Catherine Lawson Bold Advice For Business Success Wed, 03 Dec 2008 19:47:26 +0000 en 1064846 Understanding Emotional Behaviour in A Screwed Up World Wed, 03 Dec 2008 19:02:36 +0000 cathlawson Understanding emotional behaviour is one way that we can make sense of bad situations and prevent them from happening again. And understanding our own emotional reactions is a good place to start.

Making sense of our own behaviour and reactions helps us to understand others. And through doing this, we can control our responses in particular situations. But can we do the same in an extremely challenging situation? I don’t know about you, but if I’m faced with a situation where I feel as though I’m at risk, I find this difficult.

Is It Possible To Control Our Normal Biological Response In An Extremely Challenging Situation?

In any situation where you have time to think, it’s quite easy to stop yourself and say - why am I feeling angry or upset? Or, what could be making that person behave like this? And control your response to the situation.

But if we are in a challenging situation where we fear our safety, a fight, flight, or freeze response kicks in. Fight, flight, or freeze is controlled by the central nervous system and it’s meant to happen to protect us in dangerous situations. But, does it protect us? And if not, are we able to override the fight, flight or freeze response?

An Example of Flight, Fight Or Freeze

Imagine I see Davina and Barbara arguing. I go over to try to calm them down and Davina wacks me across the face. Now I know myself, that if someone wacked me across the face for no apparent reason, I would have a hard time making myself stop to think about why they did that and what the best response would be.

The fight response would probably kick in and I would give Davina an absolute blasting and I probably wouldn’t have much control over what I said to her.

On the other hand - if I saw that Davina had a knife in her hand, the good old flight response might make me grab Barbara and try to flee to safety. This response would only be useful if we were faster runners than Davina.

Or, what if Davina pointed a gun at Barbara’s head? Perhaps I’d freeze, because I didn’t know what to do. That situation wouldn’t be particularly useful either.

So, is how useful is flight, fight or freeze in these situations, if it prevents rational thinking and doesn’t help in protecting us from danger?

Is It Possible To Control The Fight, Flight or Freeze Response?

In situations where we’re not in immediate danger, it is not so difficult to control our response - especially if we train ourselves to do so.

But, can we control the fight, flight, or freeze response in challenging situations? After all, most of us are not faced with situations which threaten our safety everyday.

So how can we train ourselves to control them? If we learn the habit of not allowing our behaviour or reactions to be affected by emotion, would that be enough to prevent the fight, flight or freeze response kicking in? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Hilarious Online Gender Testing Results Tue, 02 Dec 2008 23:25:39 +0000 cathlawson

I’ve always been dubious about online testing, or any tests for that matter. And I’ve found the results are often biased towards the beliefs of the person writing the test. But these tests can still be amusing, so when Hunter Nuttall sent me a link to the Gender Analyzer, I couldn’t resist trying it out.

Here’s how the gender analyzer works. You enter the name of any website and it can tell you the gender of the webmaster - or so it says. Here’s some of the results I got:

We guess is written by a man (58%), however it’s quite gender neutral. Wrong. As most of you are aware, I’m not a man, but I’m glad, it finds my blog quite neutral, as that’s what I intended. We guess HunterNuttall is written by a woman (53%), however it’s quite gender neutral. Wrong again. No sane lamp rubbing woman would write, Greatness Without Genies - The Law Of Attraction For Realists.

BloggingWithoutABlog: We think it is written by a man (65%). Wrong again. Blogging Without A Blog, is written by Barbara Swafford. I thought it might get this one right. I mean, a man wouldn’t write, Blogger Exposes Herself - Traffic Soars

We think is written by a woman (87%). Correct. This is the first one it got right, but I’m guessing that the word “Mom” in the domain name and the fact that Vered is a Mommy Blogger was a big giveaway. And I don’t know any man who would write Female Athletes Say Skimpy Outfits Are Not Sexist.

Dooce: We have strong indicators that Dooce is written by a man (99%). Wrong. I had to check out this one, after the MomGrind result. Heather Armstrong’s blog is probably the oldest, best known mommy blog on the Internet. But the machine thinks she’s a daddy blogger.

A Daring Adventure: We have strong indicators that A Daring Adventure is written by a man (99%). Correct. The webmaster there is Tim Brownson. Only a man could review a book called Self Development For Smart People, then realise he got the title wrong.

