Category: Productivity

Top 10 Tips Every Startup Should Know

Many individuals dream of owning their own business but few actually successfully achieve that goal. In fact recent statistics show that only 3% of small businesses make it to the fifth year of operation. (Source Smallbiztrends)

There are a myriad of forces which conspire against your enterprising startup, both outside and inside forces. In this list of the “Top ten tips every startup should know”, we are going to look at these forces in more detail and arm you with the knowledge that can power your startup to the levels of success you desire.

As the age old saying goes “Knowledge is Power!”

Don't be afraid to fail

Now this may seem like a strange startup tip but let’s examine this: the truth is there are many individuals for whom the possible fear of failure stops them from a starting a business; don’t be one of those people! Statistically speaking, the biggest single hurdle every startup will face is not the outside forces such as taxes, laws, or regulations but rather it is the internal forces, your own self, your fear of failure, your concern about the future, and any excuse or reason you give yourself for not starting is going to be the single biggest hindrance to your success as a business.

Although many startups do fail, those individuals who keep at it and learn from their failures become more business savvy. The truly great startups and entrepreneurs learn from their failure and persist so that the next startup works even better. Here is the real kicker – although many startups fail, with each new attempt, your odds get significantly higher that your next idea will be more successful than your last. So don’t be afraid of failure and instead always take it as an opportunity to learn. The biggest hindrance to your startup really is your own self. If you can overcome yourself or your fears and be willing, ready, and able to learn from failure, then your chances of having a successful startup go up astronomically.

Make sure your idea is uniquely yours

Another great tip for startups to remember, especially before they begin investing significant money, is to do a little bit of market research first and one of the most important parts of that is to make sure that the idea is really uniquely yours. You might think you have the next great idea for a product or service and indeed you may. Individuals do come up with unique ideas for products and services all the time; however, doing a little bit of research first can also make sure that you actually are the first person. Many businesses have been started which designed, created, and sold a product only to find that somebody else held the patent on it or have already started selling it before them. Doing a little bit of research first can help save you a lot of wasted effort – and money.

If you do find yourself in the position of finding another company that holds a patent ask yourself the question, “What can I do differently or better than company X?” If you can differentiate your product/service enough your idea could still be a go. However the best advice that can me given in this scenario is to seek legal advice before pulling the trigger.

Be unique

This builds a little bit out of that last point, making sure that your idea is really yours, and that is if whatever you are selling or the service you are offering is similar to the items or services provided by many others, make sure that yours stands out from the crowd by being unique.

There are a variety of ways to accomplish that; many businesses do it with mascots, while others will entirely design their store or even their labeling so that it is instantly recognizable through icons, specialized fonts or colors; even gimmicks are all utilized by a wide variety of companies to help differentiate themselves from their competitors. Do you want to set up a grocery store in a town that already has two or three? Then bringing in new products or more specialized products can be a great way to help you break into the market. Either by bringing in or being able to get those products that people most want or simply have a hard time getting, especially for truly authentic foreign foods or items, is a good way to help differentiate yourself from a standard store which may serve primarily American items or clientele.

Location, Location, Location

Probably the second biggest hurdle for a business to overcome is a good location. Location really cannot be understated as one of the most important facets of a new startup. You could be the next Steve Jobs and even be holding the next Apple in your hand but if your business is difficult to find, especially as a brand new business, people will simply give up. Visibility is absolutely essential to the success of any new startup and that visibility is not just your physical location nowadays it is even more about online visibility. Although physical location visibility off the main street or in a busy area is a huge leg up to your business success. When people see words like grand opening or opening sales or other promotions, they are far more likely to take a peek inside even if they previously never considered getting that product or service. Use that grand opening goodwill and a solid location to help immediately begin winning new clientele.

Embrace your social media

Nowadays it is a good idea to start embracing a social media campaign from the beginning, even before your physical location opens, to begin building reputation, giving consumer knowledge, and helping to spread the word about your coming products or services. Just as your physical store needs a good physical location for success, the location, location, location mantra just as strongly applies to your digital location and your visibility there. High visibility online is just as important as high visibility in person and maybe even more so because although not everyone will drive by your store, or even notice if they do, people will notice if they are seeing recurring ads for the brand new opening and they are near the location of your store. Keeping ads or information before your clients through the use of social media and internet advertising is a huge way that businesses in this modern day help increase their visibility.

