My Cat Was Kidnapped and What It Taught Me About Success

I think many find it so difficult to start a business online because they feel like it’s so new and different from anything they’ve done before. This unknown feeling makes the process scary and impairs progress.

The following is a story about how my cat was kidnapped and sent to kitty prison. After it was all done with I needed to mentally review what had happened so that I could try to look on the positive side and learn from the experience.

I’m sharing this story because I realized that it was an exact mirror of what I’m doing with my business online.

The story of Maji’s disappearance

Maji and LunaMy fiance, Mark, and I have two cats. A large male named Maji, a stray who adopted us 9 years ago, and a female named Luna who we adopted after she was left in a box with her litter-mates and no mother in a friends driveway. 

Last Saturday we let Maji outside at about 10 pm. This is very common for us, he has always been an outdoor cat, and usually comes back inside in an hour or so, no big deal. 

After a while we began periodically checking the door and calling for him off the porch.

By 1 am something seemed really wrong. We live in an apartment complex on a secluded road and he stays in our little area. So we walked around our neighborhood calling for him.

At 4 am we did another circle around the neighborhood. No kitty. We went out again at 7 am. No kitty. 

We stopped maintenance to see if they had picked up any hit cats. I checked every tree in the area to make sure he didn’t get stuck on a branch. I looked in every single dumpster and recycling bin. I even followed any tracks that I could find (there was snow on the ground).

I think it was between 9 – 10 am I started talking to anyone who was outside; mostly people walking dogs. 

Apparently my cat is a great networker. We call him Maji but he’s also known as Grimmie and Spookie; and at least three other people feed him.

We felt that he must have gotten trapped somewhere and couldn’t get to us.

All day long I would go out and come back. Then my fiance would go out and come back. Walked next to every single garage door in the complex (20-30 of them) and called for him hoping to hear a meow for help. 

At about 1 pm I drove up and down the street that goes past the complex looking for hit animals. Though I was relieved to not find anything, I sat in the car and cried because I had no idea where my pet of 9 years had gone.

By late afternoon I had dozens of people out looking for my cat. Our neighbor actually went out with cat treats looking for him.

Mark went out an hour before sunset on Sunday for one last circle before we lost daylight. He talked to some of the many people who knew we were looking for him. People leaned out their windows with tips and well wishes.

By now the entire neighborhood knew that we were looking for our cat. 

Finally we catch a break

Welcome Home MajiMark was told that someone saw a black cat near a dumpster. It was a different cat but that sent him in the right direction. Finally some woman came outside and said “I know where your cat is.”

Apparently between when we let him out (just after 10 pm) and no later than 11 pm, Maji had “followed” her into her apartment. (By followed I mean she invited him…)

She immediately called animal control on him. He was picked up at midnight on Saturday. 

I wont rant on this but I really do not understand why this woman did that. We had no time at all to try to find him.

He went out at 10, between 10:30-11 he went into her house, she held him captive while we were calling for him between 11-12, and he was already with the catcher before we started walking the roads at 1 am. 

Like I said I just don’t understand what this woman was thinking and it’s why I phrase this as a cat kidnapping (catnapping?).

When we called the animal control officer she told us that she knew it was a pet (because he was so friendly and healthy) and was relieved to hear from us. She had tried to get the neighborhood woman to put him outside, however Maji was freaked out by the attention and ran back into the woman’s house and the catcher legally had to take him.

The catcher even tried to open the shelter for us (it was 6:30 on a Sunday by then) but management wasn’t available. 

Suffice it to say we were at the shelter before it opened the next day to pick him up.

What does this have to do with success?

Lets compare this to online business as that’s what we deal with here. This story parallels everything about being successful in business (or really successful at anything).

In business you have a product or a goal. In our case bringing home our beloved pet is our goal.

So how do we achieve that goal?

Networking.

By talking to people walking their dogs we were networking. People were genuinely sympathetic to my cause and really tried to help us. If we hadn’t been talking to people all day, we wouldn’t have run into that woman.

In life you can not do anything significant without help from other people. If you want to write a blog or sell a product you have to network with people in your niche. You need teachers, mentors and friends to live a fulfilling life.

Even if you wanted to become a hermit and live in the woods, you will eventually need help from someone even if it’s just medical assistance. There wouldn’t be 7.046 billion people on the planet if we weren’t meant to talk to each other.

Reputation building.

I can promise you that now the whole our neighborhood knows that the big black cat is not only owned by someone, but that his owners are relentless. I talked to dozens of people multiple times. They also know that he lives in a specific building and are likely to come get me if they find him.

I now have a reputation as a friendly, caring (possibly crazy) cat owner. 

