I’m halfway through Module Two of Jeff Walker‘s Product Launch Formula class online. We’re elbow deep in product testing at the Dessinger homestead, and Jeff is helping to frame the launch we will undertake in the very near future.

During one of the first videos of PLF Core, Jeff introduced a chart he called the Entrepreneur’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re unfamiliar with the original hierarchy of needs chart by Maslow, it’s structured to show the order of needs which people are driven to satisfy. You don’t attempt to facilitate world peace, for example, when you haven’t had enough food or water to keep you alive. So basic survival comes first, and we work our way up from there.

The Entrepreneur’s Hierarchy of Needs looks a little different, but if you’ve ever tried to venture out on your own, I think you might identify with this order.

 

The Entrepreneur's Hierarchy

 

Show Me the Money

When starting a business or launching a product, you start to meet a core need: You gotta make some money. Maybe you lost your day job. Maybe you’re adding children to the family and yesterday’s income doesn’t cut it anymore. Maybe you moved from Fort Worth to Los Angeles and you can’t even afford to eat anymore. Whatever the case, you launch your first product or business to earn money. To stay alive.

You might put in 17 hour days to build that first launch. You might work for 2 years straight with no days off. But eventually, you launch your product and you start making real money. Check.

Redeeming the Time

It’s great to not starve or get kicked out onto the street. So earning money from your own business feels great for quite a while. The sense of accomplishment is palpable. But eventually, the long hours required to maintain the income you’ve acquired takes its toll. There are missed playdates and holidays and family dinners. You realize that if something doesn’t change your children will grow up without knowing you. So you look to redeem your Time.

Some people solve the problem of Time by choosing to earn less. They see how much they can make in their current state of endless frenzy and they decide to make less by working less often. In a best case scenario, this works, and you can eek by on a lower income and get back some of that sanity you surrendered when you started this whole thing.

Seriously, Time is important. Without time, you lose mental bandwidth to process information and think clearly. Without personal time, you miss out on feeling human, which accumulates until your health can become the biggest issue in your life.

So you adapt and change. You start thinking about delegating, hiring employees, and passive income. Your effort shifts from simple but grueling product creation and support to legitimately sustainable offerings.

Relationships

Hopefully you haven’t lost all your friends by the time you get to focus on reestablishing relationships. Children and spouses are usually first, but close personal friends, siblings and parents rank up there too. No one is an island. We each need other people to balance us out, help us connect, and allow us opportunities to care and to give.

Reaching the relationship stage is key for long-term quality of life. Until you have people you can count on, EVERYTHING is harder. And I mean everything. Until you begin building relationships, you’ll have less support, less fulfillment, less feedback, less encouragement, less connection, and less motivation.

Purpose

If all goes relatively well and your business is thriving under your management, you have personal time to feel human, and you feel close to the people you love most, it’s time to address your purpose.

Making money is great, but financial gains rarely satisfy anyone. Having BFFs is also amazing, but friends are people you walk shoulder to shoulder with, toward a common goal. What do you hope to accomplish? Not just in earnings. What mark do you want to make on the world?

Your own personal needs come first. You can’t save someone else if you’re drowning. So you take care of you. Then you take care of others.

Maybe you want to teach younger adults to do what you’ve done only faster. Maybe you want to adopt animals that need to be rescued. Maybe you shape your business into a mechanism that causes social change. Maybe you use your success and reputation to influence CEOs, politicians, or celebrities.

The possibilities are endless. But the entrepreneur isn’t done until he or she is fulfilling a purpose greater than themselves.

Food for thought. Thanks to Jeff Walker for the inspiration. Hopefully you’ll find it useful as you navigate your own path.

 

Everyone comes to the Reputation Monitoring party at one stage or another. Maybe you’re a rookie, bumbling around and covering up your mistakes because you don’t know any better. Maybe you’re an empath, getting dirty in the trenches while you ooze sympathy for everyone’s feelings. Perhaps  you’re a veteran, wise enough to know thy enemy before he strikes.  But maybe, just maybe, you’re a Jedi, aware of all things at all times. Dynamically in touch with The Force.

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NBC's local Channel 5 News team just announced that a premium outlet shopping mall is headed for south Grand Prairie. Along the Hwy 360 and I-20 corridor, a San Marcos-style outlet mall is planned for the near future. Christmas shopping fanatics like the Wellspring Church women's group will no longer have to travel hours beyond the DFW metroplex to get the best deals on popular name brand items. 

Only a few short miles from Parks Mall, this new outlet mall will make Interstate 20 the place to go for all your gift shopping needs. Hopefully, the Hwy 161 (George Bush Turnpike) extension will be completed by the time of the outlet mall's grand opening. The southbound side of the turnpike currently ends at Airport Freeway in Irving, but construction has been underway for some time to extend the turnpike through Grand Prairie, intersecting with I-30 and eventually I-20 as well. 