Always be learning

This may seem like a strange tip for a startup but the fact is even if your idea is truly unique, many people have plowed the business grounds before and there are tons of strategies, approaches, and insider information which can be incredibly useful to you. Learning from and talking with other entrepreneurs or other people in your field that you are thinking of going into is a great way to learn some important aspects of the market. If you happen to have friends or family who are already in that market you’re looking to enter, then it would be a good idea to talk with them and find out from people in the know about some of the tips and tricks for that particular field. Of course there’s always general business knowledge like that presented in this article which is good for every business regardless of your industry or service, but there are definitely some niche tricks for each and every industry and learning some of those tips early can help save you from making mistakes.

Learning should be done long before you start putting out monetary investments. You don’t want to start your learning process after you have already got your business started. There will be plenty for you to learn once you really start and you do not need to compound that with trying to repair your business on the fly when a little bit of studying could have saved you a lot of time, effort, trouble, or money and save you from potential failure. Learning and studying can look like any number of things from simply getting books on the topic or subject written by people who have worked in those fields to talking with individuals, going to classes, and even viewing online seminars for your industry or to learn more about your own idea. Having an idea is just the first step; conducting the proper research so you can know how to execute your dream and vision will give you a huge boost and will significantly increase your chances at success.

Expenses

This is a huge tip for every startup to know even before you begin and that is to count the costs. Most startup businesses are not profitable in their first year and there are a huge number of reasons why. One of the big reasons of course is you’re having to put out capital both into getting your proper licensing, staff training, buying your inventory, leasing your space, and even doing the education as mentioned earlier. All of these are your initial outputs and depending on the kind of business you have, you may have recurring outputs as well. If you have a physical location as opposed to an online storefront then you are going to be paying a regular lease. Even if you are just “online” there will be costs such as having to pay your webhost regular fees to maintain your domain and other technology and developer costs. Counting up these expenses is going to be important as the vast majority of businesses lose money in their first year of operation.

Those who can make it through the first year might break even in their second year. If you can manage to lose in your first year and break even the second year, the goal is to be able to grow it to the point where it makes you some money in the third year. Most small business start-ups fail after 5 years simply because they did not have the capital to be able to continue into profitability. Many of these same businesses could have been profitable had they been able to last long enough to build up a successful client base. This is why it is important to count your own costs and expenses and determine whether you can afford to basically make no money, or in fact lose money in your business for at least the short term.

This is not to dissuade anyone from starting a business as these short-term losses will get made up with long-term success. There is also the possibility that your business may buck the trend and become profitable within the first year. However, you should never assume that yours is one of those and it is a good rule of thumb to expect about a two to three year monetary drought when it comes to your business and even be putting your own money into it. This is why even if you are starting up your own business you should continue to have another revenue source which will help support you and your business until it reaches viability.

Be an answer to a problem

One of the single best pieces of advice for any startup is to not necessarily follow your passion but to be a problem solver. People all over the world have a myriad of problems whether they are social or physical and offering services or products to meet those needs is the pathway to success. Your passion may be pressing flowers and cataloging it. Creating an entire product line designed around this passion of yours is not likely to be one that is particularly viable as the market is simply too small for others who are looking for those exact products or that exact solution. Rather, be looking more at broader problems which affect large groups of people not particular niche markets. Niche businesses are struggling and this is why places like shoe repair shops, scrapbooking stores, and even physical bookstores are largely going by the wayside except in a couple of select areas because the fact is, society and technology have moved forwards.

Finding these new problems and new solutions is a great way for your business to thrive. This is why companies like Google succeeded because instead of trying to solve a problem nobody wanted an answer to, they saw a problem, online organization which was a brand new field at the time, and sought to solve the problems in that brand new field. So either finding innovative solutions to current problems or developing solutions or services to meet the demands of new problems is a huge insider tip for any startup.

Know your legal requirements

This is one area of startups which often people struggle to remember in their zeal and excitement for starting up a new business or service and that is to make sure that they know the legal environment they are stepping into. For instance, if you even want to do something as simple as arrange flowers, certain states do require you to have a license to be a florist. You may feel that your business is something so simple surely there must be no regulations regarding it but that can be a costly oversight as even things as simple as lemonade stands have certain health and safety standards that are required to be met along with getting the business license itself.

