If You Want the Rewards …

If you want the rewards you have to do the workBeing an entrepreneur, a seniorpreneur or a small business owner can be a rewarding experience … especially here online. You can make money … a lot of money … just ask all the successful people online who want to sell you their secret for success.

It’s not hard to find one of them … you don’t have to look far … they’re everywhere and they almost infest Facebook.

“Infest” … makes you think of fleas doesn’t it? Hmmm in some ways that’s just what they are like. They’re hopping about and popping up everywhere and, while they may not want your blood, they certainly want your money.

Of course, they’ll give you something in exchange for the money you give them. They’ll teach you how to be just as successful as they are … and they are successful. Just ask them and they’ll tell you that they started with nothing and now money is just falling of the forest of money trees they have planted in their backyards.

The fleas of the Internet

And you can be just like them. You don’t have to work hard … you don’t have to do anything except take their course and you too will make a fortune … retire wealthy … never have to work again.

It certainly sounds wonderful doesn’t it? All you have to do is pay a few bucks … maybe as little as $97 … just to get under that $100 psychological barrier … and you will be laughing all the way to the bank.

All you have to do … once you’ve parted with your money … is sell your key-to-success course to a bunch of suckers just like you.

Whoa! Did I just call you a sucker? If you believe that all these get-rich-quick-schemes that people try to sell you are genuine then I sure did call you a sucker.

If you want the rewards you have to do the work

You see, the fact is that the only person who makes money from selling courses is the person who sells the course. You pay him … you get the training … and then you have to go out and do the work if you want to make money.

Suddenly you discover that you have to work and that makes the promise of easy money sounds about as hollow is it should have sounded the first time you heard it. There simply is no easy path to riches and success … there are no rewards without effort.

If you want the rewards then you have to do the work … hour after hour … day after day … week after week … month after month … year after year. There are no short cuts … no easy path to riches … there’s just hard and unrelenting work so don’t be fooled into parting with your money.

Don’t listen to those who want to separate you from your hard-earned cash with promises of easy money.

If you want the rewards then do the work and you will get what you deserve. Keep looking for the fast way to easy money and all you will end up with is and empty wallet and empty bank account.

Sadly I have seen quite a few people … young and old … who have chased the dream of easy money and ended up with nothing.

How to Avoid Ransomware

Right now hackers are trying to trick you into installing ransomware on your computerRansomware is that nasty stuff that we’re beginning to hear more and more about that can turn your computer’s hard drive into a useless piece of trash almost in the blink of an eye.

Ransomware will encrypt all your files and parts of your operating system and lock you out until you have paid whatever ransom the hacker, who sent you that ransomware, wants.

They only care about the money

The hacker doesn’t care whether you’re a multi-national business or a poor struggling student. The hacker doesn’t care if your entire business is contained in those encrypted files on your hard drive and if you don’t get them back your entire family will be living on the streets.

The hacker doesn’t care if your hard drive holds the only photos that you have of your dead children and if you don’t get them back you’ll kill yourself.

They don’t care about anything but the money they want you to pay them. If you do pay them then they probably will send you the key to unencrypt your files but if you don’t pay them it’s almost guaranteed that you will never get access to those files again.

It’s a nasty position to be in especially when you discover that the ransom is usually a large sum of money and the bad guys are not going to negotiate.

The feelings your left with become even worse when you eventually realise that there are four simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being hit with ransomware.

The Internet is a Dark and Dangerous Place

Understand that the Internet is a great place to do business and have some fun but it’s also full of nasty people who want to do nasty things to you and your business. Be alert to the risks that are lurking on the Net and stop thinking that your safe on the Net.

Have a security mindset and question everything you do online before you do it.

No website, no link, no email, should be considered to be 100% safe.

Invest in good, paid, security programs

Have an up-to-date suite of security programs installed on your computer. An anti-virus program is not enough anymore. A program that detects Malware is also needed and some anti-ransomware programs are starting to appear so install one of those too.

Having those security programs installed is great but you have to keep them updated too. Just as your favourite software is continually being upgraded so too are all the nasty software that hackers use so keep your security software updated or the hackers will get around it with no trouble at all.

