The Online Marketing Myth That Hooks Every New Entrepreneur


Founder and CEO, AudienceBloom

Marketing is a practical necessity for all businesses — big, small, new or old. But, unlike other business needs that are fairly cut-and-dried (think accounting), marketing is a bit more qualitative in its approach.

Related: 5 Online Marketing Basics Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

In fact, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different strategies to choose from, and conflicting information can sometimes be an issue in trying to make sense of them.

As a result of this somewhat imprecise and less-than-predictable nature of marketing, there are several myths about it that persist in the entrepreneurial community. There are big myths — like the idea that marketing is only a tool to increase sales — and small myths, like the one that says paid advertising is the only way to get seen on social media.

But there’s one myth that stands out among the others, because almost every new entrepreneur falls for it: the myth that somewhere out there, there’s a guaranteed formula for success.

Why the myth hooks so many entrepreneurs

It should be fairly obvious why the myth is appealing. If there’s a guaranteed strategy out there to earn you more visibility and sales, it gives credence to your marketing efforts and reduces any perceived risk of investing in it.

If, sooner or later, you stumble on the “right” marketing strategy, you’ll make money no matter what. The reality, that marketing is often unpredictable and rarely works the same for any two different businesses, is scary and intimidating.

Sources of the myth

There are a few reasons the myth persists today. Part of it is its raw appeal, assuming it were true. If there isn’t a guaranteed method for success, that makes marketing scary and unpredictable, so some entrepreneurs hold on to this myth out of necessity. The myth also persists due to the sheer number of marketing agencies that have peddled their services under the false pretense that they have the “magic formula” for results.

Some agencies guarantee their results; and although this isn’t inherently bad or deceptive, it can be misleading to a new entrepreneur. For example, an agency might use different strategies, adjusted carefully and frequently along the way, to get those promised results for every client.

Related: The 10 Traits of Successful Online Marketers

This is also a dangerous myth to spread by word of mouth. When a new entrepreneur hears from a more experienced entrepreneur about a successful marketing strategy, he or she may assume the strategy works for everyone. Similarly, if a new entrepreneur finds a specific strategy to be successful, he or she may genuinely believe it will be successful for everyone.

Why the ‘myth’ is a myth

So, having established that there is no guaranteed formula for marketing, let’s tap into the reasons why this belief is a myth:

  • Different companies have different needs. You know, for example, that the sales cycles for B2B and B2C businesses are extremely different. Brands, industries, structures, demographics, competitive environments, technologies and geographic locations are just a handful of the factors that can influence which marketing strategies “work” — and those are different for every business.
  • Consumer behavior is unpredictable. First, let me clarify that market research is valuable (and, I would argue, necessary). The more you know about your customers’ demographics, the better you’ll be able to communicate with them. That being said, nothing is set in stone, and consumer behaviors will often defy your expectations: Even a simple change of fonts or colors can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
  • Technology and trends change constantly. Had there been a single marketing strategy that could guarantee success in 2005, there’s no way it would still be relevant today. In the digital age, consumer trends and available technologies change so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up — and that means that the roster of effective marketing strategies is always evolving as well.
  • Experiments are what drive results. Ask any successful marketer how he or she achieved results, and you’ll hear back something about experimentation. All successful marketers are unsure of themselves at first, but they experiment, run tests and make adjustments until they see the results they want.
  • If there really were a magic formula, more people would be using it. It’s a simple statement, but an important one. If there really were a strategy that worked for everyone, the secret wouldn’t be kept for long, and every business in the world would soon be using it.

Key takeaways for new entrepreneurs

If you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship, your biggest takeaway should be obvious: Don’t fall for the myth that there’s a specific marketing strategy (or set of strategies) that works 100 percent correctly in 100 percent of situations. Every business, brand and entrepreneur has different needs. And even if they didn’t, consumer behaviors, trends and technologies would still be too difficult to concretely predict.

The only way to be successful in marketing is to learn from others, take your best shot, then experiment and tinker with your approach until you come up with something that works for you.

