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Six For Saturday; How I’m Staying Current with Digital Marketing

The Fletcher Method, by Aaron Fletcher. Relevant to online marketers but also small local businesses like yours and mine.

Good Morning Steppers!

It’s 0558 on October 31st and I’m starting a new tradition: Six for Saturday.

Here’s where I tell you the W’s… What, When, Who, Where, Why, and hoW I am staying current with the state of Digital Marketing for small businesses.

Zombie Kurt. A Fiverr Account is a Dangerous Thing...

Zombie Kurt. A Fiverr Account is a Dangerous Thing…

But first… since it’s Hallowe’en after all… let me urge you to avoid the <====gruesome touch of Zombie Kurt (shudder)

WHAT I am Reading

Okay, enough frivolity. Enough about me. Let’s talk about what YOU think of me. Hahaha…

It’s so important to sharpen the saw, no matter in what business you happen to be.

Normally I start my day with some Bible reading and devotions (today it’s 1 and 2 Peter), but then I pick up a piece of nonfiction like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, or something more recent like Ask by Ryan Levesque.

Actually rather than reading a book this week, I’m scouring the Members area of the Fletcher Method by Aaron Fletcher. His quick and easy checklists are what any small business marketer needs, and I’m getting a much-needed review there.

The Fletcher Method, by Aaron Fletcher. Relevant to online marketers but also small local businesses like yours and mine.

The Fletcher Method, by Aaron Fletcher. Relevant to online marketers but also small local businesses like yours and mine.

Full disclosure: I’m NOT an affiliate of the Fletcher Method. <== SO if you click on this link I’m a-gonna give you, no money changes hands. It’s just that I wanted you to know where some of my latest thinking is coming from.

WHEN I am Working

When am I NOT working? Sheeeesh….

Actually, I’ve been working less and getting more done. “Getting out of my own way” has caused my martial arts studio to grow quite a bit of late. I stopped teaching a particular class and delegated it to one of my young instructors. That class has TRIPLED in size recently!

Rather than taking a blow to my ego, I’m taking a shine to letting Students love another instructor more.

And I kinda like that trend. Think I’ll see how much I can get away with not doing and still have the paychecks rolling in ūüėČ

It’s difficult sometimes for a business owner to let go of the reins and let someone else mush the dogs for a bit. But it’s essential. If you think you must do everything yourself, you’re right. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy (or more like a self-propagated myth).

But if you accept that maybe some folks might do a better job, and that it’s YOUR job to find those folks and give them the means to do it… you’re being wise.

What tasks are YOU doing right now, that you could delegate, automate, or just plain NOT do and still do just fine?

Most entrepreneurs make themselves ambitious, lengthy to-do lists. Then feel like hammered “ish” when they don’t get everything done.

Do yourself a favor: make a to-DON’T list and see how well you can stick to THAT. Probably be the best thing you do for yourself and your business this week.

WHO I am Following

"Ana Hoffman", the "Blogger" that runs Traffic Generation Cafe

“Ana Hoffman”, the “Blogger” that runs Traffic Generation Cafe

We’re all followers. Good leaders are themselves good followers… IF they choose the right ones to follow.

In my quest to stay current with all things digital marketing, my choice has got to be Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe.

Besides the regular serving of awesomeness this marketing maven gives us every Saturday or so in the Weekly Marketing Skinny, there are a number of posts on this site that have shaped how SS101 does things.

Let me point you out to a few of her best and brightest, including a guest post by yours truly:

The Weekly Marketing Skinny is the result of Ana’s diligent scouring of the latest news on all things digital marketing, served up on a silver platter for you and me. Her most recent digest is from a few days ago¬†October 26, but you can get the most recent one every time by signing up for her newsletter.

Beside the weekly (or so) happenings , there is a wealth of timeless wisdom for all business marketers, whether your business is local like mine, or as vast as the world wide web. Here are just some of my faves that Ana has produced:

Influencer Marketing: 11 Ways to Be Memorable

Content Marketing Leverage System: How to Multiply Your Reach

The Ultimate Blueprint to More Website Traffic

and a favorite from THIS author, a guest post by yours truly called,

SEO Case Study: Page ONE, Result ONE!

MIG: Market Intelligence Guru... Super, um TARGETED Traffic. (Sorry for blowing your cover, Ana)

Ana Hoffman’s true identity MIG: Market Intelligence Guru… Super, um TARGETED Traffic. (Sorry for blowing your cover, Ana)

In which I expose Ana Hoffman ^ as a Russian spy…

If you are wondering about how to get more traffic to your site so you can generate more leads, customers and CASH for your local biz… please enjoy all these posts on Traffic Generation Cafe.

Then come back here.

Because I love you.


Where We Are Going Next

Ooh! Oooooooooh! I’m excited to tell you that my “video bumpers” are finished, and soon you will have a new way to consume the awesome marketing wisdom of Shoestring101.

My buddy Jay Haynes is going to film me giving talks about:

How to Get Your Local Biz on Google’s Front Page Without Spending Anything¬†

How to Cultivate Your Mission Statement

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) Makes You the Logical ONLY Choice 

Building a Keyword WEB to Catch Every Customer Prospect in Your Area

Why and How Working Less Equals More Time AND Money

Do It, You Can...

Do It, You Can…

Steppers, I think you’ll enjoy these and other titles we are working on. They are taken from my real experiences and the experiences of other marketers.

The most important thing you’ll get from these short vids is HOPE… hope that your small business can operate leaner, profit bigger, and take less time and energy from you and add to your life instead.

This Week’s How-to: How to Craft an Elevator Speech

In case you live under a rock, the phrase “Elevator Speech” refers to a statement that describes your business and how it specifically helps the group of people it serves.

The Elevator Speech can be delivered so fast that you can speak it in the time it takes to ride an elevator

Marketing Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Trainer, Author, Social Media Marketing Expert. Get Your Free Whatsit at my Site, #nottryingtosellyouanything #noreallyniceimaguy #butseriouslybuystufffromme

Hey you! I’m a Marketing Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Trainer, Author, Social Media Marketing Expert. Plus I can walk your dog.

from your room at the Hyatt to the lobby, and still have a moment to answer a question or two ūüėé

BTW! Your Elevator Speech isn’t for cornering strangers in elevators, then following them out throwing business cards at ’em… Kinda creepy, dude.

Yes, it’s useful to have an impressive answer ready when someone asks, “So what do yo do?”

But the greatest value of the Elevator Speech is to help you be specific about EXACTLY what your business does, who it serves, and why they should do business with you.

In fact, your Elevator Speech is one of the necessary 5 Steps to Your Killer USP (Unique Sales Proposition) that will become part of everything you communicate, whether digitally or otherwise.

So how do we cut down “what our business does and who it serves” to just one concise statement?

If you’re like most business owners, you have a lot of irons in the fire. So many that it’s easy to get the “deer in the headlights” look when someone actually tries to get ’em to pin down what it is they actually do. Many folks offer so many products and services to so many different types of people and businesses… that they are STUCK trying to narrow that simple Q down to a quick, concise A.

So they stammer along and start with one thing they do for one group, but then backtrack and say something else. They FISH for what answer might appeal most to the one person they are talking to.

Or worse, they start trying to impress their victim, er, prospect with ALLLLLL the things their business does, and for whom. “Oh, but we also… and it’s not that we only… and one of the other things we do is…and a lot of our customers like that we…”

Awww, whatever. QUIT it. I totally quit listening after the third time you said “I” or “we”, while beating your chest.

Just the facts, ma’am.

And here’s a great hint… talk about your prospects’ FAVORITE subject: themselves.


Right after introducing yourself, rather than talking about yourself, talk about them and what they want.

Let’s start and end our elevator speech with what they want.

Here’s a perfect outline for your elevator speech:

Hi, I’m ______
(use your real name, slick.)

I help __________
(name your target market. Keep it narrow and specific, even if you help a LOT of groups of people, choose your best and brightest)

(now fill in what ONE problem you solve or what benefit you deliver… even if you have lots of services, solutions or products stick to your best or what’s selling best)

so they can ________________
(do this thing they want)

and ____________
(have this thing they want)

without ________________
(this thing they DON’T want)

There’s your outline!

Let’s put this to work:

How to Effectively Take Your Offline Small Business and Market it Online For Cheap or Free

How to Effectively Take Your Offline Small Business and Market it Online For Cheap… or Free!

Hi, I’m Kurt.

I help small local business owners

to use the tools and techniques that are working right now in digital marketing

so they can concentrate on delivering high value to their customers

and totally DOMINATING their local market

without working longer hours or spending more on their marketing.


Now siddown, right meow, and fill in those same blanks for yourself and your business.

I promise that this short exercise will not only serve to give you more clarity about what to say and to whom about your business… it will double or triple your results from marketing if you effectively USE it in your marketing.

Okay now. On to the most important part of the W’s… ¬†the WHY.

Why We’re Doing This

When I first started Shoestring101, the whole premise was to help people that wanted to start a business.

I believed (and still do believe) that you can start a real, profitable business from scratch using less capital than most Americans can expect to take out of the first hour of a garage sale.

We even demonstrated this idea of starting a “real”, PROFITABLE business, in a short time with the posts,

My 30-Day, $1,000 Challenge, followed by

We MADE It! (30 Day, Thousand Bucks Challenge) and the year-later followup,

Another Case Study: Five Steps to Five Figures Per Month when that same small biz topped the $500 profit per day mark.

Yes, SS101 used to be about encouraging people to start businesses and do it quickly with very little capital.

But then I started to see a trend… people spend a whole lot more time OWNING businesses that they start, than starting them in the first place.


So most of my audience are already business owners, or soon will be.

And while I still want Shoestring101 to be a resource for startups… it’s more important to teach what to do afterwards.

So you get to actually own your business… instead of IT owning YOU.


You might want to check out the recent post, New Direction for Shoestring101 to read more.

Why We’re Doing This, Part Two

But I’ve got a deeper, more relevant reason to share with you Why We’re Doing This.

Meet the African Village I belong to, Abokoro.

Abokoro Village(I may seem a little pale for an African Villager, but trust me. I belong to them and they belong to me)

This village is composed entirely of single mothers and their children. Some are survivors of rape. Others had their husband just pack up and leave. Still others are widows.

These lovely mamas comprise one of about thirty village cooperatives in the Beauty For Ashes Uganda program that I advocate for.

We’re teaching them about budgeting. About small business startups. About clean water and sustainable agriculture and responsible hygiene and medical care.

Steppers, if ANYone needs the Five Steps to Five Figures it’s these byoootiful ladies and their children.

So I’m asking my Shoestring Steppers to “Step” up and help with the program.

$23 per month matches the typical monthly income of an unskilled worker in the Teso region of Uganda. That’s what some of these ladies earn before learning to cooperate and found small businesses.

Your gift of $23 monthly matches that income and helps send these mamas’ kids to school… buys mosquito nets to keep malaria off of the little ones… and helps us provide agricultural gifts like dairy cows, dairy goats and egg-laying hens so they are able to get out of abuse or neglect situations and become self-sustaining.

I’m going to place a link here to the “Join Our Village” program, and ask you to check out what Beauty For Ashes Uganda is doing. In one of the poorest regions smack-dab in the middle of one of the most richly blessed (in terms of natural resources) areas of the world… real people need some real help. And we are committed to providing as much of that help as needed. Won’t you join me?

join our villageClick here to Join Our Village! Make sure to choose “Abokoro Village” from the drop-down list.

