Are You Living the Dream?

Are you living the life of your dreams? Do you even know what your dream lifestyle is?

living the dreamDo those questions sound silly to you?

If so, that’s a major mindset issue you really need to change. I know that, because I’ve been there, and not that long ago.

Have you ever been to an event or read a book which asked you to describe your dream life or list what you really want in life, or something along those lines?

If so, did you find it hard to answer?

There’s something seriously wrong with that!

If you’re asked to use your imagination and describe what you really want out of life, why is that so difficult to answer?

Keep in mind, these questions almost always just ask what you want, not how you would get it.

Do You Know What Your Dream Is?

It’s sad, really. A lot of us have dreams as kids, then by the time we get through high school and perhaps college, we have all the dreams sucked right out of us. We’re taught that we will have to spend most of our adult lives working for someone else, doing what they tell us to, living where it’s convenient for them, not where we really want to live, and if we’re lucky, eventually retire some day, then sit around in our old age wondering where all the years went.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

I spent about 15 years trapped in the corporate rat race. I’m not sure I realized at the time how bad it was, but it was no way to live. I would get up too early Monday through Friday, sit in traffic to drive to a job that I didn’t like, hope not to get fired or in major trouble, come home, have dinner, watch a little TV and go to bed. Repeat 5 days a week, year round, eagerly waiting for the weekend or holidays or vacation time to arrive.

Not much of a lifestyle, really. Certainly better than many people in other parts of the world, but nowhere near living the dream. If someone had asked me back then what my dream was, it probably would have been something lame like to get a higher paying job or nicer house, not something that would have truly fulfilled me.

I don’t think I even knew anyone back then who was living their dream.

More and More People Are Living the Dream Right Now

Over the past few years, all that has changed. The Internet has made it much easier for people to live their dream lifestyles, and I’ve gotten to know more and more people who are living their dreams or in the process of creating their dream lives.

Most of these people are young, under 30, some still in their teens. Why aren’t there more people over 40 but not yet retired working on this?

All I can say is that the older you get, the easier it is to get set in your ways. People get more years accumulated in their jobs or careers, and it seems easier to stay on the current path than start something new.

But if you’re 40 or 50, why condemn yourself to another 10-25 years of the rat race, when you could start living your dream within a year or so?

Why wait til some corporation or government agency says you’re old enough to retire, to start living your dreams? My dad worked his whole life, retired after 30 years with one big company, then died 3 years later. A whole 3 years of retirement, most of it spent waiting for my mom to retire. Fortunately her retirement lasted 30 years, but almost all of it without her husband.

Living the Dream Right Now

For the past few years I’ve been meeting many people who have started living their dreams.

Some people’s dreams involve living in specific places, pursuing certain activities, or making specific amounts of money.

One of my best friends loves to surf and was able to move to Costa Rica, live by the ocean, and go surfing every day in one of the world’s best surfing spots. He’s living his dream right now.

Even if you don’t like being in the water, you have to admit that’s pretty cool, right? (He even gave his team the name Living the Dream.)

An interesting thing about some of these dream lifestyles is that they don’t cost a lot of money, sometimes no more than living in a typical apartment in the United States, but they just sound exotic.

I recently met someone who just turned 20 and was able to pursue his dream of moving to Thailand and working very part time, in just a few months starting from scratch.

There are many others I could tell you about, but I’ll save those for another time.

What Is Your Dream?

Drop me a comment in the box below and let me know what your dream lifestyle is. If you’re not sure what is, take some time to really think about that.

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Using WordPress for Membership Sites

One of the most important decisions when creating a membership site is which software to use. This article will explore WordPress as a membership site solution.

For our purposes, we will define a membership site as a website on which a person must create an account in order to access some or all of the content. Most of these sites also charge fees to join.

Before choosing membership site software, it’s best to decide which features and functions the site is to have, then look for software which meets those needs. There is no one software solution which is the best for all sites. In some cases, a custom-programmed solution may be necessary, but most site owners will be able to find existing software which meets their needs.

Benefits of WordPress

Although WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform, it has grown well past that. It has become a full-featured content management system (CMS) that is suitable for developing many types of websites, without losing its edge as a leading solution for blogging.

Let’s examine some of the key reasons why WordPress can be a good choice for membership sites.

First, WordPress already has a robust, built-in user account system. Accounts can be created which grant almost any imaginable range of privileges to a specific user. The site owner can be an administrator, which includes all powers within the system. Employees can be contributors or authors, which lets them create and edit content on the site without being able to remove users and perform other sensitive operations. Site members can be subscribers, which allows them to view the content without being able to edit or remove it.