Don’t let any false promises of “guaranteed” or “magic” formulas get in the way of that process for you.

Related: 11 Marketing Tools Worth Trying in 2016

Guide: How to Lose Bad Habits—and Start Good Habits

 from Bottom Line’s Health News Daily
October 21, 2014 (Updated 12/29/15)
Health Insider
. .

You know when a habit is bad for you. But a bad habit can seem impossible to break—no matter how hard and how many times you try to stop, for instance, eating junk food…or procrastinating…or overspending…or being late…or biting your nails…or staying up late in front of the TV every night…or whatever—inevitably you keep doing it. And then you feel frustrated and discouraged and blame yourself for not having enough willpower.

Well, you can stop beating yourself up—and you can stop having that bad habit! Because we have just what you need in the Bottom Line Guide to How to Lose Bad Habits—and Start Good Habits. These proven strategies from our top experts will help you conquer your self-sabotaging behavior. You’ll learn why willpower works better when you don’t rely on it…four secrets to successful self-help programs and how to make them work for you…how this kind of keeping score can break a bad money habit….why couples should make a daily “weather” check a regular practice…how a timer can help you complete projects…and much more.

Get started right now! Read below for how to lose the bad habits that hold you back, and create new good habits that will improve your life…

Ditching What Holds You Back

How to Break a Bad Habit for Good

Kick Bad Habits In Four Simple Steps

Do You Have Any of These Costly Money Habits?

Good-Bye, Excuses

The Surprising Secret of Willpower

How to Avoid Assuming the Worst

How to Stop Interrupting

I’m Kicking the Sugar Habit!

Getting a New Good Habit…

14 Little Things You Can Do for a Healthier Heart

#1 Way to Stick to a Healthier Habit

Retrain Your Brain—and Break Free from the Patterns That Are Holding You Back

Can’t Get Yourself to Exercise?

Habits of Happy Couples

If You’re Feeling Scattered or Forgetful…

World-Renowned Choreographer Twyla Tharp Explains How to Get the Creative Habit

Health-Boosting Hot Cocoa Recipes


By the time you’re halfway through this article, I hope you’re craving a nice toasty-warm mug of hot cocoa. Not the super-sweet stuff you remember from kidhood—made with high-fat milk and a sugary fake “chocolate-flavored” syrup—but a palate-pleasing yet calorie-conscious grown-up version.

Why do I want you to head for the stove? Because hot cocoa’s key ingredient (the cocoa!) is packed with nutrients that benefit your body and brain.

For instance, recent research suggests that cocoa’s antioxidant flavanols and other healthful components may help prevent clogged arteries, improve circulation and reduce blood pressure…combat inflammation…keep your mind and memory sharp…and even make it easier to keep weight under control.

For tips on transforming sticky-sweet kid-style hot cocoa into a super-healthful and tasty beverage with adult appeal, I turned to Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, LDN. As a nutrition, health and fitness expert and author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks—Without Prescription Drugs, she had lots of smart suggestions and creative recipes to share.


For the healthiest, yummiest hot cocoa you’ve ever had, start by selecting the right main ingredients…

Cocoa. Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Stay away from “Dutched” cocoa or anything labeled “processed with alkali,” Dr. Brill recommended—it undergoes processing, including alkalizing, that depletes disease-fighting antioxidants.

Milk. If you go with cow’s milk and want to limit your fat intake, Dr. Brill suggested using 1% or fat-free milk. But cow’s milk isn’t your only option—there are plenty of unsweetened alternatives to choose from. (If you do choose a presweetened brand of milk for any of the recipes below, eliminate or reduce the amount of sweetener suggested in the recipe.) Tasty options to try: Almond milk, which has fewer calories than skim cow’s milk and is rich in calcium and vitamin E…oat milk, which provides a type of fiber that may help reduce cholesterol…hemp milk (derived from shelled hemp seeds), which contains fatty acids believed to fight heart disease and arthritis…rice milk, which tastes much like cow’s milk but can be tolerated by some people who are allergic to cow’s milk…or regular or light (reduced-fat) soymilk, which contains heart-healthy soy protein.