If you do choose to support Abokoro Village, write me at kurt at shoestring101 dot com with the subject line, “I’m a VILLAGER!” and I’ll send you a special gift.

On to the finish line, Steppers. Thanks for reading this far.

In Closing…

Steppers, I sincerely hope you enjoyed seeing what I’m doing this week… the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHO, HOW and WHY.

NOW! I would just looooooove to hear what YOU are doing to sharpen YOUR saw and make this sport of doing business more enjoyable, profitable, and meaningful.

So if you would, punch it in down below in the comments. Let me know what you are doing, where you are going, who you are following… to get YOUR daily cup of awesome. (besides SS101 of course ūüėČ )

Oh, and if you’re feeling particularly helpful and good-lookin’, hit one of those share buttons.

Hint, hint.

Okay Steppers! Thanks again for reading Shoestring101.

Look here next week for another “Six for Saturday” and…

Keep Stepping!



Get Found on Google Locally: Front Page, Zero Ad Spend!

In today’s post, I’m going to give you nine clear steps to get your local business on the front page of Google multiple times when potential customers in your local area search for the products or services you offer.

Can you imagine having an endless stream of new leads, customers and business… but without having to spend a dime on advertising?

That’s what it’s been like for me for the last two years since I learned how to Hack Local Seo for a Front Page Listing.

If you own a local business, it’s time to bookmark this page. (Better yet, get a free PDF of it by subscribing to Shoestring101). This isn’t the end-all of posts on how to get free digital exposure for your local business… but it’s certainly a start.

Become part of the conversation by actually trying out what I talk about here. There are nine Action Steps for you to follow, sprinkled throughout the post. Each one’ll make ya money… IF you follow it.

Why Making Your Local Business Easy-to-be-Found Locally on Google is so DANGED Important

First off, for those that complain about Google and how ‘hard’ it is to work with them to get found in local search results: ūüėÄ Bwahahahaahaha… Let me remind you what you USED to have to do, to be competitive in local business:

Let your fingers do the walking…” It used to be that local biz owners (like me) needed to jockey for position in the Yellow Pages.

With some industries, especially come-to-you services it was all about getting listed FIRST, alphabetically. Which led to “AAA Window Cleaning” or “A-1 Disc Jockey”.

Some folks got savvy, realizing that numbers got listed, um, alphabetically… before letters. So they called their service “1 Great Plumber” or even “1-2-3 Auto Detailing”.

With other business types it was about having the biggest or most picturesque ad. Anything to draw your customer’s attention… and get them to call YOU before heading further down the list and calling your competitors.

Oh, yeah… Competitors.

You had to guess how much they were spending…

…try and match or beat that…

…or outdo their offer…

…and if you didn’t guess right about your ad it would be a whole YEAR before you could change anything.

That is, if you were still in business by then :-(

With the advent of the internet and especially search engines, the way to get your business found by YOUR hungry crowd has changed for the better, forever.

And now It’s just a matter of learning the rules and how to play by them.

Google Isn’t Evil (Snicker) But they Do Have an Obligation

The motto or mission statement or whatever for Google is¬†supposed¬†to be, “Don’t be evil.”

Those of us that have been “Google slapped” or that have paid out the nose to advertise on Google think that maybe the big G follows only two-thirds of that rule ūüėČ

But in order to be who they portend to be, Google MUST do its duty: it must serve up the most relevant information to the folks that are searching for it.

Hacking local search results is as simple as knowing what rules that Google and other search engines use to classify that information, and check all the boxes better than or before your competition.

Shoot. For savvy¬†local biz owners, it can be as easy as shooting the side of a barn… from the inside.

IF, that is… you know what you’re doing.

Because most of your competition does not, even the ones hiring big firms to take care of SEO.

Want to separate yourself from the herd and FORCE Google to give you front page listings? Check these nine steps, and don’t leave any out:

Get Found on Google Locally by Knowing What Local People Search For

Everything starts with keyword research. But I have a different approach than most; I think that real people, not programs, are best at telling me what I want to rank for.

When a new prospective Student calls for information about my martial arts studio, the first question I ask is, “How did you find out about us?” and I write down the answer. Most often (if it’s not a referral), they got my number from the internet.

Then I ask, “Did you use Google or another search engine? Do you remember what search term you used?”

There are piles of products and services out there promising to help you winnow out the best keywords for your business. But I find that ‘going to the horse’s mouth’ – actually asking your customers what they look for when they think of the solution your business offers – is the best research of all.

ACTION STEP ONE: Get a focus group of your current customers together and ask what search engines they use… whether they are on mobile or their desktops/laptops… and what keywords they use when they search.

The best way to know what your people are searching for is to ask them.


Get Found on Google With This Killer Keyword Formula

Armed with the information you got from your focus group, you’re going to add your business location to the keyword. For example, say you live in Monument, CO and you’re a martial arts instructor. If folks in your area are looking for “karate for kids”, then you add the location: Monument, Colorado.

[keyword] + [local area] = [new keyword for local ranking]

ACTION STEP TWO: Take the phrases that your current customers use to look for the solution your business provides, and add the name(-s) of your local community(-ies).

Go ahead and enter this keyword: “karate for kids monument co” into Google and see what happens.

You’ll find that the Freedom School of Martial Arts freakin’ OWNS that piece of cyber real estate… and I own it free of charge, not a single penny spent on advertising.

Wanna know how? Read on, Stepper!

Get Found on Google Locally by Properly Naming Your Social Properties

Depending on what kind of local business you have, you’ll want appropriate social media channels.

A tattoo parlor, for example, is going to want Pinterest and Instagram. This is because their product is highly visual and because of the growing interest among both teen girls and women aged 25-44 in tattooing.

On the other hand, a DJ might want Facebook and YouTube accounts so that his customers can share videos of his slamming’ parties.

Whatever YOUR business is, you’ll want to use the location-oriented keyword you came up with above and name your account or channel or vanity URL that.

For example, instead of it could be

ACTION STEP¬†THREE: Figure out an area-tagged keyword like “MonumentKidsKarate” above and make it the name of a Facebook page. THEN use the directions in this post over at PostPlanner to get it ranked.

Hey, do yourself a solid and open up this ^ and other links in a separate tab or page so you can keep reading this AWESOME post ūüėé but get this important info as well.

Right-click this link for later reading as well ==> There are other ways that FB can be used to blow up your local business, that Shoestring101 covers in greater detail in other posts.

Get Found on Google Locally by Properly Naming Your Images and Videos

So the formula ¬†[keyword] + [local area] = [new keyword for local ranking] above works great for helping you generate a name for your social properties. Now we’ll use a variation on the theme to name pics and vids.

When you upload a pic from your smart phone to the internet it comes up something like: 12004859_102060471_7234634_n.jpg

Homey, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So rename the pic something like Kids_Karate_Class_Monument_CO.jpg

Ahhh. Much better.

ACTION STEP FOUR: Look at your blog, directories or social properties where you’ve uploaded images. RENAME those images to fit the local keyword convention: [what your customers search for] + [the area your¬†business serves].

Change up the order of the keywords or use variations. For example, “karate” can be replaced by “martial arts” or “kung fu”, and “Monument” can be replaced by other nearby communities “Palmer Lake” and “Gleneagle”.

In the future, name all your pictures this way.

Oh, and what works for pictures works even better for videos uploaded to YouTube.

Because your keyword can be the title of your video… it can go in the tags… it can go in the description, along with a link to your website!

Now when folks in your local area search for what your business does, Google will find images and serve them up in the search results… and those images and videos will link back to pages that refer your phone number or webforms or whatever it is that you’re using to capture leads and get new customers.

“How will it do that, Kurt?” AH, young padawan. Read on:

Get Found on Google Locally by Using Free Directories

Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, Yext. These services and more are dedicated to indexing local businesses. Also, some specific sites index service-based buzzes; examples are or

Put together a list of your “Vital Statistics” for your business:

Street Address Even if your business is a come-to-you kind (plumber, HVAC, etc.) give the address you operate from
Phone Number Make sure to include the area code
Website¬†If you don’t have a WordPress blog yet, use a Facebook page with a vanity URL
2 or 3 of your Social Properties Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
Hours of Operation Be specific
USP or Slogan <== (right click to open 5 Steps to Your Killer USP and save for later reading)
Short description of your services, with language that build value without seeming overly promotional
Current Specials, Promotions, or “Loss Leaders” you offer to snag first-time customers

These are your Vital Statistics ^ for cutting and pasting into dozens of local directories free.

Now get you a list of local directories that serve your area. Here’s a starter list:

Google My Business
BING Places
Yahoo Local
Yellow Pages
White Pages
The Business Journals
Angie’s List

There are more, and some of these directories will be more important to your biz than others. Do a little homework. Then roll up your sleeves and get ready to do a lot of cut-and-pasting of your vital statistics above! Also, upload your keyword-named images and videos to your free directory listings.

ACTION STEP FIVE: Upload your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to every local biz directory that serves your local area, and even some that don’t. Put up the images and videos we already spoke about. Link back to your webpage or at least your Facebook page if you don’t have a web property of your own.

Now, I know I said that all these action steps are totally for free and it’s true… but this one is a little tedious. After making your Vital Statistics list and naming a pile of images and videos, you MAY want to head on over to It’s five bucks for a helper half the world away to do most of this for you, a HECK of a return on investment.

Get Found on Google Locally by Getting Reviews for Your Business

Think about if YOU are searching for help in a category that’s new to you. You’ve never tried scuba before and neither have your friends. Do you go with the business having just one positive review… or sixteen positive reviews with one or two neutral or slightly negative?

Obviously the business with the most reviews, almost all of them positive, is going to tip the scales. It’s called social proof.

A word to the wise..! Some local directories don’t take kindly to manufactured or “fake” reviews. Many of them will suspend reviews that appear contrived or paid for. Plus, even if a review makes it through the screening, your customers can usually spot the difference. So go to Fiverr to help post your Vital Statistics, but NOT to buy reviews!

Now, most of your satisfied customers would be happy to write a review for you. It’s a matter of asking, and asking in the right way to actually get it done.

You need a system for following up with your customers during their lifespan with your company. I’ll just say here that it’s important for you to populate these local directories with reviews… a proven system for doing that will be the subject of another post.

If yo want to come up with your own system before that post, just check these guidelines:

  1. make it easy
  2. ask once, AFTER you have performed a service of great value
  3. give an incentive or a thank-you for a completed review
  4. and make it part of your culture

ACTION STEP SIX: Once you have local directories established, use a system for driving your customers there to leave reviews. Make it easy, remember to thank your customers, and put up signs or pass out cards with a polite request and instructions.

Get Found on Google Locally by Leveraging Your Content

Now here’s where the rubber meets the road. You’ve got STUFF to DO, right? You can’t be a social media manager and a blog writer and a videographer, and… and… and… when you also have a business to run.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. One piece of content can be the basis for a whole plethora of other free content that points back to YOU, your USP and the entry point of your business.

Saving you scads of time if you know how.

ACTION STEP SEVEN: Go to to grab a 5,000 word PDF on how to leverage content. Then sign up for the course because it’s off the hook.