Getting the business license, ensuring that your workplace meets the federal and state standards, ensuring that you’re following the regulations required for your work as well as other legal obligations like setting aside money for any employee costs, making sure the appropriate payroll amount is paid for federal and state taxes, ensuring that you keep your business taxes in order and file them regularly, and a whole host of other rules and statutes to follow can feel daunting. However, do not let the size of your requirements keep you from doing what you love or keep you from founding your startup. Many of these requirements only have to be done once and those that are recurring often times have people, programs, or services dedicated to assisting you with those recurring costs or rules.

Don't get ahead of yourself

As we have seen, there are certain steps to take for your startup such as doing your research first, learning from people in the market, learning the right rules and regulations, getting your business license, etc. Doing these in the right order and following the right procedures will help ensure that you have learned each step before you go on to the next. It can be very exciting to build, design, and develop a web page or start moving items into your storefront but if you start doing that before you have completed some of these other ones then it can be a costly mistake as at some point you will have to do your learning and get your business licensing and it is far better to do that tedious stuff while you are not paying rent or employees.

Conclusion

With all that being said, if you follow these simple tips and tricks you will be well on your way to having an incredibly successful startup. Remembering to do stuff in the right order, making sure that you count the costs of operations and that you have a source of income or savings to cover it all, making sure that your physical and digital locations are set up well and not allowing apathy or fear to keep you from pressing forwards will be more helpful than you can realize right now. Keeping these tips in mind can help your business be one of the ones which succeeds where others failed.

bootstrap-startup-hack

The Ultimate Bootstrappers Hack to Building Your Own Platform

An important decision when first setting up your online business is the platform choice you make. Think of your platform as they did back in the day with the classic soapbox.

Throughout the 19th Century and into the 20th, prior to the invention of corrugated fiberboard, manufacturers used wooden crates for the shipment of wholesale merchandise to retail establishments. Discarded containers of every size, well-constructed and sturdy, were readily available in most towns. These “soapboxes” made free and easily portable temporary platforms for street corner speakers attempting to be seen and heard at improvised “outdoor meetings,” to which passersby would gather to hear often provocative speeches on religious or political themes. Source Wikipedia

We live in a very different age today but this soapbox principle is still very relevant to us as the soapbox platform is the Internet and the message declared being your mission statementSpecifically the “This is what we do and why you should care?” message to stop passerby traffic to take a moment and listen.

We live in this age of attention deficit which is why the first step to success online is having a terrific message (mission) and the 2nd step is having that good ole soapbox platform.

Now you know that you need to be on the Internet (platform) but you also know simply relying on Other People’s Platforms (I will call this OPP from now on) like Facebook, Instagram and even Google is unwise. 

You need Your Own Platform (YOP) to grow and build relationships online and OPP simply compliments it.

But how do you choose YOP?

I would like to answer this question today with one filter – the bootstrapped startup.

This is a startup that has a message and product the world needs to hear and see but are building their business with very little capital. Think the $100 startup book by Chris Guillebeau.

And today I’m going to answer the question of “Can I really get started with $100?”

And using the platform hack I am about to share I can confidently tell you, yes you can!

The Startup Nemesis

To show you exactly how the $100 startup can be achieved it will serve us well to first look at the enemy of this goal.

Specifically technology and development costs to building your startup.

Statistics show us that only 3% of small businesses make it to the fifth year and for the failed businesses the most common reason (82%) is cash flow problems. (Source smallbiztrends.com) This is a jaw dropping realization if you are just about to press the launch button on your business.

But there is hope when you – “Know thy startup enemies”

There are two:

  1.  Cash flow: Cited as the reason for 82% of firms surveyed
  2. Technology – Platform: A costly exercise in wasted time & money

The cash flow issue is why we are focusing on the best way to bootstrap your startup. And when it comes to technology it really is everything, especially when you are bootstrapping.

You need the right technology to host your platform and get your product/service into the hands of would-be customers and fans. You need the right technology to support your customers and encourage them to share your brand with their friends and family. You also need the right technology to ensure you get paid the dues you deserve.

The wrong technology increases costs and wastes your time to such a degree that your clients lose out and ultimately lose trust in your brand.

The result inevitably is startup failure.

So it makes sense that if we can solve the technology conundrum we can solve one of the biggest bottlenecks to your startup success and if we can bootstrap it, we are catching two birds with one stone. (Catch and release of course and certainly no killing of two birds with one stone.)