Loving Pulse: We think is written by a woman (66%). Correct. This video, by Davina Haisell could only have been recorded by a woman: Preparation Inspires Self Confidence.

Have you taken any online tests lately? Were they accurate?

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Internet Presence: Do You Need One? Mon, 01 Dec 2008 20:15:53 +0000 cathlawson

“We just need an Internet presence,” yet another business owner tells me. And I’m looking at their ineffective, one page website, trying to think of a nice way to tell them it sucks.

Too many business owners have this type of Internet presence. They only operate offline, so assume that a boring, ineffective page, with address and telephone number will do.

Is Having A Decent Website Really That Important?

Put it like this, if you don’t have a decent Internet presence and you have a business, you’re seriously screwing up your future. More and more business is being done online, as opposed to offline. And Credit Suisse estimate that by 2010, $263 billion per annum will be spent online.

Even when customers don’t actually buy directly online, you can bet that many of them do their research on the Internet, before making a decision. But if you have no internet presence, or a one page website, your business isn’t going to be much use to them.

Do People Actually Look For Your Type Of Business Online?

Whatever type of business you’re in, you can bet that folk will try to find it online. And if you don’t have a decent Internet presence, someone else will beat you to it.

Service businesses are at risk, because national web savvy call centres are taking work that could have been yours and making a hefty profit, by farming the work out to cheap subcontractors. And if you’re in retail, you could lose out, as online stores are able to charge a lot less than you, because they have fewer overheads.

A Mere Internet Presence Is Like Having An Empty Shop Window

Sticking one of those basic websites on the Internet, is like opening a store in the high street, putting your name and address in the window and leaving the doors locked. Would you be inspired to buy anything from that type of business? I know I wouldn’t.

So What Can You Do About Your Internet Presence

You have a few choices but, if you already have a basic Internet presence, you’d probably be better off ditching your original website designer. They most likely charged you a small fortune for something that took them 30 minutes to knock up.

If you don’t have the time, or skill to do the design yourself, find a decent website designer who specializes in something more than giving you a basic Internet presence. Men With Pens did a great job of customizing the design for this website and it didn’t cost the earth.

Do bear in mind that it’s not all about design though. If you suck at writing and you don’t have time to learn search engine optimization, you’ll need to find someone who can do that too. Also, you’ll need to market your website effectively. So the costs of outsourcing everything can mount up quickly.

But if you don’t have the budget to outsource it, building your own website isn’t that difficult. You don’t need to learn html, or anything too complicated, as there’s plenty of decent software that’s easy to use. Site Build it is an excellent choice for people who want to build a website for their offline business. It’s a comprehensive package that includes web hosting, domain name, search engine optimization, online marketing and everything else you’ll need.

Site Build it takes the headache out of building a website for your business and it’s a lot cheaper than outsourcing the whole thing. Also, Site Build It comes with a free action guide, which shows you what to do, every step of the way.

And here’s two excellent free books you can download, which have been written especially for offline business owners, who want to build a website for their business. Feel free to save them to your computer, print them out, or share them with friends.

The first is the Service Sellers Masters Course and it’s great for tradespeople, or folk who have a service business.

The second is the Webmaster Masters Course, which is brilliant if you have a business which sells products.

Have you built a website for your business before? What was the most challenging aspect? Would you recommend others to build their own website, or get a designer and outsource the content writing and SEO.

Or, are you thinking about building a business website? What are your biggest concerns? Please share in the comments section.

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Image Credit: Kevin Jarrett

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Don’t Write An Ebook Until You’ve Read This Sun, 30 Nov 2008 23:55:22 +0000 cathlawson

If you’re planning to write an ebook, there’s something you should know before you begin. Otherwise, you may never finish your ebook and something that could have made you a decent amount of cash, will remain in your head, instead of in an ebook.

You see, I’ve written short information products in the past, but not a full length ebook. And I had an ebook inside me that was screaming to get out, so as I’d already reviewed the 7 Day Ebook, I decided to use it to help me write my own ebook.

Now, I just want to point out that I’m not attempting to write an ebook in 7 days. I’m sure it’s possible, if you want to work on your ebook full-time but I have too many things on the go and not enough hours to get them done. So I just want to write an ebook as quickly as possible, in the limited time I have.