Get Found on Google Locally by Tying it All Together

One outline can be used for several different types and channels of consumption using the content leveraging step. Here’s an example:

At your martial arts studio you snap three pictures and take a short, 15 second video of some Students in action. (5 minutes, tops)

Each picture (named after your location-specific keywords) gets a caption, the video gets a keyword-laden title and tags. (take ya 10 more)

Now those pics with their captions get put into your blog with a short blurb. (10 mins) Just say who it is, what they are doing, when it happened, and a nice word of encouragement to the folks pictured.

Post the pics in your Facebook page. Tag the parents. Remind them about the share button. Post the video too. Same drill. Now post a link to your blog. (5 mins)

So in thirty minutes you’ve just created a WEB of positive messaging about your business along with enough goodwill to sink a battleship.

ACTION STEP EIGHT: What, weren’t you paying attention? Heh… just try the above, or your variation of it. Catch customers in the act of enjoying your businesses’ service or product, and put that piece of content up in various forms and channels with a way for folks to share and/or follow it back to the source: YOUR business.

The trick to this is not to come off as overly promotional. Just share your best friends’ stuff with all your best friends. And invite others to become friends with you as well.

Get Found on Google Locally by Having a Great Landing Page

What they do and where they go after this page is most important. You’ve kicked your own butt laying a lot of framework to get searchers to this page. But if they leave without leaving YOU with some contact information, you’ve lost ’em.

Interact with your customers here in the way that most appeals to your market. Some folks will appreciate a “Cheat Sheet” or information package which requires them to share their email with you. Others will prefer to talk on the phone. Still others will want to online chat with you or one of your reps.

The most important thing that your landing page should communicate to YOUR prospect is, “You’ve come tot he right place!”

The second most important thing it should communicate is that you’re willing to give them something of value free… (something that’s impossible to say no to, NOT “free consultation, call now!) But something that will solve one of their biggest problems right now and start your relationship on the right foot.

AND..! Also capture their info so you can further that relationship.

ACTION STEP NINE: Look for my blog post on how to design YOUR landing page so that people leave their contact info and expect you to call/write/message with them.

Get Found on Google Locally: Would You Like to Know More?

I’ve shown you how I was able to get free leads and customers and PROFITS for my two local businesses with zero ad spend. When local customers look for what my business does, my business is listed multiple times on the front page results and often, so is my call to action.

But it took me a while to get there.

Let me ask you something, dear reader :-)

Could you use some help in putting some of these principles to work?

Could you use a second set of eyes, a guide looking over your shoulder and telling you what’ll work and what may be a waste of time?

If you’re having a certain challenge, or if you’ve solved a particular challenge for yourself you have something valuable to say. We’d love to hear from you. In the comments section please share your wisdom with others that come here looking for tips and tricks for their local biz building activities!

BONUS ACTION STEP TEN (It’s okay to skip all the way to this step if you want to): Get a free PDF of this page, plus schedule some time with Kurt (ME!) to help your cost-free lead generation program get off the ground.

Right now I’m helping a client in Arizona to put together a
“Dominate-The-Front-Page-Of -Google-for Free”
presence online. It’s gonna make a great case study.

I’d love to add YOUR case study to the mix.

Give me a ring at 719 360-9559 to discuss how we can give your business a much-needed shot in the arm of more leads, customers, PROFITS.

Talk soon. ūüėé

Keep Stepping,


My New Direction for Shoestring101

Greetings, Steppers!

So today I have a tiny announcement: I’m changing Shoestring101’s overall look, feel, and message.

Heh… okay, maybe that’s a BIG announcement. ūüėČ

Thing is, for about a year now my message, medium and mission hasn’t really felt exactly right.

It’s because of going back and forth between too many types of marketing and business ideas. I feel like Shoestring101 has been too scattered, without the¬†kind of focus that takes a reader through a clear path to success in what they want to do.

Sometimes articles have been just me thumping my chest and saying, “Look, I did this and so can you.”

Relevance and focus are essential… and the focus needs to be on what YOU want. If perhaps¬†¬†I might have a missing piece of the puzzle, that’s what we’ll talk about here from now on.

No more, no less.

A business owner has 99 problems. But generating new business doesn’t have to be one of ’em. -Kurt Frankenberg

SO! That said, I do have a few things to offer. I’ve written prolifically about some of them. See, as a serial entrepreneur I successfully:

  • Did multi-level marketing
  • Opened a number of martial arts clubs and studios and
  • ^ trained others to do the same
  • Began a lawn care business
  • Began a window cleaning company
  • Authored an information product and subscription with over $2MM in sales (no, it isn’t about entrepreneurship)
  • Wrote a book about structuring your startup to be profitable from day one

…and a whole pile of other stuff that wasn’t as successful.

Trouble is, by yammering on about information products one week… social media and blogging another month… building a local service business yet another month… and running my sticks-and-bricks storefront business another…

…I’ve tried to be ALL things to ALL people.

And it just ain’t working out.

There’s no continuity, no clear path for my readers.

And I have the BEST readers ever… I don’t want to lose any of ’em.

But the time has come that I’ll have to narrow focus and concentrate on just one thing.

The Old Premise of Shoestring101

I began Shoestring101 with the Five Steps to Five Figures and a message that anyone that wants to start a business, CAN start a business.

And they can do it with less capital than you might take out of the first hour of a garage sale.

It’s easier now than ever. When I began my journey of entrepreneurship, marketing a business was very different. I tried everything from flyers and door hangers… to direct mail… to print, radio and television advertising… and of course the key to most advertising success was the Yellow Pages.

Some things worked and some didn’t. Some things that worked gangbusters for one of my businesses were a total dud for others, and vice versa.

And finding out what did work and what didn’t by trial and error was¬†expensive, I can tell you. For example, a television ad that cost $6,000 to produce got me one customer. Ouch.

Along the way, as I was working out what worked for my particular businesses and what didn’t… things began to CHANGE (hello, Internet!) and then change even more (Oh, hello again, 2.0 and social media!)

My premise for Shoestring101 was that anyone that wants to start a business, can start a business. And of course… that I’m the guy to show you how to start ANY kind of business.

The New PROMISE of Shoestring101

(see what I did there? A little play on words.. I went from “premise” to “promise”… ūüėé )

So, again. Rather than trying to be all things to all people… rather than trying to be your go-to guy for publishing an info product, or your all-knowing guru for how to start up a service business… your fella to yak with about Periscope and Twitter and blogging…

We’re taking it down to ONE subject and one subject only:

…I think that what SOME of my readers need, and that I’m uniquely qualified to do, is to help you to¬†design automatic marketing systems for your existing, local business.

A business owner has 99 problems. But generating new business doesn’t have to be one of ’em.

So maybe I’ll lose my “startup” audience. Darn it.

Maybe I’ll lose my global “internet marketing” and “information product” audience. Don’t want to, but it may happen.

I may lose bloggers and social media peoples and  multilevel marketing folks and a whole host of other demographics that faithfully folow this blog.

But that’s okay.

After running Shoestring101 for four years the audience that I speak to best, the audience that I need and that needs me back… have pretty much identified themselves.

The ladies and gents that I want to speak to from here out are basically ME… ten, twenty, even (almost to the date for my first business) thirty years ago.

These are folks that already own a business… and are too dang busy working IN¬†their business, to work ON their business.

The lifeblood of any business is new customers. And this part I’ve pretty much got figured out.

I want to be for you what and who I needed… way back when… to save you a lot of headaches, time, and money.

Thirty years ago I had begun a business and like it or not, had to learn and adapt to the changing landscape of marketing a small business. There were ways to automate getting leads and customers back then, and there are now.

And as many hats as a small biz owner has to wear, the LAST thing they need is the pressure of scaring up new business all the time.

It needs to become automatic.

Steppers, let me tell you this one thing: I did LOTS of business ideas over the last three decades. But I never broke six figures until I did this one thing: designed an automated, self-correcting marketing machine.

I did it in the era B.I.– Before Internet… and learned all over again how to do it now.

Heh… it’s easier now. Lots easier.

But ya gotta know some things.

Let me share with you.

The new promise of Shoestring101 is to help you identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), how to get it out to the right people in the right way at the right time… to put greeeeeen in your pocket, right now…

…and not have to reinvent the freakin’ wheel to get there.

I’ll be serving up actionable, step-by-checklisted-step guides for you to get a number one spot on Google for your local business…

…how to capture email and telephone leads automatically using mobile-friendly webforms…

…how to create an airtight followup system to pump fresh customers into your business and cash into your pocket…

…how to follow up even MORE to win repeat customers, referrals, upsells and back-end business…

…and ways to test any new biz idea without risking a dime of yours or anyone else’s money.

You in?


Your New Best Friends For Marketing Your Business, Especially if It’s Local

Learning to market several different types of small businesses was an EXPENSIVE education, especially before internet. I wasted so much money on the wrong things, or worse… doing the right things the wrong way.

I could have used a guide back then.

It woulda saved… and MADE… me so much money.

Ever wish you could go back in time with what you know now and impart that wisdom to your younger self?

Let me be that voice for you.

I’ll give you what I have now, that I needed then:¬†the knowledge that the right words, delivered in the right manner¬†to the right people at the right time… can make you more money than you can keep up with.

There are specific, duplicatable formulas for discovering what words, manners, people and timing are best for YOU and YOUR business. And I can shortcut that process for you.

That’s going to be our focus around here from here out.

Okay Steppers! Mad, glad or confused? Let me know what you think about Shoestring101’s new direction. Put your comments or questions in the box below, or better yet send me an email. Let me know what I can do specifically for YOU.

Keep Stepping,


Find Periscope Followers to Consume Your Marketing


If there’s one saying I’m known for it’s this:

Making money is a simple as having access to a thing of value, and a way to communicate with others that value that thing. -Kurt Frankenberg, Shoestring101

Periscope is my newest way to communicate. And though it’s not making money for me yet personally (shoot, I’ve only posted three times in two days… that’s the extent of my experience so far with it) I can tell you that you can’t afford to overlook the potential of Periscope.

Ever have something so awesome to say bottled up inside you that you can’t WAIT to tell someone… and if you don’t right now you might just LOSE the words to say what ya wanna say?

Yeah, me too. That’s why blogging sometimes slows my roll a bit ūüėČ . But Periscope is a platform that doesn’t just allow you to connect with your target audience… it allows you to speak with them as with a friend. And get INSTANT feedback while you’re doing it.

Take that, YouTube.

My Favorite Resource For Learning About Periscope

Okay, like almost EVERYTHING valuable, accurate and usable that I’ve found about using content marketing to generate free traffic on the internet… I get the very BEST stuff from Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe.

So before we go any further it’s mandatory that we take 5:24 and learn from this Russian beauty/secret spy (I have reliable inside information that she’s actually Agent Salt) about the this up-and coming way to connect with your followers:

I tease Ana that she blogs with a Russian accent ūüėČ . But here in the video ^ you can actually hear it!

It’s that cool kind of accent that makes you want to listen, not so thick you don’t understand. Ana’s quite articulate here, but if you want to dive deeper go to¬†

As expected with lady who writes blog named TrafficGenerationCafe¬†you’ll see how to use Periscope to drive targeted traffic to your blog or other material on the internet.

On that post Ana goes into much greater detail about how to increase your reach, how to follow likeminded people (spoiler: I love this technique… click on and follow the COMMENTERS on a great Periscope you’re watching), how to build your own audience and interact with them.

