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Archive for February, 2010

Tools, Strategies, and Mindsets

Over the past month or so, I’ve received numerous emails and comments from people struggling to get started online or trying to figure out how to take their business to the next level. That may even include you. Have you found yourself
wondering…

  • How do I get started?
  • What tools do I really need?
  • What are the best ways to accept payments?
  • I don’t have a lot of working capital, now what?
  • Are there any quality free or low-cost tools I can use?
  • What is a good business mindset to have?
  • What do I do next?
  • How do I increase my effectiveness?
  • What steps are actually wasting my time?
  • How do I do [fill in the blank]?

If you have asked one of those questions (or something similar) you need to check this out. I just completed a series of videos that can provide you with much-needed answers. You can check them out here:

Core Business Strategies

Shapeshifting Public Domain Content

Stories of shapeshifting exist in every culture and take on many forms of transformation…from Zeus in Greek Mythology to the recent Twilight series where members of the Quileute tribe shapeshift into wolves. Even in our childhood stories we see the Beast transform into a Prince in “Beauty and the Beast”…and let’s not forget the infamous Frog looking for that special kiss. But what do these “myths” of shapeshifting have to do with Public Domain content? Plenty!

Content from the Public Domain…whether it exists in the form of a book, a magazine, a photograph or something else…was already established, proven if you will, in that form. The books were already published and read by thousands or tens of thousands of people…the same with magazines. But because that book or magazine is now in the Public Domain, we can legally use its content for anything we choose without any type of royalty or legal recourse. And there are a LOT of ways that we can adapt, or shapeshift, that content.

As an example, take a look at the text found HERE. It’s an article I scanned from a 1950’s Popular Photography magazine in the Public Domain. It’s a great article, and certainly relevant still today. Now, in its original form, it was a magazine article.  How can we shapeshift that content into new forms? Here are some thoughts…

  1. A Blog Post
  2. An Article on Article Sites
  3. Break-up for an Autoresponder Series
  4. A Free Report
  5. Record an Audio Version for a Podcast
  6. Turn into a Powerpoint Slide Video
  7. Read Live on a Video Camera
  8. Discuss on BlogTalkRadio
  9. Include in an E-Zine
  10. Use as a Chapter of an E-Book or Print book
  11. Create a Squidoo Lens from It
  12. Re-Publish in a New Print Magazine

And so, as you can see from the dozen samples above, it’s pretty easy to shapeshift just about ANY text content from the Public Domain into a new form…whether free or as a money-making product. The same is true for images. Take the image of Sitting Bull shown below, for instance. On the left is the original image from the Public Domain. On the right is a new image I created in Photoshop from the original.

Now, with this new image (or even with the old one quite honestly), I could shapeshift it into…

  1. A T-Shirt Design
  2. A Poster
  3. A Skateboard Design
  4. A Blanket or Tapestry
  5. A Mousepad
  6. A Coffee Mug
  7. Any of the Other Products on CafePress or Zazzle
  8. A Postage Stamp Design
  9. An Illustration for an Article
  10. A Fine Art Canvas Framed Print

I think you get the picture (no pun intended). And the best part is that I can create nearly endless variations of new art based on that one original photograph from the Public Domain. Shapeshifting at its best!

So, hopefully, this post has inspired you to consider doing a little shapeshifting of your own. The possibilities are are waiting for your own innovation and creativity. And like it says in my blog header graphic:

Proven Content + Creative Innovation = Successful, NEW Products!

Learn MORE about how to “shapeshift” Public Domain Content HERE:

Public Domain Explained

Easy Money Picture Project

A New Use for Public Domain Images

I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new product creation ideas, and recently I found a use for Public Domain images that, quite honestly wasn’t even sure was possible for the average person. Boy was I wrong! The site I found is certainly one to check out…and it’s one that I plan to do some serious experimenting with.

The site is called Spoonflower (http://www.spoonflower.com) and it allows you to create your own fabric. Now before you begin thinking that I’m going to tell you all to get into the custom dress-making business (yes, I can actually sew rather well…Mom was a career seamstress), hear me out for a little bit. The idea of using Public Domain images to create your own fabric isn’t cool because of the fancy material you can make to sew your own clothes…oh no… this strategy is cool because of ALL the things you can make with fabric…like furniture and wall coverings, purses and bags, dolls and stuffed animals (using vintage patterns of dolls as the image for your fabric), pillows, camera and cell phone cases…the list goes on and on. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of products you can create from custom fabric apart from clothing! As a matter of fact, I just shared one with my daughter related to her Native American regalia! Below is an example someone created on the site using Public Domain images as a pattern.