WordPress includes robust content creation tools, such as its editor, which offers both a Microsoft Word style visual editing mode and a mode which allows direct entry of code such as HTML. It also has integrated image management and a comment system, which allows users to interact with content.

The popularity and huge market share of WordPress has led to a huge selection of themes and plug-ins, which can do almost anything a site owner might want. A theme controls the look and feel of a site, such as fonts, colors, and page layout, without altering the site’s content, which is stored separately. A plug-in adds functionality to a WordPress site.

For the same reason, there are many talented software developers with WordPress experience in case a site owner needs custom programming. Some hosting companies even offer WordPress-specific hosting. There is plenty of support available for WordPress.

The inclusion of all of the above features in WordPress means that the membership software has much less work to do and can be much simpler than non-WordPress membership solutions.

Important Features of Membership Software

WordPress membership software is typically implemented as a plug-in. Let’s discuss some of the key features to look for in this type of plug-in.

Although WordPress has a built-in user account system, it does not have a way to charge users for access to the site. One key feature of any membership software is the billing functionality. It must ensure that users have access to the content they are entitled to, and nothing more. People should not be able to access content they have not paid for and should lose access when their membership is canceled.

Nearly all membership software will handle that basic payment need. Another factor to check is which payment solution providers the software can handle. If it only works with PayPal, what about customers who can’t or don’t use PayPal? The best membership software will work with PayPal, third-party merchant providers like Stripe and authorize.net, shopping carts like Infusionsoft, and affiliate networks such as JVZoo and ClickBank.

It’s a good idea to put members of a site on an email list, so you can keep them updated. Another software feature to look for is which autoresponder services, such as aweber, GetResponse, or MailChimp, can be integrated with the membership software.

Membership software should be flexible in which payment terms it allows the site owner to offer to members. Most software will offer monthly billing; better software will also allow weekly, quarterly, or whatever frequency the owner chooses. Check to see whether the software allows free or paid trials, which give new users access at a lower price for a short period of time before charging them the regular price. Does the software allow discounts or coupons?

Good membership software allows a site to have multiple levels of membership, such as silver, gold, and platinum, each of which offer different content or features to members. Each level should be able to have its own price (including free) and billing schedule, independent of other levels.

Another popular feature to look for is drip-feed (also called sequential or incremental content). This means a member will get access to a specific piece of content based on when he or she joined the site. For example, a particular page might appear to the user ten days or thirty days after the date of joining, rather than all users getting access to it at the same time. Use of a drip-feed system can dramatically reduce the total amount of content needed for a site, since there only needs to be enough for the longest-remaining member, assuming the content is still relevant and useful.

Although there are some free membership plug-ins, it makes sense to go with a paid plug-in, which is more likely to be maintained than free plug-ins, since the developer has a financial incentive to keep improving the software. Paid plug-ins also tend to have more features.

WordPress releases frequent updates, some of which require plug-ins to be updated to remain compatible. If a developer abandons their membership plug-in, a future WordPress update might make it virtually unusable. It could be difficult to switch a site to other software at that point.

Look for stability when choosing membership software. If the software has been on the market for several years and has a large user base, those are very good signs that it is solid and that the developer is likely to be around for the long term.

Some popular paid WordPress membership plug-ins are WishList Member, Digital Access Pass, MemberPress, and WooCommerce Memberships. It’s beyond the scope of this article to get into the details of specific software, but I can say that I have used WishList Member on several sites and can recommend it. Besides having all the features discussed above, it also offers a multi-site license for those who wish to build more than one membership site. The license is currently priced at less than twice the price of a single-site license, making it very attractive, especially considering that some software requires you to purchase another single-site license at full price for every site you want to build.

For much more on membership sites, see my video course, Membership Site MasterClass.

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Your Product Doesn’t Have to Be That Original

Have you ever thought about creating your own product? (If not, you probably should.)

In this post I want to address what I see as a very common problem: people who have the potential to create good or even great products but don’t bother because they don’t think they have enough to offer.

A very common version of this thinking goes like this: There are already products about subject X, so I shouldn’t create my own.

That is really bad thinking that successful business people don’t waste their time entertaining.

Note: I am not saying you should blatantly copy other people’s products or create lousy products. Let me give you a real example of what I mean.

A Real-Life Example

Recently I met a man who makes a very comfortable living with a specific type of offline business, a common one that many people have done, but very few make a living with. He works about 10 hours a week on it, has no employees, and makes more than enough to support his wife and kids. He’s been doing that type of business almost 15 years and making a living from it for about 10 years.

