Getting Started At Affiliate Marketing

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Take the leap

Starting As An Affiliate Marketer

Starting an online affiliate marketing business is definitely one of the simplest ways to earn money from your computer and most importantly, since you’re interested in working from home, you can work at times that suit you. So, getting started at affiliate marketing should never be scary or frightening to anybody no matter what their background is.

What does this mean?

Well, it means you can start by doing it part-time and you can keep your day job. It also means you don’t need to eat, breath and live your business in order to make it work – although you will enjoy it and you will get immersed in it.

Also, because it requires very little experience, you can set it up quickly and begin to reap the benefits of having your very own online business, working at you own pace, while still learning the ins and outs of growing that business.

getting-started-at-affiliate-marketing
An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on image

You might say you hate selling? Well, that’s what being in business is all about, so you outlook on sales and selling will change – one of the great things about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to go door-to-door or make any of those annoying cold calls to qualify you as an efficient marketing affiliate.

It’s all about recognising who you are, what are you interests or passions in life and changing your mind-set to seeing yourself as a business person. Yes, a business person who happens to do their business online from home. You will have to clear your head and sort through your junk (de-clutter your brain) in order to see the opportunities in front of you. Otherwise, you may miss great chances to make something big from something small and then blame it on other factors.

If you wish, go there right now and check it out for FREE as a Starter Member……..you have nothing to lose, right!

Is An Online Affiliate Business Hard Work?

It does take hard work and commitment, especially when you are new to the online business environment. However, you will find it thoroughly engaging and enjoyable and, if you do it right, you can continue to earn money from your work for months and years to come.

If you are looking to do the bare minimum for huge benefits, or looking for some get rich quick scheme, this information will not benefit you.

However, if your goal is to start a business from home that is flexible and enjoyable, then an online marketing affiliate business may be just what you are looking for. Nowadays you can easily start an online business that is based on your passion or passions, your skills and what you see as your purpose – and that business will be sustainable to meet the needs of your current and future customers.

You can start your business on a part time basis to begin with and in time, you may want to expand it into a full-time business – that will largely depend on how much you put into it.

Related topic: Why Become an Affiliate Marketer?

Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate Marketer-Click Image to start

As a newcomer, you basically have to know that it comes down to these:

  • You set up a website (very easy to do these days)
  • Decide On A Niche – a niche is an area in the marketplace where a specific group of people have a shared interest…..examples, mountain climbing, losing belly fat…..
  • You find related products that you like.
  • Through promotional techniques (there are hundreds of ways) you go about attracting visitors to your website, sales pages, ads and/or social media accounts
  • Some of those visitors will buy the products you promote and you will earn a commission (usually 35% to 50%) – some programs offer more and some offer less
  • Then you get your money deposited into your account.

Those are the basics.

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How to start an online business…

 

There will be many opportunities for you to jump on when you decide to start you affiliate marketing home based business. The biggest areas that people are willing to pay for are Health & Wellness (in particular losing weight), Personal Development, Dating and All Things Money (making more, saving, crushing debt etc).

For example, many companies such as Amazon, Walmart and Target have affiliate programs. Meaning, you can apply for registration and approval as an affiliate. Once approved, you can set up a way to drive visitors to your website where you promote specific products from that store with a banner or a link on your webpage and when a visitor clicks, it takes them to the sales page of the merchant. In this case it would be Amazon, Walmart or Target, and if they make a purchase, you earn a commission.

Digital products such as ebooks, online courses or anything of the like are virtual programs that can be downloaded online. These have a higher payout commission because there is really no inventory or shipping costs to carry by the merchant. Some of the most popular digital product affiliate suppliers are Clickbank, CJ and Shareasale – some of which also have physical products you can promote.

Now, there are dozens of other companies that offer affiliate programs. These are just examples I put out there because they are well known companies. The choice will be yours and you will fine-tune your decision once you embark on your own research.

Affiliate Marketing is One Of the Easiest Home Internet Businesses to Start

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Online Office!

Becoming an affiliate marketer has a lot of opportunities and layers, for that reason I couldn’t possibly post the entire contents of what I’ve learned so far – because you’d be reading this page forever. What I can tell you is that I will give you my best summary that will help you decide if this online business idea is good for you. Hopefully it will push you to expand your horizons and earnings as you explore more.

So let me break it down on how this business works.

Make a decision you are going to start a marketing affiliate business, make a strong commitment and promise yourself that you will stay focused.

In the beginning of this post, I talked about the idea of doing this business at your own pace and that is one of the great things about this type of business. However, you must be productive while you are working on it.

One of the bad habits that afflicts many would be affiliate marketers is that they start to lose confidence and or focus. They then go on one of those information seeking sprees and often jump into one of the many online Scams that promises them the world. Or, they let go of the dream altogether.

Make a commitment that you will make this work and stick with it.

Decide On A Niche

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Everything you will ever need…

A niche is an area in the marketplace where a specific group of people have a shared interest. For example, on Powerful Affiliate, all the pages and posts are about or related to affiliate marketing.

Ideally, it should be something for which you have a passion, something you have experienced and something you like talking or writing about.

You don’t want a Niche that is too broad or too narrow. Say for example, you set up a website on the general theme of “personal development”, now that might be too broad for you as an individual as you will have to compete with some serious players and companies with huge resources for marketing.

On the other hand, picking a general theme like “how to lose belly fat” or “fresh water fly fishing” might be just right as either one is targeting a specific enough group in a particular market.

Get Your Website Up and Running

You will need to set up a website through one of the many platforms such as WordPress.com, WordPress.org or Blogger where you will be able to start publishing content – that is pages and posts. I use WordPress.org and pay for a domain name and hosting.

Although not recommended, you could put up a simple website using a free platform just to get a feel for the process. Be wary however, a free website can be pulled from under you because you don’t own it and there will be certain rules you must follow – so examine all their terms and conditions first.

Related topic: Build A Website From Scratch For Free

Find Products to Promote

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Social Media

Once you decide on your niche, start looking at relevant companies and searching their webpages to see if they offer affiliate programs……sometimes the affiliate link is found on the footer of a website. Get on their emailing list and start familiarising yourself with their business and products to see if they would be a comfortable fit for your website and your long term business.

Companies with affiliate programs will give you a unique affiliate link with your specific “affiliate ID”. You can then place that link on your sales pages, blogs, ads or social media content and you will then get a commission when a visitor to your website follows that link and makes a purchase.

One great advantage is that many of these companies have what they call long term “cookies” which will give you a commission even when the visitor makes a purchase at a different time. These cookies are just pieces of tracking software that track referred sales for a period of time. That way, if the company offers 90 day cookies, the visitor that you first referred can go back and make a purchase within that 90 day period and you will earn a commission on that sale. Some companies offer lifetime cookies – these are fantastic – because you can make ongoing commissions from that visitor as long as they remain a customer of the linked company and continue to make purchases, even though you only referred that customer once.

Another area where there is serious earning potential is membership products – when a customer purchases a membership, could be for one year or more, and you make a commission every month that person pays for their membership.

Is that great business or what?

And remember, any product purchased as a result of following an affiliate link, costs exactly the same as if that product was purchased directly from the supplying company.

Publish Content Consistently

You will have to publish content on your website that is enticing to visitors and also informative. If you decide to put up a blog or a website of some kind, not only should you keep it fresh and updated for your visitors but also for search engines like Google and Bing who love fresh and new content.

In addition, you should get your visitors excited and wanting more from you. This develops trust and eases the way to purchasing products you promote. The more loyal your following is, the more sales you will make.

Content is a term that is used to describe not only the information you put up on your site, but also the emails you send to your customer list, social media updates, ebooks, courses, videos, podcasts and a whole bunch of things that will get your name out there and help your brand grow.

Your aim is to become the authority or the “go to” website for a particular niche.

Pages and Posts

In the simplest terms, writing pages and posts basically means that you are going to publish relevant, informative topics on your website in a way that encourages visitors to stay and explore your website and, hopefully, click on your affiliate links.

This could be as simple as publishing a very informative blog post, a review of a product or building a landing page with snippets that make the website visitor feel like they’ve found what they’ve been looking for.

Creating content, in the form of pages and blogs, is a skill that must be learned but with practice, most people get the hang of it and soon begin to test what works and what doesn’t work for their particular business.

