- I used the opportunity of the bike ride to raise funds for charity. I chose to use some new (to me) Internet Marketing tools to work out how they work and to identify what is the best method for collecting for a charity. What did I do? I collated all my email addresses into an autoresponder (I use Getresponse) mailing series and sent out a mailing newsletter to around 1,000 people from my email lists. First thing learned was that around 100 emails were not current. Second thing was a very high click rate to my donation page (around 30 percent) and a nice flow of donations. I also ran a Facebook event promoting the start of my ride and posting the link. That drew a little traffic and some donations. I also posted a link to my growing Twitter following and got some clicks but no donations. I did a follow up mailing to the people on the list who had not donated and achieved the same click through rate and about the same level of donations. LESSON: raising funds from charity is best done with people you know and mail more than once.
|Click throughs from mailings|
- I joined the Cycle Around Australia group in Darwin at the end of May. They had already ridden from Melbourne to Cairns and from Cairns to Darwin. Preparations were a little haphazard but somehow on the appointed start time on June 1, I was ready to ride with 17other riders - some I had ridden with before and some were new to me. Was so good to get back on the road and starting off on familiar territory on the road from Darwin to Katherine though the first 3 days into teh wind were a little tough and my lack of training showed up. The ride from Katherine to Broome into the Kimberley was new to me - it is simply the best section of riding I have done across Australia. the road basically runs from one big river system to the next and the next - easy downwind riding (though we had some long days) and amazing scenery as the rivers carve their way through the gorges. I wrote a journal as I normally do and you can find it on Crazyguyonbike here
- I cut short my ride from Broome to Perth - something about "a road travelled twice" was getting to me. The dynamics of the group had changed quite dramatically with fewer riders and I had a bunch of things at home that needed attention. Truth is I was just not enjoying the ride as much as I would have liked. So I departed the ride at Coral Bay after riding about 3,400 kms (a little over 2,000 miles) - I had achieved key objectives of getting fit and losing some weight and gained a few new friends along the way. And my contribution to the charity fund raising to modify bicycles for disabled children will make a difference to 4 or 5 young children. There is still a chance to make a donation by heading over to http://bit.ly/FreedomWheels - this page will be taken down in October - so get in fast. I must say I did learn a lot about the value of supporting a charity and the processes for doing so using Internet Marketing techniques. The link itself is a clue - it is free link shortener - what I like is I can choose the text and it gives me tracking data. [I have since built my own]
- You may be wondering what did I do with the extra time I gained. I cannot say with hand on heart that I used the time well. I did get the tax department off my back for my superannuation accounts and got one year's backlog out of the way. I am still a little behind. I have ridden my bike a little bit and some of that weight has crept back on - but not too badly. I had planned to go to South Africa to see my mother (who is now 89) but that has not happened. I had hoped to make some more progress in my Internet Marketing and Business Coaching businesses. Truth is I have been struggling with some sever bouts of depression and spending way too much time staring into space pretending to be busy. I have so many things that need doing and do not really know where to start. This is a long story to do with the failures of the past; some challenges in my relationship; the fact I do not see my children often enough and the way I feel about life in Australia.
- I did take the opportunity to travel to Thailand to attend the Fusion HQ Dojo in Chiang Mai. Fusion HQ is a software platform designed specifically for building internet marketing businesses. The dojo was as its name implies was a working training session - there were a variety of presenters (mostly now living in Chiang Mai) covering a range of topics in internet marketing and a number of hands on workshops for using the software. The software is simply amazing as it has built in all the tools one needs for a good internet business (except for shopping cart for a catalogue business) whether it be membership sites; affiliate marketing; sales funnels; email funnels; split testing - simply amazing. In due course I will be building my businesses on this platform and moving away from Wordpress and Weebly sites - a tool that everything in one place makes a lot more sense to me even if it is more costly to purchase. Head to http://mymark.mx/FusionHQ to have a look see. The main thing I got out of the conference is a clear picture of how my Business Coaching can help other aspirant entrpepreneurs. We all face similar challenges in starting a business - and it gets harder as we get older. The challenges have to do with Strategic Focus - they have to do with Process Design -they have to do with Scalability. The promise of making millions or even hundreds of thousands do not flow that way - they take a solid business approach and business structure. More to come via http://MarkCarringtonBusinessCoach.com
- Many of you will not know that I lived in Bangkok for a while. I really fell in love with Thailand and even found a way to deal with the assault on the senses that is Bangkok. Chiang Mai is an altogether different feeling - it has a serenity which one does not normally associate with Thailand. It starts with the airport being only 10 minutes from town. It continues with traffic that is just a little more ordered - not ordered like a Western city but not as scary. The city is laid on on a big plain with mountains standing about 1,000 metres high ringing the plain in the distance. It was not as hot as Bangkok and not as humid - and I was there in summer time. The city is less busy and the mountains provide an escape.
- Markets took a little of a back seat while I was doing my bike ride. In the intervening period we have seen some interesting developments. The Australian Dollar took its tumble and my positions on that move worked well. Interest rates broke out of the long compressed trading range pretty much across the world - thus far my positioning for that is working well though in Japanese Goverment Bonds I am struggling - the problem is one cannot buy contracts far ahead enough in time to cope with short term volatility. In US stocks I have done well - the forced rotation into longer positions helped and the indexes have all obliged by moving higher. There has been the heralded debate about the fed taper and the big step down from that position in September. For now my portfolio is leaning toward more European exposure including European banks; exposure to shipping stocks; short interest rates and reduced exposure to emerging markets. For the most part part doing well. In FX trading I have stripped down my strategy to end of day trade ideas and focusing on the currency trends I see in my longer term portfolios - long GBP and short AUD and occasional forays to JPY longs. And my robots continue to turn over 2 to 3 percent a month which is more can be said of my outsourced FX portfolio - it is not doing well. The image below covers one of my accounts to the end of August - more like that and I will be a happy bunny - more than doubled since October 2012 [note: they do not all look like this but it does show the value of asymmetric trades using long dated options
- Moving forward what is the plan. More progress on my Business Coaching business (I am already helping someone build out his business in a challenging niche - his business is now much more focused and his materials fit his target market better). My mentor David Cavanagh will be helping with that. Have just started migrating my Twitter (and other social media) business - with over 100,000 Twitter followers across 3 profiles (https://twitter.com/go4forexprofits; https://twitter.com/markscarrington, https://twitter.com/stratocharge) it is time to take the business to a next level. Coming out of Chiang Mai too is a programme to write the next book and to publish an Apple newstand magazine on Cycle Touring - more about those developments later. And markets - more of the same - searching for asymmetric trades across the world and making it hard for Mr Market to take away the gains.
Till next time - stay safe and be happy
and ignore this whacky code - it is for Bing webmaster tools