Social Biz Connect Kenya Reviews: Exposed Scam, Pyramid Scheme or the Real Deal?

Update: SBC has moved to recruiting members through another company- Internet Marketing Africa. Please, beware in case you receive online job offers from Internet Marketing Africa.

I have openly spoken about SocialBizConnect in other forums and have been called a ‘hater’ for my criticism.

But are my assertions that SocialBizConnect is a scam baseless?

No.

I have tangible evidence to prove that SocialBizConnect and its sister-in-scam Internet Marketing Africa will soon crumble and leave many Kenyans more financially desperate than they initially were.

Here are some of the key pointers that SocialBizConnect is headed for damnation even before it gets to its ‘official launch date’ on 30th April. Read them and don’t forget to leave your comments at the end of the post about what you really think about SocialBizConnect.

Remember My Fortunes Builder (MFB)

Kimathi Kamundeh SocialBizConnect and Internet Marketing Africa
Kimathi Kamundeh aka Lloyd Kim

A few months ago, Kimathi Kamundeh a.k.a. Lloyd Kim (pictured above) the founder of SBC Kenya was the mastermind behind another Kenyan scam by the name of My Fortunes Builder.

Like SBC, My Fortunes Builder Stole from Kenyans by inviting them to attend seminars for a business that was never going to launch.

The company was to launch on 7th January 2013. The problem is that it never launched as this banner (which is a screenshot of the now abandoned MFB website) indicates.

The ‘launch’ of My Fortunes Builder was preceded by the same hype that SocialBizConnect Kenya is experiencing and the same paid for seminars…

Then? What happened?

Only Lloyd Kim can answer this question.

However, a very inquisitive person can see how this works out. You are being invited for seminars in Nairobi. Seminars that teach you nothing you do not already know. Seminars that are the only thing you will ever get from SBC since the company will never launch.

Lloyd Kim is making money from you and your friends as you attend his prelaunch seminars. Good luck to you and your invitees if SBC ever launches.

The striking similarities between My Fortune Builder and SBC are simply undeniable. In fact, one could argue that the two websites are Siamese twins albeit with some idiotic twists like the Power of 4 becoming the Power of 5 in SBC.

And is it a coincidence that the two companies are launching at the beginning of the year when there are a lot of desperate Form Four leavers looking for online money?

Mr. Kimathi does not even deny that he was the architect behind My Fortunes Builder. But the scornful look you get when you probe into this not-too-distance past is enough to cow even the bravest of hearts.

I particularly sought to know what led to the failure of My Fortunes Builder and what measures have been taken to ensure that SocialBizConnect does not go the way of MFB but my questions were met with insults and sneers.

Of course a lot of Kenyans who are running to join SocialBizConnect do not even know there was such a company like MFB that stole money from Kenyans and went under.

Until Lloyd Kim provides answers to explain what he intends to do differently with SBC that he didn’t do with MFB, we can confidently assume that SBC is another scam.

In fact, it lives up to the trends that have been observed with all MLM scams. They die and resurrect as other companies offering even juicier online moneymaking opportunities.

 

SocialBizConnect is a Scam that Will Soon Crumble

You can easily recognize a genuine opportunity from a scam by simply stripping all the colourful ads and seducing dialogue from it. You can tell which is viable online opportunity and which one will only waste your time, energy and money. The barebones version of SocialBizConnect has all the pointers of being headed nowhere.

  1. The only way you can really earn money is by inviting people to the paid-entry seminars

No one is very enthusiastic to join the SocialBizConnect Business Club, which promises to pay referrers $6 for every successful referral.

Why would any businessperson pay $18 to place his ads on a platform that has zero members online at any given time? It doesn’t make sense more so considering that you can get some pretty more sales with Facebook ads at that monthly budget.

This leaves SBC members with only one viable earning opportunity- finding as many idiots as they can possibly do to attend the seminars where they charge 200/= at the entrance, something that is not very sustainable.

  1. The products that SocialBizConnect ‘Sells’ do not have a market in Kenya

Some of the MLMs manage to exist {and continue milking money from unsuspecting citizens} for a little while due to the irresistible nature of products that they purport to sell; products that make the promise of wealth, health or both.

SocialBizConnect has however tied a noose around its already frail life by trying to sell internet marketing products that

  • Do  not have a market in Kenya
  • Cannot outperform the established brands in the market

The products include autoresponders, ebooks {most of which are regurgitated PLR junk} and Microsoft Packages videos! Not surprisingly, MFB was selling the same-same products. I honestly thought that Lloyd Kim would learn from his mistakes with MFB and find some hot-selling products to build around his internet marketing scam. Too bad, and that says something about his reasoning…

Only a fool would keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

  1. The worst sales team in the world

Internet marketing deserves patience, an unfailing perseverance and strategy. Most of the people signing for SocialBizConnect are in it for the fast cash. They have idiotically trusted what the banners tell them. They do not know what market segment to target with the tools that Lloyd Kim is offering.

From the above points, there is only one conclusion to be drawn about SocialBizConnect. It is one of the poorest drawn multilevel marketing (MLM) scams to ever be construed. Even if it ever launches (which I am willing to bet it won’t as Kim is only interested in your seminar money) SocialBizConnect cannot survive for more than a few months without sinking…

The ball is now in your court. When do you think SocialBizConnect will sink? Leave your comments below.

P.S. Don’t forget to share this. Sharing is Caring. Use the Buttons Below.

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Mpesa Integration to Website: Learn How to Add Mpesa API to Your Site

I finally started accepting Mpesa Payments via my website! You can now pay for your favorite e-course or a web design project straight from this website. That is what I call a milestone

However, the journey to this point has not been an easy one. The difficulties I faced trying to integrate an Mpesa Payment Gateway on my website left me wondering why we do not have more developers investing in this area. At the least, Safaricom should come up with solutions on this but they seem to have left it to third-party developers.