And the 7 Day Ebook is a great guide but there’s one piece of advice in there that caused me to hit a huge stumbling block. You see, the 7 Day Ebook advises you to write the sales page, before you even begin your book. It says that doing this will get you excited and enthusiastic about writing the actual ebook.

It’s a big fat lie. If you’re like me and you suck at copywriting, it’s more likely to leave you feeling incompetent, drained and totally pissed off. The technique just doesn’t work, unless you’re a brilliant copywriter, who writes that kind of stuff on a regular basis.

Well, I don’t write sales copy often. And when I do, I have to keep a copywriting book open beside me. There’s heaps of great copywriting books available but I use Steal These Secrets the most. It’s not the cheapest option but it’s good. And I prefer using something that I can access on my computer, rather than having to leaf through a huge book to find what I need.

But a sales page isn’t something you can bang together in 30 minutes - and you shouldn’t try, if you want to make sales. And if you struggle with copywriting, as much as I do, you’d be far better off writing a rough version of your sales page, before writing your ebook. You can go back and write the sales page properly when you’ve finished the ebook, so you can give it the attention it deserves.

Aside from that one small point, I’m still finding the 7 Day Ebook really useful and I’m getting on far faster than I would have done without it. But you do need to realise that you will only complete your ebook in 7 Days, if you’re working at it flat out.

Have you written an ebook before? Do you have any great advice to share? Or have you considered writing an ebook? What’s stopping you from getting started?

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Affiliate Commissions - Is Your Anti-Virus Eating Them? Sat, 29 Nov 2008 20:00:22 +0000 cathlawson

If you use affiliate marketing on your website, or blog, your Anti-Virus software could be preventing you from getting affiliate commissions.

Over the last few days, three people have mentioned in emails that they bought products advertised on my blog. Trouble is, I didn’t receive affiliate commissions for any of them. The first couple of times it happened, I figured those people had previously clicked an ad on another site. But when I got the last email, I was a bit concerned, as it wasn’t an ad I’ve seen in many places.

I know three sales doesn’t sound like too much to worry about. But you’ve got to remember that only a tiny fraction of visitors to this website would ever email me and mention that they’d bought a product.

So, I did a bit of research and discovered your anti-virus software can actually block the tracking copies, used by some affiliate programs. And sure enough, when I checked mine, I discovered that McAfee was doing this.

I had no idea it was happening. I’m not particularly technically minded and I tend to install these things and leave them to get on with their job; without really knowing what they’re doing.

Now, I don’t know how to change the settings on other Anti-Virus software but on McAfee, here’s what I did:

Go into advanced menu, then go into Computers And Files.

Click configure. Then click real time scanning.

On Virus Protection Enabled, go into Advanced. Uncheck scan and remove tracking cookies, then click apply and ok.

Next click custom scan, then click scan and remove tracking cookies - click apply, then ok.

You also need to ensure that your browser enables cookies. For Firefox, go to Tools, Options, Privacy, then tick accept cookies and accept third party cookies.

For Internet explorer go into tools, internet options, privacy and change the settings to accept all cookies.

Problems like this can be prevented if you do your research properly. But it’s easy to read a whole heap of information and forget a lot of it. I’m now re-reading the Super Affiliate Handbook, to make sure I’m not making any more glaring errors.

If you use affiliate programs on your website or blog and haven’t read the Super Affiliate Handbook, I’d encourage you to do so. You could save yourself a lot of trouble, not to mention loss of affiliate commissions because of silly mistakes.

Have you lost affiliate commissions, due to anti-virus software, or other reasons? Do you have any other tips, or advice to share on protecting affiliate commissions?

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We’re All Responsible For The Walmart Tragedy Sat, 29 Nov 2008 05:14:08 +0000 cathlawson Whenever a tragedy occurs, there’s always plenty of people looking for someone to blame. And the case of the Walmart assistant, who was trampled to death by Black Friday sales shoppers, was no exception.

Hundreds of message board users pointed the finger at the 200 shoppers involved, Walmart, the Government and anyone else they could think to blame. But the truth is, we are all responsible for the Walmart assistant’s tragic death.

People who flock to the type of sales that Walmart run are motivated by two powerful emotions - the first is usually greed, they want something as cheap as possible. And the second is fear - if they don’t get through those doors fast enough, they’ll lose that half price tv they’ve had their eye on.

