Thrive Leads Plugin – Be Aware Before You Buy…

thriveleadslogoI’ve been testing the Thrive Leads plugin on my own sites for a few weeks now and in this post I’m going to set out my findings.

As a result I hope you can make a more informed choice as to whether this plugin is for you or not.

First, 2 important points:

POINT 1: Regular readers will know I am a huge fan of Thrive Theme’s products (especially Content Builder which I use all the time).

This said Thrive Leads is something different, as we’ll see below.

POINT 2: If like me you are a Thrive Themes Member, meaning that you have access to all the new themes and plugins that they produce, then the Thrive Leads Plugin is FREE for you and will have already been added to your account.

If you’re a customer but not sure, login to your Thrive Themes account here and check in the product downloads section as you obviously don’t want to pay for the same thing twice!

Ok, so what is Thrive Leads all about, what does it do and, most importantly, is it actually worth using?

(1) What Is Thrive Leads?

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EU VAT Changes Jan 1st – The Problems And My Solution…

UPDATE: Jan 23rd, 2015:

1) JVZoo (Fabulous!)
Of all the selling platforms out there JVZoo’s response to the EU VAT rules has been the most innovative and in my opinion it provides the most complete solution.

As a product vendor you can:

a) Block Countries
This is “Solution 4″ in my original blog post below. Particularly useful for UK vendors who sell only a tiny amount into other EU countries – by switching off these sales you don’t have to register for MOSS and you can bypass all of the associated admin work.

[A potential issue here are the anti-discrimination laws in the EU. As I understand it (I am not a lawyer and could be wrong) an EU based business can’t refuse digital sales to customers in other EU countries without a valid reason. I’ve yet to see examples of “valid” reasons or “non-valid” reasons, or indeed any qualified clarification on this – if you have any ideas please do leave a comment!]

…or if you do wish to sell into the EU…

b) Choose to charge VAT or not (obviously switch this on to be compliant with the Jan 1st rules!)

c) If you enable VAT, whether to charge by vendors country or, to be compliant with the rules, customers country.

d) Allow customers to manually override their country (e.g., live in UK but buying in France)

e) Download full reports of transactions by country which can be uploaded into your MOSS account.

In my view this is a brilliant set up and definitely good news: If you want to sell into the EU then it makes the bureaucracy much less time consuming. But if you’d prefer to bypass the admin work altogether then you can simply opt out by switching off all sales to EU countries.

2) WarriorPlus (Disappointing!)
I queried what WarriorPlus are planning to do in response to the rules and they implied that they have no plans to change, at least in the short term.

Essentially if you want to use WarriorPlus to sell into the EU then you need to set up individual tax rates inside PayPal. This is a manual process and of course puts the entire burden on each vendor.

I also asked about a country blocking feature which they said they would consider but again, no firm plans on this to my knowledge.

So in contrast to JVZoo a disappointing response from WarriorPlus I would say.

3) Clickbank (Already Compliant!)
As mentioned in the post below Clickbank has always charged the correct sales tax for every region in the world.

Since they effectively sell your product for you (unlike PayPal, WarriorPlus, JVZoo etc) the responsibility lies with them not you.

So literally nothing changes when it comes to the Jan 1 st EU VAT rules and happy days if, like me, you use Clickbank a lot in your business!

4) UK Government Flow Chart
The UK government have published a handy flow chart to clarify the VAT rules. Here’s a link to it (opens in new window).

ORIGINAL BLOG POST IS BELOW – Ideal for getting up to speed if you’re not yet clear on all this stuff!
———————–

This post is most applicable to those of us who live in the EU and especially the UK.

I am not a qualified accountant so this is not advice, only my opinion and nothing more :-)

So, what is happening?

Currently, if a business sells a digital product (ebook, membership site subscription, software etc) VAT (i.e., sales tax) is charged based upon the country where the business is located.

This has led to a lot of tax avoidance by larger companies.

For example, corporations like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and many others have previously located their EU businesses in Luxembourg where VAT on eBooks is 3%.

This rate has applied to sales in ANY country in the EU. Even though the rates in most of those countries are higher.

To clamp down on this the EU are, from Jan 1st, changing the rules so VAT is charged based upon the buyer’s location.

So continuing with Luxembourg as the example:

Currently: Luxembourg registered business sells to a UK customer. VAT is 3% (Luxembourg’s “Super Reduced Rate”)

From Jan 1st: Luxembourg registered business sells to a UK customer. VAT charged will be 20% (UK’s rate)

It’s certainly a big shake up with Luxembourg set to lose 70% of its VAT revenue while the UK is set to gain £300 million ($480 million) per year!

What’s the problem for small online businesses?

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“Landing Page Builder” MANIA – 3 Problems To Watch Out For Before You Buy (And My Choice)…

best landing page builderI wanted to share my thoughts on the recent mania of “landing page builder” product launches.

Specifically, I’m talking about products like LeadPages, Instabuilder 2.0, OptimizePress 2.0, Profit Builder, LandingPageMonkey, ClickFunnels etc.

The list goes on and on and right now there are a LOT of new ones coming out, almost on a weekly basis!

When it comes down to it they all allow you to do the same basic thing: Create sales pages, squeeze pages, download pages and so on.

Now building these pages are absolutely CRUCIAL for really any kind of online success but if you’re not careful you could end up buying ALL of them, especially with the very tempting discounts and bonus packages that are often available when they first get released.

Needless to say, this would be madness and you DON’T need all of them.

You just need one – or perhaps if you’re like me two – which you can use to create ALL of the pages you need.

But how do you decide which one to go for?

