How to annoy your wife

how to annoy your wife

I just discovered that the phones we have in the house have an intercom function.

We have handsets in my workroom, the kitchen, the living room and my wife’s workroom which is right at the back of the house.

And I was bored and messing with the handset on my desk yesterday when I realised I can use my handset to call any of the others in the house.

I kind of knew it could do this but hadn’t tried before.

Now I can call my wife at any time while she’s in her studio from MY workroom!

So when I’m bored I’ll call her about five times in three minutes.

Asking her to make coffee (she’s nearer the kitchen than I am), reminding her to forward relevant emails to me (she never forgets but hates being reminded) and recently just to play the banjo to her down the phone.

She swore at me that time :)

She knows I’ll get bored of it soon but I must admit to chuckling to myself while I write this…


Get my blog posts delivered by Email

Christmas, cynicism and chemical snow

internet marketing christmas firesale

Well it’s Christmas again…

I Love it

One of the great things about getting older (as opposed to ‘growing up’) is that you really don’t have to give too much of a flying shit what people think any more :)

Gone are my teenage years when it wasn’t cool to be enthusiastic about anything, and adopting a cynical attitude to everything was the only way to behave. Bloody hell I must have frowned for the best part of 5 years!

Sadly there are still many adults who think this way (miserable gits) but that’s their problem.

These days I find that if I see something that’s interesting (and there’s a LOT out there) I’m like a 5 year old asking questions and investigating. Both my children (not yet teenage cynics but getting there) were mortified with embarrassment when I found a stall selling fake snow at a Christmas market the other day.

This was some kind of harmless powdered polymer that when you added water to it, behaved in an unusual way – becoming cold, expanding and taking on the characteristics of a kind of ‘dry’ snow.

Well both kids politely refused the stallholders invitation to try it out (a nice gentle sales technique I thought – put the product into the hands of your prospect)

But I got elbow deep in the demo tub, squishing it and flicking at around, asking all sorts of questions about chemistry and their business model.

The smallholder obviously thought I was trying to pinch their business especially when I asked if they had the patent (they don’t) to the product. But I wasn’t. It was just fun. I bought two lots of it but neither of my kids seemed that interested :)

I’ve read in so many motivational and inspirational books that developing a child-like sense of wonder can do remarkable things to your outlook on life and I’m lucky in that although I’m a quiet bloke, this comes naturally to me.

Life of course can FORCE you to take things seriously – I’m not denying that – but it does your soul good when you get the chance to act like a dick now and again, even in the smallest ways. Having kids of course gives you a great excuse, because you can get weird looks from people otherwise.

But Christmas can be a good excuse too. Our house is currently decorated like a gay brothel but what the Hell? SOME of it will go back in the decorations box after Christmas (although some won’t), so I reckon it’s time to celebrate how much fun can be found in life.

Not constantly – that would be knackering – but just now and again it’s good to get enthusiastic, make a fool of yourself or prod something to see what happens.

It’s a big part of why I love this time of year…it’s a great EXCUSE :)

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

How I’ve increased my income month by month, for the past four years!

increase your online sales monthly

Just the past four years of course, because before then I hadn’t worked out this stupidly simple method of making sure my income increased week after week, month after month, and year after year.

While this works incredibly well for me I can’t guarantee it will work for you.

But it will :)

Basically this is simple human psychology.

The same sort of thing that existed in Athletics for decades.

Many said the four-minute mile just wasn’t possible for humans. It stood for, well bloody ages, until Roger Bannister broke it in 1954.

46 days later someone else broke it.

Because he had seen it was possible.

Rather than go out and run a mile I decided to adapt the theory to my business and began to record my daily sales totals.

The theory was that if I could ‘see’ what I was earning I could increase it.

Doing this daily is a bit pointless if you actually try to beat your daily totals (too hard – at least to start with)  but if you look at it monthly it gets a hell of a lot easier.

Do record your totals daily though.

The basic method is this:

Look at what your sales are monthly, and try to increase them by just 5% the following month.

So for example if you take $1000 in April, you should be aiming to take $1050 in May.

It’s easier if you set yourself waypoints – I do this weekly – to see if you’re on track or not.

And it works…

If you’re aiming for a goal it’s SO much easier than just wandering along ‘trying to make money’ each month.

The real secret of this is that you’ll probably find that although your ‘official’ target is to increase your income by 5% each month,

you’ll actually do significantly more than that.

You’ll mail out an extra promotion a month, for example.

Or maybe write a viral report or create a WSO.

Perhaps you’ll email an extra JV partner or run an extra solo ad.

Whatever you decide to do, you’ll almost certainly find that the extra effort you put in pays off each and every month.

If you see what’s possible you’re far more likely to improve on it.