JamboPay Mpesa Payment Gateway

One of the most popular online Mpesa Payment Gateways. Their downsides is that they charge an arm and a leg to have you use their Mpesa payment gateway. When I enquired about their services, they slapped me with a quotation that almost toppled me over.

Here is a screenshot of the email I received from them

How to Accept Mpesa on your website

To use JamboPay Mpesa gateway, you would need to pay at least Ksh 150,000 for them to setup your account. Clearly, JamboPay’s service are not for the small online trader or a struggling startup. I told them that much and headed back to Google to find a more viable solution.

PesaPal Payment Gateway

If you can forgive them for the lack of information/misinformation on their website, PesaPal are the guys to use for your online Mpesa Payments.

If your eCommerce store is built on WordPress, integrating with the PesaPal Mpesa Payment gateway is quite easy. There are several plugins available for free on the WordPress repository that make it very easy to start accepting Mpesa on your website.

  1. PesaPal Pay

Last updated on November 2014, the PesaPal Pay WordPress Plugins lets you collect payments via all the mobile money transfer services in Kenya. It makes use of forms and shortcodes [pesapal_pay] and [pesapal_donations] to collect payments and donations respectively.

The plugin is not very intuitive to use. Unless you know your way around coding, I would advise you try the other alternative provided below.

2.  WooCommerce PesaPal  Standard Payment Gateway

Last updated in July 2014 and downloaded 330 times, the WooCommerce PesaPal Standard Payment Gateway extends WooCommerce’s functionality and lets you charge for goods via Mpesa and other mobile payment services in Kenya.

I could not get this plugin to work on my website, and I finally gave up trying to use it.

I am not sure why the developer insists that you use demo consumer key and api during installation…

  3.  PesaPal Gateway for WooCommerce

This is the WordPress plugin that I ended up using on my online stores. It is super easy to use when you have WooCommerce installed on your WordPress website.

  • Simply download the plugin from the WordPress repository
  • Unzip it and upload it via FTP to wp-c0ntents/plugins.
  • Activate on your WordPress Dashboard
  • Go to WooCommerce Settings and Click on PesaPal
  • Enter your PesaPal API Key and Consumer Secret and start accepting payments via Mpesa!

I actually tried it with a sample product that I created on my website, and it works like a charm!

Lipa na Mpesa Online

Safaricom actually have an online Payment Gateway where you can Lipa na Mpesa. This came as a surprise to me. However, I cannot understand why I have to call or email them in order for them to share the details of the application with me.

Lipa na Mpesa OnlineThose are the 3 online Mpesa payment gateways that I am currently aware of. PesaPal takes the trophy home. It is super easy to register for a Merchant account on their website and the available free plugins makes it a darling to work with.

With the PesaPal Payment Gateway, there is no reason why you should not be selling your goods online. Contact me today to set up a beautiful online shop for your business.

You Don’t need to Compete with Anyone but Yourself to Blog Better

“I am competitive with myself. I always try to push past my own borders…”

What a marvelous sentence quoted by Tyra Banks that defines the whole crux of the title!

If we relate this to the highly competitive field of blogging, the same can be said:  the only person that you need to compete against if you want to blog better, is you.

Nowadays, blogging has become so common that everyone strives to make big money through it.  It has become a cutthroat competition and every blogger wants to excel in this field.

This severe competition has created an unhealthy atmosphere of envy in the minds of bloggers.

The main purpose of blogging should be to educate the customers and people around the world about different things and that can only be done if someone is creative and broad-minded.  You can’t do that if your judgment is always clouded by envy.

When competition becomes fierce to become a better blogger, you don’t need to compete with others, but only you.

Here’s two reasons why you should compete only with yourself:

First, when you compete with other bloggers, you only push yourself to match their level of content.  Sometimes, you’ll have much more potential to rise above and to improve your writing skills, but because you’re only focusing on competing, you only end up doing just enough to get by.   Potential is wasted because you could have done so much more.

Secondly, the emotions of jealousy and envy distract your mind and prevent you from producing better content.

There are a lot of bloggers all around the world.  You cannot always figure out what your competitors are doing or what can you do to beat them.

In this situation, what you need to do is to compete with yourself.

Analyze your previous writings in your mind and set your own targets to exceed the quality of content you produced previously.

Set your own milestones. For this purpose, bloggers should study various books and exchange ideas with experts to enhance their knowledge and creativity for coming up with something extraordinary.

Bloggers should realize their inner capabilities and set their own standards against them. They should have faith in themselves and should feel a sense of independence and individuality to come up with content that exceeds the quality of what they’ve previously written.

Competing with yourself in blogging brings success to you in two ways:

  • Your regular readers get a feel that they are getting something better than before and they feel more inclined to visit your blog frequently.
  • The continuous improvement in your content and blogging style attracts even more readers to your blog.

Therefore, if you want to blog better and become successful, then stopping competing with everyone else – focus on yourself.

How do you feel about this?  Do you constantly find yourself comparing your progress to others?  Are you secretly competing with other bloggers?  Are you satisfied with the results?

Who Needs an MBA (or any Degree) When You Have Hustle?

This post isn’t just about MBAs (master of business administration), it’s about higher education in general.

Some folks don’t have access to it; it’s expensive, exclusive and the Kenyan system isn’t built for everyone to have the opportunity.

It’s my hope that after this post, the attitude around what a degree means changes in relation to one’s success, specifically for those who don’t have one…because I don’t think anyone needs a MBA (or any degree) if they have hustle.

