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Accepting a few beta testers – FREE website report

Posted: March 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Projects | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Purchase e-Report
I’m building a site optimization reporting service. It’s basically like a report card for your website and target keywords. The cool thing is that it also will tell you about your top 10 competitors.

If you have a business website and want to apply for a FREE 20 page report, please fill out this form.

How to conduct an online survey

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Last week, I told you the secret to getting free information by conducting a survey. Today, I’ll tell you how I did it.

Mailing list
I already have a small list of about 150 people that organically signed up. This should give me pretty good results since it highly targeted. they opted in and gave me their email address because they want something from me.

FREE prize
As incentive for people to take the survey, I offered 2 prizes.

1) A never before released ebook of the 1st book on the Philippines with exclusive new content. This is worth at least $20.
2) 3 early entries to my program for the ones that provide the best feedback

I could’ve just offered the ebook or the entries but I’m a firm believer of over delivering to make an impact. I felt that if I just offered the FREE ebook, I wouldn’t get good quality answers because they may just run through the survey to get the prize. The early entry prize incentive would give me better answers. The great thing about the 2 prizes was that the didn’t really cost me much. The ebook was created in about 1 hour and the early entries are actually beta testers.

I blasted my network via my mailing list that consisted of:

Existing mailing list – 150
Facebook Baybayin page – 4.5K members
Facebook PinoyTattoos – 9.8K members
Personal Facebook – 1.2K friends

I wrote a posts about the survey along with the mechanics and prize info on 2 websites that also automatically posted to Facebook and Twitter.

Services used

Web form (survey) – FREE
Google docs is the best free service for surveys. When you create a survey form, it also inputs all the data in Excel so that you can easily manipulate and report. Don’t forget to uncheck “display” survey results on the confirmation page. If you leave it checked, it will display your survey data. Don’t check this if your collecting name, email addresses and other sensetive information.

Email list – FREE
I used Mailchimp because it’s FREE for up to 2k emails and you can plan everything ahead of time and schedule the emails. That means timed auto responders and follow-ups. Please note that I’ve since switched to Aweber. I’ll go over why in a future post. Feel free to reach out to me if your thinking of getting a mailing list service.

These two are optional

URL shortner – FREE
This is a URL shortening service from It provides basic analytics about who clicked on the link. however, when I used it in Mailchimp, the URL was busted. I shouldn’t have used it in Mailchimp because they already provide their own tracking. It did come in handy to keep track of how many people downloaded the free prize.

Amazon AWS
Amazon AWS allows you to host your content on their servers for a small fee. Many companies use Amazon for their cheap data rates. You probably will not need to use this. If you already have a website, upload it there unless your exping a lot (thousands) to download your file. Otherwise you can just use Mediafire for FREE.

Here’s the communication flow I used:

Email sent > User clicks on the survey link > Survey is filled out > User submits > User is redirected to a “Thank you” page with the download link for the free prize. The end!

The secret to getting FREE information

Posted: February 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

The secret to getting all the FREE information you want is…….Just ask! Sounds simple but we don’t do it. The trick is how and what to ask. How to gather your data. What incentive to give.

I going to launch an online coaching program where I would teach the Filipino writing system. It’s a very small niche and since 40% of my site visitors are from the Philippines, it will be challenging to charge for access. I learned this since less than 1% of my art commission orders are from there. I have a few assumptions about what people need and how much i could charge but I need some hard data to guide my decisions.

One of the dumbest things businesses can do is launch something blindly. Just because you, your family and friends like it, doesn’t mean the public will. You need to ask your target market what they want. Be blunt and don’t assume anything. I’ve learned that assumptions can be expensive and a waste of time. Faith in your product or service isn’t enough. Better to find out people hate your idea before you go in to the production and marketing phase.

Before you do any survey, you will need to get people to actually take it. You should expect a 1-10% response rate, so the more people you contact to take the survey, the better. Aim for at least 100 people to invite. My goal was to get 100 people to take the survey.

If you don’t have an existing mailing list, get one started. Another great way to find these people are on Facebook and Twitter. Most of us have at least 100 friends. As them to share your survey. If you have a little budget, you can run a Google Adwords campain to buy traffic to your survey.

In my next post, I’ll go over the mechanics of my survey

Why thinking of money will make you fail

Posted: January 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

I was recently following-up on a deadbeat client. In his blah blah blah about working on something that will bring in the big bucks “really soon”, he mentions this business he’s working on. I check it out and of course it’s MLM. As you may know, I’m not fond of MLM crap.

