Monday, August 31, 2009

3 Internet Business Principles


Doing business on the internet successfully is similar in many ways to doing business the old fashioned way. Many of the principles that make brick & mortar businesses successful help to create winners on the internet each day when it comes to new businesses turning a profit.

Spending a large amount of time the past four years building my business by working with other successful businesses online, some patterns of success start to emerge. Some trends start to seem evident to me, the businesses that seem to work are almost destined to, and the ones that flop, for the most part, seem that way from the start as well. Here are 3 quick and easy tips to avoiding failure when creating virtually any business online.

Sell Something Unique 

In the industry this is called the unique selling proposition, or USP for short, but to you it should be marching order number 1. Selling something unique is no longer  recommended, it's a must if you want to succeed online with a limited budget. Whatever you sell, it can be similar to other products or services online today, but it should answer that critical question, what makes your offer better than any other similar offer?

Sell Something People Already Want 

Find a crush of demand, and put your product or service front and center. It's as simple as that. If everyone is buying a Kindle e-book reader, sell them leather cases. If everyone is buying cheap sweaters for fall, then sell them the cheapest most comfortable sweaters you can find. By creating a business to meet an already salivating base of hungry customers, your chances of success skyrocket.

Marketing is Everything 

You could have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you're doomed to fail. Countless businesses ignore marketing, or worse yet, think they can get by on word of mouth alone to make enough money to stay afloat. Don't be fooled, behind 99% of the profitable companies on the internet there is a solid marketing plan, trust me, we created a lot of them. Stay savvy on SEO, social media marketing techniques, and anything Google does for small business and you'll be a step ahead of the game.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We’d Love to Tell The World About You

As an entrepreneur one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is working with so many likeminded people, and the incredible organizations they have worked so hard to create. As we near the 4,000 client mark, I have taken a bit of time to reflect on our business. I have always felt very close to many of our clients, as if they were the only ones our company worked with on a daily basis. As our company starts to gain more of a platform online, we want to share that visibility with you.

So here is the deal, if you’d like us to feature your business as a client spotlight on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, and occasional on this blog, let us know. Our director of special operations Jovan Washington typically writes up a client spotlight each day for me, and on occasion I’ll get in the game and brag on our clients online as well.

If you’re interested in being showcased by our company, please email me at with the below details:

Name of business:

What makes your business special:


Products or services you've ordered from us:

Contact person:

Anything else you want us to know:

We look forward to featuring your business in the near future!



One of my favorite online retailers is hiring. Check out details here-

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wondering what everyone is up to for Labor Day?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking For a Few Good Interns

So I had grandiose plans of having a contest to land us a few fantastic interns, then life got in the way. With all the other projects going on right now we're just seeking a few good interns to help us with our daily duties. If you know anyone in the Columbia, SC area or that is moving to Columbia, SC please share the link below with them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Office Logo

Even my office has a logo-



Email Promo for Online Branding Service


What's your online brand worth? Have you ever thought about it? What is your name worth, as in if you associate your name with something, what increased value if any would that product or service have? Coca Cola's brand is worth billions, Nike and Starbucks both have extremely valuable brands as well.

Think about it, if you see a grey and orange sneaker with no logo, what's it worth? Subjective answers are sure to follow, but I'm willing to bet if you toss a Nike logo on that shoe it instantly doubles in value. This is the value of a brand in action.

But these are companies, and you are a person, so how can this be applicable to you? Look at Donald Trump, Regis Philbin, Oprah, and for good measure take a peek at Lebron James and Emeril Lagasse. All of these people are name brands, and the same product-value-increases-when-they-slap-their-name-on-it equation applies as the sneaker example before. A few spices in a bottle are worth $1, toss Emeril's name on that bottle all the sudden it's worth $7.  But does the same apply for someone online, just starting out, or even if they’ve been in the game some years now but nobody knows who they are? I believe it does.

The internet is the great equalizer, it is the only place in the world where your brand can actually shine brighter than those that have spent so much time and money building brands offline. For example there are people on Twitter that have double the followers of a Coke or Nike. Search a phrase on Google and a small mom and pop business might very well outshine a company that made a 50 billion dollars last year in the search results.

The point of all this? The money and effort it takes to establish a brand can be well worth it when you look at the long term value of your brand. Just as you know that when you receive an email or offer from me it’s going to be reasonably priced, well detailed, and offered with excellent customer service, you can count on my brand being the reason that you were alerted to such facts.

