Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

Saturday Musings – What Goals Do and Don't Do…

Saturday Musings – What Goals Do and Don't Do…

Having a goal to aim for can be one of the most motivating things to keep you going during the good and bad times. How many of us have made a New Year’s resolution only to give up a week later?

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I was speaking to a person this past week that was so excited about what they were trying to achieve. As the conversation progressed I watched as their shoulders slumped forward as they despondently recounted that they didn’t expected to have to do so much work.

The first thing that goals don’t do is the work. If you expect that once you’ve set a goal that everything will just magically happen then you’re going to be in for a surprise.

Roselyn and I have had a goal to go away for our thirtieth anniversary. If we didn’t book the plane tickets, accommodation and work out some semblance of an itinerary then I can guarantee it isn’t going to be much fun. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to do these things…..and in our case, it’s for something fun!

If you’re constantly hitting your goals, then challenge yourself to dream bigger. Make your goals big and audacious! The whole point of a goal is to stretch you and inspire you to move into places where you haven’t been before. Having a goal is not the end game, it’s the start of a journey so make it a worthwhile journey.

Roselyn and I have a dream of completing the Milford Sound walking track. It’s a five-day hike through the mountains of southern New Zealand (think Lord of the Rings) and it’s a fairly challenging trek. Due to other commitments, we can’t do the hike for just under two years. Despite this, we’re already training and focusing on our overall fitness.

Having our goal doesn’t take away the pain of hunger from a sensible diet nor does it take away aching muscles after a weekend’s walk. What it does do is keep us centered on why we are doing what we are doing and along the way we feel a lot better 😊

Goals don’t inspire you if you don’t feed them. Every time we go walking, put on our hiking boots or pick up some new equipment from a hiking store we are reaffirming our goal and getting a little excited. Sitting on a side table in our family room is a photographic book of the Milford Sound trek and every now and then we pick it up to feed our goal.

Be honest with yourself and manipulate your own emotions (yes, I said manipulate) by feeding your goals. Talk about them with friends (not too much) and have things lying around that remind you why you’re on the journey. If you don’t do these things, then your goal will die and you will wonder why you’re looking at a documentary of someone doing a hike rather than experiencing it yourself.

Many people believe that goals should be inspirational and yet they feel burdened by them. How many times have you said that you’ll lose an amount of weight and it never happened? You end up using your goal as a whip to chastise yourself after you eat yet another cream puff. For me, these types of goals are really bad…..I just start to feel crushed by them.

Rather than talking about losing weight, have a goal of the type of lifestyle you would like to achieve. For example, it could be that you want to run around the backyard with your kids without puffing and panting. Now ask yourself, what needs to happen to achieve this goal? Losing weight is boring but playing with the kids is awesome!

As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan of diets. The problem I see with them is people go on and off them and their weight goes up and down like a yoyo. Rather than going on a diet, quite some time ago I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better.

When I turned fifty it suddenly dawned on me that if I kept abusing my body the way I was with no exercise, bad diet and working crazy hours then I wouldn’t be around for Roselyn much longer. My first journey was to my doctor to get a physical to ensure there wasn’t any problems. The next was regular exercise and a complete dietary change.

Does it mean I don’t eat chocolate or anything like that? Not at all…..but I look on it as a special treat rather than a nightly munch. I’m well on my journey and my goal is not to lose weight (although that is nice) but as I said before, to trek the Milford Sound hike with Roselyn. We also have a lot more adventures lined up.

My goal would be meaningless unless I did something about it…..it’s also good to add a little spice every now and then on the journey. In my case, in a few minutes we’re off to the local hiking store to check out some gear.

So remember what goals do and in many respects that they don’t do.

Have a great weekend.

Battleframe

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A Simple Way To Sell More Domains

A Simple Way To Sell More Domains

Domain marketplaces are rewarded on a commission basis for bringing buyers and sellers together and doing whatever they can to ensure a transaction occurs. What domain investors need to appreciate is that a marketplace gets paid a commission on a sale transaction, whether it’s the individual investor’s domains or not.

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What am I getting at here. One of the most valuable assets that a domain has is traffic. In fact, there is a whole business model of monetization that is based upon the fact that advertisers love the traffic so much they are willing to pay a lot for it.