So if you find yourself thinking, “Hey…I could do this, and this…,” write those thoughts down and then take action! And if you get any great ideas, share them in the comments below! Let’s see how creative you REALLY are!

Moon Girl Meet iPhone

As information publishers, It is very tempting to ONLY consider books or magazine articles for out products, blogs, articles, etc. Of course, I’ve been preaching for years about the power of Public Domain images for creating products, and quite honestly, every one of you should have your own Zazzle.com or CafePress.com store to sell “original” creations based on Public Domain content. Here is one of mine: Generation 7. There are a LOT of other products you can create using images and photos…but that isn’t what THIS post is about. It’s about something else…characters from the Public Domain.

I always keep a pulse on what others are doing with Public Domain content and “Moon Girl” caught my attention. It’s a new iPhone app comic being written by Tony Trov and John Zito. Here is the cool part…”Moon Girl” is a little known character from the 40’s and is the Public Domain, enabling Trov and Zito to revive her as a character. What a great idea and a perfect example of using Public Domain content in new, innovative ways. Now, thanks to an artist known as “The Rahzzah” Moon girls looks a bit different these days…but again, that’s the beauty of the Public Domain…you can do whatever you want with it! You can purchase the Moon Girl app HERE or in the iTunes App Store…AND you can read a preview HERE.

Below are examples of the “old” and “new” Moon Girl are below. You might also notice that the delivery method is QUITE different as well!

In my e-book, Easy Money Picture Project, I wrote about the importance of Public Domain characters to product creation and shared a growing list of characters known to be in the Public Domain. I created an excerpt PDF which you can download and enjoy HERE. As you would imagine, EMPP has a LOT of great strategies for using Public Domain images to create products hidden in its 200+ pages. I guess that’s why customers LOVE it!

So let me ask you…what ideas can YOU come up with based on characters from the Public Domain? Review the list and share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

BTW…Hollywood has figured this one out! With “Sherlock Holmes” out (a character from the Public Domain) and a new “Alice in Wonderland” coming out…not to mention, “Treasure Island” and “The Three Muskateers,” the Public Domain is proving to be a goldmine for Hollywood…why not for you as well?

Unexpected Success Strategies

In my last post, I invited people to share what was holding them back from succeeding online. I asked, “What Are You Waiting For?” and then offered to reply to every comment that was posted…which I did. As the comments rolled in, however, I began to notice a trend that was unexpected but exciting. Some of those posting were sharing their success strategies! Not some theory-based, generic “ideas” but strategies they are using to actually make money from Public Domain content! Now I say this is unexpected, not because I’m surprised they’re succeeding, but because I’m excited about their generosity for wanting to help others make it too! That’s been my commitment as well. And so, with THIS post, I’d like to offer a new challenge…

I would LOVE to hear about your successes with using Public Domain content in your business. It doesn’t have to be a story of making millions…perhaps you’ve only made a sale or two so far. But I would enjoy hearing about what you are doing with Public Domain content (and I think others would two). As you comment and share, I will offer my own thoughts on how you might be able to ramp up what you’re already doing to see even greater success! And…I encourage others to do the same! Why not work together so we can ALL achieve greater success in our businesses?! Now, obviously, I don’t expect you to share proprietary secrets or even exact niches unless you choose to. This isn’t about giving others the opportunity to rip us off. It’s the core strategies that work universally…in any niche…and those are what I want to hear about.

So let me ask you…

What core strategies are creating success for YOU?

Share your comments below! Oh and, BTW…if you would prefer to respond with a video answer, create your video, upload it to YouTube, and share the link with your comments! Can’t wait to hear from you!

What Are You Waiting For?

Creating products using the proven content of the Public Domain makes it SO easy to begin selling information products online (or offline for that matter). What amazes me, however, is how FEW people actually take the leap. They get excited about the prospect of creating their own products, find great Public Domain content, even begin working on “their” project…and that’s where it stops. And of course, you can’t make money from a “product” that sits on your hard drive. SO, I want to know why…what is it that holds YOU back? What is it that YOU are waiting for? Is it the delivery process? The product creation process? The sales letter? I want to hear what’s holding you back…because…as I always say in my e-mails, I am “committed to your ongoing success!”

So share your comments below and I will answer each one!