So let’s have a look at the secret platform hack.

Hack #1 - WordPress and...

Did you just seriously mention WordPress – that thing people publish blogs on?

Yes I did and there are a few key reasons  why

  • WordPress was built from the ground up to spread messages and build community online
  • WordPress is free to use (open source)
  • If you can dream it, WordPress has a plugin for it

So as you can see, this is a bootstrapped startups dream as it allows you to do whatever you want and do it essentially for free, especially if one of your founders is a tech guy – developer.

Wait a minute…

Oh I can hear you buzzing now because as with all good things in life there are compromises and WordPress is no different.

It’s not the easiest platform to use compared to some others like Wix, Shopify and Squarespace.

And it’s not exactly free either as you do need a domain name and hosting to really get the most out of it but you have to do this for any other platform anyway so we are not counting that against WordPress -what we are though is that ease of use is an issue.

I won’t butter this up – WordPress can be an absolute nightmare to a first time user.

The template design system is clunky and don’t even get me started on the WordPress editor!

But remember what I said about the “If you can dream it, there is a plugin for it”? Well come to the rescue it does because the easiest way to turn WordPress from a nightmare to an absolute dream is with a free plugin called Elementor

Introduced in 2016, this plugin is a game changer for the WordPress community and in two years it’s now installed on over a million websites! (How’s that for startup success!)

The reason it’s so successful is because it addressed this major pain point for WordPress users who knew they had something special but also couldn’t stand the built in page editor they were using.

See demo below:

Hack #2 - GNU/GPL

We have all heard the saying “There is no such thing as a free lunch!”

And yes when it comes to WordPress there are times when free will only get you so far.

Maybe you have some specific eCommerce requirements or some custom coding for your members area – in these cases it’s time to put some money up and get what is called Premium plugins (in other words paid ones).

This can be a frustrating time especially when you have been so happy with all the free stuff you have been getting with WordPress. But there can be a more frustrating issue and that has to do with compatibility when the plugin you just paid for actually breaks another part of your website.

This has happened to me on more than one occassion, which is why I want to share hack #2 with you right now.

Try before you buy!

Yes, there are a number of companies that offer a FREE trial but most WordPress premium plugins do require you to buy first. By the time you have had a chance to test it, your money back guarantee expires!

So there is a clever way to get around this and it has to do with the fact that WordPress is open source software and plugins released under the GNU/GPL license agreement.

Basically, if you have a developer friend you can get access to the product for free to test first.

Now I know many of you reading this will have developer friends but said friend may not have the specific plugin you are wanting and there are two ways around this.

Method 1: Fiverr

Search FIVERR for plugin you want. Here is an example of Thrive Leads – another great plugin that costs  between $67-$147.

Link to FIVERR page.

See that gig for $5 – he is giving you the plugin as part of this deal!

He is allowed to do this because as a developer he is allowed to give you the plugin as part of his service which in this case is designing an opt in form for your website.

$5 is certainly a lot better than $67 and once you are 100% certain the plugin is right for you, then you can go buy the plugin direct from Thrive so that you can get access to that all so important product support.

We use Thrive products ourselves and when you are in a growth phase it really does pay to have support from the plugin creators to reduce web development fees.

Method #2 – Digital Boss Club

I will keep this one short.

Think of Digital Boss Club (DBC) and specifically DBC Pro as your developer friend, where you get access to your choice of premium WordPress plugins. You just need to be part of the club.

Final Thoughts

Well done on reading all the way to the end…

You understand that relying on OPP is not going to cut it – you need YOP

Did that sound like gobbledygook? Aha, I caught you skipping to the end! Seriously, go back and read the introduction. 🙂

And one of the best ways of developing YOP is using WordPress because it is free open source technology that was built from the ground up to help people spread a message.

And when using Hacks #1 and #2 you are able to achieve this more cost effectively than any other solution on the market today. Dare I say $100 startup… 

I do hope this little piece has helped you in choosing your platform today. If you enjoyed this post I would so love it if you could share using any of the social media buttons.

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

How to get an .edu email address?

Having an .edu email address is truly a great thing! For all intensive purposes having one means you are a student and being a student brings so many benefits.

Companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Dell and many others including food companies, travel, online shopping and even school supply areas often will give discounts to individuals who are students. As most students have an .edu email account, many businesses simply take this email as a shorthand for whether or not you are a student. 