I asked him if he had ever considered doing coaching or creating a course to teach people how to do that kind of business and he said yes, many times.

Naturally I wondered why he hadn’t done it, since he certainly was qualified to teach that and had the time to do so.

He said the main reason he hadn’t created a course was that there are already other courses that teach how to do that business.

Of course there are. Like I said, he’s in a common business. But since he’s been doing it for so long and making a good living at it for close to a decade, don’t you think there are people who would love to learn from him?

I know of other courses on that subject, but after talking with him for few minutes, I’d rather learn that stuff from him than some industry guru, and I’m sure there are other people who would feel the same way, too.

That’s because anyone with that much real experience in a subject is bound to include ideas in his product that the others aren’t teaching.

It’s also because his style of teaching would be different from anyone else’s, because everyone’s style is different.

Stop Thinking That Way

If you think you can’t or shouldn’t create a product on topic X because there are already products on that, stop thinking that way!

If that’s really the way things work, there should only be one product about each topic. Imagine how boring a world would result from that. Imagine if there could only be one book about playing golf, one about raising dogs, one about investing in stocks, and so on.

I have created courses on membership sites and Kindle publishing, among other subjects. Are there other courses on those topics? Yes, of course, but I didn’t let that stop me, because I know mine are different and have some ideas the others lack.

Imagine if Dave Thomas hadn’t started Wendy’s because McDonald’s and Burger King were already selling fast food hamburgers. I seriously doubt he ever spent even 5 minutes thinking that way. Yet, every day, people are selling themselves short by not creating products because someone else already has a product that covers that topic.

Forget About Competition

If you’re waiting for a topic that no one else has written about, plan on waiting a long time, or finding some topic that’s so obscure that there’s nothing available on that topic because there’s no demand for it.

You might manage to find some brand new topic and be the first to create a product about it, which can be a great advantage, but don’t expect to be alone for long if the market is a good one, because other people will create products and won’t have the hangup about having to have no competition.

Forget about competition!

Three Simple Questions

If you’re considering creating a product (specifically an information product such as a book, membership site, or course), there are really only three questions you need to answer:

1. Is there a demand for the information? If not, don’t bother creating something no one wants.

2. Can you create a quality product on that topic? Note that doesn’t mean you have to be the expert. You can find someone else who’s an expert or research the topic.

3. Do you want to create a product on the topic? (I’ll assume the answer here is yes, or you probably wouldn’t be considering it.)

If you can answer Yes to all three of those, go for it, do your best and forget about competition. If not, find something else to do.

It’s really that simple.

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The Secret- Is the Law of Attraction Real or Just New Age Baloney?

The movie and book The Secret stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy a few years ago.

In this post I’ll share my thoughts on them. The book is pretty much a transcript of the movie, so I’ll focus on the movie itself, which came first.

What Is the Law of Attraction?

Some ways to define the law of attraction:

  • Thoughts become things
  • You get what you think about
  • Like attracts like

Although The Secret is fairly new, the concept is not. The Secret is just a new name for an idea called the law of attraction, which has been around for a long time.

Napoleon Hill and the Law of Attraction

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says that throughout that book is a secret which is important but he will not spell out exactly what it is. The first time I read that book years ago, I got pretty frustrated about that. Just tell me what the secret is!

After seeing the movie, I was convinced that the secret Hill was talking about was the law of attraction. That makes perfect sense, considering the title of the book and the fact that the first chapter of the book is titled Thoughts Are Things.

The Debate over the Law of Attraction

People who have heard about the law of attraction seem to fit into one of two camps: those who believe in it and practice it, and those who think it is nonsense. I doubt many people from either group will be persuaded to change their mind; it would almost be like debating religion.

The law of attraction should really be called the theory of attraction, because in science, a law is something that is scientifically proven, like gravity, while a theory is an idea that some believe has merit but has not yet been proven.

By its very nature, the law of attraction is unprovable. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, just that if a person practices the law of attraction and gets their desired results, it’s impossible to prove the results were a result of the law of attraction. After all, plenty of people get what they want who have no clue about the law of attraction.

I think the law of attraction has been misinterpreted (even by some supporters) as “just wish for things and they will magically appear.” I can see where people might get that impression, but I didn’t hear anyone in the film say “do nothing.”

The Movie The Secret

The Secret is a well-produced documentary-style film, not unlike something you might see on The Discovery Channel or The History Channel. It’s mostly narration with some visuals to make an impact, intercut with snippets of interviews with experts who teach about the law of attraction. The experts include Joe Vitale, Bob Proctor, Michael Beckwith, John Assaraf, Jack Canfield, Loral Langemeier, Bob Doyle, Denis Waitly, John Hagelin, and many others.