Periscope Allows Instant Interaction With Your Targeted Followers

What I’m excited about is not simply the ability to speak TO your following… but to get feedback instantly FROM them. Because when the day is done, it’s all about what they need… and how you can better serve it up.

And there’s nothing like a call to action that follows on the heels of a specific request for help.

For example, “I’m thinking of starting a bed and breakfast. How should I get started?” This question relates EXACTLY to my given niche… ¬†I teach folks how to start or promote an offline business, online.

So I can give an INSTANT answer, which is helpful.. and then send them to a specific blog post which will be even more helpful:

Start out by listing just one room of your property on… and it’d be great to go to my blog post about how to get free exposure from Google’s front page with no cost.”

Find Periscope followers that want exactly what you have to offer, and you’ll get yourself the benefit of more exposure and give your followers the benefit of your services and/or wisdom.

Periscope Helps You BE the Cutting Edge

They talk about being ON the cutting edge… but in my thinking be-ING the cutting edge is pushing the conversation forward…leading¬†that conversation… and responding to that conversation in real time.

It’s hard to think of a better way to take the pulse of your market and give them what they want… or at least KNOW what they want so you can do your homework and put on your thinking cap… than interacting with your Periscope followers instantly.

Find Periscope Followers to Add to Your Tribe

What is your “tribe”?

According to Seth Godin, a tribe is a group of people that share a particular interest.. and have a way to communicate with each other.

Seems to me that Periscope is an ideal way to find your tribe, nurture your tribe, build your tribe.

Not that your blog and other social media aren’t already great tools for those goals… but Periscope is the only one I know of so far that lets you say more than 140 characters’ worth, and then get INSTANT interaction all across the globe from both current followers and strangers.

That said, don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to find Periscope followers for its own sake… you need to drive them to your best content in other channels.

After establishing yourself as an expert… or at least someone knowledgeable and HELPFUL… your next step is to take them to the next level so you can have more intimate conversations.

Use a call to action at the end of each broadcast to connect with your Periscope followers on your blog, your Twitter, your YouTube, or by email or phone.

Oh, and all those spaces should drive followers back to your Periscope as well.

G’head, ASK. Ask your followers on Twitter or your blog or what-have-you… to come see you on Periscope.

Periscope Can Be Your Best Content Marketing Generation Tool

I gave a little link love to my favorite Russian secret agent traffic generation expert above, but let me give YOU an unauthorized intelligence leak here and now:

There will soon be a resource from the genie behind TrafficGenerationCafe to do all the heavy lifting related to content marketing.

A powerful part of Ana Hoffman’s upcoming Trafficology Blueprint is the Content Catapult, where you take one core thought¬†…then proliferate it among several channels and in several formats.

Periscope may just be the KEY to unlocking your content leveraging genius.

Rather than starting from scratch over and over, trying to come up with content for different media channels …consider using your Periscope rants as the basis for a virtual client-grabbing WEB of content marketing.

What is content leveraging? It’s where you¬†take one piece of information¬†that’s valuable to your following¬†and:

expand it into a YouTube video,

strip out the video and use the audio for a podcast,

summarize it as a Facebook image,

morph it into print for a blogs, press releases and PDFs,

organize it into a PowerPoint presentation,

…and more.

That’s how set your sights on military-grade traffic generation.

"Ana Hoffman", the "Blogger" that runs Traffic Generation Cafe

“Ana Hoffman”, the “Blogger” that runs Traffic Generation Cafe

MIG: Market Intelligence Guru... Super, um TARGETED Traffic. (Sorry for blowing your cover, Ana)

MIG: Market Intelligence Guru… Super, um TARGETED Traffic. (Sorry for blowing your cover, Ana)







If you have expertise in your niche and the inclination to talk about it… G’head. RANT a bit.

Save that Periscope and maybe see about getting it transcribed on Fiverr. ¬†Here you have most of the words you’ll need for a blog post. And everyone knows it’s easier to edit than to actually sit down and write from scratch.

With a little cleanup, that thought you had boiling up to the surface can become a driver of traffic from all over the web.

Imagine blog posts, images, videos, press releases, PDFs all over the frickin’ place with your name or brand attached to it.

This gives the impression both to people and to Google that YOU are EVERYWHERE.

It’s almost cheating. You become the expert, the trusted person or brand to follow.

And this cycle all started with one silly rant on Periscope with a passioned message spoken to your tribe.

So what’s this about an intelligence leak?

My sources say that Ana Hoffman has a step-by-step checklist to accomplish everything above and more in the shortest time and in the best possible way. Go to to get on the waiting list.

Stick to One Topic, Tease ’em for a Little More, and Remember Your CTA

This article is about more than just finding Periscope followers. It’s about using Periscope to drive followers to all of your media output, and using your other media to gain followers on Periscope as well! Sort of like one hand washes the other.

A little advice regarding Periscope broadcasting and any other content marketing: stick to the one topic that you reeled ’em in with in your description. Maybe take a further step and promise something in the bigger picture.

(kinda like I’m doing here)

Then tell your followers the action you want them to take next.

You do this at the end of the valuable information you provided your followers in your content.

This doesn’t just work on Periscope. It works every message your target audience consumes.

POR EXEMPLAR: In the case of this blog post… I want you to go find me on Periscope, right now! It’s Kurt Frankenberg, that last part spelled, B-E-R-G.

I’d also like to hear what you think about finding Periscope followers, and finding followers for your other content ON periscope. Post your wisdom or your questions below!

Keep Stepping,


Use Facebook Groups to Get Piles of New Customers For Your Local Business

before and after

If you’re looking for unique ways to use Facebook to generate new business, today you hit the right blog.

I haven’t posted in SS101 for about four and a half months (and I’m SOOO SOoorryy!) but I think this post will be worth the wait. Actually, the subject of the post is why I’ve been busier than a cat in a sandbox trying to serve all the free local customers generated recently.

Using Local Facebook Groups is my new favorite free marketing technique.

Read to the bottom and you’ll see how I got more than $3,100 already while discovering this thing almost by accident.

Use Local Facebook Groups to Market Your Products and Services Free

Know what I love and hate at the same time? Accidentally discovering a yet another new way to get piles of new customers for free.

Why do I love getting new customers for free? Uh, DUH… think about it ūüėČ

But why would I say I hate it too?

Because it forces me to take a break from writing about making piles of money… and go actually make piles of money.

Which takes me away from… you.

Okay, so that’s what I’ve been busy doing for the last four months. I’ve missed blogging but now I’m back. Now YOU get to sink your teeth into some juicy new marketing tips from the cutting edge of research…

Brace yourself to learn how to use Local Facebook Groups to market your products and services to a super targeted list.

Local Facebook Groups are the New Craigslist

I’ve called my wife Sabrina the “queen of Craiglist.”

And she deserves the title; we’ve gotten deals on everything under the sun. From concert tickets… to building materials… to electronics… to landscaping… to exercise equipment… to cars… (yes that’s cars, plural, for ourselves and my kids)… all off of Craigslist.

Trouble is, Craigslist is getting a bad rep because of how anonymous and downright dangerous it can be. Example? Well, f’rinstance… less than six months ago in nearby Longmont, CO a lady answered a Craiglist ad for baby clothes and was stabbed and killed by the particularly sick individual that posted the ad.


So more and more, bargain hunters are preferring to do business with people in their own neighborhood.

Local Facebook Groups fill that need to bargain-hunt within a community. Rather than a faceless Craigslist poster, you’re dealing with someone that lives nearby… someone a history of purchases or sales (or both)… and that you can quickly check up on to see who else knows them.

Who would you rather go buy some gently used clothes from:

==>some totally anonymous poster on Craigslist, or

==>a homebody that lives two streets over… that has 437 friends¬†on Facebook, including some that YOU are friends with too… ¬†and that you can private message with from the relative comfort of Facebook Messenger?

The best thing about Facebook Groups is that they are communities based around a particular interest in common, which makes for a very targeted list.

The best thing about¬†Local Facebook Groups is that the group’s “thing in common” is a geographical area, which allows you to target a particular neighborhood with your goods and services.

Local Facebook Groups: Zero Cost + a Little Time Equals High ROI

Often here on Shoestring101 I’ve asserted the barest necessity for building a business is to have

1) access to a thing of value, and

2) a way to communicate with people that value that thing!

Enter these two ingredients: my local screen repair biz (also did this with my martial arts studio, but that’s another story) and local Facebook Groups.

Thing of value, way to communicate.

For local business, nowhere is this one-two punch combination more powerful than in Facebook Groups. This is a setting where people are ALREADY engaged in buying and selling to each other.

You therefore overcome all sales resistance, all feelings about being “spammy”.

You cut right to the heart: “Hey, this is what I offer… who wants it? PAY me.” ¬†:-)

Local Facebook Groups, if you haven’t used them yet, are Facebook Groups based on who lives in a particular community.

You won’t believe how many new paying customers I got recently from a single post. To date, an innocent picture with a tiny bit of copy generated well over $3,100 in bottom line profits for my screen repair business… $3,100 and counting.

Plus, uhhh… we’ve done more than one post.


A specialty of Shoestring101¬†is teaching you to promote your offline,¬†local business… but promote it for cheap (or free)¬†online.

Most of the methods I teach here on SS101 are evergreen and low maintenance. THIS particular technique needs a little setup and time, but it can give you a much-needed shot in the arm on occasion.

So if you’re looking to get a nice cash influx without spending a dime on advertising, check these simple steps:

How One Post in a Local Facebook Group Generated Over $3,100

I sent an email out a few months ago saying that I was looking to expand my screen repair business from Colorado Springs and Monument, CO into nearby Castle Rock.

I told everyone (you included, if you’re on my mailing list) that I’d be using my normal, evergreen SEO tactics to establish a free lead-grabbing MACHINE¬†…and capture folks interested in screen repair that live in Castle Rock.

But I got interrupted. I had only just pieced together a Facebook business page for “Castle Rock Screen Repair” with a before/after picture of screens with sun damage. Smack-dab in the middle of that project, my wife (without asking me first, tsk) snagged that pic and posted it in her Local Community Facebook Group, “North Springs Mamas.”

And an ATOM BOMB of new business sales dropped in my lap.

Here was the post:

"My hubby does screen repair... anyone with screens or screen doors that need fixing?" This ONE post generated $3,100 in sales

“My hubby does screen repair… anyone with screens or screen doors that need fixing?” This ONE post generated $3,100 in sales

We’ve done thousands of dollars of business because of that one post. I had to cover most of it personally, because my contractors were busy doing other work that we’re getting from other hacks we use to get free leads.

The post was the easy part. Then questions came flooding in…

“Do you do screen doors?”

“I am missing frames, can you build those?”

“I have pets and they always seem to tear screens in a few weeks. Got a material that’s tougher?”

At first I wanted to answer each question by way of PM and engage each customer personally closing the sale quickly.

But my savvy woman told me to both to private message AND to answer the post directly on the page… at a certain time.

“It’s not ‘prime time‘ yet. Wait till 8:00 tonight and answer those publicly.”

Reason? Why, because each time I answered a question it brought the whole post back to the top again, right when the maximum number of “North Springs Mamas” were online browsing for deals.