I used to think that the more advanced the degree, the better job, and naturally, the better the pay. The reason my attitude has changed is because over the past few years, many of my colleagues have had MBA’s…and I don’t have one. So not only do I play at the same park, I’ve done so without the same credential.

The Reality

Before I get too deep into this subject, I want to make it clear that for certain technical and industry-specific fields, degrees matter.

You can’t become a lawyer without going to law school.

You can’t become a physician without going to medical school.

There’s no way around this reality.

Most would agree that there should be strict regulations and educational requirements for highly complex and sensitive industries.  But in my eyes, everything else is wide open for the rest of us.

The Black Belt Concept

Anyone can get a black belt if they dedicate themselves to doing so (I’m not insinuating that it’s easy…just saying that it’s not out of reach.)

A person who reaches such a milestone will certainly know how to throw a perfect punch – at the air, and a perfect kick – at the air…but in the heat of the moment, they may not have what it takes to truly defend themselves outside the Dojo.

Let’s apply the black belt to a college degree.

Most people, given the opportunity, have the intellectual ability to get a college degree. It’s not THAT hard. And just because a person has a degree, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be good at any job.

I took a number of speech classes in college (hated them by the way), got good grades, but I left campus being pretty bad at public speaking. My grades said I was excellent, but my practical skills proved the opposite. Doing it in the real world is what helped me develop and get better at it.

Just because someone has a black belt doesn’t mean they’re ready for battle. It means that they have a high theoretical understanding of their discipline. You can learn all about swords, understand the dynamics of a sword fight, and have perfect form. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to sword fight.

Organizations are starting to view candidates in this light (Read the Ernst and Young Case). This is part of the reason why GPA’s don’t matter as much as it did in years past. They want people who can drive results; not people who can recite business definitions.

I got A’s in each speech class that I took – and I was pretty bad at the time. If organizations looked at my A, they would think I was a great public speaker…the fact is, there’s no accurate correlation [generally speaking] between grades and real life ability. Same thing goes for degrees.

Hustle is My MBA

I have absolutely no plan to go back to college to get an advanced degree.

Why?

Well because I KNOW that it would have minimal impact on me professionally, as it does for most that do so. I’m not trying to down play the major accomplishment – just saying that in the reality of my world – it wouldn’t do much to serve me.

My colleagues that have a MBA’s did receive some positive impact on their career.  Which is great. I’ve done the same – without the financial burden (MBA = avg. $80k) or time investment (avg. 2-3 years). Their MBAs helped get them to the position they are in…I used another method to get to the same position.

The Alternative

I’ve educated myself by being present and aware; by extending my learning in areas that directly contribute to my ability to do my job. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and taken on projects that have expanded my business intelligence. I’ve maximized on-the-job training. I take complete ownership of my role and responsibilities.

This approach has helped me become the standard in positions that I’ve taken. When you’re the standard, you become the point that others are judged from. It’s a position sure to help progress your career over what any degree can do – in my experience.

If you feel disadvantaged because you can’t fill up the Education part of your resume – don’t fear.

Showcase your skill sets, accomplishments and willingness to self-educate outside of traditional study. Be willing to work harder than everyone else, which will naturally place you on the stage of being the standard. Before you know it, you’ll be working in the same peer group as those who pay thousands of dollars each month to cover student loan payments that they wish they would have done without.

I’m an Advocate of Education

From where this post has gone, you might think that I was against education. But in reality, I’m the biggest advocate of education that I know. I just try not to get caught up in academia and the prestige behind where he or she got a degree (only because it really doesn’t matter and most people don’t care).

A few months ago in a post called Street Smarts Reigns Supreme, I shared that schools such as Yale and MIT offer free online courses open to the public. I actually take courses offered by these institutions based on subjects that I have interests in and that will help me be better at my job.

I have a lot of respect for those who have made the commitment to complete college; under graduate and graduate level. I have a friend who has his PhD and I think it’s the coolest thing in the world. But also I have a great deal of respect for those who didn’t have the opportunity to go to college – because I think they can make just as big of a splash as the next person.

Conclusion

I have a bachelor’s degree. Having it served a good purpose at one point in my career. That purpose being that it satisfied a requirement to get a certain level of job when I graduated. That’s it.

75% (maybe more) of the courses that I took were pointless in the scheme of my life today. Who in the world needs a Matrices class if they don’t care one lick about rocks (I hated that classes).

How in the world can you make a Chinese Dynasty class a prerequisite, but fail to teach young adults how to manage money? The system seems a little twisted.

It’s getting a little too expensive…and frankly, having a degree is more of a formality than a means for preparation.

For those of you who don’t or didn’t have the opportunity to go to college – I think you’ll be okay if you’re willing to hustle. But for those who aren’t so willing to work hard, college degree or not, I’m not sure if higher ed will do a thing for you.

Just because a person has a degree doesn’t mean that life’s any easier…hard work is the requirement under all job descriptions.

To those with a college degree, don’t think you’re “black belt” is all that you need if you want to be successful…it’s not enough. Before my attitude changed, I was stuck in regular run-of-the-mill jobs that paid average wages and it sucked my energy dry.

Bottom line, college degree or not – you own your results…not some piece of paper, no abbreviations or letters after your name, not the state of the economy and surely not any of your excuses. If you want to win – then go do something about it…and win.

I’m not advocating that anyone should pass on the opportunity to go to college. If you can go – don’t let the opportunity pass you by. But if you can’t…you know what to do.

DISCUSSION

I said a lot here and didn’t cover the bulk of my thoughts. College seems like it’s a racket now days; all about hiking up the costs but not truly preparing young adults for the real world.