A few examples of benefits include:

  • Free Amazon Prime Student Account for 6 months: Usually costs $119 per year and gives you a whole host of benefits including free two day shipping, kindle books, movies, music and more.
  • Large tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dell and HP all have student deals. Apple is notorious for never discounting but with a .edu email you can get up to $200 off select Apple devices.
  •  Adobe (makers of Photoshop and Premiere) offer deep savings up to 60% off to students

These are just three that stood out to us but in all honesty there are so many other companies it would be too numerous to list in this blog post. The best strategy would be to type in the name of the company followed by student discount so for example “Best Buy student discount” and see what results. And yes I use that example because there is a valid option for Best Buy student customers to save.  

So with all the benefits available for individuals with an edu email address, what are the top ways of getting it?


Create a dummy student account

Let’s start with the shadiest and most morally questionable answer first and that is to simply create an email address that has a edu in it without actually ever being a student. There are some programs online which can help you do that and there are also several colleges such as the University of California which allow you to create a school email address even if you are not a student. 

Using certain loopholes and workarounds in automated school systems can sometimes allow you to do this. A very common one is to register as a student at the school filing all your paperwork but then never actually taking any of the classes. You will appear on paper and to the internet to be a student at the school yet never taking any classes and never having any desire to. Eventually the school will weed you out though and either compel you to take a class or simply drop you from the school rosters and your email address with it.

So with all that said there is an easier way.

And that is to use FIVERR – and specifically people on FIVERR who are able to get you a legitimate working edu email address. 

Here is a link to someone providing this service right now.

It’s not free ($10) but if you are in the market for a new laptop you could easily be saving $100+ immediately and $1000’s of dollars as you keep using it.

If you don’t want to pay $10 then the following two options are really your best bet.

Be a student…

Of course the simplest way of getting an edu email address to be able to use for your discounts is to simply be a student at an accredited college or university. Many different colleges, universities, private organizations or other groups have official edu addresses for their students. 

If you are not a student yet, you don’t need to sign up for more expensive college or university but your local institute (teaching video editing for the next  4 weeks) could do the trick too. Just make sure to ask some questions before joining though. Not only do you get the .edu email but you are investing in yourself and your skills.

College and higher learning is expensive and so getting every deal that is due you is a great way to help offset some of those expenses. One important tip is to make sure that you keep your student roster up to date. Many colleges require that you take a certain amount of classes to avoid being dropped from the school. Helping make sure that you have the minimum class requirements to be able to keep your edu email address is an important part of being able to not only continue your academic career but secure those future deals and discounts.


Be an alumni

One of the best kept secrets is that you do not need to be a current student to be able to possibly get an edu email address, as it is also often times available for alumni who graduated from their universities. 

Alumni are often able to receive these kinds of email addresses which helps keep them in the loop about different college programs and activities while simultaneously allowing the college to solicit donations or try to keep alumni involved in the college. 

This little perk can mean that you can potentially have a legitimate edu address for utilizing access to discounts permanently. It will still not successfully beat those third-party groups which check to make sure you are an active student but for the less inquisitive and more passive businesses you will easily be able to use this legitimate edu email address indefinitely to secure deals and discounts. 

Contact your alumni office for full details on whether you qualify for this benefit.

In Conclusion

The single best way to have an edu address is to simply be or have been a legitimate student. So if you want to be able to utilize the benefits of having an edu email address then stick to the old adage: be cool and stay in school.

But if you ain’t – check out FIVERR.

The Outsource Project Review

Have you seen our coupon & bonuses for this app?

Many individuals find they spend hundreds or even thousands of hours building their business and working in their business. It can be challenging trying to meet customer demands, trying to meet the needs of your growing organization, and most of all trying to keep your head above water to successfully please your clients while simultaneously attempting to find new ways of growth. But the fact is, there is simply not enough time for you to work on your business while you are working in your business. If you are your business’ full time employee doing the brunt of the grunt work then you do not have enough time to be the boss and make the decisions which is going to lead your business forward and achieve new growth levels. This is the conundrum that the Outsource Project was designed to fix. The Outsource Project was designed to help entrepreneurial businessmen and -women learn how to successfully and gainfully outsource their work so you can spend more time working on your business and less time working in it. So what are some of the pros and cons of this tool?