Well first of all I recommend being very careful of these pitfalls:

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How To Copy My 3 Source Passive Income System

If you’ve been on my list over the last few months you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet recently.

In fact, a quick look inside my Aweber account tells me that the last email I sent was over 2 months ago (excluding automated autoresponder emails).

What’s going on?

Well so far 2014 has looked something like this for me:

  • March: Put on a live 2 day seminar in London
  • April: Started a 5 week road trip, driving 5,500 miles from Atlanta to San Francisco
  • May: Decided to move from London to Cornwall
  • June – October: Arrived in Cornwall, bought a new house, began renovating it, spent time enjoying the great weather, exploring the area and started learning how to surf (very early days and I still can’t stand up – yet!)

In essence I’ve taken a good chunk of the spring and summer off.

Summer 2014 close to my new new home in North Cornwall, England

Summer 2014 close to my home in North Cornwall, England. Click the image to see more on my Facebook page (opens in new tab).

But my online profit streams have remained healthy and consistent due to the “multiple streams of passive income” I have set up.

I’ve put the phrase itself in speech marks because it is a bit of a cliché and one that is misused and over-hyped a lot.

However, in this post I want to show you that it is real, it can be done and how I personally do it.

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Website Hacking – Are You A Sitting Duck? 6 Steps To Help Beat The Bad Guys…

As we all know, hacking is a huge issue and as a website owner you are likely to fall into one of three categories:

1) You’ve been hacked in the past and know just how frustrating it can be

2) You have actually been hacked but you just don’t realize it yet

3) You are a little complacent with a “probably won’t happen to me” mindset

I don’t know which of these apply to you but I’ll admit here that I’ve been in all 3 camps at various stages of my web business :-(

Providing a complete guide on website security is well beyond the scope of this blog post but what I would like to do is share with you some simple steps for prevention, monitoring and resolution that you can put into place to reduce the risk.

Firstly, to stress the importance of this let me share just some of the things that I’ve personally experienced:

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Stop: How Can This Be Done Faster & Easier?

overcomplicate thingsI’m not one for making outlandish predictions but in this post I’m going to make an exception.

I predict that you suffer from the same trait that I do:

The ability to take a simple idea and vastly overcomplicate it to the point that you never get it done.

Even though I’ve successfully created, published and made money from over 10 online products, there are far more products, blog posts, emails, upsells and general promotions that have never seen the light of day because of my ability to overcomplicate things.

It’s not good, it’s frustrating and also costs money!

The good news is that I’m steadily getting better. Although I know of no overnight cure I hope that some of the ideas I share with you in this blog post will help you with this too (like I said, I’m assuming you suffer from this too!).

Let’s take things back to basics and assume that you are just starting out with a brand new web business with no products and no email list.

Goal number one is to build your list because that’s the fastest route to ongoing, consistent income online ever.

To do this you can either:

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The Problem Of Being “Unplugged”

Last week I got back from an absolutely excellent four and a half week road trip across the USA.

Since I started online in 2010 it was the longest time I have (almost) completely “unplugged” from business by taking an extended period of time off.

This said, I did post Facebook photo updates on most days:

https://www.facebook.com/RobCornishPage

The first thing to say is that I feel very fortunate to be able to do something like this and I don’t take it for granted.

In the past it just wouldn’t have been possible to get my employer’s permission for such a trip and obviously then there’s the cost side of things, hotels, car rental, flights, meals and so on…

Running any kind of business can be pretty intensive experience and after a while it can be hard to make out the wood from the trees. In this respect, taking a break can be a great thing to do.

To me however, there is one significant downside, particularly if you go on a longer trip as I have just done.

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Lessons From My First Ever Live Event

live eventEven though I’ve spoken many times at other people’s live events, until last weekend I had never put on one of my own.

As with doing anything for the first time there is a big learning curve to transcend.

So in this post I’d like to share with you a few tips and pointers to consider if you are looking to put an event on yourself.

Some are simple and some are more subtle but I hope all together they give you some good food for thought…

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2014 Versus 2010 – Easier Or Harder?

2014 verses 2014I’ve heard all sorts of tales regarding what went on in the “old days” of internet marketing.

In fact, some of the stories, such as how easy it was to rank in Google by artificially stuffing articles full of keywords make it sound like the Wild West!

But these kinds of things, to me, are really just anecdotes.

I can’t comment on them directly because I didn’t get started online until 2010.

Before that I was tucked up in the corporate world, completely unaware of what internet marketing was. I was commuting and working to pay the bills as the vast majority of the population in the developed world still are.

This said, I do think it is worthwhile comparing how things were in 2010 to now, 2014. Not least because it is all too easy to lose perspective on the current state of play we find ourselves in.

Doing full justice to this comparison would probably take a 20,000+ word essay so instead here are some thoughts that you might be able to relate to.

1) Traffic

In 2010 virtually every beginner’s course I came across told you to get traffic by either:

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Your Topics Covered… (Bit of an Epic!)

In my last blog post I asked for suggestions of topics to cover on the blog.

Thank you very much for all your comments – it was really overwhelming and I really appreciate it :-)

And congratulations to Yvonne Finn who was the randomly picked winner of the contest. It’s only a small prize but I hope that you’ll spend your $50 Amazon Gift Card wisely Yvonne!

As you would expect a whole host of topics and questions were raised in the comments.

Trying to write a blog post which covers them all would make pretty difficult and convoluted reading so I apologise in advance if you asked a question which is not covered here.That’s actually quite likely I know but I promise at some stage we’ll return to the other issues in the future.

Here is an overview of the some of the main issues that were raised:

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