So are you ready to build your brand? Are you ready to increase the value of the things you sell online by simply applying your name to them?

If so, please check out the link below. Our Guru Manufacture site takes the same game plan I used to build a million dollar brand online, and applies it to your situation, your niche, and your objectives to make you the go to person in your industry.

To sweeten the pot those that sign up for Guru Manufacture this week, by Friday at 11:59 pm EST, will get 8 FREE weeks of consulting one on one with me, and a FREE month of our acclaimed Social Media Management Service.

That's a $1,400 value totally FREE.

All you need to do is sign up at the link below this week and you'll automatically get an email from me with the details about your freebies.

You can check out what you get with your 1 month free of Social Media Management-

You can check out what you get with your 8 weeks of free one on one consulting here-

I can tell you building a brand online, with or without help is not easy, but its well worth it when you get your name synonymous with whatever it is you sell, amazing things start to happen.

To you doing something this week to make your name more noticeable online,

Clark Covington


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Second Month: A Plan Killer

How do you measure progress nonetheless success when trying to build something online? Whether it is a collection of poetry, an online business venture, or just a log of your favorite web apps, how do you measure progress? This question has racked my brain personally for years as I ambitiously try to do a lot with a little. Here are some thoughts as to why measurement can help improve online success, and how one might go about doing it on a regular basis.

Facebook is Really Distracting

It’s tough enough to get something challenging done with no distractions, try doing it with Facebook, or Twitter, or worse yet, both of them in your face all day. The explosion in popularity of social networks has had the adverse effect of making things incredibly tough to get done online, these sites are hugely distracting, and my absence for some years on them has almost entirely been for this reason. I call them time killers, because they suck away valuable productive time by egging us in with their sweet-as-honey temptation to look at pictures of people you knew a decade ago swimming in France, or alarmingly enough, working at a job that might be one you once strived for. The temptation of these networks is so strong, that the sites often kill a productive day’s work without you even knowing it. The only hope you have of keeping a consistent track of your progress is to measure daily what you are doing, and react when the daily measurement is nothing more than writing that you did nothing that day, because Facebook provided you with a lot of profiles to snoop through.

Methodical Success

When I personally started to measure the sales my business brought in each day, I was able to create a goal that was within reason of our current daily sales. After the goal was achieved, it no longer became acceptable to constantly fall beneath that goal. In other words, by creating a way to measure daily sales, I was able to create a way to measure success, and when sales dropped, it was instantly associated with success dropping, thus I, and later my team, became compelled to fix it. Within a short period of time I created a goal ladder, a bunch of short goals grouped together that when achieved would lead to a massive improvement in business. Once the ladder had been climbed, and our top sales goals were being reached on most days, it was time to create a new one. In essence you can methodically build a profitable business by simply measuring how much money it makes each day, and then making adjustments accordingly to improve, or at least keep that number consistent. This method works great for dud businesses, because if you’re constantly recording $0 sales, or worse yet, losses, you’ll know it’s time to move on to something else. Numbers don’t lie.

When you start measuring on a daily basis you’re much more apt to react to negative trends. Just as if you were trying to lose weight, knowing when you’ve gained 5lbs in a day is a sure way to keep you eating a very light breakfast the next day.

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.”

-Napoleon Hill

As Hill points out, ideas and intentions are pretty much worthless when it comes to measurement. So it makes sense to start out by stating that we should measure our progress in actions taken, not ideas furthered, or conversations had, but real actionable steps achieved.

But How?

So if we know measurement is incredibly important, how, especially if your goals are more esoteric than making money or losing weight, do we accurately keep measurement of progress? My suggestion largely comes in the form of when, instead of what, I advise people to if at all possible create a form of measurement within the first month of starting whatever it is you want to measure.

The first month is when your vision or task is making a lot of sense. Fresh enthusiasm drives your daily labor towards the goal, and as much as you hate to admit it, you think whatever it is you’re doing really will get done even though most of those other things you’ve tried to do in the past haven’t. You’re doing great, and all will be accomplished soon. And then month 2 comes, you’re exhausted, the idea starts to seem a bit stale, and apathy sets in.

Should I continue? Shouldn’t I? Maybe take a break and come back to it?