I call him out on it and say it will fail. His response:

Whoa, a little optimism is sometimes helpful. How legit was “google” when it first came out? Some partners and I are working together to launch the product.

The response was so typical and good that I had to write about it.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube did it! Why can’t I?
One of the delusions people get in when starting a business (myself included) is comparing their venture to the greats that started out with humble beginnings. The problem with a lot of new business is that they don’t start off like that. The companies above were created out of a passion to solve a problem, not to make money. If you think about money right away and focus your energy on that instead of creating remarkable, it will fail.

2 examples

CDBaby started out because a frustrated musician who couldn’t get online retailers to sell his CD. He wrote a script to sell his CD on his website. Soon, he was selling his friends CDs then to others. The intention was to do away with the roadblock of getting your music online.

My Filipino Tattoo site started out because I wanted to see photos of Filipino Tattoos. As I posted some tattoo photos of the Filipino writing system, I also translated them. Soon, people started asking me to do translations for them. I did dozens a week for free and then started experimenting with pricing to see what the market would pay. I started a viable side-business when I didn’t mean to. It’s all about intention.

These stories are repeated again and again.

So if your thinking of starting a business, don’t think money at 1st. Think about what interests you (besides money). What would you do in your spare time on a Saturday afternoon? Make that your starting point.

Why you will fail without preeminence

Posted: January 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Projects | Tags: | No Comments »

Would you buy a product that looks good on the outside from someone you know nothing about or would you buy something from someone who’s reputable with a great track record? Most people would go with the 2nd guy? Why? Preeminence

I run the biggest community (online and offline) about the ancient Filipino writing system, Baybayin. The writing system is pretty much no longer in use except for a few tribes, artists, scholars and hobbists.

Over the past few months, there’s been discussion in bring it back to promote national identity. There have been small calls via social media for the Philippine government to step in to define writing standards and to make it “official”. A few individuals have new modern versions of the script in the works and plan to propose it to become official/standard. The problem is that most of these people are “nobodies” in a sense that they lack preeminence or the perception of it. While they may know their shit in and out, it’s their personal brand is what will play a big percentage if their proposal (product) is to succeed and be accepted.

You will have a better chance to persuade people if they *think* your the master of your subject matter. If your just the master in the eyes of your small circle of friends, it’s not enough.

You gain preeminence by getting props from others with preeminence like:

• Schools
• Celebrities
• Customers
• Media

You can also create your own by:

• Blogging
• Making videos
• Exibiting your work
• Teaching
• Having your own products
• Being active in your community

As a person trying to influence others, its necessary to have it. Without it, the road ahead could be rough.

In search for the best webhost

Posted: January 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: | No Comments »

Anyone thinking of moving up from a free website on Blogger or will ask this question, “What is the best webhost?”

I currently host my site with Rackspace who many consider one of the best web hosts out there. It’s true but it comes at a price. I pay $100 a month. In an effort to cut costs because it’s easier to save money than make money, I’m evaluating LiquidWeb and WPEngine.

LiquidWeb is a big hosting company with 24/7 support with plans starting at 14.95. Signing up was pretty simple except for the annoying verification that took longer than expected. Since my site is pretty big it will be challenging to get the data on their cheapest plan. I would say that setup is pretty complicated for the beginner.

- Support
- Price
- Complicated to setup for the beginner

WPEngine hosting is specifically for WordPress. On paper this sounds like a perfect solution but just like any startup, there are some issues. When setting up my site this morning, I accidentally blew away a configuration file. I sent in a support ticket and havent heard back anything after 7 hours. For the high hosting price, it’s unacceptable to wait 1 business day for an answer. My business is 24/7 365.

- WordPress dedicated hosting
- Supported plugins
- Expensive
- Lacks support

How to make money online with your passion

Posted: December 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Projects | Tags: , , | No Comments »

One of the top questions I get is “How do I make money online?”. In 2011, I’ll be launching a course on how to supplement your income or possibly replace it. This won’t be a get rick quick scam using Adsense but these days, any amount of $ helps.