What are your thoughts on this?

If you have an MBA – do you think it gives you an edge over high achievers? And finally, share anything you’d like on this subject that may offer additional value to the community.

Personal Branding, Self Promotion and the Art of Marketing Yourself

How do you feel about marketing yourself?

Does it feel too self-focused, conceited or arrogant?

Whenever I write about personal branding, self-promotion or anything along those lines – I feel like I’m coming off a bit shallow.

But marketing is a powerful tool for a reason.

Corporations spend millions and millions of dollars on marketing efforts to create a brand, distribute the awareness of their brand, and of course to promote products and services. It’s a natural and essential part of business. Today I’m going to talk about the human side of the marketing coin – marketing yourself.

Self Promotion: The Road to Getting Known

To me, self promotion is a bit awkward at times. But no matter how we slice it, everything we do shapes our personal brand in one way or another. It’s a matter of us owning the promotion ourselves or allowing others to define who we are from their own perceptions or misconceptions of us.

If we don’t own it, we risk being labeled in a light that doesn’t accurately represent who we are.

If you want people to know who you are and to recognize you for a particular skill-set, qualification or interest – then you have to create a lasting awareness. The best way to do this is by sharing your personal stories that make you who you are.

Stories create lasting memories.

A couple of weeks ago I posted 10 of the most commonly asked questions (along with my answers) that I receive via email in an article entitled Why I Hustle. I recently read through the 100+ comments (including my replies) and discovered that I shared my discomfort with publishing the article a number of times…I thought it was a bit too self promotional, although that wasn’t a part of my plan.

The overall reader-reaction to the article was great. It was one of the most viewed articles I’ve ever published…and during its week of sitting at the top of this blog, it yielded a 16% increase in subscribers. I share the numbers to make a point that even though it may feel a bit uncomfortable to share your personal stories, in the name of establishing a name for yourself – most people appreciate learning about you.

People respect, appreciate and want access to “who you are” because:

  • It answers naturally formed questions – helping to build a relationship with people you don’t even know.
  • People are instinctively curious and want to know why you are the way you are, and why you do what you do.
  • You get to clear up misconceptions that may have been formed about you…turning a negative light into a positive one.

Check out Srini of The Skool of Life. He chronicles [what I refer to as] his saga of living abroad as an avid surfer and entrepreneur. Not only is he living is dream, but he’s making a name for himself in the process…such as his upcoming speaking engagement at  Blogworld New York in the coming weeks. Whenever I see or think of surfing, I think of Srini and all that he represents.

How to Promote your Personal Brand

Let’s start with an Example…

When I start a new blog, I also start a new personal branding campaign. To a degree, we all do this. I take the opportunity to meet new people and tell them about myself. This is generally (hopefully) before people have the chance to form any lasting/negative misconception about me.

There are three things that I like to get out as quickly as possible. These things define what I want others to know about me and what is authentically accurate about me:

  1. I’m a family man. It’s my first earthly priority and work never trumps family.
  2. I look to work in an efficient environment. I want to work really hard, for as few hours as possible each day…so I can get home to my family.
  3. I’m interested in being a high performer and getting optimal results. My aim is to be ‘of the best’ consistently with the purpose of maximizing my compensation…but never at the sacrifice of my family time.

This is how I initiate my personal brand campaign. The drift is all centered around performance, and lead by my priorities. I make it clear that I never-ever put work first…but I always give always my best effort towards my job related responsibilities.

All of this takes time…it’s not a 1 week formula. But having actions that consistently match your messaging, and performance that detects that you’re the “real deal” – conditions (not in a bad way) people to identify you in the light you want to be projected in. So sure, I probably work less than 40 hours per week, but people don’t identify me by that, they identify my performance.

Another Example…

Check out Frank Jennings’ About Page (ASparkStarts.com). On it, you’ll find a powerful personal story that captures the complete essence of his personal brand. It’s crafted in a story-like format which you’ll be sure to remember after reading it.

How to Frame Your Messaging…

It all comes down to being real. If you speak on something, but never deliver – the void will always sit in the back of people’s head about you. So it’s not a matter of saying what sounds good, but it’s a matter of projecting what’s real.

Faking it until you make it wont get you far. In time, the truth will catch up with you and you’ll be exposed.

A few tips to consider:

  • Don’t be someone else, just be you. It’s really simple and even natural if you’re honest.
  • Don’t go over the top, it gets a negative effect.
  • Let it happen, don’t force it. It’s a thin line to walk between… and a line that you don’t want to crossover. It’s like the difference between old-school outbound marketing, and the new inbound marketing model.

Marketing is a Skill. Marketing Yourself is an Art

(honestly, marketing in general is an art…but that header sounded soooo good!)

See, it’s not so bad is it. It’s taking the ranks into your own hand and marketing your business (yourself) in a deliberate fashion; in a light that you want to be seen in.

It allows you to control the perception that others form, all while creating a name for yourself and in the very image that accurately and honestly portrays who you are.

The reason I’m so passionate about this topic is because if you market yourself well enough, eventually others will do it for you. Three of my last job offers have come as direct word-of-mouth-referrals; each advancing my career and extending my ability to take care of my family on a financial level. How cool is that!

Discussion
Now for the fun part…

  • Do you make lasting impressions…how so or why not?
  • What do people think of when your name comes up in a conversation?
  • Has your personal brand benefited you in a tangible way?

*Bonus – For those of you who I know well enough, I will share what your brand represents to me, in my reply to your comment.

Why Talking About Yourself is Bad Networking

“It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end it is people that are going to hire you.” – Mike Davidson

If there is ever something that could elevate you to the next level or send you crashing down into the pit of failure, it’s networking.