The Outsource Project Pros

Proven training

One of the fantastic benefits of the Outsource Project is that it is not merely nebulous advice which worked for one person one time and an entire program was built around it. The Outsource Project is filled with proven methods of successfully outsourcing your business work. Outsourcing can sometimes be a frightening prospect for small businesses that are trying to make the leap to become larger ones. It can be difficult to find reliable and trustworthy individuals to run your business on your behalf but that is exactly what the Outsource Project is designed to fix. The Outsource Project is made to help you learn the tips and tricks of outsourcing as well as learning how to find the best outsourcers for your thriving company. These are proven methods which have helped dozens of internet and in-person businesses successfully make the leap.

Talk with experts

One of the unique innovative features of the Outsourcing Project is that unlike other ones that are merely made by successful individuals and with pre-recorded classrooms for you to learn from, the Outsource Project also includes the ability to actually talk with real experts in the industry. This is a huge benefit for you as not only do you get to gain the pre-recorded knowledge and experience but after you have watch those you will also have the opportunity to talk with real leaders in the field who made these transitions themselves. Talking with them personally about what worked and what didn’t as well as any other questions that you believe are lacking is a huge benefit to you because you can gain from personal first-hand experience in the outsource scene.

Learn the systems

One of the other great things about the Outsourcing Project is it does not merely teach you at the personal level but also teaches you how to utilize managerial and outsourcing tools to augment your control and manpower. Learning how to use tools designed to help facilitate outsourcing will help ensure that you are still able to maintain the kind of control level that you want over your business even while the work is being outsourced.

The Outsource Project Cons

Learning curve

The fact is for you to be able to successfully outsource your business is more than just training, it’s application. At some point you need to be able to trust individuals with your baby and trust them to be able to do their work and ensure that your goals for your company are still met. This growth process can sometimes be frightening because it means you are going to have to learn to let go of the reins to be able to work on other projects. There is a learning curve involved in learning what tasks to outsource and what tasks are best kept to yourself. But this is exactly why the Outsource Project is designed to not only teach you the pros of outsourcing but also to help give you that edge when it comes to making the transition a reality. But in the end it is still up to you to turn this knowledge into practical value through application.

Conclusion

The Outsource Project is an absolute must have for individuals who need to bring their business up to the next level. Without outsourcing, your business will only ever be as big as you can personally make it. Learning how to successfully outsource allows you to leverage the manpower and talents of other individuals so your business growth has no cap. 

Make sure to view our The Outsource Project promotion below.

Have you seen our coupon & bonuses for this app?

wp-buffs-wordpress-security-hacks

WP Buffs and WordPress Security Hacks

So the other day I was browsing around the web and visited one of our partner company’s website – WP Buffs and noticed something interesting.

WP Buffs by the way are a team of WordPress techies who provide support services for people running WordPress websites. That is nothing new as quite a few of these companies have been popping up recently but it was specifically this screenshot below that got me interested because I have not seen other companies in the space do this before.

Two things I noticed

  1. First it is very rare to get access to plugins that would normally cost you a yearly fee.
  2. One of the plugins they give you is iThemes Security Pro

That second point got me interested because WordPress and the security around it has been such a contentious issue for so long.

The amount of websites that have been hacked (primarily because of bad plugin management) is astronomical and embarrassing to say the least.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see WP Buffs giving this plugin for free to their clients when signing up. They also include the excellent WP Rocket and WP Smush Pro for improving WordPress page load times.

But for this article I want to focus on iThemes Security and what it means for you.

Let’s talk about iThemes Security Pro

When you first install iThemes Security you are presented with a wizard that runs a number of best practice settings for your site security. You literally press a button and 10 seconds later your WordPress site has become a whole lot more secure. 

It really was that easy – 

After you have done that this is the dashboard you see. Click image for larger version.

And here are the pro options (You get Pro from WP Buffs)

One thing I like about the pro options of this plugin is 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) – when you have this enabled it literally does make your WordPress website like Fort Knox as the WP Buffs say. You will need an app like Google Authenticator or LastPass Authenticator (what I use) for this to work.

And when it detects something abnormal like logging in from a different location you will get an email looking like this.

ithemes-2FA-email

Bear in mind every time you give access to your website to someone else like a Web developer etc they will have to go through this process – If you have a permanent member of staff who needs access to your website it makes more sense for them to have their own login email where they would get this verification email sent to.

I only say this as I am currently testing out new employees and it can be a little frustrating to have to give them the code every time they want to do some work. But that will soon change if they get the job right.