I’ll give you the basic info and tools to monetize your passion. One of the 1st mistakes people make when starting a business is getting in to something your not passionate about. You must be passionate about it because it will take hard work and there will be NO money at first. Hell, there might not even be ANY MONEY MADE. Your endeavor may fail as the success rate for business is 50% at best. So why even try? Why not? Instead of watching TV for 2 hours a day, you should be able to get started. I’ll be providing worksheets, guides and case studies from my own personal experience. Enter your email below to keep updated. Thank you

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Adam Carolla, Manny Pacquiao, root cause and reputation management

Posted: April 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bitching, Business | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

Last week, Adam Carolla (comedian) went on a rant about Manny Pacquiao and the Philippines during his popular call-in podcast. Basically, he said the country had nothing going for it no except sex tourism and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao. As expected, Filipinos all over the world are outraged. Even the Philippine presidential spokesman went down low and called him an “ignorant fool“. Wow, a government calling an individual names. Filipino Americans are especially pissed off. There’s even a Facebook page to send Adam chicken bones due to his comment about Manny praying to them.

I understand why people are angry but it’s misdirected. Instead of attacking the symptom (Carolla), try to help solve the cause. It’s easy to create a facebook page and ask people to sign petitions. Where is the same outrage when there’s a kidnapping? They fail to look at the root of the issue. Why does Carolla think these things of the Philippines? He must have got his info from somewhere. He receives his info where most of us get ours…..headlines and conversations. You can’t expect him to know all the great things about the country just like we are not expected to know the great things about other 3rd world countries. I’m sure Ghana has the equivalent of a Philippine Boracay (paradise beach) or Fort Bonifacio (high society area in Metro Manila) but we don’t know. The images in our head are Africans living in poverty wearing American donated clothes from the 80′s.

The Philippine government has to do two things any smart business would do.

#1 – Do a root cause analysis and fix the issue or lessen the impact. The presidential spokesman said that “Pacquiao is a national treasure in the impoverished Philippines, where even Muslim extremists and soldiers silence their guns during his fights.” A guy who punches people in the face is doing the job the government is supposed to do. Why not have him fight every week to stop the war that’s been going on for hundreds of years?

#2 – Once you sold the root cause or even make progress, the government has to do a better job at managing it’s reputation. How do you get counteract Imelda Marcos shoes, poverty and kidnapping? Just google Filipino or Philippines and see what comes up.

If the Philippines was on Yelp, how many stars would it get?

Hmmm, I wonder why people look down on the Philippines?

adam carolla manny pacquiao02

While read an article on the Huffington Post, a google ad for Filipinas came up. Duh!

2009 data from

Posted: March 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Projects | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

One of my goals this year was to finally put together some data for my Filipino Tattoo website to drive business decisions and validate or invalidate some of my assumptions. Overall, I think I was pretty accurate. After 2 years of tracking, I finally have the ability to compare KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Here’s selected data I wish to share with you.

Transactions by day
- This one made sense but I didn’t think it would be so drastic. The best day is Monday and tails off by Thursday. Weekends were typically blah. This data tells me that I should launch my marketing early Monday morning. My feeling is that most of that activity is late afternoon/evening.

pt data trans

Transactions by month
- The tattoo season is Spring/Summer but last year, I had a big spike in September and November. I can see why September being big because students might want to get inked before going back to school. I have no idea why November was so big. Maybe new ink for Xmas?

pt data month

Facebook demographics
Every company should have a Facebook page. Besides presence in a site that recently had more page views than the mighty Google, you also get a free basic analytics tool to give you some insight about your fans.  Since I added a Facebook widget for my fan page, it has grown to nearly 4,000 fans organically. It’s pretty tough to get this kind of data for your website if accurate at all.

fb data01

fb data

Did I protect myself or blow a great opportunity?

Posted: March 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

Two days before Xmas last year, I was contacted by the woredrobe stylist for Black Eyed Peas who was looking for a Filipino design for Apl. I believe it was for the Grammys. The dude was pretty persistant but without going through the usual process of a proposal. He wanted something futuristic tribal that was going to be patterned with shiny material on a black tight shirt.

Here’s the quick sketch of my idea. In the end, things fell apart because 1) He wanted me to incorporate some generic flash tribal tattoo he found and 2) Wanted all the lines cleaned up, meaning he wanted vector files. All without talking about payment. After that, I stopped emailing. The guy was 100% legit but was probably expecting me, as a “desperate” artist do to spec work and not seek $ because of the great opportunity.

If I did go forward with the project, would something else come out of it? I assumed not. I didn’t want to work over Xmas for a freebie for the “potential” for greater things. I had to take a minute and stop daydreaming about getting paid to design for Hollywood stars.

The lesson? Value your work.