People place a lot of value on networking, on who to talk to and what kind of deals can be struck. Networking is where the magic happens in business, it’s where you could walk into a crowded room with nothing but a brilliant idea, and leave with enough contacts to make that idea a reality. 

Most of us agree – if you network well, you’ll do well in your business. And yet many of us don’t. We don’t make full use out of the potential that connecting with other like-minded individuals can offer us. Heck, we know we should be getting ahead of the pack here, but we don’t. Why is this?

There’s one huge mistake that a lot of people make when they go into networking events. It could be down to nerves, or ignorance, or a sheer bloody-mindedness to focus entirely on themselves rather than the people they’re talking to. The mistake that people make is that they make the occasion all about themselves.

Our Differences

Other people don’t want to hear about who you are and what you like. They want to hear about what they like.

If there’s only one line that you take away from this post, then I’d suggest it’s this one.

Everybody is different, therefore each of us will have our own likes and preferences, and our own dislikes and pet peeves.

Some of us will like helping small businesses whilst others will like being a part of a bigger brand. Some prefer yard sales whilst others prefer major corporate events.

What this also means is that no-one will have exactly the same preferences and tastes that you do. Sure, there will be some who share your fondness for Twitter, and there will be others will share your dislike for the Alexa ranking. But overall, no-one else on this planet will have the same opinions as you and the same ideas as you.

A Typical Networking Example

Despite this fact of life, there are still plenty of people who attend networking events and talk only about themselves and what they can offer. They seem to think that the more they mention themselves and their amazing benefits, the more chance eavesdroppers will listen in and spread their good name.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this.

If two people both adopt this approach and talk about themselves to the other person, then all that happens is a clash of noises. Nothing gets done, no new deals are struck, and there’s every chance one or both of these people will get annoyed with the whole thing and walk away. A lot of potential is lost when this occurs.

In this example, what happened is that both people put themselves first. They didn’t want to stop and listen to the other person go on about their achievements and credentials, so they made sure this didn’t happen by going on about their own achievements and credentials. I’d venture to say this happens a lot during networking events, and yet we rarely stop and ask ourselves how we can do things differently.

There’s one solid way which we can do it another way – focus on what you can offer the other person.

THEY Come First In Networking

Putting others first is a concept that nearly all of us have heard of, yet so few of us actually do it.

How can we put others first when the overall aim is to gain business advantages for ourselves? It’s a good question, but there’s a way to solve this dilemma effectively. You can put others first and still leave the event thinking it was a success. And if you want to know how to do this, there’s a clue in the wording.

Look again at that sentence in italics. Notice that I said “put others first” and “leave the event”. The trick is to do it in that order – focus the emphasis on others first, and then get your reward afterwards.

Other people are used to talking about themselves – it’s been said that one of our favourite sounds is the sound of our own voice. Granted, that applies to you too, but the next time you attend a networking opportunity, stop yourself from revealing what you are all about and listen to what they say instead.

Wonders happen once you start listening without waiting for your turn to speak. By listening, you immediately gain more information about who they are and what they do. You can learn what their goals are and where they’d like to see themselves. So far, so good.

But this can only go so far, and this is where the key is. At some point in the conversation, ask them what their problems are.

What you could gain from this question could be the knowledge you need to make a serious impression. By identifying what their problems are, and letting them explain in some depth, you then know what they want. Believe me, knowing what a potential client wants is an important ingredient in the recipe for success.

Once you know, you can then begin to talk about what you can offer, but with a twist. You can now tailor what you’ve got to suit their needs. If you offer something to them which can solve their problems and ease their worries, you’ve then got a major advantage over someone else who is going in blind with their ideas. A tailored fit will always be better than a ‘one-size-fits-all’.

This is why putting others first works – you understand their situation and problems, then go in with your idea as a ‘tailored solution’.

Even if they aren’t interested in your idea, you can still move onto the next potential client and use the same approach. As mentioned earlier, everyone’s different, and everyone will have their own problems. Sooner or later, your idea will be the perfect answer to someone’s problems.

The chances of you gaining business will increase if you use this approach, because you’re taking the time to put them first rather than yourself first. They’ll appreciate you standing down and letting them speak, as well as the tailored solution that you can offer them.

In other words, everyone’s a winner.

Should You Fake It To Make It?

It wasn’t the best chat up line.

Or one of my finest moments.

But it got the dance and the girl.

I mean, who can resist, “You may have seen me playing tennis at Wimbledon”?

Kind of true, mostly not.

Some would call it nerve, others bare face cheeked, the girl soon discovered it was a fake but hung on in there for a dance or two. Actually the writing was on the wall because the music we swayed along to was by Milli Vanilli, an Eighties band that famously faked singing on their records using unknown backing singers and taking all the glory themselves.

Guess no harm was done even though I wasn’t being quite honest or accurate in what I was saying.

Thing is it was a nightclub and pretty much everyone else was doing the very same (how do I know if she worked at an undertaker’s or not?) and also I wasn’t misrepresenting myself in the outside world to gain an advantage which is what the modern faker is very adept at doing.

People aren’t self-made anymore, they are self-termed.

This is me…NOT!

Perhaps you use social media like me.

I have a personal page and pages on Twitter and Facebook.

As I’ve been operating for a good few years now I attract friend requests most days. A while ago they seemed to be made up of everyday folks with usual day jobs and various interests and a small range of normal business people and those in my sphere.

Then it changed. Around a year ago normal went out of the window.

Now everyone has a self-styled specialist title or role.

Fair enough, so have I in a way, but I make no boasts or predictions of who I will be. I tell everyone just what I do.