Ask yourself this question, “How much did a marketplace pay for your domains traffic?” Each day you are sending red hot leads into the marketplaces and yet most of those leads go to buying other people’s domains. My second question is, “What commission did you received on those sales?” Here’s the answer, zero.

The counter argument to this is the commission levels are set by taking into account the traffic. I don’t buy into this argument because if that was the case there would be differing commission levels based upon traffic and this does not happen.

So how do you get around this problem? The best solution would be to add all your domains to the various marketplaces so that they can receive offers via everyone else’s traffic. Then build a website that features your own domains.

On the individual domain pages have links that allows the buyer to purchase via each of the various marketplaces or via an Escrow buy link (then you'll be protected in the sales transaction).

All the sales links on your domain parked pages should then point to a page that features the domain inside your own website. This will then give the buyer the scope to easily view your other domains you have for sale that they may wish to purchase.

What you’re trying to do here is leverage your own traffic to help sell more of your own assets. If you don’t have any traffic then I wouldn’t bother with this strategy but if you do then you’d be crazy not to try it out.

I should state that I don’t have anything against the domain marketplaces…..in fact, I think that on the whole they do a good job. If they have created a large opportunity in their business models that can be exploited, then why wouldn’t you take it?

On the other hand, there is an opportunity for one of the marketplaces to break ranks and to pay a referral commission to the domain owner that originated the lead. Now that would shake things up a bit!

Battleframe

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Saturday Musings - I'm a Failure...

Saturday Musings - I'm a Failure...

I recently launched a new business and it’s been an abject failure. The service I was selling was great and I was sure that customers would absolutely love it but no one has even looked at it. My marketing efforts even went as far as involving some giveaways and I still didn’t get a result…..although the potential customers loved the trinkets.

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So my shiny new bird bath is still sitting forlornly outside my study window with not a bird in sight. The birds loved the bread that I put out for them each day. I even placed the enticing morsels ever closer to the bath with the hope that I could watch them splash around on a hot summers day. But my customers have rejected all my efforts…..sigh….

How many of us have launched a new business only to discover that no one is interested in our services or products? With ever increasing frustration we put our hand deeper into our pocket to pull out more cash to throw at the market with the hope that someone will buy.

I hate to say this but someone has bought…..and that’s you. You managed to drink the kool-aid of your own business to the extent you’re no longer listening to your proposed target market. You could keep on shoveling cash out the door or you could do something a little more adventurous…..and that’s pivot.

When a business is in the process of failing, before you run out of cash, you sometimes need to take a close look at what you do and decide to do something else entirely. Maybe it’s completely revamp your product or target an entirely different market or even use your service as a loss leader for a different revenue model.

I’ve met many business people that have either killed a business too early or too late. In many instances, a little creative thinking is all that is required to rescue the situation. Maybe if you’re running a restaurant it’s as simple as taking the food to the people rather than waiting for the people to come to your food.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going out the back door then whatever you do, don’t keep on doing the same thing as you’ve always been doing and expect a different result. Pivot and pivot fast!

For me, I’m going to pivot and take the bird bath to my customers by putting it in the middle of the lawn rather than outside my window. With any luck, a few birds will hop in and have a great time. You’d think they’d realized that all of this was for their own benefit……and a little of mine. Wish you me luck!

Have a great weekend.

Michael

Battleframe

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Domain Sales - Bundled Pricing Strategy

Domain Sales - Bundled Pricing Strategy

How many of us have lamented the fact that we receive enquiries on individual domains while the great majority of our portfolio seems to just be a great big cost? Is there a way to swing this situation around? Yes, there is and it’s called bundled pricing.

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Bundled pricing is taking a desired product and making it for sale with something else which you may have had trouble selling.  The average sales value is increased at little to no additional effort in the sales process. This is a strategy that many corporations use to sell us things we really don’t need so they can continue to move products.

A classic example of this is the sale of the “Big Mac Meal”. Do you really want fries? You don’t actually but it’s just so easy to add a few cents more and get an entire “meal” rather than buying a Big Mac and coke separately. In the process, McDonald’s has dived into our wallets and pulled out some of the loose change.