Start Promoting

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Start Promoting

There are many ways of getting traffic to the products you are promoting and one of the quickest and least expensive ways is blogging.

When you start to publish blog posts, you’ll promote your posts all over social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and many other sites. Not only will that spread your message but it will also build relationships with other key players online who can give you more exposure.

Other methods include, video marketing, pod-casting, article marketing (which doesn’t pull the weight it once did but some people still swear by it), email marketing and social bookmarking sites. You can also participate in forums, leave comments on other blogs and write press releases.

Those are just a few traffic building strategies, as you get more experienced you will learn other methods of getting visitors to your promotions and you’ll learn and tweak according to what works best for your business.

 Build a List of Subscribers

You will also want to use an email marketing service or what they call an autoresponder provider like Aweber or Mailchimp that will allow you to have sign-up forms – like the one at the end of this page – so that you can collect emails and keep in touch with your subscribers.

This establishes a rapport with them and you can send them promotions, along with other valuable information, directly to their inbox. Do not, however, get into the habit of just sending promotions. People want valuable information they can use – any promotions you send should add to the valuable information you’ve already sent.

Track and Test Your Promotions

There is software you can install on your website such as Google Analytics or other paid services where you can track, not only your website visitors but also the clicks. That way you can test your promotions and your marketing efforts to ensure you are making the best income and that you continue to increase your affiliate sales.

An Online Affiliate Business As an Income Stream

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Too much money!!!

Even though you don’t necessarily need a website to start with affiliate marketing as you can promote your affiliate products through other means, it is a highly recommended option for growing your affiliate based business.

First of all, you’ll learn how to be an entrepreneur and maybe eventually outgrow affiliate marketing as your main source of income and make way for you to explore other business models.

As you build credibility and your expert status on a particular subject, you can even write a book and get invited to speaking events if you wanted to. Many online business owners make a nice living doing keynote presentations at networking events. Some speakers make $500 to $20k a pop depending on their expertise and demand. Plus, you can add other income streams such as coaching, consulting, or even sell advertising space on your website and newsletter.

Having an affiliate online business can earn you enough to work from home but it takes time to make it into a full-time business. For me, right now, it’s a nice little side business. I have a few streams of income from both online and offline activities so, at this moment in time, I run my online business part-time.

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An Internet Millionaire’s secret formula…click in image

You know what, it’s nice to check my inbox and find an email that says something like this “you’ve made an affiliate sale today!” And the best part is, it happens round the clock, whether I’m working on my website, attending to a client, sleeping, playing golf or just relaxing……..hard to beat that!


That’s it for now, I hope you found this post informative and useful.

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the box below.

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Cheers,

Michael.

How Secure Is My Job

We Are All Insecure Workers!

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Is my job secure?

So, why be an employee?

What are the disadvantages of being an employee?

How secure is my job?

How often has a business owner heard this; “I could never do what you do. I need the security of a regular paycheck.”

Many people who started their own business, people who took the leap and left the perceived security of a corporate job, have lost track of the number of times they heard those words.

There is no doubt that owning and running your own business is hard work, many would say they never worked so hard in their previous careers.

They would also say that corporate employment was, by comparison, easy. However, having your own business is very fulfilling personally and the rewards can be plentiful and entirely within your own control and influence. Most would say they can’t imagine returning to the insecurity of a corporate role!

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An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

Yes, you read that right, the insecurity of a corporate role.

Why do they say that?

Well, because the regular paycheck that employees receive only gives the illusion of security. When you realise that many countries and many states in the USA operate an “at will” employment relationship, you will understand that this “security” is merely an illusion. The reality is, you could arrive at your workplace or  office tomorrow and find yourself without a job for any reason; not a heinous mistake; not a poor performance review; simply because……………..

So, taking all that into account, how would you like to have your very own business as an online affiliate marketer at very little or even zero cost? Well you can and even if you are only vaguely interested, you should read the Powerful Affiliate pages “What is an Affiliate Marketing Business” and “Why Become an Affiliate Marketer” – these will help you decide if it’s for you, well worth reading now or after you finish here.

All Employees Are Insecure Workers

The reality is, all employees are insecure workers in the 21st Century workplace.

It’s reported that more than 40% of the workforce will become independent workers by 2020 and it’s apparent that legislation will need to move quickly in order to keep up.

In his book “The Alliance”, Reid Hoffman (Co-founder of LinkedIn), shares his vision for the future of work. He states that the days of the career for life are gone, instead it’s the concept of “tours of duty” where the nature of work is becoming more fluid and where individuals with specific skills are hired to complete a specific project.

 Work Has Come a Full Circle

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In many ways the term freelance workforce is old news. If you looked back say two-hundred years ago, before the industrial revolution that brought about the modern workplace, you would find a freelance economy where work was a 24×7 endeavour.

In fact, the very word “freelance” is from medieval times when knights, who had not pledged loyalty to one family, were available to fight, whether in tournaments or in battle, for those willing to pay for their service—the ultimate Free-Lancers.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution people worked for themselves or in small family groups, and usually out of their home or close neighbourhood. The proverbial butcher, baker and candlestick maker were the industries of their day. People’s relationship with work was flexible and part of their lifestyle.

The Industrial revolution brought about automation which centralised production, brought the individual workers out of their weaving lofts and into the factories, and brought the farm workers to the growing towns to seek a different type of employment – employment as hired hands working in the factories.

Now We’re all 21st Century Freelancers

Those times, during the industrial revolution, were not all idyllic and painless by any means. There were riots, there was resistance and there were even organised protests.

“Luddites” were bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woollen mills, which they believed was threatening their jobs in the period 1811–1816. These were real people, textile workers, who saw the newfangled factories and massive looms as a threat to their existence and their way of life.

The Luddite of today may not be smashing equipment with hammers or throwing clogs into the machinery, but their concerns are very real.

Warnings of driver-less cars, robot developments and advances in artificial intelligence, all combine to fuel a new fear – a fear of the unknown impact on how we interact as human beings.

The rapid acceleration of new technologies is having a direct effect on how and where work is done, and that effect will far surpass the impact of the Industrial Revolution.

We’re now in the midst of the digital revolution, one that requires not just hired hands, but the hired minds and hired hearts that fuel creativity and innovation.

So, What Are The Options?

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Everything you will need…

Fiverr.com, Upwork.com and TaskRabbit.com are internet platforms that connect a global army of freelancers with opportunities that match their skills. Tapping into the flexible economy will allow companies to scale up and down rapidly in response to their market and project needs.

If we so wish, this flexible economy also allows each of us to earn some extra money with part time, in the moment work, that supplements our “normal income”.

Also, or alternatively, you can use your creative passions to start your own business – full time or part time, build your very own website and “open your doors” to the 3.5 billion active potential customers on the internet.

Likewise, this flexible economy can also be the launching point for many start-up service businesses, easing the transition for the founder from employee to business owner.

Make Sure You Pack Your Waterwings!

The 21st century workplace makes it much harder if you intend being a big fish in a small pond. No longer are individual employees competing in a local market for the next opportunity, instead they  are all swimming in a Global Talent Pool.

When it comes to finding new sources of talent it seems that 21st Century companies are destined to play a never-ending game of global whack-a-mole. As fast as a new talent hot spot pops up, whether it’s a city or a country, other companies quickly follow—draining the pond and market of talent. Everyone then rushes off to anticipate and capture the next talent hot spot.

Transparency and opportunity on the Internet means we are now competing with an unseen colleague who may be thousands of miles and many time zones away.

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Is my job secure?

When you’re sleeping, they’re working.

Work is no longer the mythical 9-5 office-bound activity.

In today’s world, work can happen anytime, anyplace and with anyone. The lines between work-time and personal-time are blurred. It’s no longer a question of work-life balance and trying to fit everything else around a standard workday. Instead, the evolving expectation is that work and life are a braided system – blended, overlapping, and seamless.

The future of work will centre on the fluid workforce, the gig economy and the freelancer.

As such we all need to embrace the insecure workplace and change our mindset from “I’m an employee” to “I’m a freelancer who is currently retained by this company.”

how-to-make-money-online-working-at-home
Learn How Here….click on Image.

So, What About Your Situation?

Could you be a Freelancer?

