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Photo of the Mona Lisa art work

Insights, Answers, Solutions

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Creativity

Regular subscribers know I highly recommend that as profitable web publishers, we should build our own "Swipe files". In the context of this article, a swipe file is simply a folder containing collection containing any mix of articles, documents, pictures or web pages that, for one reason or another, have at some point interested you sufficiently for you to take the additional step of saving the information for later reference.

If you don't already have a swipe file, start building one today - you'll see why later. If not, you can apply the same technique outlined in this article with material available from online reference sources (never copy: just choose some start-off information to help get your brain juices flowing).

Once you have your "raw material", here's one way in which you can write something unusual apparently out of thin air. So whenever you're short on inspiration or simply don't know what to say, or can't think of anything that you consider will be sufficiently useful to your readers, why not try the 2-Step method outlined below?

Step 1: Using Your Own Swipe File

Re-examine your own store or "swipe file" that you have stored on your PC. Select three pieces of information. Copy and paste these three info snippets into a simple plain text editor - Windows Notepad is fine. Then edit and re-word your information in a way that makes sense to you.

Tip: You may find that often, source information may have been originally presented the wrong way around; in reverse order. So by re-wording and tweaking here and there, you can have a new sentence that has substance and one that makes better sense. Save your draft document. Then find a relationship between your three themes.

Key tip: always, there seems to be at least one link (a commonality) between apparently random things. Explore making new connections. The fun is in finding them :-)

I looked through several documents within my swipe file. In particular, I was looking for statements that I believed in and which made sense to me. Here's what I found in under 15 minutes.

"I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand." Confucius

Tip: if you choose a quote, don't forget to verify that the quote you select is indeed genuine. How: use several, unrelated sources to cross-check validity. Why: many quotes - especially those available online, may be incorrect or attributed to the wrong authors. To avoid having "egg on your face" later or losing credibility, a few extra minutes spent double-checking your sources is always a good investment of your time.

Back to our quote, Confucius is saying that hearing and seeing can certainly make an impression on us. Yet only by doing can we truly "get it".

For example, we can hear about Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa; we can see the Mona Lisa; yet only by going through the experience of painting the Mona Lisa, can we truly understand the heart of Mona Lisa. Although few of us may produce a Mona Lisa, we can still benefit hugely from the lesson she teaches us here.

At this point, a good question might be: What has all this to do with building a profitable online web publishing business? Answer:

  • By all means, we can do our research (see and hear).
  • Yet only by taking those first few tentative steps - by doing - can we secure the understanding.

Don't Let A Few Setbacks Steal From You The Best That Is Yet To Come:

The tragedy is that many of use make plans, have dreams, dabble perhaps at the weekends or evenings, in those activities that we may truly want to take part in - such as building a successful web business - yet we may never get around to actually either building our own website or commissioning someone else to build it for us.

We just give up, sometimes, before we've hardly started. What a waste! There is always a solution, always an answer, always a way through, if we can just persist.

Sounds obvious, yet even amid all the distractions modern life provides us, to start to prosper, we need only take the first step: get started. Thousands of years ago, Confucius knew that. So did Leonardo Da Vinci. We can too.

As we go through our lives, many people understandably imagine how their future might be. Yet sometimes, we can have incorrect imaginings that can paralyze us into simply doing nothing. If that's you, don't do that to yourself: your life is just too important.

Often, the hardest part really is just the act of getting started today, not tomorrow. Building a profitable web business need not be like climbing a mountain - make the right choices from the outset; choose the right people to help you and it can be easier than you can ever imagine. Little steps make a journey.

Earn More: Make Fewer Products or Provide Fewer Services

At first glance, we might think that to boost our income, we must make more and do more. Yet I suggest to you that is not true in every instance. For example, here's a 4-step plan that answers the challenge that is posed in the headline above:

  • Decrease the supply of what you provide.
  • At the same time, take steps that cause demand for what your provide to increase.
  • Raise prices to more realistic levels (how often do we undervalue what we do?). At the same time, provide a higher quality product or service: give more before expecting more.
  • Thereafter, you can increase profit, which allows you to stay in business, pay more taxes, and help more people solve their problems.

