Monday and Tuesday of this week I attended AFFCON2010 at the Denver Convention Center. This 2 year old event is the brainchild of Daron Babin. Daron is the co-founder of WebmasterRadio.FM and is well know as one of the top SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) experts. Check out the AFFCON2010 site (www.affcon2010.com) and his online radio (www.webmasterradio.fm).

The event was targeted at Affiliate Marketers. They are Entrepreneurs who have created a web presence (a Blog, E-commerce Site, etc.) and link to providers (known as Merchants) who offer products and services for sale and pay the affiliate a fee or commission for every sale they drive to the merchant’s site.

What I saw at the show were people from all walks of life, from young to old, conservative in style and dress to “creative” in style and dress. But they all had the same thing in common. They were small business people. People who saw an opportunity to free their inner entrepreneur. It made me think of all the people I’ve encountered lately who, through choice or lay off , are looking for what to do next. It dawned on me, being an affiliate marketer could be the answer may are looking for.

A common thread through many of the presentations was the advice, “Do what you are passion about. That is the secret to success”. There were several examples of people who blog about their passion and have successfully built businesses, business that generate their revenue by driving people to another’s site to buy.

So to all you looking for the next step, consider being an affiliate marketer. The barrier to entry (how much it will cost you) is extremely low. Your first step is to create your site. Go to WordPress (www.wordpress.com). You will be amazed at how much they offer (for free) to build your site. Once you get going you might find that you want to spend some money on your own domain name, etc., but for now start free, you have no excuse for not starting. Pick something you love. Something you are passionate about. Then, start writing. If you have experience in something and a passion for it, you will be amazed at how it flows out of you.

Some other places for you to check out:

http://www.affcon2010.com check out all the vendors
http://www.scmrush.com
http://www.crazyegg.com
http://www.browsersize.com
http://www.lowhangingloot.com
http://www.wordvision.com

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Ask not what the Government can do for Main Street, but what Main Street can for the Government. Read more at: http://wp.me/pDwNy-7

Desiderata

May 21, 2010

This wonderful poem, Desiderata (Latin for “things desired) was shared with me by Jerry Ashton a fellow member of the Linkedin group Linked Strategies.  You can follow Jerry at http://www.Twitter.com/writtenoffusa

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Eric

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, 
be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; 
and listen to others, 
even to the dull and the ignorant; 
they too have their story. 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; 
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, 
for the world is full of trickery. 
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love, 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, 
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, 
whatever you conceive Him to be. 
And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Max Ehrmann (http://www.depauw.edu/library/archives/dpuinventories/ehrmann_max%20.htm)

Based on the most recent reports from the SBA and US Census Bureau, small businesses represent 65% to 75% of all job growth and employ 80% of all employees.  Small businesses with less than 20 employees represent 18.4%, those with 21-49 employees represent 23.1% and those with 50-499 employees represent 38.5% of this 80%.  Over 41% are employed by firms with less than 50 employees.

Since 2007 we find ourselves sitting in the middle of a severe recession and job creation has been poor across businesses of all sizes.  But, small businesses have retained more employees then did their larger counter parts.  Data from ADP on private sector businesses that use their payroll service show two clear trends.  Large businesses have shed the most jobs over the last 10 years with employment down 15% overall.  During that same period, companies employing 1-499 workers employed 3.5% more then they did in 1997.  An SBA report also confirms the decline of employment at firms with more than 500 employees showing a 60% decline in hiring between 1998 and 2008.

With employment being a critical factor in reversing recessionary trends and small businesses having the single biggest impact on employment the governments desire to help small businesses is well placed. While the government can easily target programs at a small number of large businesses, the challenge of targeting the enormous number of small businesses is difficult at best.  Government is forced to try and push programs through alternate sources.  A method they don’t have direct control over.  So the challenge is how to accomplish this goal.  The same techniques they’ve used to help large businesses during the financial crisis aren’t the same things that will help small businesses.

For example a new jobs tax credit won’t help because small businesses won’t hire new employees unless they need them.  However creating demand and ensuring that the funding is available to help small businesses meet this demand will work hand in hand to put the economy back on track.  We shouldn’t wait to see how the government will accomplish this, we should help them accomplish it.

Thankfully these two requirements can be controlled by the 95% of the population that represents Main Street USA.  Focusing on buying goods and services from small businesses will result in growth and the need for more employees.  By helping small businesses get the funds they need to support this growth,  participation in Peer-to-Peer (or Peer-to-Business) social lending ensures that money is available regardless of how banks are lending.

After all, it’s the nature of Main Street USA to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and do what it takes to succeed.

You’re not alone

May 17, 2010

Are you a one person shop? You’re not alone. http://tinyurl.com/solopreneurship