaps pictures of people who could benefit from using the products or who have already done so may be appropriate. Another approach could be to set up ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture stories either featuring real customers or people in relevant customer categories.

It has been found that Instagram gets more engagement than any of the other social media and not just slightly more but massively more. In early 2014 Forrester research compared the results of posts on 7 different social media and the diagram below shows comparisons with Facebook and Twitter demonstrating about 60 times more interactions on Instagram than on Facebook and more than twice that number by comparison with Twitter.

The remainder of the social media studied produced even lower engagement rates than Twitter. This may seem even more surprising in respect of Pinterest in view of its being a picture-based site like Instagram but there is a view that the almost exclusively mobile viewership of Instagram may be responsible, at least in part for this higher rate of engagement. This fact alone should prompt you to take very seriously the opportunity offered by Instagram to maximise the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign.

If some of what I have said above seems slanted towards the marketing needs of large or established companies, that is not intentional. The beauty of Instagram, as with other social media is that a campaign can be mounted for zero financial outlay though it will inevitably require quite a bit of time to set up and maintain. I would go so far as to suggest that, if you are just starting to set up your social media campaign it might be worthwhile to consider Instagram as your first choice, especially if your brand lends itself to the visual medium. You will also want to consider the characteristics of your market niche and the extent to which your users are likely, habitually to browse using their mobile devices.

Don’t hesitate to ask your followers to contribute their own pictures as part of your efforts to build closer relationships with them. Also as with other media, competitions can be a very powerful tool for use in drawing your visitors in to your marketing world and may be helpful in directing them from Instagram to your other sites or vice versa.

Hashtags play an important part in directing Instagram posts towards their intended audience but in my opinion their use can also be overdone. For example I feel the great visual appeal of an exciting photograph of a giant helicopter is much reduced because the caption contains so many hashtags that the message is obscured. Hashtags do have an important part to play in ensuring that your post reaches as many customers and potential customers as possible. I believe though that when the picture is being used for online business purposes it is also important to make the most of the opportunity to write an appropriate caption and make sure it is easily seen. It is all too easy to drown the message in hashtags. See below the caption which accompanied a superb picture of the inside of a large helicopter:

No privacy inside the giant troop transport helicopter ... #travel #traveling #toilet #helicopter #vacation #visiting #instatravel #instago #instagood #trip #holiday #photooftheday #fun #travelling #tourism #tourist #instapassport #instatraveling #mytravelgram #travelgram #travelingram #igtravel

Whilst there may be no rule as to the maximum number of hashtags to use for one post, there is a practical limit to the number you can display without ‘losing’ your message and making it boring. The caption below the picture is your one opportunity to use words to ensure your message gets across once your readers’ attention has been captured by the picture.

By the way; if you’re uncertain which hashtags to use, Webstagram will provide you with a list of the hashtags most popularly used on Instagram and thus almost a directory within which to search for those most relevant to your products and industry.

You may decide to trial marketing on Instagram for a while before making up your mind exactly how or indeed whether you’ll continue using it as part of your overall Internet Marketing efforts. You may find it so compelling that it should be your primary marketing tool or, more likely, that it will nicely complement your work on other sites as an important element in an integrated campaign. In such a campaign each of social media sites can be used to direct attention to your posts on the others and, of course to your blog if any and your main website.

Instagram may be first of many sites set up almost entirely for mobile devices but I’m sure there will be others before long. I think this is a pointer to the future of social media and therefore important for all who are seriously interested in making money online be aware of if not to actually use.

Thanks folks for being with me, hope this has been useful,

Tony V Watson

Instant Instagram Intro

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Instagram has very rapidly become one of the most popular of social media and is particularly interesting because it is the first to have come into being purely for use on mobile devices. All the others, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc were designed to be set up and accessed from a PC whether desk top or lap top. Instagram was designed from the ground up to be set up and used cell phones or tablets. There is now a way to view your Instagram account on a PC but you still can’t submit items to it except from a mobile device.

Instagram was designed initially to exploit the capabilities of the then new iPhone but has since been adapted to work equally with the other ‘smart’ cell phone operating systems such as Google’s Android and Windows 8. The explosion worldwide in the use of tablets has also contributed hugely to the rate of worldwide acceptance of Instagram to the extent that after being launched only in 2010, the new social medium passed 100 million monthly active users in early 2013. This happened after implementing changes in its terms of service towards the end of 2012 that caused many users to abandon the service for fear that Instagram intended to appropriate the property rights of its contributors and treat user’s photographs as though they were its own. Instagram rapidly backed down, reverted to its earlier terms of service and though substantial numbers of users had been lost, the total started to rise rapidly again.

It is interesting to note that in India in 2012, mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic and there is every sign that the same is happening in the remainder of the world. Clearly, even if that estimate proves to be flawed, it is very obvious that the era of the mobile Internet device is well underway and gives every impression of being the pattern for the future. Against this background, the decision to launch Instagram as a primarily mobile use service was inspired.

To get started, download the Instagram app from the iPhone app store, Google Play for Android phone or tablets or the relatively recent Instagram Beta for Windows 8 devices, install it and then click ‘Open’. Select the ‘Register’ button to set up your new account. From there the steps to follow, choosing a username and password, creating your profile etc will be familiar to all users of other social media.