In the mid-cities area, Parks Mall, North East Mall, and Southlake Town Square are currently the three best shopping areas between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Planned store names have not yet been released for the new outlet mall. We'll keep you updated on the construction and other newsworthy items.

Bank of America

It's a sad day when you realize that you can't trust an institution like Bank of America to deal fairly. You would expect a Fortune 500 company like Bank of America to ensure that their software was functional and capable of serving the needs of their customers. Not so.

Recent experience has taught me that this banking and lending giant "can't" find the time or money to fix an error in their software that would make the lending customer service experience as smooth and functional as it should be. 

Warning: If you have a home loan with Bank of America, they have orchestrated their software to be "flawed" so that any payment towards principle only will be mishandled and at least partially applied towards your regular monthly payment and interest.  

That's right. Although there is an option to pay towards principle only, you the customer have to call the customer service department and explain to someone (who has apparently never experienced this issue before) that they have misapplied your payment and you have to make sure they reappropriate the payment towards principle only. 

IF YOU DO NOT HOLD THEIR HANDS, BANK OF AMERICA WILL MISAPPLY YOUR PAYMENT AND YOU WILL UNWITTINGLY PAY FOR MORE INTEREST THAN IS NECESSARY. 

This is beyond sad and pathetic. This is borderline criminal. If 10,000 borrowers made one extra house payment per year towards principle and didn't realize how BofA was "unintentionally" misapplying their payments, Bank of America profits an extra million dollars per year. That might sound like nothing to one of the nation's largest financial institutions, but that's an extremely costly error for a company with the billions to correct such an issue.

There is no excuse for this error. I wish I could tell you that they will fix this issue quickly. However, Bank of America has been misapplying extra payments for years. There's no telling how many people have lost equity in their homes due to blind trust in a company that says you can easily make a payment towards the principle of your home.

Someone will inevitably accuse me of being incapable of properly making or specifying that each payment was strictly intended for principle. Had several Bank of America representatives not admitted to the flaw in their software, I would consider the possibility that this issue is due to incompetence on my part. Unfortunately, the burden of responsibility does not fall on my shoulders, but rather the corporation.

I apparently never received the memo that informed us all that companies no longer have to provide honest and accurate service in order to prosper. My bad.

Okay, half of my friends and family already checked out because the title involves search engine optimization. That's okay. Those of you willing and brave enough to continue, let's get on with it. 

As a search marketer, one of the key strategies I employ in on-site optimization includes internal linking strategy. Here's a quick summary of how it works, from the beginning: 

Step 1: Keyword Research

Step 2: META Tag Optimization

Step 3: Content and Header Tag Revisions

Step 4: Internal Linking 

Step 5: External Linking 

If you want an explanation of these basic concepts, visit any one of a hundred SEO blogs and search for these terms. Or, you can wait for a few weeks and I will begin recovering all the SEO basics on another blog which I will announce soon. For now, I'm only covering Step #4 as it applies to a blog. 

The thought occurred to me months ago after I had written a blog post about how my wife loves the affordable women's clothing at Papaya Clothing Store in the Grapevine Mills Mall. Actually, it was also after my most popular post was written on the Papaya Clothing website. That second post, written in April 2007 (only three months ago), received more than 1,000 visitors the first month simply by ranking at the bottom of the first page on Google for "Papaya Clothing". After I saw that jump in my analytics, I decided to test something out. I wrote two more blog posts referencing Papaya and linked back to that second post from each of them. My ranking jumped from #8 or #9 to #2 within a couple weeks.

Granted, many phrases are more competitive and getting solid results take much more work. But the results I saw were phenomenal. I now receive more than 13k visitors per month just reading my few posts about Papaya Clothing. It's ridiculous. Of course, it really helps that the company has taken more than a year to build a website and has only an unlaunched tester site to show for the time and money lost. 

My point is that I'd never paid much attention to internal linking within my own blogs. I'm all over the map with my blogging, and it just never occurred to me until then that it could be very useful to use some of the same principles for a blog that I use on static websites. It's the visual blog style that probably kept me from thinking about it. I mean, even when I look at my own home page, I only see the most recent 10 posts or so. Everything prior to that is filed in Archives and fades from view.

Blog categories are an excellent way to keep tabs on what you've written before. Of course, you can always do a site search if you've incorporated search functionality. So here's the easiest way to go about building internal links on your site:

Rule #1 – When writing a new post, search your own blog for references to the same subject or keywords. Copy those specific post URLs and use them in hyperlinks on the new post.

Rule #2 – As an alternative, determine which category your new post falls under and search that category's archives for pages to link to in your new post.  

There you have it. Basic. Simple. Link to your own posts. I'll give more specific advice on internal blog linking in the new blog which will be announced soon.