Many of the experts have slightly different interpretations of what the law of attraction means, which is not unusual for that type of subject matter.

Regardless of your point of view on the topic, I highly recommend watching the movie.

The movie is sort of a Dummies guide to the law of attraction, and I mean that in a good way. It’s a good introduction to the subject, and there is a lot of other material out there on the subject if you want to know more.

The Law of Attraction: Real or Nonsense?

It’s hard to argue with many points made in The Secret.

For example, visualization has been proven to work in many studies done among athletes. Before those studies were done, it might have been hard to believe that just the act of imagining yourself performing a physical task well could help you do that task in real life, but that’s now accepted as fact.

Here are some other tips and teachings from The Secret:

  • Decide exactly what you want
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Think about what you want, not what you don’t want
  • Visualize what you want in as much detail as possible
  • Express gratitude
  • You don’t have to know all the steps to where you want to go, to start heading there
  • Believe you deserve what you want
  • Feel good as much as possible
  • Set big goals

What Do I Think of The Law of Attraction?

Whenever I’ve taken a personality test, I’ve always scored in the extreme analytical / logical sector of the population, just a bit geekier than Spock. So my natural tendency is to hear an idea like the law of attraction and think it must be total bull.

But like I said above, I see a definite connection between the law of attraction and Think and Grow Rich. That’s a book everyone says you must read, even people who think the law of attraction is complete nonsense. Interesting, eh?

I’m going to throw an idea out there: Why not just pretend the law of attraction works and act like you believe it’s true? What if you followed the advice in that list above? Can you really argue with any of it?

That’s what I plan on doing, after rewatching The Secret twice in the past few days, once just to watch, and the second to take notes.

What’s the worst that could happen? You set some big goals, feel better, but don’t fully achieve them? You figure out what you want in life but don’t quite get there (yet)?

I also plan to read and listen to more material about the law of attraction and related topics, as well as reading more Napoleon Hill.

What Do You Think of The Law of Attraction?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop me a comment in the box below and tell me what you think of the movie, the book, and/or the law of attraction. Thanks.

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The Buried Life – What do you want to do before you die?

What do you want to do before you die? That question is at the heart of The Buried Life, a TV series that ran on MTV in 2010.

What Is The Buried Life?

The Buried Life features four young men from Canada (Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, and brothers Duncan and Jonnie Penn), who make a list of 100 things they want to do before they die and set out to do those things. It’s the same concept as a bucket list. They drive a bus around America doing the stuff on the list.

The Buried LifeSome sample things on their list:

  • Ask out the girl of your dreams (a celebrity)
  • Tell a joke on a late night talk show
  • Escape from a deserted island
  • Crash a parade
  • Play basketball with the president
  • Get in a fight

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the guys on The Buried Life don’t always manage to do the thing they sent out to do on the episode. That’s kind of the point, because most of the items have a certain degree of difficulty or risk to accomplish. Their list is not a set of mundane items like “go skydiving” or “visit Paris” that anyone could do simply by paying money.

The Buried Life works on several levels. At first it might seem to be another MTV reality show about young people doing stuff. But it’s not a reality show; it’s more a documentary than anything.

The Buried Life is great for escapist entertainment, but it’s also deeper, because it makes you think about your own life, or at least it should.

Here’s a trailer for the show:

The Message of The Buried Life

What do you want to do before you die?

That question should make you think. If you watch The Buried Life with the right attitude, it will make you start thinking about what you want to do with your life, maybe some of the same things the guys on the show want to do, and probably some totally different things, too.

Another tagline of the show is Anyone can do anything.

It’s also a pretty good example of cashing in on your passion. Those guys didn’t just start doing things on their bucket list. They got a major network to pay them to be on TV and travel around the country having fun and doing what they want to do anyway. Do what you want, get paid for it, and get some degree of fame for doing it, too.

The Buried Life Gives Back

Besides chasing their own bucket list adventures, on each episode of the show, the guys help a stranger do something on that person’s list, usually something they would have had trouble doing on their own. This often involves things like reuniting with someone they haven’t seen in years.

The Future of The Buried Life

The show ended prematurely after only 18 episodes, which you can get on DVD.

Since the list had 100 items on it and each episode focused on one item, it sure looks like the plan was to make many more episodes. The future is unclear, although the guys are reportedly working with MTV on a new project.

The guys also published a book, What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?, which became a number one bestseller.

Go check out The Buried Life and soak in its message.

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