I’m sure you know that you have to build an online reputation to be considered a reputable source. Why would I read your blog unless you have a reputation for knowing more about a subject than I do. Just make sure that it’s a good reputation. 

Advertising. 

We were using word of mouth to advertise (talking to people) and audio advertisements (yelling “Maji” at the top of our lungs) to advertise our lost kitty.

I also had a poster ready to print but Mark asked me to wait until Monday to hang them. I think posters made him feel like it was more serious and we were still hoping that he was just asleep in someones apartment and would be home soon. However if we had hung those posters sooner, we may have gotten a response sooner. 

Use multiple forms of advertising until you find the method that reaches your audience. Eventually that method will be your email list but until you build your list you should reach out in more than one way.

Set a deadline.

One of the reasons we were so desperately looking for him was because the temperature was going to drop soon. We live in NY, aka a frozen wasteland in February. Setting our “deadline” for sunset made us act more urgently and it’s actually what got Mark outside at just the right time for the woman to hear him calling for Maji.

If we had just said, well maybe he will come home on his own so we will call for him once and wait for tomorrow, we may not have found him.

Similarly in business if I were to write one blog and say, well no ones really reading it maybe I’ll write something next week… Your not going to get any readers and you’re not going to make any sales.

Instead if you say, “I’m going to earn my first $1 this month”, as the month goes on your going to act more urgently, write more blogs, advertise on more channels.

Do not set deadlines just because you don’t have a boss leaning over your shoulder.

Remember your why.

Our why was Maji himself. We wanted him home more than anything.

Because of our why we were able to walk 5-6 miles each, even though we hadn’t slept and were exhausted.  I was ready to spend money on color copies and hang hundreds of posters. I started conversations with complete strangers even though I’m shy. 

At that moment I would have walked 100 miles and not slept for a week to get my cat back. Really I would have done more. 

Whats your why and what you’d you sacrifice to get it?

Never give up or your goal dies.

That sounds horrible but its true.

Maji is at least 11 years old. He’s also male and black. Plus with spring (kitten season) around the corner, the chance of him being adopted was pretty slim. Sending him to the catcher is sending him to be euthanize.

Did you know that statistically black cats are adopted less than other colors? Its sad but true.

If you give up you will never reach your goal.

You will get no results for a while, but when you finally find traction, results come faster.

We receive a lot of false hope because there are at least two other black cats in the neighborhood. They have white dots on their chest so they were easy to distinguish once we saw them. Besides that every bird sounded like a distant meow; every sound sounded like a scratch at the door.

We received a whole lot of nothing until finally, we got an answer. 

When it comes to online business you’re going to have to do a lot of foot work without any results. But when those results finally start coming they come faster and faster.

This is often compared to a snowball rolling down a hill because it starts very small and builds at faster and faster speeds.

I feel this is true except you have to imagine that its difficult to get the initial snowball going. Maybe the snow doesn’t want to stick together so you have to give extra attention to forming the ball. Then when it finally catches, its rolls itself into a bolder. 

Learn from everything.

We learned that in situations like this we need to act immediately, and advertise. We need to network with as many people as possible because someone knows something we don’t.

To translate that into business reach out to people in your niche. Network and find a mentor. See what they are doing and lean why it works. Then apply this to what you’re doing.

Learn something new every day.

There will always be trolls.

As much as I really want to have a conversation with this woman about what she put our family through, it wouldn’t do any good. For whatever reason she felt that she could judge an animal that she had known for less than an hour and send him to kitty prison.

Similarly on the internet there will always be someone who leaves that rude comment. They feel that they know you because they read a 600 word blog. You can’t give them power by yelling at them because then they will lash out again.

Show gratitude.

Yes I could stew over the fact that some person decided to do this. But what good would it do? None. It would just bring us more stress.

And possible legal action if I tried to do something about it….

Instead we are printing posters letting people know that the black cats have owners and to please not bring them into their house. Also were buying a nice bottle of wine to thank the neighbor who went to look for Maji. 

Try to look in the bright side and let karma take care of the people who do harm.

So whats the moral of this story?

Well first of all, if you see a cat that’s healthy, please leave it alone. Do not bring it into your house. Someone could be desperately trying to find their beloved family member. A dog may need assistance but cats are pretty self-sufficient.

When it comes to your life goals, remember the above rules:

  1. Network.
  2. Build your reputation.
  3. Advertise in multiple ways.
  4. Set a deadline for your goals.
  5. Remember your why.
  6. Never give up.
  7. You will get no results until you finally get real results  (i.e. When it rains it pours).
  8. Learn from everything.
  9. Haters are going to hate.
  10. No matter what, show gratitude!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below.