We often associate scarcity with worse conditions, yet our 4-step plan above is one example in which scarcity can be perceived as equating to better quality - and most of us are naturally attracted to the better things in life aren't we?

Therefore, in our second snippet, the headline and our 4-step answer are indeed the entire tip. No more explanation is necessary. We can simply choose to either agree or disagree with the statement.

Why Seek to Be Different or Unusual?

We are affected by what other people do - it's a trait that is embedded at the heart of marketing. We're influenced by our friends, colleagues and more so by people we come to respect.

However, somewhat less impressive, many of us seem to be influenced more by celebrities that may often misbehave, who may lack "backbone" character. Or we endlessly obssess over trite social media, rather than use what we can learn from true people of substance - often found throughout history.

For many of us, our natural tendency is to seek ways that allow or help us to "blend in" to our cultures and indeed our humanity. We yearn to belong. Yet too much "belonging" stifles us, restrains us, holds us back, even imprisons us in a cage we build.

I guess we think we're safer if we feel that we're part of the many. Perhaps the true insight lies deep in the human psyche. If yes, now is the time to break free.

In business, "fitting in" rarely allows you to stand out for all the right reasons. Fitting in can also deliver the death knell for your website.

For a commercial website organization especially, to blend in can mean you essentially become invisible! With billions of web pages already present on the Internet, blending in is easy - in fact, it's the default, normal condition. That means, if we don't actively seek ways to be different or unusual, we blend in automatically - essentially to disappear within the crowded Internet.

Yet incredibly, the remedy to combat appearing faceless is easy and is available to each and every website owner, in equal measure:

  • Your goal: create contrast, personality, color, impact, individuality.
  • Your tool that gets you to your goal: use the one thing that you know most about: you.
  • Your desired result: give your website a "personality" - one that is based on how you interact with the world. Why: when you allow your individuality to shine through, you can create buzz where there was none before. What's more, the buzz you create is unique to you. And that dear reader is one way to attract free publicity.

Step 2: the Proof that Everything is Related.

Earlier in this article, I have suggested that no matter what three topics you pick, you can find a relationship between them. To prove that point, let's re-state my three apparently random topics above.

Before we do that, hand on heart, I selected these three purely by chance from my PC Swipe file. Although I may seem confident that there is at least one relationship, I do have a confession to make: I've used this same technique many times in the past - that's why I know it works.

Tip: nevertheless, I didn't know what the relationship was going to be between these three topics until I had finished writing this article - that's another reason why the simple act of writing can help you think in ways that you might not expect. Here, we can use our creative links to make sense of apparent randomness.

So to recap, our three topics are:

  • "I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand." Confucius.
  • How to earn higher profits making fewer products or providing fewer services.
  • Why should you seek to be different or unusual?

At first glance, none of these three statements appear to have any relevance to each other do they? Yet they do. To discover how they relate, we can use the power of simplification to summarize each of the above sentences in sequence to arrive at three words and phrases:

  • Understanding.
  • Do more with less.
  • The power of individuality.

We can then put those three summarized statements together in the following sentence that provides a tied understanding that makes sense of all three:

  • When you truly understand that you can do more with less, by using the power of your individuality, you can [fill in the blank].

Since I like helping people build profitable business websites, here's my full version:

  • When you truly understand that you can do more with less, by using the power of your individuality, you can turn your life around.

What's more dear reader, I would qualify that suggestion above even further by adding one more, absolutely crucial point. That every day really is a new chance to make changes, begin anew. A lifetime can give us lots of opportunities to do something different. But each chance not taken is lost can never be regained.

Every day, from the moment when you first wake up offers another go for you to make different choices, take a different path, or build on the right choices you may have made yesterday, getting ever closer to your ultimate goal, whatever that might be.

Yesterday is gone - now you can forget that. Today is what really matters.

Therefore, what will you do today that will bring you one step closer to creating a profitable website business?

So ... begin.

Credits: Mona Lisa image above provided courtesy of GeekPhilosopher.com.