When you just get started in IM earning $1,000 a month can seem like a dream. Get a year or two in, and if you don’t make $1,000 from a single promo you’re disappointed.

It’s all a matter of being able to see your targets so you can improve on them.

I track my sales daily, weekly and monthly. If I find my sales by the end of week 1 in the month are down on the previous month’s, I find myself making an extra effort to try to ‘beat’ last month’s figures.

Sometimes you’ll get small jumps, sometimes huge ones…

This (daft really) little competitive game has increased my profit month in month out for over four years.

I just wished I’d been doing it from day one of my online business

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

You ever considered a virtual assistant share?

You ever considered a VA share?

I’ve seen this happen a couple of times successfully when newer marketers who are maybe strapped for cash but are reaching the point where they need to outsource their support or site building have clubbed together to hire a full-time VA or techy and they split her time equally among them.

It works well in a group where there’s close communication, trust and regular contact, such as a mastermind group or private Facebook group.

Odesk seems to be the best freelancer platform to use for this from what I’ve seen because they screenshot the work so everyone can see they’re getting their fair share.

It also softens the apprehension of hiring your first outsourcer if you’re experiencing it with other people who are in the same boat

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

The character of successful people

traits of successful people

Most successful people I’ve worked with have what my gran would have called ‘character’

I see the same thing with the successful clients I’ve coached.

It’s tricky to define character but for me it shows up as self-reliance, ability to take responsibility, not blaming other people for their situation (biggie that one) and having confidence in your own belief.


And that’s usually the definition of character in films and books too.

The upstanding, confident, moral and self-reliant hero saves the day.

But they’re missing something…

As well as all the above traits, the successful people that I know personally and that I’ve worked with all have two other characteristics that I would say are vital to their success:

Humour and a slightly maverick spirit.

They often see the funny side of things going wrong.

They also have the ability to give you a cheeky sideways grin and say ‘Oh bugger it – let’s try it and see what happens :)’

They seem to know what things to worry about and what’s not important…

…and it’s often exactly the opposite to what most people would think.

Possibly the most interesting thing about success traits is that they don’t always seem to come as a package when you’re born.

I’ve seen people work to actively build the one or two traits that were missing to make the whole ‘success’ package and go on to be really successful in their niche.

Weirdly though it’s usually something that they work out for themselves.

If there’s a bit of the puzzle missing they often develop it – almost by saying ‘what attribute would make this situation work?’

If humour would get them past a certain hurdle then they’ll add that to their arsenal – if confidence would, then they’ll work to develop that.

It’s fascinating to watch when you’re working with a client like this…

…and even more fascinating to try to put it into action for yourself.

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

Waffling about booze…


The bottle on the left is red wine brought over by an uncle from where he lives in France (in the hills not too far from Rodez), and it’s solid drinkable stuff.

Sort of ‘vin de table’ that you would plonk onto the table when eating.

In England something similar would cost around £6. He buys it locally to him at the equivaleint in Euros of £1.80

He brought us a case of it and it’s almost gone already…

The jar on the right is homemade by us (my missus actually) but it’s not wine it’s Sloe Gin.

There are one or two sloe bushes that grow locally and their location is kept VERY secret by locals.

Despite that my clever wife managed to get enough berries to make our slow gin back in September and it’s gorgeous.

It’s thick and sweet and best taken in very small measure but when we had a houseful of visitors last weekend we served up our sloe gin in shot glasses after a returning from a cold walk into the village and it certainly got the conversation flowing.

We saw some mass-produced stuff in a National Trust shop yesterday priced at twenty-five quid for a small bottle. The alcohol content was 23%

We made five times that amount for maybe £15, the alcohol content of ours is a ballsy 40% and the taste is wonderful.

It was designed to make rough gin palatable but if you use decent gin to start with it’s even better.

Goes well on a cold night in front of a roaring fire with a boxset of Breaking Bad.

Just waffling…

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

Not a traditional Christmas vegetable? Balls!

leeks traditional vegetable

Well the least remaining veggies in the above patch is a small but lovely clump of leeks.

If you grow leeks you’ll know they’re around for ages because they take so bloody long to get to a decent size.

I’ve had my eye on these chappies for Christmas dinner since August.

Then some bright spark said to me:

Leeks aren’t a traditional Christmas vegetable!

Well apart from telling him to bugger off I also informed him that in England turkey isn’t a traditional Christmas food either – we imported the idea at the start of the century from our American cousins.

We used to eat mostly Goose.

Anyway, so our guests at Christmas will be offered home-grown leeks as part of their vegetable choice.

Bird wise we’re not sure yet, although I always thought it would be funny to offer Red Grouse, but by it’s other traditional name.

Just so I could tell people that my wife was looking forward to moorcock for Christmas :)

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

Learning from the past – why you should keep your old marketing notes

tony shepherd internet marketer

Been looking through some old notebooks from when I more or less first started out an an online marketer and BLIMEY my targets were well-defined.