That worked a charm. With lots of buzz about the come-to-you screen repair service coming again and again to the top, many Mamas put a “*” in to bookmark the post for later reference.

Every time I did a screen job from North Springs Mamas, I asked the Mama to post a review. Again, back to the top she goes… generating even more buzz, more goodwill, more leads and business.

By the time the dust cleared I had done well over two dozen jobs from that single post, priced between $45 and $400+.

Six Steps to Scads of New Customers from Local Facebook Groups

It’s amazing but simple. Follow these six steps and you’ll soon have a new source of highly targeted leads and customers for your business:

Make nice with the admin and establish a good name for yourself. Find out who’s running the group and send them a heartfelt thank-you for what they are doing.

Learn the rules and regs of the group you’re in. Your particular group may allow only certain days to make “business” posts, while the rest of the time used furniture, electronics, baby clothes, etc are the stuff the group is made of.

Contribute to the group; don’t just spam. The best times to offer your services are:

  1. Every once in a while, AFTER being featured in the community somehow. Maybe you have solved a problem for someone, or made recent sales or purchases. Your name is known and you’re seen to be a “good egg”
  2. When someone asks about it (for example, we got three Students for my karate studio when one of the group asked “Does anyone know a good karate school for kids?”

Hang with the movers and shakers.¬†Get to know at least three other regular contributors. Engage in conversations with them by private message (PM) and ask about what kinds of posts seem to get the most attention. Ask them about “prime time” and get tips and tricks that work best in your particular group.

Flattery never hurts. Here’s a sample private message, right after buying something from Gwen: “WOW Gwen, you seem to be selling left and right and I don’t seem to be able to GIVE my items away. Any tips? How do you do so well in this group?”

Buy stuff. You need stuff, right? Start getting your stuff for cheap on the group instead of paying full price at the store. Sabrina got four pairs of barely-used shoes for $12. No joke. See what your neighbors are just plain giving away and take advantage of those bargains! You’ll also get a hang for the process and the lingo that your particular group uses.

Sell stuff. Honestly, is that Nordic Track the best thing to hang your coat on? ūüėČ Get rid of whatever weighs you down, while making a few relationships and establishing that you’re a real live contributor to this community. This will give you an opportunity to find out what kind of “copy” works to attract buyers… while you lighten the ballast of old junk around your place and put some green in your pocket.

Post as a third party if possible. “My husband… my wife… my friend… this guy…” For whatever reason, posting on behalf of another seems to get more engagement than if you are posting as yourself. When my wife said, “My hubby does screen repair…” the volume of inquiries was waayyy beyond what we expected; within one hour 22 local community people posted questions. BONUS: each time we answered a question, it brought the post back to the top again, giving us that much more exposure.

Post your target product or service infrequently. I can’t state this more emphatically; DON’T be that guy or gal that gets kicked off the group for repeated, shameless self-promotion.

The key to this kind of marketing is to become known and contribute to this local community. Interact often and pleasantly with a number of other posters to the group and you will build up an enormous amount of goodwill. And what goes around, comes around…

The (pun intended) word-of-mouse¬†that happens is extraordinary. We’ve had thousands of dollars come to us for both of my local businesses through just one local Facebook group. And there are scads more of them for us to work with. With names like “Falcon Thrifty” and “Meadow Ridge at Briargate”, Local Facebook Community Groups are a great way to get to know the potential customers in your local area, and reach out to them in a positive way.

Okay, Steppers! Thus ends THIS post to Shoestring101, the savvy marketer’s blog for using online marketing to promote offline biz. The post is completed, but the conversation is not!

I’d love to hear from you about using Local Facebook Groups as a marketing one-two punch. OR any way that you’ve used to validate a business or get customers for cheap or free. Business and wealth-building are team sports. Post your questions, your experiences and adventures here and let’s keep the conversation going and growing!

Keep Stepping,



5 Steps to YOUR Killer USP (Unique Selling Proposition)


In today’s post we look at the all-important USP:¬†Unique Selling Proposition.

Also, how you can develop your¬†USP¬†to reach out telepathically into the minds of your customers and just like in Inception… and give ’em an idea that they think is¬†theirs.

BTW, the idea you’re planting in your target’s minds is that they call YOU… instead of your competitors… and give ya money.



Why You Should Craft the Best USP for Your Business

Good morning, Steppers!

Tom Cruise knows what time it is.

Tom Cruise knows what time it is.

At least it’s morning where I am right now. Sheesh…

“Now is that 0600,¬†in the morning,¬†sir?”

So, the Unique Selling Proposition. Made famous by Dan Kennedy.

Y’know, there’s always lot of buzz going around about the newest social media platform, or the trendy new thing to do on ’em.

All bright, shiny objects. Every business owner’s head gets turned by:

  • social media schedules and posts
  • the newest sales funnel technique
  • exit pop-ups
  • buttons and arrows
  • SEO techniques, both white-hat and black

The big problem is this:

Each of these bright, shiny objects are just ways to reach your target market.

But a tried-and-true principle that has NEVER gone out of vogue is this:

Knowing exactly what to say to your target market..!

It’s an art and science to craft the exact, brief message…

…that actually makes them want to buy from YOU.

As opposed to anyone else in your field.

Your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, should communicate to the world a very targeted market quickly ¬†and exactly what it is that you do… to solve their particular problem.

Your USP, if used correctly, KILLS the competition.

Because it positions you as the best and logical choice in your customer’s minds.

Like I said:¬†Inception. Your customer thinks it’s their idea… but you put it there.

Just the Tip: Your USP Gets Things Started

Think if this was a dating situation. You want my number, right? Not making a marriage proposal.


So don’t give me a drawn-out resume. I’m not gonna decide whether to jump into holy matrimony with you just this second.

You just need a catchy pickup line. I may take a chance and slide my phone number over to ya.

So just bang out one single sentence that gets my attention enough to want to find out more.

Your Unique Selling Proposition gets you in the door; from there the quality of your service makes me a customer for life.

Let’s uncover the proven five-step formula to make a killer USP.

Crafting Your Unique Selling Proposition: You Are Your Customer’s¬†First¬† Only Choice

Quality and price are NEVER how you come at your customer. Stuff that old-school marketing in “File 13”. The round file. Your trash can, mmmk?

A proper Unique Selling Proposition means that you don’t compete on price, quality… shoot, you don’t compete with others at all.

Because NO ONE offers the solution that you offer.

See if you recognize these EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE USPs… but more importantly, why they are effective:

Hot, fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”

This USP doesn’t promise the best pizza. It doesn’t even promise halfway¬†good pizza. It promises to fill your tummy… without you having to cook… less than 30 minutes from your phone call.

“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

This USP doesn’t even address price, does it? In fact, you’d probably expect to pay a pretty penny for what it promises.

“M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand”.

Wow. Tidy chocolate.

Every mommy or chocolate-loving neatnik has their problem solved, right there.

Yes to chocolate, but no to chocolatey hands and the stains they leave everywhere? Sign me up!

Unique Selling Proposition: in a nutshell, it’s what YOU do best… that THEY want most.

Your Unique Selling Proposition Solves Their Exact Problem

Those iconic USPs above are examples of one sentence solving one problem for one set of people.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your Unique Selling Proposition is to try and be all things to all people.

“Selling” is that art of grabbing the attention of your prospective buyer and persuading them to part with their money, because what you have to offer is worth more to them than their money.


So the cardinal sin is being boring.

Duh again.

Look here, your USP can be a lot of things, but SELF-SERVING isn’t one of them.

I’ve seen some CRAZY-ass attempts at sounding important.. and they all but scream “Me Monster” because they don’t succinctly answer the question on everybody’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”

So slay the inner corporate chest-banging weasel in you that wants to say, “me, Me, ME!”

Marketing Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Trainer, Author, Social Media Marketing Expert. Get Your Free Whatsit at my Site,  #nottryingtosellyouanything #noreallyniceimaguy #butseriouslybuystufffromme

Marketing Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Trainer, Author, Social Media Marketing Expert. Get Your Free Whatsit at my Site,

Shoot ‘im dead.

And next to “me” is “WE”.

Say goodbye to pointing both thumbs your own way and saying the trite, expected…¬†but ultimately meaningless drivel.


“WE are committed to delivering world class blah, blah, blah…”

“WE leverage total full service solutions for clients blah, blah..”

“WE are all about that bass…”


If boring is the cardinal sin, overselling is a mortal sin. Customers see it coming…

… and frankly, they just ain’t buying it.

Or you.

So resist the urge to tell your WHOLE story. Don’t try to tell everything that you can do.

Just promise to solve their exact problem… the biggest thing on their mind, right now… ¬†and give ’em a way to get a hold of you.

Your USP Answers Objections Before Your Customer Makes Them

Say your target customer is sitting in front of you, right now, and says they are going to buy today. Your customer asks:

“But why should I buy from you instead of your competitor?”

==> If you answer, “Because we’re the best!”

I’m going to spank your bottom and put you in time out.

Because everyone else is saying that too.

But brace yourself, because…

==> If you answer, “Because we’re the cheapest!”

I will bitch-slap you with my pimp hand.

No joke.

Not only are both of these answers expected (boring), but one of them forces down the prices you can command for your services to position you lowest on the totem pole (weak sauce)!

They really don’t do a good job of reaching the customer with the right answer to this question.

The¬†only acceptable answer to the question, “Why should I choose you over the competition?” is that you can solve a problem that I have, and no one else can solve it…¬†or solve it as well as you.


Cultivate Your USP From Your Elevator Pitch

unique-selling-proposition-grumpy-catThe “elevator pitch” is the sales pitch you’d use if you had only the length of an elevator ride to make a sale.

As my son and I were developing a mobile screen repair business, we’d use the following “elevator pitch” to justify the prices we were charging to repair a window or a screen door:

“Normally,¬†if you can find a hardware store that still repairs screens…

…you have to borrow a neighbor’s truck if you don’t have one…”

…then figure out how to get your screens and screen doors out…”

without damaging them…”

…then drive them once to the hardware store…”

…then wait several days for them to finish…”

…so you can take¬†another¬†trip to the store…”

…get your screens home and figure out how to put them back in…”

again, without damaging them…”

…then clean up your truck (or your neighbors) for the second time.”

…OR, you could avoid all that and let us fix your screens, just minutes after we arrive.”

Now, this description does an admirable job of justifying my outrageous prices for something as mundane as repairing your screen door.

I’m not just taking out torn material and putting in new… I’m saving you from a drawn-out nightmare of minute details, dirty hands and truck, and possibly still screwing it up anyway.

Instead of all that noise… I just get your problem solved, with one phone call.

Genius, if I may say so myself.

It’s taken some time to develop this winning elevator pitch, and it sell the ish out of my local screen repair service biz… But it’s been worth it. I have to beat customers off with a stick.

But..! Good as this elevator pitch is, it’s still not a USP.

Shorten Your Unique Selling Proposition to One Powerful Sentence

I timed myself reading the above elevator pitch. 35 seconds.

Homey, ain’t nobody got time for that.

That’s great length for a radio spot… but not for a Unique Selling Proposition.

Lookee… I’m going to blatantly STEAL a fellow copywriter’s blog post, aptly titled “How to Write Well in Four Sentences”. Here goes:

Fewer words make the message clear.

When you’ve got nothing to say you try to use more words.


And find a message worth saying.

