Mike Taber – Microconf Recap Part 3

Mike Taber – Microconf Recap Part 3

Mike Taber

Mike Taber is the creator of SingleFounder.com, the “Startups For The Rest Of Us” podcast, AuditShark software, Micropreneur Academy and of course.. Microconf itself 😉

Make sure you also go check out the book he’s about to release, I’m excited: The Single Founder Handbook

His presentation was called Business Hacks & Epic Wins”

Social Media – Twitter Automation

How To Build an Audience

Everyone in internet marketing (and probably outside of it) knows what Twitter is. The majority of us also realize that it can be an extremely good place to get in touch with your audience, sell stuff, get traffic and reach out to people in your industry.

Why is having a twitter strategy important? The main reason, according to Mike, is because it expands your “footprint”. The bigger audience you have, the more waves you can create upon releasing new content or media and of course, the more people you’re able to get in touch with personally, to share new ideas, concepts and discuss plans.

How to Get More Twitter Followers

Here’s a graph of Mike’s AuditShark twitter following, the arrows marking when this particular method was put into use – you can see monthly growth rates up to 127%!

Mike Taber Twitter Strategy
While AuditSharks amount of tweets didn’t increase that much, the amount of retweets and mentions skyrocketed as he gained more and more followers. That means more and more attention, traffic and most importantly – customers.

For this method, Mike uses three different tools:

HootSuite – Schedule thank you tweets & manage Twitter as a whole in a better way.

TweetAdder – Follow, unfollow people etc with less effort

Google Docs – Keep track of identified twitter accounts

The goal is to create a repeatable process for growing your twitter following and these three tools help you accomplish this with very little effort and time required.

It’s divided into three different steps:

Identify

In the identifying step, you should search Twitter for keywords related to your industry and find the people most relevant in your business – all kinds of influencers, opinion leaders and experts.

Follow

Then comes the part that gets you followers – you follow these people’s audiences!

With this method, you get the most relevant followers for your business, because if someone is following a leader in your niche (For example Thomas Smale if you’re into site flipping) – the people who follow them, are obviously interested in the same thing or at least know about it. Getting followers of Katy Perry while promoting an SEO software would probably not work that well.

A few crucial things to keep in mind:

  • Follow twitters rules (Hah..) (100-200 adds max per day)
  • Use TweetAdder to assist you with the timing, following rate and the process itself
  • Potentially outsource the process (Doesn’t take much time to do on your own though)
  • Interact legitimately as well – contact people and thank them for the follow (HootSuite will assist you.)

Unfollow

7 Days after following people, unfollow the people who didn’t follow you back – pretty simple.

When you thank people for following you back – they’ll often retweet it, favorite it or reply to you.

This simply means even more potential reach.

Finance Automation

Stop Paying Bills

Being successful isn’t all fun and games. It also means extra responsibilities, problems and things you really don’t want to deal with – like managing 3 different business entities, each having their own taxes, invoices and other responsibilities.

No one likes paying bills, neither does Mike – so he stopped paying them!

We all know that isn’t as easy as not paying, so what do you do?

Yet again, the process is divided into three parts: plan, execute & review.

Plan

Surprise surprise, planning is the main thing that makes this kind of automation (or anything for that matter) work.

List out responsibilities

You have to list out all of your financial responsibilities, tasks and whatnot, document them properly – writing a short guide or operating manual for each task.

For example: Every month I have to pay my hosting on the 17th, apartment bill on 22nd, proxies on 27th etc. “Use this Paypal account for the hosting, this credit card for apartment and proxies and so on.”

This means you have to give the proper access and authority to someone you trust (it can be hard) and stop micromanaging them.

You should be working ON your business, not IN it.

To make it easier and safer for yourself, you can also create separate accounts for each of these, set limits on them and only leave a certain amount of money – until you can trust your assistant/employee/freelancer.

If possible, build an easy system for it as well – less hassle for your employee, less things that can go wrong and less money you have to pay them. Perhaps you can find one date where it is possible to pay them all at once?

Trust is key, but don’t be stupid with it.

Whilst I’ve heard of people finding employees like this off Elance and Odesk, it’s not the route I’d suggest taking.