And I know that like me, many of you hate shopping but that doesn’t let us off the hook. If you have a business, you’re selling something. And if you’re doing a decent enough job of it - you’re appealing to people’s emotions to buy. And the strongest and easiest emotions to appeal to are fear and greed.

Some folk would call this manipulation and others would call it persuasion. But either way - you’re doing it. If you’re not, you’re probably not making much cash.

Ok, so maybe you’re not selling “stuff” - you might be selling products or services to improve people’s lives in some way. But does that really let you off the hook? The woman down the street selling trashy fashion jewellery might think she’s improving people’s lives too.

So lets think about the Walmart tragedy again. What do you think could be done to stop something like that happening in the future? Do you think it would be easier if folk stopped looking for someone to blame and accepted that we are all responsible? Or do you think we’re not responsible at all?

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Did Black Friday Steal All Your Visitors? Fri, 28 Nov 2008 16:48:45 +0000 cathlawson

Did Black Friday steal all your visitors to your blog, or website, or your home even? This blog has been deathly quiet. In fact, it’s been so bad that not one single person entered this bloody amazing competition - and you don’t even have to show your ass this time.

I thought the day following Thanksgiving would be busy. But nobody told me about Black Friday and we don’t have it here in the UK. So I thought, bugger it, if the rest of the Internet is dead, I’m still going to read, instead of shopping. Mind you, I did come across one great deal while I was browsing but I’ll tell you about it in a minute.

First off, I found this amazing video on Twitter, thanks to Rebecca Leigh, the smart fresh freelance writer. You really need to see it for yourself to understand it: Invest In A Girl And She Will Do The Rest.

Then I found this awesome free ebook by Joanna Young - Asking Questions For A Change: How To Ask Purposeful Questions. It’s a must read for anyone who blogs or uses social media. See, I told you browsing the Internet was better than shopping. I bet none of the stores were actually giving stuff away today.

After that, I found something that kind of pissed me off. You see, I’ve been coveting the amazing Thesis Blog Theme for ages. Don’t get me wrong, the Revolution Theme is great. It’s just, the Thesis theme seems to be able to do almost everything, aside from writing the blog posts for you.

Changing my theme right now, is really too much hassle - no matter how much I want to. But just to make me feel even worse, they’re having a one day sale on the Thesis Theme today, for Black Friday. They’re giving a 20% discount and if you’re thinking of upgrading your blog theme, you can check out the thesis live demo page here.

And if you still have a free theme and you haven’t been thinking about upgrading your blog, it’s something you should seriously consider. The number of repeat visitors I get to this blog, has soared, since Men With Pens customized the Revolution Theme for me earlier this year.

Talking of Men With Pens, James has written a great post today that will help you make more money, so you can afford that customized theme. He’s not talking about robbing banks, he’s telling you - How To Increase Your Rates For The New Year.

And if your life is shit - or even worse than shit, I know somebody who can help. She’s certainly helped me already. Davina of Loving Pulse is telling us - When Fear Closes In Take Action.

Have you been having a quiet Black Friday? Did you find something interesting to keep you occupied instead of trudging round the shops? And did you enter my competition yet? If not, please tell me why it sucks in the comments section. I promise not to tell you off, or ban you and I’ll try not to cry too much.

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Win 250 Awesome Postcards To Promote Your Business Fri, 28 Nov 2008 03:00:05 +0000 cathlawson How would you like to win 250 fabulous postcards, to promote your business? If you’re not doing any off-line marketing, you’re really missing out - especially if you have a service business. And I have two sets of postcards to give away, so two lucky winners will each get 250 postcards.

The Postcards have been donated by - the leader in Eco-Friendly Postcards Printing. They use safe soy based inks, water-based AQ coating, to improve bio-degradability and recycling.

If I was able to enter this competition, I’d choose people, or businesses, in my target market. Then I’d divide my postcards into three and send three postcards to each customer, over nine days. If possible, I’d try to pick folk in my local area so I could hand deliver. And I’d include a special offer with a deadline date on the cards.

On the final drop, I’d knock on the door to see if the customer would like to take advantage of my special offer (you don’t have to do the door knocking bit - I would actually get my husband to do that part, as he’s better at door to door sales than me, plus I’m scared of big dogs).