Have You Got A Passion?

A hobby or interest that you are passionate about?

If the answer is yes, then I can tell you  with certainty, that passion – no matter what it is – can be turned into an online business that generates an income.

So, now ask yourself, how secure is my job?

how-secure-is-my-job
An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

I can tell you, it is possible to move out of an “employee” situation or an “unemployment” situation into a “business of your own” situation.

That new business can be set up very easily, it can start with you working on it in your spare time and can then be gradually expanded to become a full time business.

Have a good look at the other pages and posts on this Powerful Affiliate website, start with “The Wealthy Affiliate University Review” and “Why Become an Affiliate Marketer” – as I said before, these will help you decide if it’s for you. Then move on to How To Start An Online Business That Makes Money where you will also find links to the current most popular articles.

So there you have it for now.


I would love to know what you think, so please leave a comment in the box below or, if you prefer, contact me.

Thank you for visiting, make sure you drop by again.

Cheers,

Michael

The Top 10 Small Business Mistakes

All Of Us Make Mistakes!

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Where did I go wrong?

We all make mistakes but the people who thrive from their mistakes are the successful ones. They are the ones that “Never go back.”

Now, what does that mean?

Let’s see, ask yourself a few questions:

What do you think are the top 10 small business mistakes?

Have you ever made a bad business decision?

Did you learn a valuable lesson from that bad business decision?

I bet you did and the good thing is, once you learned that lesson, you will never go back and you will never do it again.

So you then ask yourself, what are the key “lessons” or “awakenings” or “doorways” that successful people go through that forever change how they do things, which propel them on to succeed in business, relationships and in their life?

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An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

Dr. Cloud, who is an acclaimed leadership expert, psychologist and best-selling author, began to study such awakenings and researched them over a number of years.

Although life and business have many lessons to teach us, Dr. Cloud observed 10 “doorways” of learning that high performers go through, never to return again.

Would You Like To Know Those 10 “Doorways”?

OK, here we go…..

Successful people never again…

# 1 – Return to what hasn’t worked.

Whether it’s a job or a broken relationship that was ended for a good reason, we should never go back to the same thing, expecting different results, without something being different.

# 2 – Do anything that requires them to be someone they are not.

In everything we do, we have to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Am I suited for it? Does it fit me? Is it sustainable?” If the answer is no to any of these questions, you better have a very good reason to proceed.

# 3 – Try to change another person.

When you realise that you cannot force someone into doing

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something, you give him or her freedom and allow them to experience the consequences. In doing so, you find your own freedom as well.

# 4 – Believe they can please everyone.

Once you discover that it truly is impossible to please everyone, you begin to live purposefully – trying to please the right people.

# 5 – Choose short-term comfort over long-term benefit.

Once successful people know they want something that requires a painful, time-limited step, they do not mind taking that painful step because it gets them to a long-term benefit. Living out this principle is one of the most important differences between successful and unsuccessful people, both personally and professionally.

# 6 – Trust someone or something that appears flawless.

Naturally, we are drawn to things and people that appear “incredible.” We love excellence and should always be looking for it. We should pursue people who are great at what they do, employees who are high performers, dates with exceptional people, friends who have stellar character, and companies that excel.

But when someone or something looks too good to be true, he, she, or it is. The world is imperfect. Period. No one and no thing is without flaw, and if they appear that way, hit pause.

# 7 – Take their eyes off the big picture.

We function better emotionally and perform better in our lives when we can see the big picture. For successful people, no one event is ever the whole story. Winners remember that—each and every day.

# 8 – Neglect to do due diligence.

No matter how good something looks on the outside, it is only by taking a deeper, diligent, and honest look that we will find out what we truly need to know: the reality that we owe ourselves in order to make a decision to proceed or not to proceed.

# 9 – Fail to ask why they are where they find themselves.

One of the biggest differences between successful people and others is that in love and in life, in relationships and in business, successful people always ask themselves – what part am I playing in this situation? Said another way, they do not see themselves only as victims, even when they are.

# 10 – Forget that their inner life determines their outer success.

The good life sometimes has little to do with outside circumstances. We are happy and fulfilled mostly by who we are on the inside. Research validates that. And our internal lives largely contribute to producing many of our external circumstances.

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business…

And, The Converse Is True:

People who are still trying to find success in various areas of life can almost always point to one or more of these “doorways” as a reason they are repeating the same mistakes.

Again, Everyone Makes Mistakes…

Everyone, without exception, will make mistakes – even the most successful people out there. But, what achievers do better than others is recognising the patterns that are causing those mistakes and then never repeating them again.

In short, they learn from pain—their own pain and the pain of others.

Something To Remember!

A good thing to remember is this: pain is unavoidable.

But, repeating the same pain twice when we could choose to learn and do something different, then pain is certainly avoidable.

You know, we don’t need new ways to fail….the old ones are working just fine!”

Our task, in business and in life, is to observe what they are, and never go back to doing them again.

For existing businesses and those of you who are thinking of starting your own business – the top 10 small business mistakes, “lessons”, “awakenings” or “doorways” – whatever term you prefer to use, will be of huge benefit.


the-top-10-small-business-mistakes
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Something else that will be of huge benefit is my #1 recommendation for anyone thinking of entering the online business world.

Also beneficial, when you are ready, check out the other pages and posts on this Powerful Affiliate website, start with How To Start An Online Business That Makes Money where you will also find links to the current most popular articles.

I can assure you, that will be time well spent.

So, that’s it for now, I am going to leave you to it.


Thanks for visiting and do call back for regular updates.

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An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

Any comments or suggestions are very welcome – see comment box below or you can contact me directly.

Cheers for now.

Michael.

Why Businesses Fail To Succeed

Many Businesses Will Fail!

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Insolvent Business

It’s a sad fact of life that many businesses are doomed to failure and a business is most vulnerable at the startup and early stages.

If you stop to think about it, this is quite surprising.

After all, a person who decides to start a business is usually experienced, bright, confident and happy to devote their valuable time to their business. So you would indeed wonder why businesses fail to succeed.

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business…

Even though they will have learned that the startup mortality rate in any business is very high, they are still happy to challenge the existing players in the market because they feel they can do as good a job or do an even better job than those existing players they intend competing with.

They will be well-informed, they will have some experience and expertise in that business area and they will be prepared to devote their time and energy into developing their business.

Unfortunately, not every business person is capable of tacking the multiple challenges involved when starting their own business. Although, the very fact that they have kick started their business from scratch, shows they have abilities which most of their colleagues lack – which is no mean feat in itself.

So, why do they fumble?

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An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…Click on Image

While failed businessmen are happy to trot out the same old excuses, I feel it’s usually not because of these particular three reasons:

  • external market circumstances
  • because they were technically incompetent
  • because they ran out of money

I think, in truth it’s usually an ego problem………………………………….which means their immaturity comes in the way of their success.

Many entrepreneurs think of themselves as being supermen or superwomen.

They believe they should be able to handle everything themselves and when problems arise, and you and I know there will always be problems, often they are not willing to ask for advice or help until it’s far too late.

And that, my friend, is a fatal error.

An error that can put a business out of business overnight.

Yes, I know what you are thinking and you are right in thinking the way you do – this should be such an easy problem to solve………. all you would have to do is point out the deficiencies and him or her would then be able to fix them.

But, of course, it’s very hard for a person to identify and accept their own faults. The very fact that they’re emotionally immature may mean they don’t have enough self-awareness or don’t even realise what skills they are missing.

They may refuse to confront reality until it’s too late. Then they go around scrambling trying to turn things around, frustration sets in, morale goes through the floor and the entire house of cards comes tumbling down…………which is so sad.

Emotional maturity is a highly desirable trait for anybody going into business.While this is not easy to gauge, I think someone who is experienced and who has seen some of life’s ups and downs will, most likely, be emotionally resilient and willing to reach out for help when things go wrong with the business and will not think it’s below their dignity to ask for that help.

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Everything you will ever need…

I think it is also very sad, especially when I know there is an exceptional amount of professional training, help and support available at little or no cost. All of which, I believe, should be undertaken as part of any new business startup process and thereby avoid many of the preventable problems that arise.

Let me give you an example, an aspiring businessman or marketing affiliate can sign up as a Starter Member with a company called Wealthy Affiliate and it will cost them nothing……….yes it will cost nothing.