BONUS: Find Your Guy

After writing down that last sentence, I decided to take this step to another level and reached out to Mike to find out how he recommends finding these people.

Insert Mike Taber

“I found someone locally through my wife. The person I found handles the books for a local oil company now, but used to run her own business on the side doing accounting work. If you don’t know the person, then I’d lean towards using a local job board and advertise for part-time book keeping work so that you can meet in person. This mitigates a lot of risks with giving them access to your books. Technically, you’re just giving them access to the accounting software that hooks into your books so it’s not a big deal if they see your account balances. But if they can issue checks or pay bills on your behalf, then it’s going to be higher risk.

Other options include going with larger, national companies but you’ll pay several hundred dollars/month and probably have a lot less control over the type of work they do for you in terms of process.

Bottom line, you need to find someone you trust to hand over the keys to, observe for a couple of months, and then let it go if they know what they’re doing. At that point, you just review how things are going occasionally.”

Thanks Mike 😉

Execute

If there’s one thing us entrepreneurs know well – it’s that things never go perfect.

After you’ve documented everything, go through it all yourself, step-by-step as you wrote it down and see if you find any flaws in it – fix them. After that you can actually delegate it.

Review

When your guy is actually doing it, review the results the first few times to make sure everything is done correctly. You don’t want completely unpaid bills or to spend 10x the money you’re supposed to, while looking to make your life easier and better.

Another key thing is giving these people the opportunity to make the process better – when something is your job, you’re bound to find ways to do it more efficiently, better etc. Allow them to do so and they will find a way, after all, they want to get it done as quickly as possible too..

Give Them Praise!

This step is crucial. Your bill-paying and probably your business depend on this person now. Give them credit for it, as they are doing you a favor.

Content/SEO Automation

Leveraging Internal Data for SEO

Everyone has some kind of internal data. Who knows your business better than you do?

Let’s start this off with an example that Mike mentioned.

Patrick McKenzie has a bingo card creator software and thanks to internal data knew that a lot of his customers liked the tool for holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Thanks-giving etc.

With this data, he knew halloween bingo cards were a good bet and created a separate website targeting only that keyword which meant – higher conversion rates thanks to specific design, more traffic, easier SEO and a bigger arsenal of websites in general (“diversified eggbasket”).

In Mike’s case, he could see that existing policies for Audit Shark were getting traffic and searches as well. Getting a traffic increase was only a matter of creating the proper, optimized pages for these policies. Just like creating specific pages or sites for different holiday bingo cards.

Here’s what happened when he started creating these pages:

Auditshark website traffic

Scale it up

This means that you could potentially create hundreds if not thousands of small pages with existing content or keywords. Even if each of them only get you 20 extra visitors, for 100 pages that’s 2000 unique visitors who might’ve not found you – which, depending on your business might mean quite a bit more money.

Bonus – Pre-launch email lists

There are ways you can set your business up for a better start. The two methods Mike mentioned were pre-launch email lists and directories.

For example, take a look at http://www.startuplister.com

It submits your startup to over 40 directories, something that might take you 15 hours, according to them. These have quite high traffic and an active following, it might be worth giving it a shot. It’s only a one-time fee of $49 as well.

He also shared this blog with us – http://whitetailsoftware.com/2013/10/pre-launch-email-list-building-directories/

There you can find an even bigger list to do your submissions manually, for free.

Personal development

The whole entrepreneurial community has heard of Parkinson’s law by now.

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

What if you only had 4 hours each week, to get all of your work done? Would you get it done, or just let it slip?

Limiting the time you have to complete tasks increases your productivity, even if it’s for a limited time. You can make use of this litle “life hack” practically every day – even when you’re really not in a hurry and have all the free time in the world.

Set yourself a fixed amount of hours you’re “allowed” to work and get the maximal output you can. This makes you focus on what’s truly important and “burning”, leaving out the unnecessary work.

Increasing Productivity & Fulfillment

What makes you get up in the morning? Is it your need to build something, to walk your dog, to create epic things and help people… or is it just your alarm clock?

Mike recommends a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 – this book will help you figure out what your strengths are. These are the things that will motivate you the most, help you get up happily every morning and so on.