Of course - there’s lots of thing you could do with your postcards. You could use them to run a competition, run a special offer for existing customers, or send thank you cards to folk who’ve already bought from you.

How To Enter

1. Become a Fan of Postcards by logging into and going to the page:

2. Leave a comment at the end of this blog post, using your Facebook name/username and tell us what you would use the postcards for. You don’t have to be wacky or original, as the winners will be drawn randomly.


250 Postcards each for 2 Lucky Readers

You can choose from any of our stocks, including the Extra Thick 14pt. Cover: Gloss (AQ), Matte or the 13 pt. Cover Uncoated (Recycled) stock at a size of 4×6.


Winners in the United States and Canada qualify for free shipping. Shipping fees will apply to winners outside these areas.

Closing Date: Friday 5th December at midnight (Eastern Time). Good Luck.

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Is Google Smart Pricing Your Ads? Thu, 27 Nov 2008 07:00:11 +0000 cathlawson

Do you run Google Adsense ads on your blog or website? Is Google paying you a pitiful amount per click? Then Google might be smart pricing your ads.

Recently, I mentioned new strategies I have been trying out, to increase my Google Adsense revenue. And while the new ideas I’ve implemented have increased my clickthrough rate, the amount of money I’m getting per click has plunged.

Then, I read about Google smart pricing, through another blogger who was penalized on his site buy Google, because one of his sites sucked. And he doubled his income from Google Adsense, by removing the offending sites.

If you own a blog, which Google doesn’t like for some reason; or if ads on your site convert badly, they’ll give you crappy irrelevant ads and pay you a pittance for them. Apparently, if your blog is about making money blogging - you may also be penalised. Many people who blog about making money blogging only get around 5 cents a click. But I’m betting most of them probably deserve it.

Trouble is, if you own more than one blog or website, they’ll pay you a pittance for the ads you show on those too.

Recently, my Google Adsense earnings took a dive. Initially, I thought it was because of a couple of new sites I’d added. But it didn’t take long to figure that Google was penalizing my former hideous website that used to be one of the worst websites on the Internet.

Evere since I beautified the site a little - Google has served it with crappy, irrelevant ads. The annoying thing is, the content is almost the same - it just looks better. So it looks like Google prefers ugly sites.

If you’ve recently added new sites to your Google Adsense account and your earnings have dropped, you may want to remove ads from them for a few days and see if they go up. And if you’ve got one of the ugliest websites on the Internet, you might want to think twice, before giving it a facelift.

Also, if your earnings per click have always been bad, you may have been smart priced all along. Apparently, most of those make money blogging blogs are usually smart priced and they make terrible earnings per click.

Unless you get a huge amount of traffic, it’s crazy to rely on Google Adsense alone to make money from your website or blog anyway. You can make a lot more money using affiliate programs. And you can learn more about affiliate programs from the Super Affiliate Handbook.

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Which Prize Would You Choose? Wed, 26 Nov 2008 18:37:20 +0000 cathlawson

Are you a total loser when it comes to competitions? Is it because you never win - or are you always the one left with the last crappy raffle prize that nobody wants? If you could have a say in choosing the prize, would it tempt you to enter?

A few folk have approached me to offer competition prizes on this blog, since I ran the show your ass competition. But if I do run more competitions, there’ll be no more ass showing for a while.

To persuade more people to enter (obviously, hundreds of people did not send in a pic of their ass), I’m going to make the competitions easier - you may have to do no more than answer a question in the comments section.

But I’m not going to pawn you off with any old crap. I will only be accepting competition sponsorship from folk who are dishing out great stuff that you really want to win.

So let me know what sort of prizes you’d like to see and I’ll find sponsors who are willing to donate them. Read through some of these ideas, tell me which ones you like the most, or suggest some better ones in the comments section:

Marketing materials for your biz - eg. postcards, business cards and flyers.
Books and ebooks on sales and marketing.
Custom designed blog theme.
Business Courses.
Life coaching and business coaching.
Search engine optimization books and tools
Motivational Books
Copywriting Services
Psychic Readings/Soul Healing
PC Software
PC Hardware

Do you want to see more competitions on this blog, or do you think they’re a waste of prime Internet space. Which of these prizes appealed to you most? Or do you have some better ideas for competition prizes? Please share in the comments section.

PS: If you’d like to sponsor a competition, to drive more traffic to your website, email me at cath AT

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