Wealthy Affiliate provides exceptional professional business training and support that is way better than anything else that’s available out there.

They provide  this at two levels – Starter Member Level and Premium Member Level……………….see image below:

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Starter and Premium membership options

The aspiring businessman or marketing affiliate can take advantage of the free Starter Membership to see for themselves the exceptional levels of training and support that are available and, if they wish, go Premium when they are happy and ready.

It would be a huge tragedy if they did not avail of this option, especially if it’s their immaturity that is causing them to shoot themselves in their very own foot.

Believe me, and I would not mislead you or anybody else on a matter this serious, all the help and support that will ever be needed is available directly when they become a member at Wealthy Affiliate.

So, take my word for it and sign up as a Starter Member HERE – it’s free, so you have nothing to lose.

Otherwise, if you are not quite ready yet, here at Powerful affiliate you will find a huge amount of information that will help you decide.

Check out how to start an online business that makes money where you will also find links to the current most popular articles.

And, don’t forget to get “An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula“…

Take your time, make sure you have a really good look around my website and contact me if you want any help or clarification.

Well, that’s it for today.


Thank you for visiting.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I do love getting feedback!

Cheers for now.

Michael.

 

 

How To Change Your Attitude Towards Life

Changing Your Attitude!

Firstly, let’s look at everyday life in general.

While this article may not be directly related to Affiliate Marketing as promoted by Powerful Affiliate, it does address the issue of “attitude to life” which I believe will be useful in whatever role you fulfill in life and definitely worth reading.

Some time ago, I realised that people don’t really care about who you went out to dinner with or if you had an argument with one of the locals or even if you had intimate relations with a neighbor!!!!

how-to-change-your-attitude-towards-life
Gossip!

For ‘people’ or ‘society’ it’s mostly all about gossip. These people don’t have anything better to do. Once they find something more exciting than what you did last weekend, your ‘mistake’ will be forgotten and they will move on to something or somebody else.

Plus, the most important thing that I’ve realised, is that when someone’s in trouble or they needed help of any kind – be it mentally, physically, emotionally or financially – suddenly, all the people who used to talk about them behind their back, have disappeared.

What did I learn from that? Well, if they’re not putting food on your plate, a roof over your head, or clothes on your back – then you don’t need to care about them. It’s as simple as that. Do what you want without worrying about what someone you don’t care about, says or thinks.

Find out how to change your attitude towards life…….that’s what I did.

Now, when someone comes up to tell me about all the gossip they’ve heard about me, I say, “Really? Hmm, that’s weird. I didn’t know that about myself! Cool! I didn’t know my life could be so mysterious and interesting.”

If you care and worry about what people say, they’ll say even more stuff to make you feel bad – they are a negative influence and you don’t need that or them in your life.

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business…

How and why I stopped worrying.

Something else that I realised was that I kept worrying about silly issues in my life that couldn’t be controlled.

Yes, I know, sometimes a small silly issue can cause mayhem – I have had that experience in the past.

What I do now is I stand back from the issue that’s causing the problem and weigh up the pros and cons OF MY LIFE and the current problem issue.

Without exception, it always turns out, there is more good than bad going on in my life.

It doesn’t matter if you sit down all day and worry about something that didn’t work out as you wanted – it won’t fix itself automatically just because you’re worrying and feeling sorry for yourself.

Life is like a roller coaster and there’s nothing wrong with that! Go along with the flow, don’t fight it, don’t overthink things.

I believe that time works in its own way. Time can fix things that seem impossible to fix, but give it some time – maybe just a few days – and things will change for the better. You must be positive and you do need to have patience.

I also strongly believe that when something doesn’t work out, you’ll get something even more rewarding in the future – again, you need the patience to look out for it with hope and faith.

If you can change it, then change it.

If you can’t change it, then move on.

There is no room for tears and stress.

I stopped worrying and went along with it, I stopped caring about some people and their ‘opinions’.

Instead, I started caring about me and those people who are most important to me.

how-to-change-your-attitude-towards-life
Be the one happy face!

I can proudly say that, despite some hardships I’ve had to endure, I’m probably happier than most, simply because I don’t give two hoots about the opinions of others and I’ve stopped worrying about what might be said or thought by those who are not important in my life.

Now, let’s move on and maybe get a bit more specific on the question “How to change your attitude towards life”.

This is a very good question, in fact it is such a good question, I am going to answer it with seven tips, from Powerful Affiliate, that I’m sure you can relate to and you will find helpful:

Seven Tips On Changing Your Attitude

#1 – Be honest with yourself.

If you’re feeling bad or down and your attitude towards life or work is quite poor, then admit it to yourself. Don’t live in denial. Accept there is an issue because only once you’ve accepted something for the way it is can you make a change.

#2 – Get some rest.

Have there been times when you’re overworked and stressed and you’re not getting as much rest as you should? How do you feel during those times? I bet you’re agitated and the smallest things can set you off. Often just getting some rest and forcing ourselves to take a break can be the best thing for our attitude. Adequate rest and sleep is a vital ingredient to maintaining a positive attitude.

#3 – Get clear on exactly what is causing you to have such a bad attitude.

What exactly is bothering you? Is it your boss? Your partner? Your kids? There have been many times when I know I’m not quite feeling right but I can’t put a finger on exactly what’s bothering me and until I can figure it out, my attitude remains bad. However, once I figure out exactly what is bothering me (and that usually only takes a few minutes of quiet reflection), I can then do something about it and my attitude immediately changes.

#4 – Look at the Consequences of your Bad Attitude.

For example, are you stressed at work because of impending deadlines? Is that causing you to snap at your kids and walk around the house with a bad attitude. If so, look at the consequences of that. Your poor kids and your partner have got nothing to do with how things are at work. So why should they cop the brunt of your poor attitude? If you continue with this, what’s going to happen? Things at home will only get worse and that will only make your attitude even worse. It’s a negative spiral which is very tough to get out of. So get clear on the consequences of your bad attitude. Who are you hurting as a result of being grumpy?

#5 – Do Something to change your attitude.

powerful-affiliate
Everything you will need…

What can you do to improve your attitude? For example, if you’ve had a bad day at work and you’re about to walk in the door and see the family

with that same bad attitude, what can you do to change the way you feel? If I’m walking home, I will often take a longer route. The added exercise and fresh air often helps clear my head or I’ll start listening to some uplifting music which immediately improves my attitude. I might also go for a run or head to the gym. What can you do to change your attitude.

#6 – Change the way you are looking at the situation.

We all have trigger situations that cause us to get into a bad mood and to have a bad attitude toward life. Remember it is not the event, experience or problem in itself but rather the way we respond to it that makes us feel the way we do. For example, if you feel like you have too much to do at work, rather than complaining and wishing it will go away, take on your extra work as a challenge. Imagine how good it would feel to get through all this work and have your head about water again. Then, with your new positive attitude attack your workload with a new enthusiastic gusto. I guarantee that when you change the way you look at something, your attitude and your results will immediately change.

#7 – Have an attitude of gratitude.

When Sir John Templeton was interviewed and he was asked what the definition of wealth is, he replied, “Live with an attitude of gratitude”. Everyday, look for things you should be grateful for. I don’t care how tough things get, there is always something you can be grateful for, whether it is as simple as the fact that you have eyes to see things with, a roof over your head or a bed to sleep in. Look for and be grateful for  5 things everyday, seek to live with an attitude of gratitude and watch your entire attitude towards life change.

So there you have it – 7 tips you can use immediately to change your attitude.

Remember, you have complete control over your attitude – you can choose the way you feel.

So use these 7 steps to improve your attitude and you’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed and happier you will feel.

how-to-change-your-attitude-towards-life
An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

If you believe someone else could benefit from this article, then please share it on your social media sites…Facebook, Twitter etc;

Wealthy Affiliate!

Have you ever heard of Wealthy Affiliate or are you already a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community?

If not, with your new found “attitude towards life”, you can now have a good look at the other pages and posts on this Powerful Affiliate website, start with “The Wealthy Affiliate University Review” and “Why Become an Affiliate Marketer” – these will help you decide if the Wealthy Affiliate community is for you. Then you can move on to How To Start An Online Business That Makes Money where you will also find links to the current most popular articles.