-Marek Sanders,

At first we used signs to advertise. Now Google serves up customers without charge---NICE!

Screen Repair, an idea that turned into a five figures biz! All the necessary selling is in one sentence: WE come to YOU.

For the screen repair business that my son and I built as part of one of the 30-Day, $1000 Challenges… we came up with a very short and easy to understand USP:

“We Come to You.”

Those four words capture the very essence of the screen repair customer’s problem.

He kinda already knows that getting screens out of their places, jammin them into his car, and going to the hardware store… TWICE… is going to be a pain in the rumpus.

So “We Come to You” makes a promise that’s music to his (or her) ears.

Is it effective?

You tell me.

I’ve been chronicling it here on Shoestring101.

In “We MADE It! $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge” I detail how this four-word USP… plus a little elbow grease… helped my 14-year old son and me turn $62.66 for six yellow signs into $1095 profit.

With only part-time work, our little enterprise made four figures in its first month.

Not shabby.

But then..!

In Another Case Study: Five Steps to Five Figures I get to brag about how that same screen-repair enterprise had its first of many $500 profit days, less than one short year later.

My teenager will never lack for gainful employment, whether someone ‘gives him a job’ or not.

Because he understands the value of the Unique Selling Proposition.

Don’t dis the USP, bro…¬†You might be one short, powerful promise away from a gold mine.

Five Step Checklist: Perfect Your Unique Selling Proposition

Okay, so in this post you’ve not only seen why your USP is vital, but how to craft your own.

First, we’ve defined what your USP is NOT.

We don’t holler at the world, “we’re the best”, mmmk?

That’s kind of the opposite of unique, right? Just say NO to bad marketing…

…and remember the only thing worse than saying “we’re the best” is saying “we’re the cheapest”. That will only earn my pimp hand across your cheek, yo. ūüėé

==>Seriously: don’t test me.

Another thing to remember that your USP is NOT is a full resume. You just want to present your prospective buyer with a hook… not the line, sinker and the boat for crying out loud.

Don’t try to educate everybody on everything you do.

Just enough to make them want more.

So, now that we’re clear on what your USP is not..! Let’s get to the work of crafting the Ultimate Unique Selling Proposition for YOUR biz.

I’ve boiled it down to a simple checklist, from the “H2” headings above:

  1. Position yourself as the ONLY choice. Do not compete on price, quality, or anything that your competitors do. Focus on the ONE thing you do that  no one else does, or does as well.
  2. It ain’t about you. Quit saying how great YOU are. Focus instead on what keeps your customer awake nights and fix it. Your USP contains a single statement that solves the EXACT, biggest problem¬†coming up first in your customers’ minds.
  3. The USP answers objections before they are made. “Why should I choose your business over the others?” is a question that shouldn’t come up, because you’ve already addressed it.
  4. Keeping in mind the first three steps, write your elevator pitch. Keep it to thirty seconds or so. This is an important practice for your business anyway, but the real value comes next.
  5. Cull unnecessary words and even unnecessary thoughts. If there are lots of selling points pick the best. If you solve a lot of problems, pick the worst. Take this baby down to ONE sentence and don’t worry… they’ll learn all those other great things about you after the first sale.

A final note… Most of the real work happens in step four, the elevator pitch. Let steps 1-3 guide you, but actually write out your elevator pitch like so:

  • What you DO
  • Who you do it FOR
  • Why you are DIFFERENT than anyone else in your space
  • How your clients FEEL after you have done it for them

Finally, after you have a decent 30 second elevator pitch, use step five above and break ‘er down to one sentence.

Here’s mine, at the top of this page:

I (Kurt Frankenberg) help business owners (my target market) make more bottom line profits (how do YOU feel about profits, duh) by dominating local search for free (why I’m different).”

Still a bit wordy, but I’m working on it.

Oh, and YES. It’s okay to change your USP when you find a better one.

The Most Important Part: What FOLLOWS Your USP

The most important part that follows your USP is to FULFILL the PROMISE that you make with it.

Without delivering the goods, you will forfeit your right to claim your rightful position as the top dawg in your respective niche.

So immediately following your USP… your promise… you must do a CTA.

That’s Call To Action.

Call to action, baby!

Call to action, baby!

If your USP is like scoring a phone number, the CTA is like going in for a kiss.


Ask your prospective buyers to do the next logical step to experience your awesomeness, up close and personal.

And do it in a way that’s completely natural, that just assumes you have provided enough information to generate enough trust to go the next step.

I Get It, Kurt– Time to Craft the Perfect USP. What Next?

That single sentence, “We Come to YOU!” has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for just one of my local businesses. I do have competitors, but then again I DON’T… because my USP shuts ’em down.

Knowing how to develop your USP, and what to do after, is CRUCIAL to your bottom line.

I have a PDF I’d love to send you that teaches how to use your USP seamlessly lead into your call to action and more sales. I’ll just bet ya that it’ll add more umph to your bottom line, this month.

Subscribe to Shoestring101 ¬†and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Til then,

Keep Stepping!


Top Five Posts on SS101 to Start or Grow Your Business

ss101 Bootstrap

Hello, Steppers!

Today’s post is all about… ME!

Haha just kidding. It’s about you and wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey. I’ve gathered together some of the most helpful material for entrereneurs,¬†yet¬†produced by yers truly.

Not everything I write is pure gold. But every once in a while I get something write (er, RIGHT) that resonates with my Steppers.

So I’ve cobbled together an “internal roundup” of the FIVE most-read, most-shared, most commented and hopefully,¬†most helpful¬†posts¬†so far on Shoestring101.

Inside you will find posts on:

Continue reading…

Results of my Most Recent 30 Day, Thousand Dollar Challenge

If you were following Shoestring101 in January, you know that I did another 30 Day, Thousand Dollar Challenge.

In case you’re tuning in late to this channel, I’ve been able to start a number of small businesses with no capital. Or less capital than you might take from the first hour of a garage sale¬†(hence Shoestring101).

Some businesses I’ve started publicly and documented in real time on this blog. January’s Challenge was no exception.

The 30 Day, Thousand Dollar Challenge is meant to show how possible it is (with a little hustle) to start a small business on the side and make a decent income WITHOUT:

risking capital,

borrowing money,

or taking on partners that may or may not share your vision.

I’ve done a number of these Challenges to demonstrate the Shoestring101 principles ¬†in “object lessons” for my upcoming information product…

Side Money Blueprint: Start Your Own Profitable Business From Scratch in 30 Days Without Risking a Dime (or Wasting Your Time).

Last month, rather than choosing the kind of business I was going to start in 30 days and make $1,000 with, I asked YOU (my good-lookin’ Readers, the Shoestring Steppers) to pick what kind of business to do and whom it should serve.

The results are in.

The Business You Chose for this Month’s Challenge

So, starting a business centered around writing ad copy (copywriting) and designing sales funnels for middle-class small business owners around the world has finally invaded the lower layers of my subconscious.

Last night my German Shepherd, Jovi (yes, kinda like Jon Bon Jovi) was put out to do his business at 10:30 pm, but he didn’t do his doody. Ahem, duty. SO he got me up at 2:30am instead for an emergency outing.

In my mind rather than thinking,

“Damn dog, okay wait a minnit I’ll get up and let you out”;

instead what bubbled up in my grogginess was,

“I’m sorry but you have come to a portion of the site that only members can access. In order to get this amazing benefit please register for our free gift and give us your email…”


YUP, sales funnel strucures and copywriting are actually coming out of my ears… though during the 30 Day, Thousand Dollar Challenge I only actually earned a couple hundred dollars.

$216 to be exact.

That’s a durn sight SHORT of the thousand clams I claimed I would be able to make from scratch.

I guess that here I should point out that:

  1. It didn’t end up COSTING me, like most failed attempts at business cost their owners.
  2. I DID have some very beneficial side effects as a result of starting this biz!

Side Effects of This 30 Day Challenge

Before examining why I didn’t end up making one thousand spendable dollars in thirty days, let’s expound the benefits and lessons that DID come out of this month’s Challenge.

Learned the Process

Shoestring Step ONE is Get OFF Your ASS… which I did, at least for thirty minutes to two and a half hours a day.

Now, I realize that a “real workday” is much longer than that. But in the spirit of “Side Money Blueprint” I wanted to show it’s possible to make a side biz with side time. After all, most folks are not gonna QUIT their job to start a business… at least I seriously hope they don’t… they’re going to start a little something in their spare time. Well, with three other businesses of my OWN to run I didn’t “quit my job”… but what I did do was to try and eke out a little time every day to dedicate to working at this side gig.

Either I would be writing copy and constructing sales funnels or finding people for whom to write copy and construct sales funnels, for thirty days.

Shoestring Step TWO is Find Out The W’s.. Who Wants What, Why they Want it, Where and hoW they may be found. “Marketing” should really be called “finding”. My son asked me what is the difference between marketing and sales, since they seemed to him to be the same thing.

“Nope,” I told him. “They’re nowhere NEAR the same thing. Sales is what you do to convince someone they need something. Marketing is finding the people that are already convinced they need something, and letting them know you have it.”

Thanks Professor Kurt. ūüėé

So this is another thing I did daily… I looked for the W’s. I thought I would find them on Fiverr, but in truth it was harder and more time-consuming than I thought it would be. We’ll get to that later when we look at why I failed this time around. But first, some other side benefits:

Shoestring Step THREE is Learn To Create Value. This I did by playing with free trials of ClickFunnels and LeadPages (btw of the two I found LeadPages to have the best educational value, and ClickFunnels to be easier for this non-techie guy to use).

Full disclosure: clicking on the ClickFunnels links ^ here takes you to a 60 second video about ClickFunnels. I found that ClickFunnels was easier for me to use and yes, this is an “affilliate” link. My opinion is not for sale… but if you wanna make your own sales funnel ¬†and you’re not a techie I’ve already done some testing for ya. ¬†‘Nuff said.¬†

Now, I never did get to Shoestring Steps FOUR and FIVEMeasure Everything You Do and Now Write Everything Down.

Neglecting these two Steps was probably part of why this particular Challenge failed to bring in $1,000 of side money. More about that later. But doing at least the first three Steps had some real benefits, beyond just learning the process of the copywriting/sales funnel biz. Read on:

Revamped My OWN Sales Funnels – Made $972

THIS side effect was quite tasty.

Since it was tough going sometimes to find the people that needed my services most on Fiverr, I began to use the tools and tricks I was selling on Fiverr to improve my OWN local business gigs.

Physician, heal thyself.

In another post on this site where I speak about the importance of tweaking your own sales funnels, I mention that if you could choose between working for a HIGH hourly rate, say a hundred bucks an hour… or work on a process for your business that increases how much you automatically bring in by one dollar a day… you should choose the second.

Eventually (and sooner than you think) your automatic income will surpass your hourly, “worked for” income. But you won’t have to work to keep getting it.

So when work dried up from Fiverr, rather than do NO funnels and copy… I revamped some funnels and copy for myself

…and increased my income from one of my businesses by $972 in January, plus residual income of $239 a month afterwards!

That’s not a shabby side benefit.