Sweetener. Experiment to see how little sugar you can add to your hot cocoa and still satisfy your taste buds. You may be pleasantly surprised at how the other flavors come through when they’re not overpowered by sugar. Or swap sugar for a low-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia.

Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Experiment with these and other favorite spices and flavorings to put your own personal spin on your cocoa.


Dr. Janet’s Quick-n-Healthy Hot Chocolate

2 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

2 packets (4 teaspoons) Splenda…or other low-calorie sweetener or sugar, to taste

12 ounces soymilk or other type of milk

⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutmeg, ginger and/or other spices to taste, optional

In a large microwavable mug, mix cocoa powder with sweetener. Stir in milk, vanilla extract and other spices if desired. Microwave on high for 60 seconds. Stir, then microwave for another 60 to 90 seconds or until steaming (do not allow to boil over).

Cinnamon-Almond Hot Chocolate

12 ounces almond milk

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

2 packets (4 teaspoons) Splenda…or other low-calorie sweetener or sugar, to taste

⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Place almond milk in a small, thick-bottomed saucepan over low heat and bring to a low simmer, whisking as needed so milk doesn’t stick to the pan. Add the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the milk, discarding vanilla bean and cinnamon. Return the milk to the saucepan and place over low heat until simmering. Add sweetener, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. Whisk vigorously until cocoa has blended. Heat over low heat for four minutes or until steaming, constantly stirring.

European-Style Thick Soy Cocoa

⅓ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

2 packets (4 teaspoons) Splenda Brown Sugar Blend…or other low-calorie sweetener or sugar, to taste

2 teaspoons cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 ounces unflavored or vanilla soymilk or other type of milk

Fat-free whipped topping, optional

In a saucepan, mix cocoa, sweetener, cornstarch and cinnamon. Whisk in six ounces of the milk to dissolve dry ingredients and create a thick paste (like chocolate frosting). Add the remaining six ounces of milk and whisk until smooth. Place over low heat and stir until steaming (do not boil). If desired, top with fat-free whipped topping to complete your guiltless splurge.

Source: Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, LDN (licensed dietitian/nutritionist), is a nationally recognized nutrition, health and fitness expert who specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention and weight management. She is the author of three books, including Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks—Without Prescription Drugs and Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks—Without Prescription

10 Financial Mistakes Rich People Never Make

10 Financial Mistakes Rich People Never Make

Self-Made Millionaire & Business Expert
Image credit: Shutterstock

I hear people giving financial advice all the time. Most of them aren’t rich.

Those who are rich would disagree with what many charlatans preach. The other day, I came across an article proclaiming, “Skip your lunch, don’t buy expensive coffee, cut your hair less often.” This is a horrendous way to live your life and it promotes poverty. It’s smart to be thrifty, but you don’t want to be cheap. You should never do anything that will deprive you from your joy.

I promote prosperity–and taking away these simple pleasures will not make you rich. It will drive you to be more frustrated from these unrealistic disciplines. Most of these hypocrites who profess these antics haven’t even made it financially. They just sit at a keyboard in a delusional manner, waiting for a payday that often never happens.

Financial advice is freely given by most people, but most of it is horrible. Conversely, the words you are currently reading are written by someone who is a self-made millionaire. Therefore, watch whom you learn from, for it is in your best interest (pun intended).

If you’re naturally a hard worker with a great career and have been diligent in all your affairs, you can have prosperity now. However, you might be asking, “Why haven’t I made it yet?” The answer to this question is in the way you think, feel, and act toward your money. Making better choices with your money can turn your life around.

There are certain financial mistakes that rich people never make. The journey in becoming rich will require you to make a few mental changes in your behaviors. Once you make these adjustments, you will begin to see the progress as your create more positive results in your life. Acquiring wealth is a great goal, but who you become in the process is even more worthwhile.