The thing is that what appears to be active like a once dormant volcano is to artificially (and inaccurately) elevate your status with a term that can’t be true or even possible yet.

In the last three days for example I did an experiment and checked out the statements of those seeking to befriend me.

One was a ‘best selling author’, one was a ‘visionary, another a ‘famous energy master’ and then there was the usual ream of ‘Internet blog kings’ and ‘world renowned Internet marketer’ declarations.

Was it true? No!

Why be false?

I chose a small selection of names and did some research.

If they were indeed as they stated, best selling or famous, surely there would be a lot of coverage on the net, be featured on numerous sites and articles, have a large number of references to their work, and I would expect their own site to come up, read testimonials, see peer respect, and even video of them in action or some trail of mentions as proof of their status.

Guess what? Nothing!

Of eight I picked out at random none had any profile to speak of bar their existing social media ones with a hundred or so (or less) followers.

In short, they faked their achievements.

Why do this?

I think you know the answer; it’s a sad part of modern life.

Faking it before making it

Faking is a contemporary con that’s become widespread.

Call yourself something you’re not (yet) because it elevates who you are, meaning you can earn more money or get money in the first place. In the early days many people employed this tactic to gain an (unfair) foot in the door and since it worked for a lucky few everyone jumped on the band wagon.

It’s like the heyday of every restaurant advertising ‘homemade food’ or ‘made from fresh ingredients’ or ‘great atmosphere’, thinking they were the only ones saying it, but they were all copying.

These establishments may have been right as they had plenty of customers who could testify that their food was delicious but the modern human faker generally can’t. They made it up.

They may want your money, or want to sound important, or to create the persona they dream of being and are pretending they are that soul already to get in the skin of their future success, or they could just be full of self-importance or plain fibbing through their teeth.

They’ve not earned it or justified it, they are faking it before making it like a good chancer does.

Should YOU fake it too?

Again you will guess my response to this.

Absolutely not!!!

Have some dignity and self-respect and a large does of integrity.

There’s more to quick money (if it actually ever brings any your way) or being noticed for some lovely label you put on yourself.

There’s earning your ‘guru’ status or ‘ inspirational speaker much in demand’ quote after many years of hard graft and demonstrated experience rather than ten seconds of typing on a computer.

And there’s letting the world decide how good or big or popular you are because when you’re found out it’s your reputation that goes down the pan and with it the ‘friends’ you told you were a leader of tomorrow who will soon disappear today.

If you fake you don’t have enough self-belief and worth to simply be you and share those amazing talents and abilities you have in abundance.

You think you have to make people believe who you are because you don’t believe who you really are underneath.

THAT PERSON is never a fake!

They are talented, and special, and wanted and needed and have a major contribution to this world leaving a legacy by being themselves wherever they go.

You never have to fake it to make it – you make this world by being you and being here.

And that’s the biggest truth no-one can ever change!

How many fakers have you come across online or in person? How do you feel about the fake-it-to-make-it ideology? Is it ever justified or do you think we can all see through the false people among us? Let me hear your thoughts on this subject!

How One Simple Idea Could Change Your Life And Everyone Else’s

One of the best ideas of all time started with a walk.

In 1948 George de Mestral was on a trip in Switzerland when he went out with his dog for an afternoon outdoor hike.

While out he accidentally brushed up against some cocklebur plants and on getting back discovered his woollen trousers (and his dog’s coat) were covered in scores of round, spiky burr seeds.

He noticed how they contained a series of hooks which attached and held themselves to anything they came in contact with.

An idea took root and quitting his job he set about creating Velcro.

An idea that among other things has gone on to be used in clothing straps, flaps on training shoes, floor mats, diapers, briefcases and suitcases, by NASA on space shuttle’s, and to even hold a human heart together during heart surgery.

It was a simply observed idea that has made over $5billion since it was launched and one that revolutionised the clothing and accessory industry.

Ideas that are simple make big differences.

Ones that are right in front of our eyes every day.

Simple works

History has proved that the simpler an idea (and thus more easily adopted and used by more people), the greater the success it tends to be.

In 1970 Spencer Silver was working on developing a new strong adhesive for industrial use but couldn’t quite manufacture the desired strength. He held onto the idea and four years later came his, ‘Eureka’ moment.

Another colleague was singing in the church choir but couldn’t keep his page marker in place in his hymn sheet. He decided to use Silver’s invention to help out and noticed how it enabled him to move the markers without damaging the paper or losing it’s adhesive quality.

The Post It Note was born. A small colourful piece of sticky paper that has become an integral part of work, business and office culture the world over. Children today are as familiar with it as they are Coca Cola or Microsoft.

Simple ideas work even if their intended use becomes altered. The idea is still golden, the fine tuning makes it platinum.

What’s your idea?

The best ideas come from everyday people, not industrialists or development teams. Everyday folk who spot an unmet need or simple function those locked in big offices never get to witness. People like you.

They are at the heart of how the planet works, interacts, and connects but also what’s missing or required to make these easier, save time, save money, or improve quality of life. The true inventors are you and me, our eyes, our instincts, and our own lives and what we need to make them smoother.

What does our head in, or we would love to have to help us out, is most likely what everyone else wants too.

So, when an idea pops into your head (what the business world calls ‘a gap in the market’), it is a brilliant one because there are millions of others who would use or benefit from it.