Success Happens A Little Every Day

Yosemite National Park - Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Yosemite National Park – Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Like the Giant Sequoia, success grows slowly and requires daily care to thrive. But once it grows tall it stands up to wind, rain, snow and forest fire alike.

Successful people focus on daily actions to grow their businesses. The actions are sometimes called daily core commitments and they must be done every day if you expect to see growth in your business.

As I have been working through this 30/30/30 Challenge (basically doing the core commitments every day for 30 days) I realized that while I am practicing daily the core commitments but I haven’t spelled them out for you my readers. 

So every day, to be successful, you must…

Read

We list reading as the #1 commitment to achieving success because its only through learning that you will be able to build the business that you want. This learning will motivate you and give you more valuable information to share with your readers.

Not only does reading help build your knowledge base, it also improves your vocabulary and your writing skills. The act of reading alone will make you a better writer.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to pick up a book then don’t forget that reading actually reduces stress, because when your reading you visualize about the story and your subconscious feels like you are really there.

Be sure to pick positive reading material. Try my article - Experts Read Every Day – So Here’s My Blogroll.

Listen or Watch

The truth is that reading the amount of material that’s need to learn the skills to start a business can take a really long time. Especially when most information isn’t placed in order of what to read next.

That’s why experts use their time as productively as possible by listening to audio during downtime. When your driving to work in the morning, listen to a podcast from a blogger in your niche. If you’re sitting in the doctor’s office watch a YouTube video.

Check out Experts Listen Every Day – My 7 Lucky Podcasts and Experts Watch Every Day – YouTube Channels.

Blog 

Commitment’s read and listen are really about learning something new. The idea is that if you learn something related to your business every single day, then you are guaranteed to become an expert in your niche.

Therefore if you don’t have something to write about, then you didn’t do the first two core commitments. 

The blogging commitment is all about sharing what you have learned and providing value to your readers. Remember that the true power of a blogger is in their email list. To build your list you must provide value to your readers.

I cannot repeat that enough, provide value to your readers!

Also this doesn’t have to be an article format blog. Step outside of the box and make a podcast, video, or info-graphic. Don’t limit yourself here, the important part is that you are creating something that will provide value to your readers.

Market

How will people be able to find your website if you do not market it? If you have the best, most well written, valuable content in the entire world, but no one can find it, its worthless.

Also marketing isn’t something that can just happen overnight. Not without tremendous amounts of advertising dollars. Instead marketing is something that works kind of like a snow ball. It starts out small and as you roll it, it gets larger and larger until it’s an unstoppable force.

The only way to make your marketing snow ball bigger is for you to roll it a little every day. This is of course a huge subject in itself but to give you a few ideas,

  • Write a guest post for a popular blog.
  • Comment on other blogs, try to answer questions and be helpful. Add your website to the comment.
  • Pay for advertising.
  • Reach into alternative media types such as YouTube videos and
  • Create a hype on Social Media.

 

But how can I keep track of all of these things and remember every day when I’m sooooo busy?!?!

Well this is where discipline comes in.

You have to truly believe that your business will allow you to have the life that you want, and believe that these core commitments will without a doubt build your business. If you believe these two things then its just a matter of being disciplined enough to do them every day until they become a habit.

If you’re looking for more of a how to, the way I do it is every day I start a new sticky note. I write 1) Read 2) Listen 3) Blog 4) Market and then any other tasks I need to do that day. I do not go to bed until numbers 1-4 are crossed off.

This gives me the added benefit of having a stack of sticky notes showing how productive I was this month and points out tasks that I put on my list a lot but seldom do.

Bloggers Who Share Their Monthly Income Reports

If you’ve spent some time reading blogs you may have run across a entrepreneurs sharing their monthly income reports. While it may seem a little like bragging at first what the blogger is really trying to do is create credibility. 

And honestly I don’t know what could validate someones marketing skills more than earning $55,000+ a month revenue. 

These income reports are priceless to a blossoming entrepreneur such as yourself. Why, you ask? Because they provide transparency into how other bloggers are making their money. It doesn’t matter if they are old, new, or if the made a lot of money or not.

It can also show you details about how much they are spending on advertising and what advertisements really benefited them.

I suggest browsing through several of the reports below and try to follow your favorite blogger. Pat Flynn for example writes quite a bit of commentary on what he felt worked and what didn’t that month. Incite into the market like this is both hard to find and valuable.

So without further adieu here is a list of bloggers who share their monthly income reports and a sample of how much they made during one of their last months.