Working From Anywhere

I have to say that I LOVE what I do. Being able to have what my good friend, Pat O’Bryan, refers to as a Portable Empire is nothing short of incredible. I can literally “work” from anywhere…and HAVE…from some pretty cool places. From a little cabin out in the middle of nowhere or sitting on a lounge chair in Palm Springs, to a private island off the coast of Florida or on-board a cruise ship in the middle of the Carribean…it’s a real privilege to no longer have to work a J.O.B.

One of the keys to truly running your business from anywhere is having the right tools to do so. And while it may take you a while to put together your “team” (it did me), you can actually get started rather cheaply. Now admittedly, I am a bit of a tech junkie, so what I carry with me may be a bit of overkill, but I do like the idea of being prepared to create literally ANY kind of media project I need at anytime, any where. And OF COURSE…my commitment is to help YOU achieve your dream business as well.

Below is a photo of my backpack. This pretty much goes with me everywhere I travel and it contains EVERYTHING I need to run my business and create new products. Well…what you see plus my Blackberry Storm…and an HP Mini…and a raft of software.

Portable_Empire

Now I am obviously a photographer as well…and so it’s likely that you may not want to carry so many cameras and lenses, but what you see above has helped me create a business I’m proud of…one that I love and enjoy. And so, as you can see above, your tools of the trade should include (at the very least) a laptop with media-related software,  a video camera of some type and a phone. With just those three key items, you can create just about any type of information product just about anywhere. The broadband modem certainly extends your flexibility for high-speed internet quite a bit as does some sort of portable drive.

As for software, you really need a word processor (like Microsoft Word or Open Office), presentation software (like PowerPoint or Keynote), an image editor (like Photoshop or Paint.net), a web design program (like Dreamweaver or Kompozer) and a screencasting program (like Camtasia or Screenflow). There are other programs as well that can come in handy, like video editing software, audio software and file converters. The GREAT news is that you can find free or open source programs in every one of these categories. For me personally, here is what I use:

  • Photoshop
  • Dreamweaver
  • Camtasia
  • Screenflow
  • Microsoft Office
  • Vegas Movie Studio
  • Sony Sound Forge
  • QuarkXPress
  • Super Converter/Encoder
  • Acrobat Professional
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Artisteer
  • And a raft of other programs.

Please know that the point of this post is not to brag…heavens no…rather, it’s to encourage you to TAKE ACTION. You can DO this just as I am. In the coming weeks, I am going to be going MORE in-depth in sharing how you can get started, or move to the next level. Honestly, without the right tools, you’re going to be handicapped. Soooo…this is the beginning of helping point you in the right direction…the direction toward your OWN “Portable Empire.”

Trickle-Down Product Economics

The other day, I was preparing for a webinar on using video to build your online or offline business, and the phrase, “Trickle-Down Economics” popped into my head. Now you may remember that phrase from the political arena as a policy where you give tax breaks (or other incentives) to big business in the hope that the benefits will trickle-down to everyone else. Well, as I thought about that concept and considered the growing use of video, I realized that I could easily spin the “trickle-down” concept into product creation. Here’s what I mean…

Let’s say that you create a 60-minute video…it could be a live action video (like a teaching or training video) or a screencast video (like a Powerpoint presentation) created with Camtasia or GoToWebinar. Your video represents the core product…the starting point for your “trickle.” Of course, with the recorded video, you can create DVDs, streaming video, downloadable files or all three…and that’s where you begin.

Next (and here is the cool part), from that video, you can strip out the audio (Vegas Movie Studio is perfect for this) and create audio CD’s, streaming audio and downloadable MP3s. More “trickle!” The audios can then be transcribed to create print books, e-books, Kindle editions, workbooks, etc. More “trickle!”

It gets better…you can (and should) then take clips from all three media types for the NEXT level of “trickle”…Video clips for YouTube and the other video-sharing sites…Audio clips to be shared as podcasts on iTunes and podcast directories…Text excerpts to be used as blog posts, articles, reports and uploads to document-sharing sites like Scribd.com and HubPages.com. Each pointing back to your main website or blog. Then, you can take THOSE chunks and excerpt them even further as Twitter and Facebook posts, e-zine and autoresponders for your list…I think you get the picture.

All this trickled down from your ONE 60-minute video!

I hope you see the power (and benefit) of this approach, not only from a product creation perspective, but also from an exposure and traffic perspective as well. Take a look at the videos you’ve already created (you ARE creating videos I hope!) and see how you too can expand the reach of your hard work…and without a huge amount of effort. Not only will you increase the perceived value of the products you create, but you will also tap into brand-new streams of traffic (and customers) that will help grow your business! So…get to it!

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