Here are 10 financial mistakes rich people never make:

1. Not Investing in Yourself

America’s first millionaire, Benjamin Franklin, was known for saying, “An investment in yourself pays the best interest.” Often, people depend on their employers to buy them books, send them to seminars, or provide them with coaching. However, you must take your education into your own hands if you want to prosper. Invest in yourself.

Related: 7 Networking Tips From a Real Millionaire

2. Over-Entertainment

Yesterday,I popped into a local Dave and Buster’s to see the grand opening. It was crowded with hundreds of young adults (ages 21-35) who were wasting precious time and money. Most people spend 30-50 percent of their paychecks on entertainment, while they temporarily escape the realities of life. Instead, rich people use that time and money to fund their dreams.

3. Buying on Credit

Many people purchase objects they can’t afford with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. This tragedy decimates many people, leaving them with a hopeless feeling when they repay their high-interest loans. If a person hopes to become rich, they will use their credit cards for growing and promoting their business, not funding personal expenditures.

4. Hiding From Your Spouse

Millions of married couples don’t talk about money. It makes them uncomfortable, which sometimes leads to arguments. However, you cannot get rich unless you disclose your financial precepts with your spouse. Money is only multiplied when love is in the mix and both members of the household have a clear understanding about their finances.

5. Mortgaging a Home

Some “rich” people mortgage their homes, but they aren’t really rich. Mortgaging your home leads to an endless battle of re-financing, bill-paying, and inflation. When you mortgage a home, you’re likely to pay twice as much asthe original price! Rich people rent until they can buy their house with straight cash, like I did.

6. Traditional Retirements

Our retirement system is a joke that must be evaded by those who want to become rich. If you’re depending on mutual funds, 401(k), and certain life-insurance policies, you’ll do better boarding the Titanic. Plus, if you’re saving money to enjoy it for your sixties, that’s like saving up sex for retirement! Instead, build your fortune while you are young.

Related: 10 Questions Every Aspiring Millionaire Should Ask

7. Buying Inferior Goods

Price shoppers and coupon clippers will hate this, but when you buy shoddy goods, you get shoddy results. If you live by the price, you die by the price. Instead of buying what is “cheap,” buy the best goods that are available. Rich people know that buying a $40 shirt which will last for four years is better than buying a $10 shirt that must be replaced every year.

8. Lack of Enjoyment

Consumerism is funny. During 50 weeks at work, people think about vacations and when they finally get their two weeks, they only think about work. The truth about becoming rich is that you must enjoy the money that you already have, whether it’s $10 or $100. Your money will only expand if you appreciate it and think about how you can enjoy it more. You’ll always get more of what you enjoy.

9. Not Saving

Most people blow their money on miscellaneous goods. When they see ‘X’ amount in their bank account, they automatically think of what they “need” and purchase it immediately. However, this impulsive behavior must be eliminated. Rich people save at least 10 percent of what they earn and rarely take out personal loans for themselves, even if they think they need it. Save.

10. Working For Money

The majority of people in this world work for money, but rich people let money work for them. They know that their money will be a byproduct of the service that they render to the marketplace. Rich people also acknowledge the fact that their material wealth is the sum total of their entire contribution to society. That’s why they never work for money.

Making these mental shifts can dramatically alter your life. When you start changing your financial habits and avoiding these mistakes, you will be on your path to be rich. Remember, it’s not what you acquire that makes you rich, but who you become in the journey. And of course, I hope to be your neighbor one day; maybe I’ll invite you to my home!

Related: 7 Tips to Becoming a Millionaire

Money isn’t the only valuable thing a VC can give a startup

Ken Yeung
A visitor views the electronic sculpture '$' by Tim Noble and Sue Webster at Sotheby's auction house in London June 8, 2015.

Above: A visitor views the electronic sculpture ‘$’ by Tim Noble and Sue Webster at Sotheby’s auction house in London June 8, 2015.