Welcome to the project killer, month 2. There is no scientific data to back up this claim that I know of, but from sheer experience alone I can attest, month 2 is a project killer. I’ve started nearly a half dozen books that stalled after the first month, I’ve even thought of bundling them together in an anthology titled a dog with no tail. How many website concepts in the past 4 years alone have fizzled out in month 2, I’d say at least 50, maybe more. The point, from my experience at least, is to create an actionable measurement tool in month 1 and stick to it to properly avoid your project’s impending death in month 2.

A Crack at How to Measure

So how in the world do you really keep track of, say, a schedule for creating a photography book based on pictures you’ve taken with your XLR of the Northwest United States?

Checking off a list isn’t bad, neither is writing things down. Needless to say there are countless online applications to assist you in this as well. The key is to have your measurement tool directly in line with your daily activities. If you’re always on the go, then maybe it makes sense to keep a small pencil and half index card tucked in your wallet, so you can record on the go. Conversely, if you’re stuck at the computer all day, why not use a dedicated pad to record the data each day? Or if you are too digital to ever put a pen to pad these days, create a spreadsheet and email it to your webmail account, or share it on Google Docs so that you can access it from any computer.

Whatever measurement tool works best for you is the one you should use, just make sure it’s created soon, ideally in that first wave of enthusiasm when your project is just getting underway. Once the habit of recording information on a daily basis in it is formed, it’ll be tough to break.

A Few Personal Examples

The ultimate irony here is I’m not an organized person. My house is less than clean to put it kindly, and my life often seems to be a series of jumping form one pending issue to the next, rather than executing some masterful plan. With that noted, I do measure a lot each day, and from my experience these measurements have helped tremendously in both gauging business success and feeling like I’ve got at least some grip on things, here are few of my daily measurement routines.

Business sales and expenses- I use an accountant’s log book for recording sales, and a similar book for recording deductions on a daily basis. These books look like notebooks but have the boxes and lines to help you record financial data easily each day. You can get them at any office supply store.

Working out- A single sheet of yellow notepad paper is always on my refrigerator door, it simply requests a check mark for each day I workout during the week. By keeping it on the refrigerator I’m constantly reminded if I haven’t worked out enough for the week.

Things to do- I have both an offline version, which is typically a single sheet of paper organized by personal and business tasks. The online version can be found at which allows for my staff to contribute to my to-do list for business. It’s accessible via any computer with an internet connection and a web browser, as well as on my iPhone.

Business projects- I’ve got about a dozen accounts with Basecamp, the leading online project management software. Visit for more information. I’ve traded emails with the owner a few times, nice guy.

Engagements- It’s not just good enough to mark a calendar these days, in the world of ominous distractions, you need automated reminders. I use Google Calendar that my staff can contribute to, it also sends out two reminders each day of an appointment via email so you’re constantly nudged to make sure you make your appointments.

Writing- Large poster board makes the perfect in-your-face reminder that your book project is falling behind schedule. I typically stick the massive chapter outline on a wall in my living room so that, even when not in the office, I’m reminded of what needs to be done for whatever book I’m working on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Case Study


Social Media Management Leaps to Page 1 on Google in 21 Days

I don’t just sell internet marketing and SEO services, I buy them from our company for my own sites as well. As many of you know, I’ve been promoting our Social Media Management Service a lot lately, in part because I believe it’s the future of internet marketing, and in part because I believe it helps with SEO and brand awareness. So to help push my site up the SEO ranks, I used our service to get it onto page 1 on Google for our most competitive term that happens to have over a 100 million results in Google. With a single order I was able to get to page 1 within 3 weeks.

This case study helps illustrate the power of our service; I hope it convinces you to consider using the service soon!

Keyword attempting to rank for: Social Media Management

Results in Google for keyword: 123,000,000

Rank before writing and submitting 6 articles: Page 2 (21st Result Overall)

Rank after writing and submitting 6 articles: Page 1( 8th Rank Overall)

Net gain after 6 article submissions: 13 Spots in Google

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Live article links-






Article Dashboard-

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Monday, August 3, 2009

LinkedIn Wants To Be Twitter

It’s human nature, why wouldn’t you want to be as successful as Twitter if you design web apps for a living? The people at LinkedIn obviously do. While I was tinkering with my LinkedIn profile I noticed a strange request, LinkedIn wanted to know what I was doing, how odd, since Twitter asks nearly the same question anytime I visit their site.


What’s wrong with this? Nothing really, other than one person can only update so many social network profiles before their actual work comes calling. That’s why I recommend using as a way to syndicate posts. At least that way when the newest website dujour asks you what you’re doing you can simply add it to your list of syndicated sites and you’ll be all good.