But for me the most amazing thing about having this plugin happened soon after installing.

Literally within hours I had my first security incident!

I kid you not!

I received an email address to the admin email of my WordPress website which had the following subject line.

[imdiscountcodes.com] Site Lockout Notification

This immediately got me worried, wondering what the heck just happened and if I had lost access to my own website. Turns out it may have been more sinister and encouraging at the same time – somebody I don’t know being locked out.

This is what the message looked like.

ithemes-security-site-lockout-warning

That IP address – someone in Paris!!! Or more likely someone pretending to be in Paris with IP manipulation. 

Not long after this warning (a day) I got another warning where someone had been locked out.

Safe to say I was very happy that somebody who kept trying to login to my website (maybe with some password cracker) was eventually locked out!

I am sitting on about day two now after the last site lockout so rest assured I’m not getting these messages everyday, which would be very concerning. 

These are just my initial thoughts after a few days of using iThemes Security but I will definitely update this post if anything else suspicious starts to happen.

Do you use iThemes Security? What has your experience been like?

And if you are interested in having this for your own website I would recommend using the WP Buffs service to get you started. We have some great bonuses for you if you do decide to sign up.


WP Buffs

wp-buffs-review-discount-coupon

Isn’t it time your WordPress website was managed by true WordPress experts?

From as little as $40 per month you can get started with WP Buffs + make sure to claim one of our exclusive bonus packs if you do. Find out more about this WP Buffs Promotion.


Scrivener review

Scrivener Review

Scrivener is a tool for writers of any kind, from novelists to translators. Instead of just writing in the traditional linear way most word processors are designed for, Scrivener makes the whole process as simple and organic as you always wished it would be. You don’t have to place every single piece of text in the specific order it will be when your work is finished. Instead, you can just write in any order, composing different sections as they come to you.

You can use it for projects of any size, but its features make it especially useful for long projects that take weeks and even months to finish, those where you are not completely sure where everything goes until you are almost done. You’ll be able to rearrange chapters with a simple drag-and-drop action, view your research as you write or just verify changes by comparing different versions of your manuscript.

Scrivener Main features

  • You can plan out the outline of your work before you start writing. It doesn’t matter if you change your mind half way through; it’s not difficult to restructure your document.
  • Just like a word processor. Once you start using it you’ll feel right at home, you can do everything you did with your old word processor and more.
  • Navigate with ease. Add icons to your document’s sections so you can locate them when looking at the outline.
  • Focus on the writing. It comes with ready-to-use tools that will take your worries out of the formatting and into the writing, where it should be. There are templates for different styles of writing, from fiction to non-fiction.  
  • Use only what you need. Scrivener’s user interface is fully customizable. Everything from the color of the font, the screen mode or the tools that are visible, you can set the environment to show only what you really need.
  • Never overwrite a section by accident again. You can take a snapshot of your work as it is before starting a revision. Then, you can go back to the old version or check both side by side to verify the changes.

Scrivener Pros

  • They have just released the Mac version.
  • It doesn’t matter if you want to work on a one piece, long document or if you want to divide it into more manageable small pieces. Scrivener lets you do both, whichever works best for you.
  • Formatting your document is really easy. You can use the included options that combine font size and appearance changes with one single click or you can save a customized formatting option to be used later in other projects.
  • Scrivener comes with a corkboard where you can work on your main ideas and shuffle them around. Every section is attached to a card, so when you rearrange the flash cards you’re also changing the order of the sections in your document.
  • You can keep track of your progress by setting a target number of words or characters. You’ll see in real time how close you are to fulfilling those goals.
  • Although it’s a paid program, the prices are really low when you take into consideration all that it offers. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and, unlike any other piece of software out there, those days are not continuous calendar days. They only count the days you actually use the app.

Scrivener Cons

  • You have to pay separately for the iOS app. If you buy the Mac version and want to sync your work between devices, you’ll have to pay an extra USD 19.99.
  • Works well for solo projects but if you’re collaborating with someone else it will be tricky to keep up with everyone’s changes and annotations.

Scrivener – The Bottom Line

It was created by a group of writers and they took into consideration all the aspects of the creative process. They built it with fellow writers in mind. Writers have specific needs, especially those who work in long projects. For the average user a standard word processing program will do the trick, but writers need to look into their research as they’re working or maybe jump from a chapter to another because inspiration hit and they just have to write down this amazing idea before they lose it. That’s not an easy task when working on a linear document.