Shucks… I don’t mind at ALL failing to make a thousand bucks last month creating sales funnels for others, if concentrating on my own sales funnels brought in that much extra bank ūüėČ

(BTW I’m publishing this post on the tenth of February, though I began writing it on the third. In that week I had another four sign-ups, one of whom paid for a YEAR of classes in advance. Of the four new Students, three came from the sales funnels I put in place in January. This is another $1970 received in February so far, ABOVE the $972 in January I mentioned at the beginning of this section. So again, not a shabby side effect)

Okay, couple more side bennies:

Made a Number of New Contacts, Strengthened Old Ones

By announcing to the world I was gonna make a thousand dollars from scratch writing ad copy and constructing sales funnels, I did attract a lot of attention and make some new friends. I also did some work VERY CHEEEEPLY for clients on Fiverr.

These fellas and fellerettes are sure to think of me again when they need some copy written… and I dare say they would be willing to pay a bit more for it. I treated each $5 job like it was a $50 job… and when those turn into $50 jobs I’ll treat ’em like $500 jobs.

One of those contacts wants me to write her launch funnel and record video for it… what til you see it, I’m going to promote her product BIG TIME because I totally believe in it. More about that later, watch this space.

Got Some Testimonials and Exposure

I’ve decided from this little snafu that I really WANNA do copywriting and sales funnel creation. After all, I’ve done it for myself for years… but doing it for others has really sharpened the saw. Made me better.

Well, when I finally do hang out my shingle to really do copywriting in earnest… as a “real” business and not just a 30 Day Challenge…

…I already have a boatload of testimonials to quote.

Now here in February I already have some repeat biz… folks that ordered from me during the Challenge have come back ’round and ordered more.

(Heh… if they had placed their orders a few days sooner it might’ve spared me some of the embarrassment of missing my thousand dollar goal…)

But that’s all right. The ball has indeed gotten rolling and is picking up momentum.

The Biggest Side Benefit of All

The most important thing I’ve gotten out of this 30 Day Challenge is that my core Subscribers are still loyal, even seeing their “fearless leader” FAIL miserably.

I can’t thank my Steppers enough for the letters of encouragement during this Challenge. I DID have a couple (well, more than a couple) unsubscribe, but that’s okay… I’m not writing Shoestring101 for folks that think there will never be failures along the way to success.

I’m writing Shoestring101 for real people with real aspirations to start their own businesses.

Or if you already have a business… to point the way for YOU to own IT¬†instead of¬†IT¬†owning YOU.

If you’re reading this, you’re in the category of the champions that I do this silly blog for in the first place.

Thank you.

Okay… Lessons Learned

Now, every failure is an EVENT, not a PERSON. sounds a little hollow when you’re licking your own wounds, but it’s still true. Rather than looking at myself as a total loser for taking on this Challenge, then making only $216 of the $1,000 I boasted that I¬†would make… it’s time for me (and you!) to view the game tape and see where the mistakes were made.

The lessons learned fall into three categories. In this Challenge, I:

1) started off on the wrong foot,

2) allowed too many distractions,

3) finished strong but reached cruising speed about three weeks in… too late to make a diffference.

Let’s talk about starting off on the wrong foot. Before I do any endeavor like this, normally I take a step back and get extremely clear on WHY it’s important for me to succeed. I didn’t do that. Instead, I talked and talked on my blog and in my emails, thinking that this would motivate me while I was a-runnin’.

But I would have gotten a faster start… meaning I would make mistakes quicker and fix them sooner… if I had only followed my own directions. See recent my post, How to Get What You Want, for the “pre”-Step you should always take before the Shoestring Steps.

Next critique: I allowed too many distractions. If I had thrown more weight into it, I can see (looking back) that this Challenge could and should have made me $1,000. But I allowed other things to take precedence. I’m not talking about being a hubby and parenting and running my other businesses… those were necessary to do…

…but I AM talking about concentrating on those things when it was time for them, and concentrating on the Challenge when it was time for that.

Instead, I was thinking about my challenge during personal time, and during Challenge time I was thinking about my businesses and family.


By having a more clear statement of what I intended to do each day, I would not have been flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. If I had this Challenge to do over again, I think it would be a success. But as it is, I got to fail, fail miserably, and fail PUBLICLY (never fun) and mainly due to being unorganized and therefore unproductive.

Note to self: don’t handicap self.

Finally, I got my poop in a group and finished strong but it was too little, too late.  Specific actions I could have taken sooner are these:

I should not have started a brand-new Fiverr account. Since I ended up using the old one anyway, that’s where I should have begun instead of wasting time setting up a new one.

I should not have¬† taken some wrong advice… if you read about the “Fiverr Boss” debacle¬†20 days into the Challenge, you know that I picked up a program that gave insanely BAD and WRONG practices.

I could have gotten my Fiverr account(s) suspended indefinitely. As it turns out it just resulted in wasted time, but still: when something sounds too good to be true… well, you know the rest.

I should have gotten videos up quicker. Studies show that Fiverr gigs with attached videos are 220% more likely to sell. Now, I held off recording videos for all five gigs (I did record videos for two) because I got sick… but that’s no excuse. Whatever my voice might have sounded like, it would have been better to put up a crappy sounding video than no video at all.

I should have done more research. My “Aha!” moment came too late. ¬†When I figured out the kind of gig titles that were getting traction and changed my gig title and offerings to match, it was the difference between night and day. Trouble is, that happened much later than it should have,

I should have been more prolific in promoting… don’t shoot self in the foot

use more channels… fb, pinterest, youtube, twitter and use ’em more often and on autopilot

I should have asked for repeat biz sooner. Piles of repeat orders have come in already since Feb 1st.. not that they count for the 30 Day Challenge starting January 1st :-( Had I asked these customers for their repeat biz, they might have placed their orders before the Challenge was ended.

WHEW. That’s a lot of “shoulda”..! In fact, I should all over myself ūüėČ

Point is, it makes sense to go over one’s mistakes. NOT to wallow, but with the right attitude of “Okay here’s what happened. What did we learn and what are we going to do about it in the future?”

Ladies and gents… my beloved Shoestring Steppers… I can’t promise you I’ll never fail. What I will promise you is fair and honest coverage about the Challenges and to let you learn from my defeats as well as from my victories and the victories of other entrepreneurs.

Thanks for being a Stepper.

Next time I hope to win.

Watch this space.

Keep Stepping,


How to Get What You Want

If you could be sure of success– if you knew that whatever you attempted to do would not fail– what would you try to accomplish in the next 30 days?

Today’s post is about getting off your ass.

30 Days, Zero Capital to One Thousand Dollars Challenge

I’m right in the middle of a 30 Day Challenge, and here on day 25 I just realized I didn’t start the Challenge the way I’ve started every other one: with a clear statement of the goal, and why I want to reach it.

Napoleon Hill, the genius writer of Think and Grow Rich, said that there is one way to be sure of reaching one’s goals: to write them down and keep them where you can see them.

Giving thanks for something that you don’t actually have in your possession.. YET… conditions your mind to think of it as already being yours, to think of it as being part of what is due to you.

In his many books and recorded materials he gave various formulas for how to write out these goals and use them daily. I’ve paraphrased my favorite of these formulas.

  1. Write Down exactly what it is that you want
  2. Write Down exactly what you intend to give in return
  3. Develop a plan to begin giving, right now
  4. Memorize your written plans above and repeat them at least a dozen times per day, along with expressions of gratitude that what you wish for is already in your possession. Possession happens first in the mind.

What Does Kurt Frankenberg Want for Shoestring101 Readers?

SO..! For the world to see, here is my Definite Chief Aim with Shoestring101:

I want to help 10,000 of my fellow human beings to achieve the happiness, independence, and income limited only by one’s imagination that owning a small business affords.

I will distribute both information and inspiration, drawing on my experiences and the experiences of others that have started their own successful businesses.

I will write and promote daily, creating and distributing blog posts, PDFs, books, podcasts, instructional videos, information products, webinars, consulting services, and other content dedicated to helping entrepreneurs.

I believe I can do it.

More importantly, I believe YOU can do it… you can be one of the entrepreneurs that drops the shackles of a day-to-day existence serving to build someone else’s dream and following their orders. Instead I believe you can call your OWN shots and work toward your OWN dreams.

Watch Shoestring101 for the best I can deliver in terms of why-to, what-to, and how-to. I won’t rest until I know that 10,000 entrepreneurs had the chance to say goodbye to the rat race and hello to true ownership of their time, energy and resources.

Conceive, Believe, Receive and Achieve! …Write Down YOUR Goals

Are YOU game?

Then let’s get IN the game.

Your first assignment is to follow the exact plan and procedure above: write down what you want, what you intend to give in exchange for it, begin giving, and give many expressions of gratitude daily that you already have what it is that you want.

Thankfulness is a powerful key to manifesting abundance. Giving thanks for what you already have is necessary to enjoy what you have. It conditions your mind to receive fully the benefit of owning what you own.

Giving thanks for something that you don’t actually have in your possession.. YET… conditions your mind to think of it as already being yours, to think of it as being part of what is due to you. ¬†Once you begin to condition your mind that it is already yours, the situations that bring about it actually being yours will come to pass.

Okay, you super-good-lookin’ reader! ūüėé I could write more about the importance of a written goal, complete with your commitment of what to give in return, a plan and most importantly, several expressions of thanksgiving per day until what you want becomes a reality. BUT..! It would be much better to hear from YOU.

I’d really love to hear from you in the comment section. Maybe put your plans there for what you want in the next 30 days.

I’ll look for your post.

Keep Stepping!




20 Days into the 30 Day, $1,000 Challenge

Fiverr Gigs Getting Traction... But What I'm DOING is Learning What People Want

Hello Steppers!

Today’s post: an update on where I am in the latest 30 Day, $1,000 Challenge.

Toward the end of 2014, I sent out a series of emails and a coupla blog posts saying that I would again take a ¬†Challenge to start a side business with NO CAPITAL… then¬†grow it into a side income yielding $1,000 monthly…. and do it in 30 Days or less.

I started January 1st.

Today I get you caught up.

My Fledgling “Funnel Creation” Business: Day 20

For this 30 Day Challenge, YOU picked the market and the type of business.

Last time I did a 30DC  ( check out WE MADE it! 30 Day, 1000 Bucks Challenge) I decided everything on my own.

Back then I picked a local, service business… used weekends and took my teenager along for the ride, and made $1195

At first we used signs to advertise. Now Google serves up customers without charge---NICE!

At first we used signs to advertise. Now Google serves up customers without charge—NICE!

profit in 30 days. We offered screen repair services to my local area of Colorado Springs.

An interesting side effect of that project was that I learned how to hack  Google SEO for  local results!

We started out using roadside signs for advertising, but later by measuring results of free versus paid advertising… we decided to focus on honing those methods.

Now as a result of that experience I don’t pay ANYthing to advertise my martial arts studio or my screen repair biz.

You can read about how to hack local search results here: 7 Ways to Hack Local Seo For a FREE Front Page Listing

SO back to THIS particular 30 Day Challenge:

This time, instead of picking out everything myself I put it to a SurveyMonkey test.

My esteemed Readers said, “go global”… make it a service biz again… serving middle class clients.

So the first hurdle to leap for me was to decide what kind of service I can offer that I don’t need to be physically present for.

Formula for Starting a Business. FIRST, Solve Your OWN Problem. THEN Offer the Solution to Others

Formula for Starting a Business. FIRST, Solve Your OWN Problem. THEN Offer the Solution to Others!