  • What could you do with? What would uncomplicate your life? Or your friends? Or people like you i.e. other busy mothers or injury prone exercise junkies? What you do is your clue
  • Look for the uba simple. Forget the big invention or the mega product. If you see something so basic that no-one else has, go with it. Most small ideas never develop because they are thought too simple. Simple is what we all want
  • Keep you eyes peeled. Like George de Mestral. Would you have seen an idea like he did or moaned at how your clothes are covered in some ridiculous plant? An open mind is a goldmine
  • Don’t dismiss anything. Keep a journal and when you are out and about as ideas pop into your mind jot them down. On reflection later one or two may seem highly attractive. It only takes one to work
  • They don’t cost the earth. Perception is you need millions to make millions. A simple product or service worth a few dollars/pounds could be what millions of people have long wanted and will happily pay for it. A small amount to start can grow into a large fund in no time. Small ideas can have small budgets but huge implications
  • Why you? You may just see yourself as an ordinary guy/gal and nothing special, so why or how can you create the big idea? Well, why not you? Why pay for something that a big corporation has decided you could use or really need? You are on this planet for a reason and that could be to change lives by simply creating something that changes yours. But everyone else decides it can do the same for theirs. One person can come up with one idea for every body

Ideas are No.1

Ideas are what changes lives. They are No.1 in the hit parade of improving life on Earth in some way, vital or otherwise, saving time, money, hassle, space, peace of mind and energy.

Ideas change the world

They are the preserve of every person in any location of any age or circumstance or background.

Millions of people get ideas all the time and never do anything about them. Everyday wonderful possibilities never come magically to life as someone talks themselves out of a simple idea that could sweep the globe. People who think it wouldn’t matter and that they don’t matter.

You matter! And any idea you have matters. It’s meant to!

And the secret is this – the simpler it is the more powerful it will turn out.

Please, for all our sakes, never walk away from an idea that could change your life and everyone else’s.

If you have an idea or spot one make today the day you ‘Post It’ to the world! Don’t delay, get started. NOW is the time.

Your spark starts right here.

Have you had an idea you never developed? Or would you love to but something is stopping you? Or do you love ideas but not had that jackpot one yet? Let me know and let’s get that ball rolling.

Have You Found The Two Great Treasures Of Blogging?

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” – Henrik Ibsen

Why do we blog?

Why do we push ourselves to churn out posts that we sometimes doubt? Why do we stay up until the early hours of the morning to finish up a guest post? Why do we constantly read more and more blogging material when we could be out there in the real world playing in the sunshine?

It’s because we love to blog, and because we love the two great treasures that blogging provides.

The Treasure Chest

When it came to blogging, I was at first clueless. I didn’t really know what I was doing, what needed to be done, or what would really get me to where I wanted to be.

I’d only checked out a few blogs before I got started myself, and of those, most of them hadn’t been specifically about blogging – they were about football (soccer) or great books, or some other offline passion of mine. Which was great, but it wasn’t going to help me blog.

So instead of finding out more about blogging, and learning from the great experts like Darren Rowse or Brian Clark, I decided to do it myself and go it alone.

This, on reflection, wasn’t a good idea.

Sure, I’d checked out ViperChill and ProBlogger’s, Secrets for Blogging (affiliate link), and followed the advice in there, but that was only one point of information. To take my blog to the next level, I needed to step up my hunt for the treasure chest.

I needed to stop moping around my own blog’s dashboard and actually make an effort to be successful!

So I scooped up my hunting gear, girded my blogging ship for new shores, and like good ol’ Captain Jack Sparrow I set out for the elusive treasure chest that only comes to those who seek it. It won’t come to those who sit around their blogs all day and wish the world would do them a favor!

I hunted through new blogs, new lands, new voices, until I finally reached that treasure chest, cracked it open, and discovered two beautiful treasures inside. At first, I didn’t know what I had in my hands, but then I recognized. I recognized the treasures for what they were.

The two great treasures of blogging. Community. And Conversation.

Community

How to make money with a blogWhen I think of community, I have a tendency to think like a literature professor and split it into it’s two components – ‘commune’ and ‘unity’.

What does this mean?

I think it means ‘unity in communing’, or better yet, ‘unity in communication’. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Unity in communication.

If you’ve followed me at all recently, you’ll know I’ve been vouching for the value of community. I regularly visit community-driven sites such as The Sales Lion and Conversion XL. These blogs largely discuss what community means and it’s impact on blogging. In a nutshell, I think community’s pretty darn important.

Why?

Because this is where the magic of blogging happens!

This is where you connect with the myriad of human beings out there, and learn and laugh so much.

I love the community that I’ve become a part of, as it’s enabled me to not only meet up with dozens of amazing bloggers, but I’ve also had the pleasure of reading great material, commenting on that great material, connecting with the blogger about that great material (and more), and retaining that connection with that blogger.

To put in simply, you could imagine the community of blogging as one big networking event, where everybody has a name badge with their name and blog title, and they mingle around checking out each others work whilst striking up some amazing connections.

Community is great. And I advise anyone who hasn’t started to cultivate their community to do so, immediately. There’s a whole world out there, so what are you waiting for?

Conversation

A conversation, like community, can be broken down into two distinct components – ‘converse’ and ‘situation/location’. This means ‘a location or situation where people are conversing’.

Community is great on it’s own, but without a decent conversation, how can you have that connection with others?

The danger of reaching out to others is that it becomes a business-like transaction, where you don’t really talk with the other blogger but you do mindlessly comment and re-tweet their work in the hopes that you’ll get some form of payback.

There’s no conversation there, no real connection. And that’s not good. It’s not fun. And it’s definitely not worth your time in the long run.

Sound simple?

And yet, it isn’t quite as simple for some bloggers to understand, who prefer to do their own thing and avoid any conversations with other bloggers.

Why do they do this, why do they avoid the conversation?

I can’t vouch for them, but my best guess is that they just don’t see the value in having an awesome conversation, and they’d prefer to work on their own blogs in the hopes that someone big will notice them.