Scrivener comes with of lots of amazing features. For example, you can import images or even videos and change the format of your exported document to fit your editor’s requirements without affecting your original draft. As writing tools go, this is a really good one. It has Windows, Mac and iOS versions so it doesn’t matter what kind of device you have you’ll be able to use it.

If you’re a serious writer you should check it out, you’ll be amazed at what it can do. Plus as usual we have lined up a better deal for you.

Scrivener Deal [ALERT]

Don’t pay full price for your copy of Scrivener. Click the button below for more details on a VALID working coupon code for Scrivener.

brain.fm review

Brain.fm Review

One thing I know about our community of bootstrappers here is that many of you have been incredibly interested in Brain.fm. So let’s take a closer look at this innovative app designed by neuroscientists to stimulate your brain for maximum focus.

If you are looking for details on how to get the best deal you will find that below this article.

BRAIN.FM

There have been countless studies about the benefits of music for concentration and learning. You may have even heard of playing classical music to babies when they’re still in the womb to stimulate their cognitive development. Also, listening to certain genres of music is known to improve your performance when working on numeric subjects like mathematics. Brain.fm focuses on helping you improve your concentration and more. They have music that not only improves your focus, but that can also help you relax, meditate or get a good night’s sleep.

In 15 minutes or less their AI generated music can help you get the results you’re looking for. Developed with the help of neuroscientists, it took years of work and research to get a product that truly helps you be more productive by increasing your capacity to focus. Whether it is writing or finishing a report for work, you’ll experience how your productivity grows within 15 minutes of starting to listen to Brain.fm.

Its creators include musicians, engineers and scientist who have studied the effects of music on the brain. Brain.fm is the result of years of research in auditory neuroscience. This is not just a music streaming site; it’s based on actual science and the result of multiples studies on how certain wave lengths can affect the brain.

In addition to that, there’s a state-of-the-art AI behind every piece of music you’ll find in Brain.fm. Every one of them is unique and original, composed for a specific purpose in mind. Depending on if you want to focus or relax and also on how long you will listen, every beat will be in sync with your brain waves to help you achieve your goals.

Brain.fm Main features

  • All the music is fully original and AI generated. It’s specially designed to be in sync with your brain waves so it can produce the desired results.
  • There are compositions specifically designed to help you focus, meditate, relax or even sleep.
  • Everything is designed for a determined amount of time. You have to select for how long you’re going to be listening, anything from 30 minutes to indefinitely.
  • You can let the site generate a playlist for you or you can browse the compositions available and build one with your favorites.

Brain.fm Pros

  • Right now you can listen from any device with one of the supported web browsers or download the iOS app. There is an Android app in the works (almost ready, 20% more to go) and they’re also working on desktop apps.
  • They offer a free trial period so you can get a better idea of what it really is all about. You can then upgrade to a paid plan. If after a while you feel that you are not completely satisfied, you can cancel within 60 days of signing up and get a full refund.

Brain.fm Cons

Brain.fm – The Bottom Line

There are other web sites that offer a similar service as Brain.fm, but what sets this one apart is the science behind it. It’s not only that they base their service on scientific studies or some medical paper; they work alongside qualified specialists in auditory neuroscience. Instead of just compiling commercial music or hire human composers to create original pieces for them, the team at Brain.fm has developed an AI algorithm that comes up with hundreds of hours of music at a time. And not just any kind of music, these are pieces that are specifically aimed at increasing your focus, helping you relax or just providing a good night of energy-recharging sleep.

The music they offer is composed taking into account the brain waves it should sync to so you can get the results that you want. You’ll start noticing results within minutes of listening. You’ll finally sit and start working nonstop on that project that you have been putting off or that piece of writing that you have to deliver and haven’t been able to finish yet.

Having trouble falling to sleep after a particularly hard day at the office? Don’t worry, set the music to play for as long as you need it and just prepare to relax and get that repairing rest that you deserve.

You can try this service online for free.

They have a trial period that should be more than enough to decide if you want to get into a paid plan or not. Chances are you will like it and you will be subscribing after that trial period. So many satisfied customers can’t be wrong.

Appsumo deals

Lifetime Deal [ALERT]

Brain.fm is now available as part of AppSumo’s Briefcase deal.

>