Or, right now, You can join as a starter member for free…….so nothing to lose, right.


That’s it for today.

Thanks for visiting.

Do leave a comment in the box below – I love all feedback.

Until next time, take care and stay safe.

Cheers,

Michael.

Neck Pain From Bad Posture

Painful Neck and Shoulders!

neck-pain-from-bad-posture
Neck exercises

Marketing Affiliates spend a lot of time on the internet, using a Desktop PC, Laptop, Tablet or iPhone. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of possible dangers to your health and in particular neck pain from bad posture.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of people complaining about neck pain and back pain due to overuse of mobile devices.

A friend of mine was complaining about a neck pain after spending an entire holiday period poured over his new iPad!.

Well, maybe he deserves little sympathy but maybe we all need a little reminder of the possible dangers from the overuse of mobile devices and how neck pain from bad posture can occur!

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business…

Neck Pain

Now, the head weighs about 9 to 10 lbs and when you lean it forward and especially downwards, it causes huge pressure on the muscles and discs in the spine, thus causing you pain.

Most neck pain, that is not caused by whiplash or other trauma, has a postural component as part of the underlying problem.

Sitting on top the body, the health of the neck is subject to the curvature of the spine below and the position of the head above.

The neck muscle pain can be caused by the following neck muscles becoming tight:

  • Scalene muscles (three pairs of muscles that help rotate the neck)
  • Suboccipital muscles (four pairs of muscles used to rotate the head)
  • Pectoralis minor muscles (a pair of thin triangular muscles at the upper part of the chest)
  • Subscapularis muscles (a pair of large triangular muscles near each shoulder joint)
  • Levator scapulae muscles (a pair of muscles located at the back and side of the neck).

If the alignment of the head and spine is not optimal, the neck can be predisposed to injury and/or the degenerative effects of wear and tear over time.

Forward Head and Shoulder Posture

neck-pain-from-bad-posture
Rheumatology – Current Diagnosis & Treatment, recommended reading…click on Image

The most common condition that contributes to neck pain is forward head and shoulder posture. Forward head posture is when the neck slants forward placing the head in front of the shoulders.

The forward pull of the weight of the head puts undue stress on the vertebrae of the lower neck, contributing to degenerative disc disease and other degenerative neck problems.

Similarly, this posture causes the muscles of the upper back to continually overwork to counterbalance the pull of gravity on the forward head.

This position is often accompanied by forward shoulders and a rounded upper back, which not only feeds into the neck problem but can also cause shoulder pain.

The more time spent with a forward head posture, the more likely it is that you will develop neck and shoulder problems.

Effects of Poor Posture on the Lower Cervical Vertebrae

The part of the neck that is particularly vulnerable to forward head posture is the lower part of the neck, just above the shoulders.

The lower cervical vertebrae (C5 and C6) may slightly slide or shear forward relative to one another as a result of the persistent pull of gravity on a forward head.

This shear force can be a problem for people with jobs that require them to look down or forward all day, such as pharmacists who spend many hours counting pills or data entry workers who look at a computer screen.

Long-Term Negative Effects of Poor Posture

Prolonged shearing of the vertebrae from forward head posture eventually irritates the small facet joints in the neck as well as the ligaments and soft tissues.

This irritation can result in neck pain that radiates down to the shoulder blades and upper back, potentially causing a variety of conditions, including:

  • Trigger points in the muscles, which are points of exquisite tenderness that are painful to touch, along with limited range of motion
  • Disc degeneration problems, which may potentially lead to cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical osteoarthritis, or a cervical herniated disc.

It is often important to look at your workplace ergonomics as part of the treatment and prevention of neck pain. Perhaps the placement of the desk, computer workstation and/or placement of the computer monitor and keyboard can be improved to encourage improved upper back and neck posture.

Workplace Ergonomics and Neck Pain

neck-pain-from-bad-posture
Neck & Shoulder Massage

When sitting erect at a desk and looking straight ahead:

  • Eyes should point directly at the top third of the screen.
  • Forearms should be approximately parallel with the floor when typing.
  • Elbows should be at the side.
  • Feet should be flat on the floor with the thighs parallel with the floor.
  • If a person has to stand at a work station or perform other sorts of sitting or driving tasks, make sure that one side of the body is not constantly rotated more than the other side, and that there is as much symmetry in repetitive tasks as possible.

Persistent movements to one side or constant rotation of the neck and back to the same side can often aggravate joints and soft tissues causing neck and back pain. Some people can develop poor posture of the head, neck, and shoulders through repetitive work tasks and/or poor sitting habits.

General Tips on Posture

There are stretches and exercises that are effective at helping restore good posture, thereby taking pressure off the neck and relieving pain.

A major element is the posture you adopt and the amount of time you spend on a device.

Using an iPad holder, that will prop your device up on the surface in front of you is helpful, especially if you are watching a long movie or video.

Headaches can also arise from neck pain/strain from overuse of mobile devices. So, if you suffer from headaches, the good news is that these muscular forms of headache respond very well to physiotherapy, involving manual therapy and exercise.

Another good idea is to stretch and move your neck to counteract the stiffness and pain that can occur due to sustained postures while using your mobile device. Try looking over your shoulders, up to the ceiling and stretching your ear to your shoulder…….which will stretch your neck muscles and also the spine itself.

neck-pain-from-bad-posture
Rheumatology – Current Diagnosis & Treatment, recommended reading…click on Image

If you need to spend a lot of time on your mobile phone, use a headset/headphones, this will alleviate the posture problem and reduce pain…..always avoid cupping the phone between your ear and shoulders.

In today’s world , Marketing Affiliates just have to spend a lot of time online and on the PC so, be careful and maybe this information will help you avoid some unnecessary pain and stress.

Please Note

If you experience persistent neck or shoulder pain, you must make an appointment with a health professional and have the problem addressed without delay.


Wealthy Affiliate

powerful-affiliate
Wealthy Affiliate

Are you already a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community?

If not, you can now check out the other pages and posts on Powerful Affiliate starting with how to start an online business that makes money – here you will find links to the current most popular and most important articles.

Or, right now, You can join as a starter member for free…….including two free websites – so nothing to lose, right.


So there you have it for today, hopefully you found this helpful.

Oh, don’t forget to leave a comment in the box below….I love feedback!

Cheers for now and stay safe.

Michael

 

Marketing Affiliate Advice

Helpful Marketing Affiliate Advice Is Always Goodmarketing-affiliate-advice

After reading my pages on “The Wealthy Affiliate University Review” and  “why become an affiliate marketer” you will have a good grasp of what is involved and the benefits of affiliate marketing.

However, if you think you will get rich over night by selling affiliate products online then you are wrong.

I am not here to mislead you and I will never promote a get rich quick scheme or similar as I know they just don’t work. There are thousands of those and scams out there who will promise success overnight or within a few weeks and they will take your money without hesitation…..do not go there, run in the opposite direction.

marketing-affiliate-advice
An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

Truthfully, affiliate marketing is definitely an excellent way to make money online but it’s also highly competitive. Successful affiliate marketing comes from knowing your market needs, learning how to promote your products, finding out what works and what doesn’t work and adjusting your promotion strategy accordingly.

So, as we all love a helping hand, for you, I have a some marketing affiliate advice on what I would call a proven successful approach and which is based on the personal experience I and others have gained over time in this business.

So, here we go!

# 1 Only Choose a Small Number of Good Products

The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything and anything. Pursuing affiliate marketing in this way can become very overwhelming and will result in product promotion being poor across the range of products.

In order to succeed, all you need is a small number of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that fit comfortably with the purpose and content of your website.

# 2 Use Several Traffic Sources to Promote Products

marketing-affiliate-advice
Social Media

A lot of affiliate marketers just put the promotional ads up on their website. There is nothing wrong with this approach and it must be done but there are many other ways to promote your products and attract visitors to your website…….like Facebook, Twitter etc; which will increase your exposure and presence on the internet while simultaneously promoting your products and increasing sales.

The more targeted traffic you can send to your sales page the better your chances of making money.

Google AdWords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your AdWords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.

# 3 Test, Measure and Track Your Affiliate Campaign

Using different product promotion strategies is highly recommended, so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to test and measure the performance of each campaign then act on the findings and adjust your campaign accordingly.

Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.

Most affiliate programs will give you basic stats that you need but there is nothing stopping you from also using your own conversion tracking software. There are many options available out there, for conversion tracking software, that you can use to track your affiliate campaign.

# 4 Research the Demand for the Product

the-wealthy-affiliate-university-review
Do your research…

If you try to promote a product that is in low demand then, chances are, you are not going to get many sales no matter what your strategy is or how hard you try.

So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time researching and finding out if a product that you are thinking of promoting is a product that your audience needs.

If your website is getting decent traffic numbers, you could conduct an online survey and easily get input from your visitors.

# 5 Stay Current with New Methods and Techniques

Affiliate marketing is a very competitive field and people are always coming up with new techniques. Try to stay current with these new techniques and market trends otherwise you will fall behind your competition.

# 6 Choose the Right Merchant

When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind that product, so try to choose wisely.

You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice and then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely not and this can hurt your business credibility in the long run.

Usually, companies that offer good products backed up with good customer service will have better customer satisfaction, so try to stick with promoting products from those companies.

# 7 Use Helpful Tools

powerful-affiliate
Everything you will ever need…

If you are serious about affiliate marketing then try to find tools that will help you be more efficient. There are many helpful tools out there but you can make your life  lot easier by joining the one affiliate company that I recommend.

This company provides everything you will ever need in the form of websites, training, support and, perhaps most important, a fantastic sense of “community” among its members.

You can try it as a Starter Member and build a website from scratch for free.

Yes, you heard me correct, for free and you will get two free websites with training and support.

So you have nothing to lose, right.

This company will not suggest there is a quick and easy way to earn an income online as a marketing affiliate or that you just hope and pray that visitors will buy the products you are promoting!

What they will do, is put you in control of your destiny with all the training and support that you will need for success as a marketing affiliate.

You will be shown how to put a structured plan in place and how to operate as a marketing affiliate BUSINESS – now that is the way to succeed and that is the way to generate a long term sustainable income from your efforts as a marketing affiliate.

These seven pieces of marketing affiliate advice will serve you well and, as you travel down this path to affiliate marketing, you will get more advice and guidelines to help you on your way, so do not be afraid – sign up now as a starter member for free…….that includes two free websites – so nothing to lose, right.


If you are not quite ready to avail of this opportunity right now, you can check out the other pages and posts on Powerful Affiliate starting with how to start an online business that makes money – here you will find links to the current most popular and most important articles.

Ok, that’s it from me for today.

marketing-affiliate-advice
An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula…click on Image

I do hope you found this helpful…..you can also check out a recommended book “An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula” by clicking on the image.

Please leave a comment or suggestion in the box below as I love getting feedback.

Cheers for now,

Michael

Best Ransomware Protection

Ransomware Attacks

best-ransomware-protection
Online Hacker

Online security seems such an abstract and distant field, where other people get hurt, but somehow you stay safe, either by luck or internet savvy.

However, the truth is, it could happen to anyone and it might even have happened to you in the past.

They say that nothing beats learning from experience, but sometimes it’s best to learn from other people’s experience rather than your own and this is one of those opportunities.

See where a man just got an indefinite jail time for refusing to decrypt two hard drives.

Now, lets have a look at this video:

Here is the first in a series of stories about real people whose system was compromised by cyber criminals and what they learned about the best ransomware protection.

 

best-ransomware-protection
Infected Computer

#1. The mom whose laptop was locked down by a ransomware attack

Two days before Thanksgiving, Alina’s mother got hit by a ransomware attack. 5,726 files got locked by CryptoWall, an encryption malware so powerful it is technologically impossible to break open.

Alina’s mom contacted the attacker through the ransomware’s communication feature and told her she can either pay to get her files back or lose them forever. Despite backing up her files 6 months ago, she decided that losing half a year’s worth of photos, documents and other files was too much, and so decided to pay the ransom.

The price to unlock her files was 500$ in the first week and 1000$ if it went into the second week, after which the files would be deleted. Payment was being done in Bitcoin, an obscure and unfamiliar process which she had to learn on the fly.

Because of a major snowstorm that closed down the banks, Alina’s mom couldn’t pay the ransom in the first week and ended up having to plead with her attacker to not increase the price to 1,000$. Surprisingly, he accepted and gave her the key to unlock her files.

MY mother received the ransom note on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It popped up on her computer screen soon after she’d discovered that all of her files had been locked.

Ransom Note

Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If my mother failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data — would be lost forever.Sincerely, CryptoWall.

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business...

CryptoWall 2.0

CryptoWall 2.0 is the latest immunoresistant strain of a larger body of viruses known as ransomware. The virus is thought to infiltrate your computer when you click on a legitimate-looking attachment or through existing malware lurking on your hard drive and, once unleashed, it instantly encrypts all your files, barring access to a single photo or tax receipt.

Everyone has the same questions when they first hear about CryptoWall:

Is there any other way to get rid of it besides paying the ransom? The answer is No — apparently it is technologically impossible for anyone to decrypt your files once CryptoWall 2.0 has locked them. (My mother had several I.T. professionals try.)

Should We Pay A Ransom To Criminals?

But should you really be handing money over to a bunch of criminals? According to the Internet Crime Complaint Centre, a partnership between the F.B.I. and the National White Collar Crime Centre, this answer is also no.

“Ransomware messages are an attempt to extort money,” one public service announcement helpfully explains. “If you have received a ransomware message do not follow payment instructions and file a complaint.”

Right. But that won’t get you your files back. Which is why the Sheriff’s Office of Dickson County, Tenn., recently paid a CryptoWall ransom to unlock 72,000 autopsy reports, witness statements, crime scene photographs and other documents.

Can These Attacks Be Stopped Legally?

Finally, can law enforcement at least do something to stop these attacks in the future? By Law, probably not. Many ransom ware viruses originate in Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries. The main difficulty in stopping cyber criminals isn’t finding them, but getting foreign governments to cooperate and extradite them.

By the time my mom called to ask for my help, it was already Day 6 and the clock was ticking. (Literally — the virus comes with a countdown clock, ratcheting up the pressure to pay.) My father had already spent all week trying to convince her that losing six months of files wasn’t the end of the world (she had last backed up her computer in May). It was pointless to argue with her. She had thought through all of her options; she wanted to pay.

Only, paying turned out not so easy; the CryptoWall hackers take only Bitcoins.

Making The Ransom Payment

Picture the kind of early-adopting, hoodie-wearing member of the technocracy totally comfy with the idea of a cyber currency neither backed nor issued by any central bank or government. Now picture the opposite of that. That is my mom.

Having never so much as purchased an app in her life, my mom had no idea how to buy Bitcoins. Luckily,  her ransomers had anticipated this problem and included a link to a step-by-step guide, complete with pictures.

best-ransomware-protection
Credit Javier Jaén
She’d managed to make a cash deposit via Bank of America to the unique Bitcoin “wallet” provided by her ransomers, but since Bitcoin’s price is extremely volatile, her payment had already fallen $25 short by the time it arrived. (Credit and debit payments can take up to six days to process.)

The fastest way to send the extra $25 was to make a direct deposit at an A.T.M. that handled Bitcoin transactions. That’s where I came in. Coin Cafe, the Bitcoin provider my mother had chosen, had an A.T.M. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, not too far from where I lived.

The Bitcoin A.T.M. was not easy to find. It was housed in the second floor hallway of a cooperative work space, tucked inside an old Nynex phone booth. On one hand, I appreciated the winking irony of this sight gag. On the other hand, Fidelity Investments this was not.

Inside was a little white box with no buttons, just a screen, a camera eye and a money slot. I scanned in the QR code my mom had sent me. The machine whirred to life. “Balance query in progress,” it announced. This query remained in progress for the next 20 minutes during which I left three messages on Coin Cafe’s voice mail before abandoning the booth to get some coffee and walk around in the rain.

The fourth time I called, a human being answered the phone and told me the problem had been fixed. I hurried back to the A.T.M., scanned in my QR code, sent some Voldemorts $25 in crisp bills and called my mom. The whole experience had not done much to allay my misgivings about Bitcoin; what did allay them was Mike Hoats, the nice bearded man Coin Cafe sent over to fix the A.T.M.