Shout Me Loud

Engineer and Blogger Harsh Agrawal, runs Shout Me Loud where he made most of his $6,320.61 in August 2013 from affiliate networks and advertising.
Shout Me Loud – Monthly Income Report

Leaving Work Behind

Blogger Tom Ewer made the majority of his $7,557 in October 2013 from freelance writing and selling information products.
Leaving Work Behind – Income Reports

Matthew Woodward

Blogger Matthew Woodward made $9,868.25 in January 2014 almost completely from affiliate marketing.
Matthew Woodward – Income Reports

Pinch of Yum

A husband and wife duo earned $17,735.97 in January 2014, through mostly advertising on their popular food blog.
Pinch of Yum – Making Money From a Food Blog

Dollars and Roses

Another husband and wife duo made a comfortable $17,756.63 in October 2013 with several niche blogs.
Dollars and Roses – Income Reports

Entrepreneur Boost

Chris Guthrie earned $86,401.31 in November 2013, through blogging and the profitable sale of a website.
Entrepreneur Boost – Income Report

Smart Passive Income

Not only does Pat Flynn have a monthly income report section, he actually has a counter at the top right of his header that shows last months income of $58,651.74 (January 2014).
Smart Passive Income – Monthly Income Reports

Entrepreneur On Fire

Holy hand grenades Batman! These guy’s made a whopping $115,663.55 in December 2013 through multiple powerful income strings.
Entrepreneur On Fire – Monthly Income Report

 

If you know of any website who does this please let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to add it to the list.

Experts Watch Every Day – YouTube Channels

All successful individuals spend time, every single day, learning something new. They stay ahead of the game by always being on the look out for the next idea and the next step in the plan.

When implementing this yourself remember that its much less important what you learn, or how you learn it, than it is that your actually learning something. This means that you can use a variety of methods to learn such as reading books or blogs, listening to podcasts or watching YouTube videos. 

Videos have the added benefit of providing visuals for what the presenter is talking about. This is exceptionally handy if your watching a how to video. So grab yourself a big bowl of popcorn, wrap yourself up in your snuggie and enjoy some free knowledge from some of my favorite YouTube channels.

YouTube is a huge network with thousands of new videos uploaded every day. There is no way I could possibly make a complete here.

So if you know of a YouTube Channel or video that would be helpful to other start-ups post it in the comments below.

What is Email Marketing?

mailDid you know that very few sales are made the first time the customer visits your website?

Think about it, what are the chances of someone finding your website and clicking on the “buy now” button after reading your front page without leaving? Probably not very high. 

That’s because most people shop around and look at their options. Its only after they’ve seen your product name or URL several times do they gain trust in your product. If you simply driving traffic to your site and you have no way to follow-up with potential clients, you’re losing more than 90% of your traffic without building any trust. 

That’s where email marketing comes into play. By gathering readers email addresses you are able to periodically send emails to entice the readers to visit some page.

That’s where a blog comes into play.

Because blogs provide valuable information to readers they are inclined to come back when new content is added. You then have the opportunity to gather emails into a list to keep readers updated.

Building a blog takes time to create content, gain authority in the niche, build brand and gain loyal customers but once those loyal customers are gathered into a list, it is more powerful than thousands of dollars of advertising on a landing page. 

This is why you must…

Get an email sign-up immediately.

You may have heard the expression “The moneys in the list.” It’s absolutely true. The pro bloggers who are making $58,651.74+ a month. have a well established list of readers whom they have built a relationship with over time. 

The catch is that readers can’t join your list if you do not have a sign-up form. Be sure to subscribe to an email marketing service such as GetResponse, MailChimp or Aweber and follow on site instructions to add a form to your website as soon as possible.

Add opt in forms in several places on your web page. I suggest the top of the side bar on every page and below post and page content.

Once you have emails you need to send them messages.

Build an autoresponder.

An autoresponder allows you to set up a pattern of correspondents to be sent to every new subscriber to your email list. For example you may have an email automatically sent to all new subscribers with a link to your eBook. Then the next day another email about your blog. Then in a week another email about your product. And so on and so forth.

You of course want to periodically review your autoresponder content to keep it up to date. Also intersperse the automatic emails with your blog updates, current events and offers. 

Which brings me to…

Provide valuable information.

Do not spam. EVER! 

Not only is it just plain rude, it doesn’t help you make any sales. 

Instead provide valuable information to your readers. I like to write a short summary of a popular blog article and point back to my blog. You can also provide free content that isn’t available anywhere else as a way to show the list that you value them.

When sending promotional material don’t do it often, make sure its valuable to your list and if possible offer them a special deal this isn’t available to the general public as a constellation for being advertised to.