The one I just read through showeed how I gave myself 12 months and after that time I wanted 50% of my internet marketing income to be automated as much as possible.

I flipped forwards 12 months and found that I’d actually automated around 30% of my income which was pretty good, and I increased that to over 50% during the next 6 months.

It was simple to do – I just collated my best broadcast emails and spun them into an autoresponder sequence for both my own products AND products I promoted as an an affiliate.

This was a bit easier to do than it is now because products seemed to have a lot longer shelf-life than current WSO’s and products.

Somewhere out there is your BEST stuff – your best blog posts, articles and broadcasts so far…

They are the ones that got the best results for you.

They were the best ones for a reason too. Maybe you were inspired the day you created it. Maybe you were esepcially passionate about a particular product or subject or maybe you just stumbled onto a topic that captured your reader’s attention.

Whatever the reason, don’t let your best stuff be best just ONCE.

Re-use that content. Bring it up to date, or if it’s still releavnt use it as it is – don’t change a word.

After all it worked spectacularly once.

It can do again :)

Anyway the moral is that’s why I keep my notes going back years – because it’s far too easy to forget the basics and what worked for you…

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

The Death Educator

weirdest niche internet marketing

So I was eating crumpets with strong blue cheese on them.

Sort of brunchy-type snack around 10.30am with a cup of green tea,

On my to-do list I had a few things – get in touch with my techy about a disk space issue, read the review copy of a WSO I got sent through to see if it would help my list, share some of my results with my Private Facebook Group and buy some solos ads.

But I wasn’t about to do anything until I’d eaten my cheesy crumpets and eased my stomach into the day gently

So I was browsing Youtube, and especially the TED Talks that are on there because some of them are fascinating.

And I came across a woman who called herself a ‘death educator’ giving one of the talks.

It was an interesting talk ranging from how we’ve taken death out of the home and into hospitals so we don’t really see it any more and therefore we don’t talk about it and are removed from what is (or was) a perfectly normal part of life.

I kind of agree with that.

Then she moved on to death bed experiences and being around dying people and how it’s healthy to talk frankly to people who know they are dying.

Anyway so I Googled her name and immediately found her site.

She has a lot of content on there – videos, accounts of the dying experience and so on.

She also has a book on the way and various services, consultations and what she called ‘experiences’ ranging from $300 to $1500 that you can purchase from her site using Paypal.

She even lets buyers know she doesn’t offer refunds.

I enjoyed her TED talk, and there’s nothing more I can really say about it apart from we’ll all find out about this issue personally at some point right?

But what an interesting niche eh?

Get my blog posts delivered by Email

How I went full-time online…a deadline you can’t argue with

how to go full time online


The major driving force for me quitting my 9-5 and going into full-time internet marketing, working from home…

…was the impending birth of my first child :)

Now THERE’S a deadline you can’t argue with eh?

There’s no asking for an extension or ‘an extra month because you’re not quite ready’ when it comes to babies.

Give or take a few days, when they’re coming…they’re coming.

So in order to be able to quit I knew I had to be earning at least the same amount as my current salary and I had around six months to get to that level.

We only found out my wife was pregnant when she was 8 weeks along, and then it took me even more time to realise that I wanted to be working from home when my daughter was born.

I had a simple strategy to replicate my salary from home.

Work my arse off.

I got up a couple of hours before work every morning and worked until after midnight every night.

My wife was (and still is) hugely supportive so that made things easier but I’ll admit I was knackered most of the time.

What I actually DID to quit my job isn’t that exciting. I basically wrote some ebooks, and sold some of them online and sold some of them as printed reports via national newspaper adverts.

It was HOW I went full time that is still vivid in my memory all these years later (our daughter is now almost ten)

I just REALLY wanted it.

I didn’t just think ‘it would be nice’ to work from home.

I REALLY, passionately wanted to be able to be there while my kids were growing up.

I wanted it more than I wanted to say in bed when my alarm went off at 5am so I could work for two hours on my online business.

I wanted it more than I wanted to open a bottle of wine and flop in front of the telly after a full day working my 9-5

I wanted it more than anything else.

Now I’m not a willpower superhero.

I’m the laziest, most pleasure-seeking enjoyer of life that you could ever meet.

I enjoy comfort, having plenty of free time and don’t like hard work.

But in my daily life I have choices, and still do (as everyone does) and on quite a number of these decisions I still hear myself say ‘I want THAT enough to really work for it’

And I put everything else aside and go for it.

And I think that’s the difference between success and failure.

It’s just a simple balance – a weighing scale.

You either want it enough to get it or you don’t.

No moral judgement or right and wrong, no blame, no explanations…just a simple equation.

Get my blog posts delivered by Email