I thought, “I’ve solved my OWN problem a couple of times in the category of writing ad copy and cobbling together marketing funnels… why not offer those skills as my service?”

Now, I want to remind everyone that I have three successful businesses in place right now.

Plus I’m a Dad, a Grandpa, and a friend.

SO I’m generally busier than a one-legged feller in a butt kickin’ contest…

…but the purpose of the Challenge to to encourage people that despite crushing schedules, zero experience, and other obstacles, it’s more than possible to create a business out of thin air.

Rather than quitting everything and focusing 24/7 on making my new copywriting and marketing funnel biz sing, I’ve kept up my usual schedule.

But I’m following a proven path: the Shoestring101 Principles.

Principle One: Get OFF Your ASS

But enough about me... let's talk about what YOU think of me.

But enough about me… let’s talk about what YOU think of me.

Just like a lot of my Viewers and Readers, I don’t have a lot of time to spare. But I’m set to prove that with a little hustle, you can make a good income on the side. YOU can start a business without risking your life savings, taking on partners or taking out loans.

Ya just gotta start.

SO day one… I put out my shingle on Fiverr, the number one platform for promoting a service biz

Zombie Kurt. A Fiverr Account is a Dangerous Thing...

Zombie Kurt. A Fiverr Account is a Dangerous Thing…

that can be done from anywhere in the world.

I already had a Fiverr account that I use for validating business ideas (and to waste money, $5 at a time on silly things like Zombie-ifying my picture ūüėé )

Now, Getting Off Your Ass may be the first Step to success in the Shoestring101 universe… indeed

in every endeavor…

but it always comes with a little resistance.

F’reaxmple, let me clue you in on some of the trials I’ve dealt with since starting this little business.


First, I determined that I was going to use a brand spanking new Fiverr account.

This is so that no one could call foul:

“Well you already had a Fiverr account in place… so that step was already done BEFORE you started the 30 days!”

I wanted to show everyone a start from scratch. So I did.

I set up a new username called, “Funnelvision” (get it? ‘coz I make marketing funnels ūüėČ )

That’s all I could really do for the first day.

The next day I added a “gig”… a service offered for sale for five bucks.

The next day I added another.

When Something Sounds too Good to Be True, We-e-e-ell…

Now, realize that I’ve never used a Fiverr account to make serious profits.. only to do market research and get paid for it.

So to help me grow quickly, I was using a¬†PDF somebody sent me called “Fiverr Boss” ¬†to learn “How to Easily Make $4,000 Your First Month”.

Fiverr Boss. Disappeared like a Boss.

Fiverr Boss. Disappeared like a Boss.


So after trying to put in place some of the strategies this guy was talking about, it was evident that I needed a little help.

I tried writing him at the support email…

…tried pinging him on Twitter…

…tried going to the website…

…and the Facebook support page…


The guy is just plain GONE.

Now, I wasn’t sure if there were some legal ramifications to this, but as I dove deeper into the book, I discovered that:
1) having multiple Fiverr accounts
2) joining a group of Fiverr-ers that leave each other a pile of positive reviews, and 3) taking on lots of work that is then outsourced to other service providers

…were all SERIOUS no-no’s in the world of Fiverr.

In fact, I could get BOTH of my accounts suspended.

SO rather than risk that, I took down the “Funnelvision” account, did my best to copy the gigs from there to my other account, confessed my sins to Fiverr central, and prayed for a couple of days.

A few days afterward, The Powers That Be granted me a second chance. I licked my wounds and went back to my shoestring101 account. Since then I’ve generated a whopping $15 in sales with my gigs related to this 30 Day Challenge.

But hang on. It was looking bad, but it gets better. And better. I’m still optimistic.

Second Principle: Find Out The W’s

Now hopefully you realize that I have no aspirations to be a Fiverr Super Seller. ¬†Nor do I want to use black-hat techniques to try and stretch what Fiverr can do for me and you. I’ll be honest… I don’t think that Fiverr is where I’ll earn $1,000 this month, or any month.

But it’s an EXCELLENT place to conduct market research. There at Fiverr I’ve been Finding Out the W’s- Who Wants

Getting PAID to Learn How   Your Target Market Works... WOW.

Getting PAID to Learn How Your Target Market Works… WOW.

What, and Where and hoW to find them.

See, Fiverr is not just a platform to make little chunks of money at a time and hope it adds up to a lot… it’s a place to hone your skills while also learning your target market.

You may have seen a little post of mine on this principle called,

How to Use Fiverr to Validate Your Business Idea.

So many times, people miss out on this. Not just with Fiverr but with any “starter” platform … they look at how much they are making per hour instead of what the experience is bringing them.

Tell me, what college do you know of that will teach you a marketable skill… and pay YOU a nominal amount while you are learning?

Some folks want to go to school to learn marketing. I’d rather take my piddly per-hour PAYCHECK for launching my knowledge base… instead of drowning in student loans. :-)

That brings us to the Third Principle of Shoestring101…

Third Principle: Learn to Create Value

Y’know, that per-hour idea really sticks in some people’s craw and they can’t seem to remove it.

Interesting… in my first 30 Day Thousand Dollar Challenge I didn’t give daily updates. In THIS one I offered to give daily updates, but only to Subscribers that wrote me and said, “Put me in the list, Kurt”.

You're making two bucks an hour? You're WORTHLESS and WEAK!

“You’re making two bucks an hour? You’re WORTHLESS and WEAK!” Sigh. Read on, dude. It isn’t about the money… yet.

I have had more people unsubscribe in the last two weeks than ever before. Seems most folks want the dazzling numbers… they want to see me making a hundred bucks a day with a 1/2 hour effort when in fact I’ve put in two, three hours a day and so far I’ve made just¬†over a hundred bucks with my copywriting and sales funnel designs.

Fiverr took its commish for the gigs it’s given me, so right¬†meow we’re at¬†$112. Figure it’s been 2.5 hours or so per day, times 20 days… well, YOU do the math. I’ve been gettin’ just over two bucks an hour.


The Amount is Not the Point; the STEPS Are

I like to point out that when you sell a used bike on Craigslist or in a garage sale… that’s a business transaction.

But! DO the steps that it takes to get bikes for cheap and get ’em to bike buyers for less cheap…

… and record those Steps¬†so you can do them over and over again..

…now that’s a business system.

Learn What Customers WANT. Then Provide That.

Learn What Customers WANT. Then Provide That. DUH.

Once the system is in place, you can start to bring up your hourly rate big time.

So I’m not concerned at all with the amount of cash coming in for this side venture; soon it will be more bizness than I can handle.

Because I’ve been learning the system… for marketing MY particular copywriting and funnel creation skills to the particular peeps that need them.

It’s all in how your market perceives the value you create for them.

And for the last twenty days I’ve been cracking the code of how to best communicate that perception in a way that makes folks get out their wallets.

For example, my

I Will Write High Converting Copy For Your Website For $5


I Will Design A High Converting Sales Funnel For $5“…

…fell flat on their faces.

So I took a stroll around Fiverr itself and noticed that a LOT of these (actual!) kind of gigs getting boo-koo attention:

“I Will Evaluate¬†Your Website as a 1st Impression Viewer for $5″

“I Will Analyze¬†Your Website and Blog for $5″

“I Will Give You My Professional Opinion Of Your New Business Idea for $5″

“I Will Read Your Stories and¬†Tell You What I Think for $5″

Hey… do YOU see a pattern forming here? Opinion, evaluate, tell ya what I think…

Seems that more than anything,  small biz owners running websites want feedback. Honest feedback about how to improve.

I have to say that I’m in the EXACT same boat; it’s downright EASY for me to detect errors and things to improve in the websites and the small biz ventures of others. I can ¬†see the forest because I’m not stuck in their particular trees.

But when it comes to my own websites and businesses… I need an unbiased, outside opinion to really get the scoop.

Creating Value For Customers

So, first thing I did on Fiverr (once I extricated myself from the multiple-account fracas) was to update the kinds of gigs I was offering.

Now I’m STILL offering to improve people’s web copy and tweak their sales funnels.


The element of ¬†“provide my opinion”, “analyze”, “evaluate” has been added.

Creating Value with the Title

Instead of

“I Will Write High Converting Copy For Your Website For $5”


“I Will Analyze Your Web Copy and Improve it For $5”

Creating Value with the Images

Is Your Sales Funnel Clogged? Click This Image to Go See the Gig!

Is Your Sales Funnel Clogged? Click This Image to Go See the Gig!

One of my FAVORITE tools to mess around with images is PicMonkey. Here for free, or for $4.99 a month for premium features, you can add frames, effects, text, or other pics to your pics.

Check out my value-adding, attention-grabbing cover images, added in the last few days:

Is Your Web Copy Converting? Click HERE to Increase it Big Time

Is Your Web Copy Converting? Click HERE to Increase it Big Time

Creating Value With Video

Also, it’s been said that gigs with accompanying videos sell 220% more than those without.

So yesterday I put the following descriptive vids on Fiverr, and also on YouTube:

Creating Value for Myself

Now here’s a layered approach to driving traffic to my gigs:

The YouTube vids are easily shareable, and the links back to the actual Fiverr gigs are in the description so that adds another way for folks to find my solution to their problem.

I’ll share the videos myself on Twitter and Facebook. Those vids may also get passed around.

The links lead ’em back to Fiverr. Fiverr makes them customers. Then I get more work and more testimonials, like these:

Above and Beyond. I didn't write the whole page, but check out the sales letter for Social Sinergy

Above and Beyond“. I didn’t write the whole page, but click to check out the sales letter for Social Sinergy.

What’s happening here is NOT me building a thousand-buck-a-month side gig on Fiverr. It’s me discovering what works… building a system… and fleshing it out.

WITHOUT hiring a coder to make me a killer website for $1500, then thrashing about in the dark trying to find out what works.

By getting my sea legs here on Fiverr, I’m finding out what kinds of words, what kinds of images, and what other factors create the response I’m looking for… the buying kind.

Especially among competition.

I’m learning the hopes, fears, and needs of my target market.

Couldn't Ask For More. Watch this space-- I'll be Linking to this little lady's Product Launch soon.

Couldn’t Ask For More“. Watch this space– I’ll be linking to this little lady’s Product Launch soon.

I’m gaining a reputation, and garnering testimonials.

Testimonials that I can use later in the marketing of my skills and the skills of others

…yes, WHY should I keep all the glory (and the WORK!) for myself?

No, if I can cobble together a system for grabbing customers that need web copy written and sales funnels designed, it only makes  sense to begin referring work to others more talented than myself.


Right now, we’re looking at $112 profit on day 20 of this particular 30 Day Challenge.

But I’m thinking it might just be the start of something much bigger.

If I’m wrong, well! Instead of gambling borrowed money away…¬†like a lot of folks do when they start a business venture…

…I will have gotten paid $112 to find out it’s not worth the time.

Beats the living snot out of debt and heartache, doesn’t it?

That’s the Shoestring101 way.

Okay Steppers! Sound off below. If you think I’m wasting my time with this month’s challenge say so. Or if’n ya think I might be onto something I’d love to hear that too! I’ve been getting equal parts “feedback” (like Subscribers quitting) and encouragement (we’re pulling for you Kurt!) and to tell you the truth, BOTH are helpful.

Put YOUR two cents in the bottom line.

Keep Stepping,


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