I’ve always wondered why McDonald’s sells a Big Mac, Coke and Fries together. I’m sure they’ve done a lot of research on the topic but I would have thought that a Big Mac, Fries and Apple Pie would be a much better combination……after all, everyone will buy the drink anyway.

This brings up an interesting point. If you wish to extract additional value, then bundling products together is not as easy as it first seems. Sometimes the obvious bundle is actually not obvious at all.

Let’s imagine you were after bingonight.net (one of my domains) and offered $8K for it. I could say yes and the deal would be done. Or I could tell you that the domain is part of a bundle of five bingo related domains that I’m selling for $12K.

All you were originally after was bingonight.net but now I’ve just told you a number of things:

1.       I have more bingo related domains.
2.       You can’t get bingonight.net by itself.
3.       I’m getting these other domains for half price!
4.       I'm also telling you that I'm the place to come to for domains in the future.

Suddenly we are having a much larger conversation than just purchasing a single domain. From my perspective, while I’ve now turned a $8K sale into one for $12K. This works for the both of us.

I could have bundled bingonight.net with an aviation domain a couple of Indian domains and a Spanish domain. This would allow me to move unsold inventory but rather than enhance the sale it would potentially turn off the buyer. Like McDonald’s and their meal deals, picking and choosing your bundle is critical for a successful outcome.

At the price levels of stock items, every enquiry should be viewed as an opportunity to sell not just one domain but a bundle of domains. Even if you have to discount a little the overall revenue line has increased.

When you look at your portfolio it’s often the traffic domains that bring the sales enquiries and the domains with no traffic that are of higher value. So bundling both sets of domains together brings potentially brandable domains and traffic together…..which can often sweeten the deal for the buyer.

The challenge here is that many of the marketplaces don’t allow a bundling strategy and deal with domains on an individual basis. More on this in another article….

Battleframe

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Saturday Musings – Saying Sorry When It’s Not Your Fault

Saturday Musings – Saying Sorry When It’s Not Your Fault

Many people have no problem with saying sorry when they’ve done something wrong but refuse to apologize when they firmly believe they're right. They take the stance, that since they’ve done nothing wrong (in their eyes) then why should they say sorry. What this behavior clearly demonstrates is their lack of understanding of the purpose of apologizing.

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Saying your sorry has less to do with right and wrong and more to do with hurt feelings. Being right doesn’t mean you haven’t hurt someone else’s feelings and standing on your dignity by not apologizing often just makes the situation worse.

This year I’m coming up to my thirtieth wedding anniversary with the most wonderful, patient and loving lady I could ever dream of spending my life with. Has it all been plain sailing? Heck no! Like any marriage, over the years we’ve had our ups and downs.

I remember one time when I knew that I knew that I was right and yet my wife was in tears in front of me. This was a bazaar situation for a young male who inadvertently poured buckets of gas on his wife's flaming misery by telling her to just “get over it”. It was after a number of these episodes that it dawned on me (with a lot of help from Roselyn) that because I did no wrong didn’t mean I was right.

Sure enough……it happened again. I took the superior position of being “right” and expected Roselyn to realize the error of her feelings. We males can be really dumb sometimes! It took a few minutes for me to work out that I was about to go on the merry-go-round again so this time I decided to step off.

I apologized. Not for anything I’d done wrong but for the fact that I’d hurt her feelings. Something magical happened in that moment…..peace was restored to our relationship.

So many of us are trying to win each and every battle with those that we “love” that we forget we’re actually not at war. A simple heart-felt apology is often all that it takes to restore the relationship and bring a little bit of heaven to your earth.

Like I said, I’m coming up to my thirtieth anniversary this year and when you’ve been around someone that long you learn a lot about them and yourself. It’s been an adventure that has led to a depth of love, respect and appreciation that has far surpassed my expectations when we first got married…..we thought we loved each other then. LOL! That was nothing compared to now.

Learning to say sorry when you’re not at fault is one of the many lessons that my wife and I have both learned over the years. As we look forward to the years ahead I sometimes wonder how we can love each other more than we already do……and then I look at both of our parents who have been married for 50+ years and smile.

If you want to build long last relationships with your loved ones then my advice is to humble yourself to say sorry even when you don’t think you should.

Have a great weekend!

Battleframe

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