Of course, these programs cost money and many new business people have limited funds but staying safe online is a cost of doing business. Before you decide not to pay for the security these programs can give you stop and think about how much it would cost you to recover from a ransomware hit.

Think before you click

Don’t download anything to your computer from a link that someone sent you unexpectedly. Don’t click on links that friends, workmates, family members or complete strangers send you without first checking with the person who sent you the link.

Don’t open attachments that you weren’t expecting … and even if you were expecting something be cautious about opening it before you know that it is probably safe.

Of course, if the link or attachment came from a complete stranger then delete the email immediately but if you know who it came from check with that person before you open it, download it or click on it.

Emails carrying malicious links and attachments can be made to look as if they came from someone you know so don’t trust them … check first and stay safe.

Backup, backup and backup some more

Backup, backup and backup some more. If the hard drives on your computer hold information that is vital for your business or things of great sentimental value then backup all your files to an external hard drive and then unplug that drive from your computer.

And don’t think that one backup is enough. Set yourself a regular schedule for backing up the files on your computer and stick to that schedule. The more frequent those backups are the less risk you have of losing something important, and the faster you can recover, if you get hit with ransomware.

However, make sure that you don’t leave your backup drive plugged into your computer and don’t plug your backup drive into the computer while it’s locked. Any type of drive can become infected if it is plugged into a machine that has been hit with ransomware.

If you’re not going to pay the ransom then don’t try and unlock the computer yourself. Instead take your computer, and your backup drive, to an expert and let them handle it for you. Yes, that will cost you serious money so think about the alternatives.

More and more hackers are realising that fewer victims will pay the ransom if the hackers don’t remove the encryption so the chances are that, if you pay the ransom, your files will be released. But that’s a decision that only you can make.

The risk of being hit with ransomware is now a fact of life for anyone with a computer but you can reduce your risk level if you just take some simple precautions and accept that those precautions are now necessary if you want to be online.

Don’t Follow the Herd

Do your competitors really know what they’re doing any more than you do?

Lack of money is one of the biggest problems for any small business person when they’re first starting out. Putting together all the things that you need when you want to start a business can be very expensive so lots of small business people try to save on those costs by doing as much as they can. Building their own website is one of the things they often tackle because it looks so easy.

I mean, how hard can it be? Wherever you look you will see people telling you that building your own website really is something you can do … it’s not rocket science … there are plenty of free website builders available online … heck, anyone can do it.

All you have to do is look at what your competitors have done and copy that … don’t you?

Of course you can do that and if you’re a beginner you might think that it makes sense to copy what your competitors have done. Surely they would know wouldn’t they?

Well maybe they do and maybe they don’t but, more importantly, how would you know if they know what they’re doing?

They all looked the same

A couple of weeks ago I was building a website for a local business that installs plunge pools and if you don’t know what a plunge pool is then think of a very small swimming pool that’s ideal when space is at a premium.

It’s been a couple of years since I built a website for a business that installs swimming pools so I went looking for some inspiration and visited five or six websites to see what others were doing.

By the time I reached the third site I began to realise that they all looked the same and from then on it became obvious that everyone was copying everyone else. While the pool photos were different the page layouts were similar and the text on every site was dull and lifeless.

No one was talking about the benefits of owning a pool. All they wanted to tell potential buyers was how good they were how wonderful their pools were.

Now if you were just setting up in business as a pool builder you might want to cut costs by building your own website and, you might look at all those websites I looked at and think that what you saw was what you needed to say on your website too … but you would be wrong.

What your potential customers really want to know

As I’ve said here (and in other places) the people who might buy what you’re selling don’t care about you.

They don’t care about how good you are.

They don’t care about how long you’ve been in business.

They don’t care about your family, or your dog, or anything else about you.

All anyone who wants to do business with you cares about is what they will get out of the deal. They care about how your product or service will improve their life and they need to be convinced that buying your product or service will do that for them.

So what should the first thing be that a pool site talks about? How much fun people who own a pool have … how much resale value a swimming pool adds to house … how owning a swimming pool will make them the envy of their friends and family … how they can cool off on a hot day … how they can have adult pool parties with their friends ….

