Is It Best To Create A Free Or A Paid Product?

free verse paid productI love it when people tell me they are planning on creating (or licensing and rebranding) a product of their own.

Why?

Because owning your own products is one of the keys to long term online success.

Yes, there are short term strategies that you can use to potentially make money here and there.

And for many people that’s not such a bad thing to get started with and gain some experience.

But really in the long run, becoming an owner of a quality product (or products) is definitely the way to go.

(If you doubt this ask yourself this question: Can you think of ANYONE who is long term successful who DOESN’T have their own products?)

This said, I do see a common pattern here:

STRATEGY #1 Continue Reading →

Google’s “Mobile Friendly” Update

I’ve had a few questions about the new Google “mobile friendly” search ranking changes that are coming along on April 21st.

As with all of Google’s updates, a lot of detail and analysis has been written already. Just search for “Google update mobile” and you’ll find no shortage of advice.

Also (as usual) many SEO companies and internet marketers are seeking to cash in by selling products about how best to deal with forthcoming changes.

These are often accompanied with grave warnings about what will happen to you if you fail to act.

So, what is my take?

Well, if it’s okay with you, let me first tell you what I’m doing about it so you can see where I’m coming from.

Then, I’ll outline my advice.

What am I personally doing about this?

Continue Reading →

Top 10 Most Annoying Email Subject Lines EVER (Voted for by you!)

Firstly, congratulations to:

Raj S.
Jo O.
Gary M.

All of whom win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. They were picked at random after completing the one question survey I sent out last week:

surveyquestion

Thank you to everyone who entered and sorry if you were unlucky with the prizes this time – I’m sure you’ll have another chance at some point in the future!

Needless to stay this is all a bit unscientific but having gone through all of the results here are the top 10 from least annoying (No.10) to most annoying (No.1).

10: “You have a commission…”

This is just one example from a wider set of spammy subject lines:

  • You have a payment
  • Congratulations you are in
  • Activate now
  • Your account details
  • You have been selected
  • About your order (when you’ve ordered nothing)

My only comment with these is that 95% of them are likely to be either:

1) Genuine spam (i.e., completely unsolicited emails)

…or…

2) “Biz op” promos (The kind that lead to videos with actors, mansions, fast cars and no information on what the actual product is)

In other words, if they are not already being funneled automatically into your spam/junk folder, then they should be!

9: “Good news and bad news…”

This was actually the example which inspired me to run the survey in the first place. I was surprised that it wasn’t cited as a more frequent offender really. But I guess it just goes to show different things annoy different people!

Continue Reading →

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?

Continue Reading →

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?

Continue Reading →

“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:

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →

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:

Continue Reading →

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:

Continue Reading →

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.

It’s all to do with…   Continue Reading →