We got to talking after I made my payment, and he told me that, while no one at Coin Cafe believed people should fund criminal activity by paying the ransom, their job was to broker the purchase and sale of Bitcoins, which, like cash, could be used for any purpose. CryptoWall had thrust them into the unwitting role of ransom ware advisers, coping with grandmothers crying on the phone at the thought of losing all their photos or small-business owners whose family income was on the line.

Coin Cafe didn’t like profiting from the victims (according to the company, these transactions are in the low single digits as a percentage of its total business), but they were downright mortified to learn that CryptoWall had anointed them as one of their Bitcoin providers of choice, with praise for their “fast, simple service.” That’s how my mom found out about Coin Cafe — from her ransom note.

This referral is only one of the handy services CryptoWall provides to ensure a more seamless customer experience. Others include the ability to “decrypt one file for free” and a message interface one can use “in case of any problems with payment or having any other questions.” What next, I wondered. Twenty percent off when you refer this malware to a friend? Frequent virus cards? Black Friday ransom specials?

They Don't Have To Pretend They're Not Criminals!

“I think they like the idea they don’t have to pretend they’re not criminals,” Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at the computer security firm Sophos, told me when I reached him in Vancouver by phone. “By using the fact that they’re criminals to scare you, it’s just a lot easier on them.” They don’t have to hire a professional translator to get their English perfect, Mr. Wisniewski explained, or engage in any of the baroque subterfuge required of someone pretending to be a Nigerian gentleman farmer who just needs a little help claiming his inheritance.

In addition to being criminals, these peddlers of ransom ware are clearly business people, skillfully appropriating all the tools of e-commerce. From branding (CryptoWall is a variant of a fearsome earlier virus called CryptoLocker, which was shut down last year) to determining what they can extort (ransom ware hackers have tested the market with prices as low as $100 and as high as $800,000, which the city of Detroit refused to pay in order to have its database decrypted), these operators are, as Mr. Wisniewski put it, part of “a very mature, well-oiled capitalist machine.”

It’s also an incredibly lucrative machine: Some experts estimate that CryptoLocker hackers cleared around $30 million in 100 days in 2013. And more than a million PCs worldwide have been hit with the CryptoWall virus.

Even after reading through numerous descriptions of CryptoWall 2.0 as “the largest and most destructive ransom ware threat on the Internet” and “an enormous danger for computer users,” I still couldn’t help thinking this was mainly a problem for moms who persist in using big, boxy PC computers and small-town police departments. Mr. Wisniewski quickly dismissed that notion. Although CryptoWall has primarily affected Windows computers and Android cellphones so far, there is no technological barrier that prevents the virus from infiltrating Macs like mine. And when it does, Mr. Wisniewski chuckled, I should expect the ransom to be a lot higher.

So What Can We All Do To Protect Ourselves?

Keep our computers backed up on an independent drive or by using a cloud backup service like Carbonite, take those software update and “patch” alerts seriously and, most of all, Beware the Attachment. (Remember: Brand-name businesses like J. Crew or Bank of America will rarely send you an attachment.)

Of course, this advice arrives too late for my mom and, it appeared, her payment had arrived too late as well: By the time I got home from Greenpoint, her CryptoWall ransom had been raised to $1,000.00 and the $500 in Bitcoins she had deposited had vanished. In a panic, she wrote to Mike Hoats asking for advice. What he told her sounded crazy to me - Use the CryptoWall message interface to tell the criminals exactly what happened, be honest, in other words.

So she did. She explained that the virus had struck the same week that a major snowstorm hit Massachusetts and the Thanksgiving holiday shut down the banks. She told them about the unexpected Bitcoin shortfall and about dispatching her daughter to the Coin Cafe A.T.M. at the 11th hour. She swore she had really, really tried not to miss their deadline. Then a weird thing happened - her decryption key arrived.

When I shared the news with Mr. Hoats, he was jubilant. “That is great news, truly!” he wrote. “Whoever these yahoos are, they have some little shred of humanity.”

But Mr. Wisniewski had a more pragmatic take. “From what we can tell, they almost always honour what they say because they want word to get around that they’re trustworthy criminals who’ll give you your files back.”

Welcome to the new ransom ware economy, where hackers have a reputation to consider.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done If I Am Attacked?

What to do you do if your computer gets infected with ransom ware: do you pay up or try to find an alternative solution?

If you’re not ready to give up the fight, we have something that might help.

In the past few weeks, I’ve combed the web for decryption tools and I can tell you that it’s a never-ending process. It’s close to impossible to build up a complete database, because things change on a daily basis.

As new types of ransomware emerge, researchers decrypt some strains and others get new variants. There are tens or hundreds of them. Just like in a cat and mouse game, the chase never stops.

If this graphic would be filled out with the 2016 discoveries covering Q2 and Q3, you’d need a bigger screen to see this.

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Ransomware Discoveries

Source: CERT-RO

Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to ransomware’s popularity: the quality of the malicious code is steadily decreasing. As a result, cyber security specialists can crack the code faster and give victims a change to retrieve their data without further funding attackers.

Unfortunately, low quality ransom ware also endangers the affected data: one error in the code and it can all be erased instead of encrypted - but that’s a story for another time.

Let’s get to the point, because, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you don’t have too much time on your hands. If you couldn’t avoid a ransomware infection, let’s see if you can help fix it.

As a disclaimer, you should know that the list below is just a starting point. Use it, but do a bit more research as well. Safely decrypting your data can be a nerve-wrecking process, so try to be as thorough as possible.

We’ll do our best to keep this list up to date, but it’ll probably never be definitive. Contributions and suggestions are more than welcome, as we promise to promptly follow up on them and include them in the list.

Some of the decryption tools mentioned below are easy to use, while others require a bit more tech knowledge to break. You can try asking for help on one of these malware removal forums, which feature tons of information and helpful communities.

Without further ado, here it is – the list that will hopefully help you get your data back from the prying hands of cyber criminals.

Ransomware Decryption Tools – an ongoing list

7even-HONE$T decrypting tool
Agent.iih decrypting tool (decrypted by the Rakhni Decryptor)
Al-Namrood decrypting tool
Alpha decrypting tool
Bart decrypting tool
Chimera decrypting tool + alternative 1 + alternative 2
Crypren decrypting tool
DeCrypt Protect decrypting tool
Mircop decrypting tool + alternative

 

As you may have noticed, some of these decryption tools work for multiple ransomware families, while certain strains have more than one solution (although this is rarely the case).

From a practical perspective, some of the decryptors are easy to use, but some require some technical know-how. As much as we’d want this process more simple and easier, it doesn’t always happen.

No matter how much work and time researchers put into reverse engineering cryptoware, the truth is that we’ll never have a solution to all of these infections. It would take an army of cyber security specialists working around the clock to get something like this done.

But being pragmatic doesn’t mean adopting a pessimistic outlook. In fact, if you apply the simple steps we outlined in the the anti-ransomware security plan, you can avoid this kind of attacks and their consequences.

Even if cyber criminals do manage to infect your PC, you can just wipe the system clean and restore your latest backup. No money lost and, most importantly, no important information compromised! So, please, please back up your data. Not tomorrow, not this weekend, not next week. Do it today!

I hope that it will solve some of your ransomware-related problems. Moreover, please think about sharing the simple principles outlined in the the anti-ransomware security plan, with your friends and family. It could spare them the negative experience of being a cyber attack victim.

Check out the current amazing Deals From Heimdal Security to enhance your PC Security above all normal Anti-Virus protection.


Wealthy Affiliate

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Wealthy Affiliate

Are you already a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community?

If not, you can now check it out in the other pages and posts on Powerful Affiliate starting with how to start an online business that makes money - here you will find links to the current most popular and most important articles.

Or, right now, You can join as a starter member for free.......including two free websites - so nothing to lose, right.


That's it for today.

Thank you for visiting.

As always, I love to get your comments or suggestions so, please use the comment box below or, if you prefer, Contact Me.

Stay safe out  there.

Cheers for now,

Michael.

Romance Scam Stories

Romance & Cyber Criminals

romance-scam-stories
Romance Scam!

You will probably have heard of cyber criminals – criminals that specialise in online crime – and perhaps even today’s topic, the Romance Scam Stories. Most likely, you will also be aware that these cyber criminals got involved with online businesses and individuals as soon as the internet first appeared and rapidly spread throughout the world.

