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Category - Business

If You Ran Your Business Like Your Website, This Would Happen

Here’s a great example why you wouldn’t ever consider running your business like you run your website.

Stop talking in terms that your customers don’t understand.

Think like your users: what do they want to do and how can they do it?

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It’s Time To End the Membership Site Craze

Is it just me, or is everyone and their brother trying to get rich launching a membership-based teaching site?

You’re right. It’s not just me.

But I am tired of it. The people trying to start these businesses — especially targeted Web-savvy Internet entrepreneurs — are already behind the eight ball.

If you’re not familiar with these types of sites, here’s how they normally do it:

  • See that people are making money selling programs that teach freedom, automated income and Internet success
  • Coin a new phrase, like freedom rockstar or 4-hour business, to describe what you offer
  • Connect with other ninjas and set up an affiliate program, boasting about how you’re so generous to share your success with everyone else, for only $99 a month!

Look, if really had an automated income stream that allowed you to live a life of complete freedom, why are you investing so much time in a for-profit business?

You’re not that nice, trust me. If you were, you’d give your program away for free. You’ve already got the money you need, right?

Oh, no.

Quite honestly (if I wasn’t being honest enough), I gave major props to one of my favorite Web entrepreneurs, Brian Clark of Copyblogger, for starting this craze. He managed to develop the model, market it and profit from it before everyone else jumped in the market.

And then he moved on to develop the next big thing. That’s brilliance.

You don’t always have to be first in the market to be the best, but it doesn’t hurt to own the market before the competition arrives.

The market has been saturated. It’s time to end the program.

But seriously. If I see one more training program promising me the world, only at $99 a month, or all of my contacts on Twitter and the blog world whoring out the same product, I’m unsubscribing.

For real.

For Financial Media, It’s All About People

I’ve never held back my disappointment in the financial media, who constantly provide their audiences with some of the worst advice possible.

While outlets like the Motley Fool aggressively cover stock picking — a stupid practice for 98% of the population — they target the masses.

I’m not even out of bed by the time I’ve heard about the Dow Futures twice on the local news and on the Today show from CNBC updates. If I want to know what the Asian markets did last night, I’ll turn on Fox Business, not News 4 Today in Washington.

The financial media don’t provide useful information to the masses because, well, they wouldn’t make much money doing it. Personal finance is a pretty cut-and-dry subject: once you learn the basics, you’re pretty good to go.

As we know, the media needs something to talk about. And there are only so many ways you can say “spend less than you earn.”

So What Should Financial Media Do?

Responsible financial media outlets need to spend more time focusing on their audience and not recommending mutual funds from their advertisers.

Instead of coming up with “the one stock you must buy” — which you probably shouldn’t — they should tell the stories of real people and their money situations.

This is one of the reasons Dave Ramsey is so popular. It’s not like he ever says anything new — he just applies it to his listeners’ situations.

One of the leading personal finance blogs, The Simple Dollar, publishes a reader mailbag weekly. It’s always my favorite post to read, because it’s real people sharing their real stories.

This was probably one of my biggest issues running the Online Savings Blog. I didn’t have the experience or authority to tell you how to buy a house (I’ve never done it), but I was (and still am) passionate about my personal financial situation.

I can share my story and talk about yours. And in the end, isn’t telling stories what media is all about?

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My Best Idea, 1 Year Too Late

pricecheckah.jpgI have a million ideas for products. Literally.

Ask anyone who has ever worked with me, especially Andrew, who I’ve dragged along on a million cockamamie plans to strike it big.

(My biggest fault is that I have difficulty following through with new ideas, but that’s a whole other story.)

Now when it comes to product ideas, it’s easy to think of something that serves little to no purpose and has no chance of making money (see: Web 2.0).

So when I was browsing the DVD rack at Best Buy last year, I came up with what I thought would be a useful and potentially profitable idea.

You see, I always have this problem of not knowing when a “deal” is actually a good deal. Is that TV show boxset actually a good price? Is that thing cheaper here? How would I know?

These days, the answer is an iPhone (no, I did not have the idea for that — someone else did). But if you don’t have an iPhone, how can you comparison shop when you’re no where near a computer?

Simple: SMS information about the product to a service, which spits back prices from Amazon, Froogle, Buy.com, etc. Then you know if you have a deal or not.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Too bad I was one year too late on it.

iPhone users have their own application for it, pricecheckah. And even Amazon is getting into it, offering products for sale by text message.

Obviously, it’s a good idea, if there at least three services doing it (or something like it). I’m not convinced it’s a dumb idea to try and run with it, but I’m not nearly as excited about it as I once was.

Confession: I Like Fox Business Network

foxbusinessscreengrab.jpg

Yes, believe it or not, I enjoy watching the Fox Business Network.

I know I’m only one of like three people who watch it, but it’s actually pretty enjoyable. While there’s a significant focus on stocks and the market, they do a decent job of talking more about companies and business than, imho, CNBC.

They don’t really cover politics, which is good, but they obviously get it into it when necessary (like the proposed stimulus package, or the presidential candidates’ views on taxes). And yes, there is the famous “fair-and-balanced” perspective, but I consider it more sensationalist journalism than right-wing mongering.

We’ll see if the channel has a significant lifetime, but given the number of cable channels that should be dead (and aren’t) and Rupert Murdoch’s big pockets, I’m guessing it’ll be around for awhile.

Flame away.

© Jason Unger. A Digital Ink Production.