If you want to gain a successful and thriving network of a blog, then this approach won’t work. Having a great conversation means you reaching out to someone and engaging them in topics of mutual interest.

As you’ll both have blogs, then ‘blogging’ automatically becomes a mutual interest, and you can talk about blogging to your heart’s content. Then, the conversation may change to the topics that your blogs are about, but in other guises – personal development bloggers may talk about self-help books, and social media bloggers may talk about Twitter or StumbleUpon.

The point is, if you don’t make an attempt with a conversation, you won’t have that connection, and you won’t get to know another human being. Because they’re more than just a blog that you see on your screen – they’re also living, breathing, free-thinking human beings. And they’ve got a lot to say.

Have You Found The Treasure Chest?

Every single blogger in the world today has a treasure chest, their own container of riches. Some haven’t found it yet.

Some aren’t even looking for it.

And yet some have it and haven’t paid much attention to the two great treasures. Others still have studied the great treasures, and are putting them to good use. A fifth group have begun to master the great treasures, and are truly reaping the rewards.

How about you?

Blogging is for life, Not Just for Christmas

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer

There are millions and millions of blogs in the world today, but how many of them are worth it?

How many of these blogs are generating any income for the blogger, or providing the blogger with some form of satisfaction in their life, or even still active?

Unfortunately, the majority of blogs don’t fill these categories. The majority of blogs are left by the wayside, too time-consuming for the once-enthusiastic blogger who dreamed of making thousands from blogging.

Although there are an increasing number of blogs out there who are generating enough income and ‘life satisfaction’ for the blogger to thrive on, the current trend is that blogging isn’t a ‘safe’ option for a career.

In fact, blogging isn’t really touted as the answer to anything these days. It’s not a consistent high-earner, it’s too time-consuming to be a hobby, and it’s too technical and cold for those who prefer to connect with people away from clicking ‘Like’ and ‘Tweet’ buttons.

So why do people blog?

Why People Blog

There are a wide variety of blogs today, from cooking recipes to social media gurus, and from funny-looking cats to psychology. But these blogs generally have one thing in common – their reason for existence. The reason why so many people set up a blog in the first place falls within a very small circle:

  1. They want to connect with people around the world and meet new friends
  2. They want to share what they’ve learned about their chosen topic with others
  3. They want to make a lot of money
  4. They want to help others in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise

Look at this list now and ask yourself: which reason best describes me?

To help you out, I’ll use myself as an example.

My Love Affair With Blogging

I first set up my very first blog because I wanted to connect with loads of different people. I also had been a member of a few self-help forums and spiritual forums, and wanted to learn more about this ‘online community’ buzz that was repeatedly drawing me in, especially as I enjoyed the conversations with like-minded people.

So I read a couple of blogs to get me started. After a short period of time I came across an eBook called ‘Cloud Living’ by Glen Allsopp. In this book, Glen explained how to set up a website and a blog, and described why they were worth the time and effort to do so.

I decided that this was something I wanted to do, and opted to try this thing called ‘blogging’ first. I figured a blog would be the perfect place to journal my thoughts, connect with new faces, and have a little fun.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any fun to begin with. My initial ‘niche’ was actually three niches – writing, learning, and personal development. I thought if I wrote a post on each, people would appreciate the diversity and versatility of my blog and come rushing back to read more. I thought wrong.

After a while, I realised that what I was doing wasn’t going to get me anywhere I wanted to be, so I changed my tactics and slowly began to build Akenyan Blogger into what it is today. But instead of regaling you with ‘that’ story, I want to point out my initial reason for starting a blog – connecting with others around the world.

The Frustrations That We Experience

Over the past few weeks, I have witnessed a recurrent theme – bloggers quitting blogging.

Everybody will have their own individual reasons. But the feeling of frustration seems to be the same. Bloggers want to feel like all of their time and effort is producing some form of result.

If a result is being reached, such as a thriving community or at least a trickle of money, then that’s good and the blogger can feel like their work isn’t in vain. But if nothing is happening for them, and/or their blogs are starting to feel like a chore, then severe frustration can kick in. This can then lead to the dawning realization that blogging just isn’t for them.

It’s a shame to see more and more bloggers reaching this conclusion. There are good bloggers out there, who are also good people, and their lives are suffering because of their blogs. Where once a blog was a nice hobby or an attempt at financial freedom, it has morphed into a time-sucking nightmare.

If Blogging Is To Work, It Must Fit In

So what happens when you reach this realization that blogging is no longer all it’s cracked up to be? Well, first I believe you should take stock of all that is in your life right now. Is it worth spending all those hours on that blog anymore? Do you think blogging is no longer worth it?

After you’ve thought on this, I reckon that leaves you with two choices:

  • Quit blogging, or
  • Decide on what your blog truly means to you and pursue it

You see, if blogging is to work out for you, it must be a part of your life. It must fit in with your life, not around your life. If you have too much going on right now, and you can barely spend an hour with your blog, then I recommend you stop worrying about it so much and focus on what needs to be done with the rest of your life. Step away from the blog and re-think things through.

Those who have turned their blogs into a success are those who have treated it as an important part of their life. They haven’t left it on the side – they’ve embraced it, spent whatever spare time they had on it, and figured out a business model that would eventually lead them to where they are today. It’s worked for them because they put in the work.

Your Decision

By this point, I want you to reach a decision. If you decide that you don’t want, or can’t put in the time on your fledgling blog, then that’s fine. It’s a responsible and respectable decision, and I wish you the best with your journey.

But if you decide that you want to make your blog work and turn it into a success, then come jump on the spaceship, grab a seat next to me, and let’s turn this into something incredible.