We all know that online services and websites make it easy for us to pay bills, shop, make online reservations and even work. You can do any of these actions from anywhere in the world.

Old boundaries and human oppositions were removed in order for us to have access to almost any information – our lives became so much easier.

Unfortunately, the same thing is true for the criminals and cyber criminals in particular.

powerful-affiliate
How to start an online business…

This freedom to access a wide range of online services and locations also makes us vulnerable, because that “open door” provided access in both directions!

These days, criminal minds can reach further than ever before, into our private lives, our homes and work offices – and there is little we can do to stop it.

romance-scam-stories
Phishing Attack

Cyber criminals can use malicious software to attack weak points that are present in almost all the programs and apps (even in the popular Windows operating systems), or they will use ingenious phishing scams deployed from unexpected regions of the world, where justice can’t easily reach out to catch the criminals.

The most common ways for you to become vulnerable to a malware attack or phishing scam take place when you are:

  • shopping online
  • checking your emails
  • accessing your social media sites

We must not forget their final target is always our money and there is nothing they won’t do to accomplish their mission.

You may think that you can’t be fooled by these online scams, since some of them are almost unbelievable, such as the one promising to send you money or the one where the scammers pretend to be FBI agents.

But, in reality, some stories are so convincing for the potential victims that it is difficult to know how to deal with them.

Since some scams are so well organised and convincing, and the people behind them so difficult to catch, we need to always keep our guard up. Stay informed about the latest scamming strategies by visiting this website, Powerful Affiliate, regularly.

The Romance Scam Stories

romance-scam-stories
Infected Computer

How many of us have already been fooled by this one? Since this one addresses our subjective self and not our rational side, we tend to drop our guard and leave aside any logical analysis.

This scam takes place on social dating networks, like Facebook, or by sending a simple email to the potential target.

The male scammers are often located in West Africa, while the female scammers are mostly from the eastern parts of Europe. The truth is however, unless they are in contact with you on Skype, they could be male or female giving you pictures to suit their scam story.

Cyber criminals have used this scamming method for years by abusing the online dating services. They work and improve their approach by just testing the potential victims’ reactions to a variety of questions like these:

  • Hello!

    romance-scam-stories
    Romance Scam Survivor – the whole sordid story…click on Image

  • I am looking for a sincere relationship
  • Are you married?
  • Children?
  • Age?
  • Age doesn’t matter
  • May I have your email address and Skype number?
  • What do you work at?
  • And so on……

This scheme or this game may take place for hours, days, months or more in order to gain your trust.

Eventually, in some cases within hours, you will be asked to help the scammer. They will have built up a particular story and they then ask for money…..could be for food, rent, passport, air fare or hospital bills…

They will ask for photographs of you and they will give you photographs. The photographs they give will be related to the story they are telling – for example, if they want money for hospital bills – photos showing facial injuries or similar  will be sent.

romance-scam-stories
Always an attractive Lady

However, if you are a man using messaging, most likely they will start with some photos of the very attractive woman you are in contact with – needless to say you could be in contact with a male or a female and the photo(s) could have come from anywhere! The photos will later change to suit the story or conversation they are having with you.

In some cases the scam can go for several months and  even up to the moment when a meeting is arranged. When this happens, two things may take place:

  • an “unpredictable” event occurs and the scammer needs money as soon as possible for his/her passport or other details.
  • if the victim comes from a rich family, he/she may be kidnapped and a large sum of money could be requested from the family.

An Actual Case

In a recent romance scam case that was publicised, a woman lost £1.6 million after she met two con-men on a dating site. In this case, the criminal relentlessly tried to strike up a conversation with the woman on Skype until, eventually she answered, and the scam progressed from there.

Between March and December 2014, the victim paid £1.6 million into numerous bank accounts, with the money then transferred into various personal accounts……..for the full story click HERE

Police say, romance scams are not the most prevalent fraud but the financial and emotional impact on victims is huge.

Victims have been known to borrow money from friends and family to pay the criminals. Victims then feel embarrassed and ashamed when they realise they have been duped, so they often don’t even report what has happened to them or even confide in a friend.

Instead, they should understand that they are not foolish and they are not alone – the reality is that the fraudsters are extremely manipulative and go to great lengths to convince their victims they are in love and desperately in need of their financial assistance.

Remember, that any stranger who approaches you on a chat site, via email or any other way could potentially be a fraudster.

Warning signs

You meet someone online and after just a few contacts they profess strong feelings for you, and ask to chat with you privately. If you met on an dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email.

Their profile on the internet dating website or their Facebook page is not consistent with what they tell you. For example, their profile picture looks different to their description of themselves, or they say they are university educated but their English is poor.

After gaining your trust – often waiting weeks, months or even years – they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details.

Their messages are often poorly written, vague and may even address you by the wrong name.

If you don’t send money straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they  continue to ask you to send more.

They don’t keep their  promises and always have an excuse for why they can’t travel to meet you and why they always need more money.

How To Avoid Online Dating Scams

#1 -Approach may be a scam

powerful-affiliate
May be a scammer?

Always consider the possibility that an approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. Try to remove the emotion from your decision making, no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.

#2 – Do an image search

Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google  or TinEye.             They often originate in Ghana, west Africa and there is a Ghana romance scams photo gallery on Google where images can also be checked.

#3 – Be alert to mistakes

Be alert to things like spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies in their stories and others signs that it’s a scam like their camera never working if you want to Skype each other.

#4 – Be cautious with personal details

Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos with prospective partners, especially if you’ve never met them before. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material. Scammers can also use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

#5 – Do not travel overseas to meet

If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. You should not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before.

#6 – Avoid any up-front payment requests

Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.

#7 – Money laundering

Do not agree to transfer money for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

#8 – See through the sob stories

Con artists will tell you tales to pluck at your heartstrings, with a view to gaining your trust and sympathy. Sometimes they will ask for money to help them through a difficult situation. These are lies to get you to send them money.

romance-scam-stories
For the men…an attractive lady!

#9 – Don’t be fooled by a photo

Anyone can send a picture which supports a story they are spinning. Scammers will quite often use the same story and send the same photo to multiple victims. You may be able to find evidence of the same scam posted on anti-fraud websites by other victims.

#10 – Keep your money in your bank account

Be wary of requests for money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust, no matter how strongly you feel about them. No one who loves you will ask you to hand over your life savings and get into debt for them.

#11 – Question their questions

Suspects will pay you a lot of compliments and ask you a lot of questions about your life, yet tell you very little themselves beyond a few select tales. Never disclose your personal details, such as bank details – this leaves you vulnerable to fraud.

#12 – Don’t keep quiet

Sometimes scammers will ask you to keep your relationship secret but this is just a ruse to stop you talking to someone who will realise you are being scammed. If you are concerned that you are being scammed, stop communicating with the fraudsters and report it to police immediately.

Conclusion

If you think you have been scammed, report it to the website, app, or social media site where the scammer first approached you. Let them know the scammer’s profile name and any other details that may help them to stop others being scammed.

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the Police as quickly as possible, with details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

Online scams have been developed using increasingly sophisticated means of deceiving users, especially in the rich Western countries.

According to FBI, online scams have increased over the last 10 years and the total losses doubled in the recent years, affecting both private individuals and large scale businesses.

For this reason, cyber criminal activities are now subject to federal investigations and are treated as a very serious problem that affects us all.


Have you met some of the above scams while browsing or in your email inbox?

What were the most convincing ones?

I would love to hear about your experience and, you know what, it could help someone else avoid the same trouble.

I hope this will help while you are doing your business and personal tasks online.


Wealthy Affiliate

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Wealthy Affiliate

Have you heard about Wealthy Affiliate or are you already a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community?

If not, you can find out more by checking out the other pages and posts on Powerful Affiliate starting with “The Wealthy Affiliate University Review” and “Why Become an Affiliate Marketer” – these will help you decide if it’s for you. Then move on to How To Start An Online Business That Makes Money where you will also find links to the current most popular articles.

Or, right now, You can join as a starter member for free…….including two free websites – so nothing to lose, right.


 

So there you have it for now!

Thank’s for visiting.

Cheers for now and stay safe.

Michael.

 

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