Doing New Things

People are not very good at doing new things. Getting out of your comfort zone can be really hard, even painful at times. People tend to prefer a known bad outcome over an unknown outcome – despite the fact that it might turn out excellent.

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new – here are six benefits of doing so:

  1. Builds self-confidence – you’ll realize you’re capable for much much more
  2. Boosts courage to try new (new) things – Once you go ice swimming and don’t die, you’ll probably realize you’re not going to die when bungee jumping or starting a business either.
  3. Cures boredom – It’s damn fun, period.
  4. Satisfies the urge to grow – Because that’s what you’re doing by getting out of your head and your comfort zone, you’re growing.
  5. Stimulates brain activity – That’s a good thing, just sayin’.
  6. Increases productivity – After going through something new, exciting or extreme, everything else will seem much easier and you’ll get more done in the process.

Overall health

The 3 pillars of health – Sleep, Exercise & Eating Habits

Sleep

Everyone knows that the recommended amount of sleep every night is 7-8 hours. We’ve all survived on far less than that, sometimes for weeks at a time. This means that we’re not really aware of the problems that it may cause, such as:

  • Increased BMI
  • Heart Disease/Diabetes
  • Increased risk for drowsy driving, depression, etc.
  • Decreased focus
  • Low Energy
  • Increased Hunger
  • Slower muscle building

Exercise

With exercise it isn’t as black and white. You could go for 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 70 minutes with vigorous effort AND 2 days of muscle building every week.

The downsides of not exercising are quite obvious:

  • Obesity
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Problems sleeping (!!!)
  • Muscle weakness

Eating Habits

It’s recommended that you eat 1600-2500 calories per day (slides say per week – ignore that, please don’t kill yourself), depending on a variety of factors such as your gender, age, activity levels and bodyfat percentage.

Problems that poor eating habits cause:

  • Obesity
  • Increased risk for diabetes
  • Poor sleeping habits (!!!)
  • Fatigue

As you can see, all three affect each-other pretty severely. They can all cause bad sleeping habits, which is going to make you more hungry and so on and so forth – it’s a vicious circle.

Take care of yourself and everything else will be much easier as well.

The Causes of Increased Stress

  1. Increased workload
  2. Taking care of your family
  3. Having to make ends meet
  4. Expectations from family and friends
  5. Stress from competition
  6. Lack of “closure”

The Symptoms of Increased Stress

1. Difficulty relaxing and shutting off your brain

2. Low energy

3. Insomnia

4. Loss of sexual desire/ability

5. Inability to focus

6. Poor judgement

7. Over/Under eating

8. Procrastination

9. Increased use of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes

10. Nervousness

11. … there are at least 40 others…

How to deal with increased stress?

Here are some specific strategies to relieve stress that Mike brought up.

First of all, stop working in the evenings and during weekends. This goes back to Paretto’s law and limiting your time – you’re going to have much more productivity while spending way less time.

Secondly, start scheduling your sleep and exercise. Go to bed every time at the same time, wake up at the same time. Your body gets used to the routine and it’ll be much easier on you. The same goes for exercise – but be flexible with that. If you miss one session in the gym, or a jog, don’t leave it like that and do it at another time.

Lastly, stop eating at night! Late night snacks never made anyone happy – they only lead to increased stress, kill your habits and stop you from falling asleep, yet again. (But no, eating late doesn’t make you fat – it’s a myth. OVER-EATING makes you fat.)

Why do these strategies work?

1. They give your body and brain what they need to function properly. Less stress on the system, easier to operate – just like a well oiled engine.

2. They reduce stress – proper sleep routines, habits and so on.

3. They correct hormone/chemical imbalances – critical!

Finshing up

He also talked about hormonal problems, which are better explained by the slides themselves: click here.

Oh, he also provided proof that he’s not a virgin, like every other speaker.

Mike Taber Kids

Mike Taber – Microconf Recap Part 3 Reviewed by on . Mike Taber Mike Taber is the creator of SingleFounder.com, the “Startups For The Rest Of Us” podcast, AuditShark software, Micropreneur Academy and of course.. Mike Taber Mike Taber is the creator of SingleFounder.com, the “Startups For The Rest Of Us” podcast, AuditShark software, Micropreneur Academy and of course.. Rating: 0

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