Navigation within Instagram is very straightforward by means of five tabs: Home, Explore, Camera,     News Feed and Profile.  These tabs are aligned along the bottom of the screen and are extremely simple to use once selected. The Home tab allows you to see the pictures most recently added to the site by others or by yourself.  Explore gives you a display of pictures by others that you may want to follow, the most popular images of the moment being displayed at the top of the screen. You can also search by name for users that interest you or alternatively use hashtags to take you to relevant posts. On Instagram hashtags represent an important element in the way users operate on the site, providing as they do an immediate entrée to the subject area represented by any particular tag.

Selecting the camera tag allows you to access your phone or tablet’s camera as an alternative to the using the device’s normal method of activate the camera. Instagram provides a number of tools to help you get the best photos possible and, once captured, to edit them. This site does place quite a lot of emphasis on the quality of photos published so it is logical for the site to help with this.

The News Feed tab allows you to select either ‘Following’ or ‘You’ that display activity by those you are following and by those following you respectively. Finally, the profile tab, which is that on the right hand side at the bottom of the screen displays details of the numbers of your followers and those you are following as well as the number of posts you have submitted on the site.

This has necessarily been a very brief and rather hurried introduction to Instagram and in my next post I’ll be exploring in a little more detail the ways in which Instagram can be used as an extremely useful tool to promote your online business or indeed any business. I do hope that this first exploration of the site will encourage you to take a look at it and see whether you feel it may be a service you’d like to try.

Until next time then,

Tony V Watson

Have you ever felt that something that happened to you must have been ordained; must have been meant to happen as it did when it did?

I’ve been making a big effort to reduce the enormous amount of furniture and masses of other stuff that’s stored in the attic of my house so I’ve been making trip after trip to charity shops, the local dump site and to EBay. One item I stumbled on was a set of CDs entitled “Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling” by Dr Wayne W Dyer. I only vaguely remembered ever having seen it before but decided to put it in my car and play it when the opportunity arose. There are four CDs in the set and, as luck would have it, yesterday I had to drive to the hospital where I am a part-time director, about a one hour journey from home so that gave me the chance to play the first CD. As I played it I did begin, dimly to remember that I had listened to the set before but it must have been several years ago; almost as it were, in another life.

Dr Dyer takes the word “Inspiration” as meaning literally ‘in spirit’ and his primary thesis is that each of us is the temporary physical embodiment of a spirit whose time it is to undertake a physical lifetime on earth for some specific purpose. He is quite clear that his own purpose is to become an author and teacher to spread the word and to help people to be aware of their origins and to recognise that when inspired, that is ‘in spirit,’ each of us, is a part of the spirit domain which includes God, our own spirit is a fundamental part of us and that therefore each of us has an element of God in us. He teaches that when we individually allow ourselves to accept this, we also accept that we naturally have access to anything and everything we need in order to achieve our purpose. Examples of the ways in which he has experienced this are the fact that he has never experienced any difficulty in earning plenty of money and that this abundance has enabled him to write about and teach his message to huge audiences. He also explains that, for example, where other prominent people tend to employ large numbers of staff to perform all the many tasks necessary to keep them safe and to organise their everyday lives, professional commitments and legal obligations, he was fortunate enough to find, apparently almost by accident, two or three ideal people who are totally loyal to him and who between them do everything necessary in order to enable him to concentrate more or less exclusively on his calling.

I am about to embark on an Internet Marketing challenge called the “100 day BizBuilder” and in preparation have been doing all I can to prepare myself for it, mentally as well as in other ways. Wayne Dyer’s teaching have given me much valuable food for thought.  I already know that many people tend to constrain themselves from achieving their potential by reason of self-doubt. It’s natural and appropriate for all of us to try to be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately for some this can go way beyond a mere recognition of actual weaknesses to the point where a person’s doubt of his own abilities becomes so strong that it is self-fulfilling. This is a favourite theme of mine because I have had experience in my earlier life of my own self-limiting self-doubt and I struggled for many years to gain the self-confidence I now enjoy.

One early example from my own life may demonstrate this quite clearly. Many years ago I was a pilot in the Royal Air Force but I remember to this day the times during my initial training when although my instructors were quite happy with my progress, I continued to find it hard to believe that I could really achieve what was necessary. In the end I did so and continued my flying career in many roles and with many squadrons all over the world but I never forgot the way in which my self-doubt at that time could have killed my dream.

The same problem is familiar to many people struggling to start and maintain online businesses and if this includes you I urge you to read the excellent book “What’s Stopping You” by Robert Kelsey that I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog. You might also consider listening to or reading Wayne Dyer’s “Inspiration, Your Ultimate calling” for help in understanding your own mental state so that you are as well equipped as possible to deal with any challenge.

By the way; the 100 day BizBuilder challenge I referred to is no longer open but if you are interested in finding excellent training that could help you in any Internet Marketing business I suggest you listen to one or two of the free webinars that are available by clicking on the poster to the right of this post.

Until next time,

Tony V Watson

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