What did all those other sites that I looked at talk about? Nothing much that would be of interest to someone who wanted to buy a pool. If you were a pool builder and had copied what you had found on their sites you would have ended up with a website that was ineffective and a waste of your time.

Who says your competitors know what they are doing?

If you’re going to build your own business website then that’s fine … it’s not that hard to do. Just don’t fall into the trap of copying what all your competitors are doing.

Don’t follow the herd, build a site that really nails the benefits of buying your product or service because that is what will really produce the outcomes that you want.

How to Fix It When Things Go Wrong

What to do when things go wrongWhen things go wrong it’s so easy to blame someone … anyone … but yourself.

It can’t possibly be your fault … you didn’t do anything wrong … the wheels are all falling off because somebody else did something wrong … he (or she) made a bad choice and now you have to pay for it … they didn’t do the right thing and now you have to suffer … and on and on and on.

Blaming someone else is so easy … it takes no effort … it absolves you of all wrong doing … it’s painless and quick and takes away all the responsibility. You can complain … you can grumble … you can be the martyr … because it’s not your fault.

“Poor fella me … I didn’t do anything wrong but now I have to pay the cost (whatever that might be) of making things right. Feel sorry for me … I deserve your sympathy.”

It’s a lament that we often hear because blaming other people has become a national pastime. It’s something that we all do and we always want to tell anyone who will listen just how hardly done by we are because someone … anyone but me … made a mistake.

The only problem with that approach is that, by blaming someone else, you’re compounding the problem. You’re making it worse, you’re missing the quickest solution, you’re doing more damage to yourself, your business and to your relationships with those around you.

Accepting responsibility is the first step to making things right

You can only start to make things right … to recover from the mistake and move forward … when you accept responsibility for what you did to cause that mistake in the first place.

That’s something that I’m being reminded of right now. A problem has cropped up and my first inclination was to blame someone else and for over a week I kept thinking that I was right to do that.

How could it have possibly been my fault … I wasn’t even involved.

Fortunately I didn’t have to air my views on who was to blame to anyone … at least not right away. I knew that I would have to do that sooner rather than later and if I did the situation was likely to get a whole lot worse … but that was ok because it wasn’t my fault. It was some other guy’s fault and, as things would get progressively worse, it would continue to be his fault.

That made me feel pretty good. I was blameless … I could take the high ground and rest in the knowledge that it wasn’t my fault.

The only thing that bothered me was what I might be left with when the dust settled and the situation was finally resolved. Whenever I thought about the possible outcomes all I could see was a mess that could never be repaired … and that was definitely not an outcome that I was comfortable with …

… and then there was this niggling little voice in the back of mind that was telling me that the whole situation really was because of a decision I had made a long time ago.

Years ago I made a decision that I thought was the right decision to make in the circumstances and for years everything that flowed on from that decision was good. Even now I am sure that the decision I made was probably the right one.

Looking for immediate wins can have unwanted consequences years later

I have to admit that I hadn’t thought that decision through all that well. Back then I was only looking for an immediate win and not thinking of what might happen in years to come. Even if I had been thinking that far in advance I would not have foreseen anything like the situation that has arisen.

But now that I’ve woken up to the fact that my decision back then has brought me to facing this current situation … that this situation is my fault … I know what to do to fix the problem.

I know that there doesn’t have to be a bad outcome. I know that if I take the blame for what has arisen … if I don’t try and pass it off on someone else … the situation will be resolved and the outcome will be a much different outcome to what it will be if I keep on blaming someone else.

So if you have issues that have arisen in your business don’t look to blame someone else. Follow the trail back to the original decision that lead to this problem arising and see who started it all … and the chances are that that person will be you.

Why go back to your ancient history?

But why go back to what might be ancient history? Why not just suck it up and get on with life? Because back there, in that original decision that has lead you to where you are now, are the seeds of what will help you overcome the problem and turn a mess into a win.

It may bruise your ego … you may feel as though you have egg on your face … but it’s the only way to really move everything forward.