Image Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville – RTX1FMQP

Entrepreneurs know it can be difficult selecting the right investors to fund their startup. But instead of choosing firms based on which has a celebrity partner or offers the most money, Norwest Venture Partners‘ Sergio Monsalve counsels startups to select venture capitalists who will be there for the long term.

In fact, he offers several points a company must consider before taking money from an investor: Are they proficient in your space? Has the firm demonstrated that they are dependable in good times and bad? Are they aligned with your vision?

Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) may not be as well-recognized as the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners, and Google Ventures, but for over 50 years, the firm has been positioning itself as more than just an investment provider. “Early on we realized that we needed to be catering to the needs of entrepreneurs and had to look at [them] before [the need] arises,” Monsalve told VentureBeat in an interview.

He further explained what it means to be service-oriented: “Being a multi-stage firm with a large fund, [entrepreneurs] get the best of both worlds (capital and resources). You work tightly with a few partners that can help you throughout your company’s life cycle. How do you start a company from scratch, establishing product fit, scaling, IPO, creating a reputable company model?”

All venture capitalists aren’t created equal

When a startup decides to accept funds, Monsalve believes it’s important to consider what else investors are bringing to the table. NVP, for example, touts its entrepreneurial roots (many of its partners were founders themselves) and a database of knowledge around different market conditions, trends, and other insights gleaned over the past 53 years.

He cautioned that many venture capitalists are unwilling to extend themselves beyond the initial outlay of money. “A lot of people that are investing today just want to write a check and pray,” Monsalve said. “That’s not a strategy that works — that’s called betting. [NVP] wants to invest and partner with startups and work with them.” He added that NVP sees its role as essentially entrepreneurial, in that the company has “skin in the game” and is willing to do what it takes to help the business succeed.

Monsalve explained that entrepreneurs need partners who aren’t afraid to dive into the trenches when things go bad. For NVP, that includes more than what they put in financially; its partners are willing to put in the work to help out in whatever way it can: “You can call someone at 5 a.m. or ask for help on the weekends — this doesn’t happen if you just pick someone off the street and give them a few shares.”

Wallpaper along a building in London, England near the Grand Union Canal.

Above: Wallpaper along a building in London, England near the Grand Union Canal.

Image Credit: Edward Simpson/Flickr

How to pick an investor

Monsalve believes it’s important for a startup to look for firms that share its ideals. Be clear about what the investor sees for your startup as it grows from early stage to potentially being acquired or going public; otherwise things could end badly for everyone. “You can’t do shotgun weddings,” he said.

He counseled that the only way to be sure you see eye to eye with prospective investors is to have detailed conversations. Are they thinking about major issues the same way you are? What are their thoughts about contingency plans, such as pivoting, in case things go awry?

Beyond finding like-minded investors, founders also need to determine if the firm has proven competency in their particular space. This is perhaps the most obvious concern, but for Monsalve, it’s not enough just to have knowledge — one must also be constantly curious about the changing landscape. A smart investor will be knowledgeable about recruiting, establishing company culture, dealing with ways to grow the company, and dozens of other issues that a startup will have to address.

What if you’re gearing up for a potential exit, either via acquisition or public offering? That’s something a partner should prepare you for, Monsalve said. This is a perk that NVP offers through its annual investment summit, which introduces investment bankers, portfolio managers, and analysts to companies thinking about going public soon. This opportunity gives startups a chance to learn the ins and outs of the process before preparing for their own IPO.

Last, but certainly not least, is whether a firm has proven itself to be a “good actor,” not only in the best of times, but also when a company is under duress — have they demonstrated grit, resilience, and a willingness to stick it out? Monsalve brought up the example of Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending company that was on the verge of being shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2008. As an investor, NVP counseled Lending Club to work with the SEC to address its issues and provided enough funds to keep the startup operational. Not only did Lending Club remain afloat, it settled with regulators and even went public.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 11: LendingClub Corporation led by Founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche and members of the company’s management team ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on December 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE)

Above: NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 11: Lending Club Corporation, led by founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche and members of the company’s management team, ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on December 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE)

Image Credit: Lending Club