How to Leverage a Credit Card and Rack Up Massive Points | Ep. 45

Hey, Digital Family! My name is John D. Saunders and in today’s Digital Block I want to talk about how you can use your credit card to pay for items on your business to rack up points and travel for free. Let’s do this!

Hope all is well. I’m going to get right to it. Today I want to talk about how to leverage credit cards. I think they have a bad rap. A lot of people think you can rack up this credit card debt, end up paying interest forever, and can never pull yourself out of debt.

In reality, as a business owner, you can leverage credit cards to pay for items you’re already paying for, like your monthly fees for services and difference things related to your business to cover those expenses and be able to rack up points so you can travel and use those points for eating, restaurants, and other things.

Let’s go ahead and dive in. I’m going to do a presentation for you, show you my card, my system, and what I do to rack up points and travel the world for free.

Let’s talk about the misconceptions of credit cards first. One is high interest. Yes, a lot of credit cards have high interest. Some over them can be up to 24% APR, however, using the method of only spending what you have and paying that off immediately every month means you never really have to worry about that interest.

Next up, a lot of credit cards do not have bonuses. Yes, that’s true. However, in most cases a lot of these credit cards have great incentives like rewards, flights, and tons of other things. It really depends on your preference and we’ll go through that a little later as well.

Another one is forever in debt. If you have school loans, you probably are wary of using a credit card. You think you’re forever going to be in debt. You’ll never be able to pay it off.

But if you follow a strict method of only spending what you have and paying that off immediately, you’ll never have to think about it. Also, there is such a thing as good debt. Keep that in mind.

Lastly, burden on credit. This isn’t true. This is only true if you open a ton of cards. One factor in your credit is the lifetime longevity of a credit card. If you have a credit card for ten years and open another, that’s going to shorten that lifespan.

However, if you have five cards and are opening on every few years and stager that out properly you won’t have to worry about it effecting your credit much.

Next one is cancelling your credit card will help your credit. That’s not true. A lot of times if you have a credit card and don’t necessarily use it, get it down to zero and leave it open. It’s not going to hurt you in any way. As long as you keep up with your credit, you’ll be fine and good to go. Keep that in mind as we move through this.

Why should you use a credit card for your business expenses? I want you to think about a business credit card. You don’t want to use a personal credit card for your business expenses. You want to have a card strictly for your business.

The main reason being you can centralize all your spending. For us, we have a lot of services and different things we offer. We have hardware, software that we pay for every month. It makes it so much easier when we can use our credit card to centralize all that spending because now all of that is in one place.

Also, you can redeem massive points. I learned this from my mentor and boss. I was at a marketing agency in Ft. Lauderdale. I have an amazing boss. His name is Chris, and he was a proponent of using the card for a lot of business expenses, racking up points, and spending them on furnishing the office.

We have flat screens, new furniture. It was amazing. He used his points to pay for all of that because he was using the credit card to cover the cost and paying it off immediately every month to rack up those points a massive amount.

Also, you’re able to monitor employee card use. We have one employee with a card as well and he’s able to use that and we can see all the expenses that he’s tracking within one central account.

It makes it really easy to organize your expenses without having to think about it. Then, you have to think about welcome bonuses. With my card, I have the AmEx Gold Business card, you get 50,000 points just for spending $5,000 in the first three months. Boom! 50,000 points.

That can allocate to about $500 or $600 in cash. The card is free for the first year and then $195, I think, per year. Within that three months the card has already paid for itself.

Here is how I use my credit card. This is actually a look at mine. If you look here, here are some of the options that you can use your card to cover. Here is my points balance as of yesterday.

I did book a flight for my dad to come down for Thanksgiving, so I’m super stoked about that. We book about three or four flights a year using this account and we don’t have to pay for any. We’ve flown to California, New York, and abroad as well just using points.

It’s an amazing feeling when you can just login here, book a trip, and not have to pay anything for it.

I have the AmEx Gold and then the Platinum for my personal. I actually have those combined so I’m able to maximize my points even more. Both my personal and business spending all go into one point allocation.

That’s a little advanced tactic, but again, just to reiterate, this is how I rack up points and travel for free. Some of the bonuses with my card car I get 3x points. This is huge as a business owner.

There are a lot of cards that offer this as well like the Chase Ink and other options. Any U.S. purchases for advertising and select media like Facebook ads, Google AdWords, gas stations, shipping, computer hardware, software, cloud computing, all of that is wrapped up and you get 3x points. If you spend $1, you get three points.

That’s huge, especially as a business owner. You also get a $200 airline credit. That is actually for the Platinum card, but you can always move from the Gold to the Platinum and use that for checked bags, in-flight refreshments, and food.

As you can see, I still have a pretty big balance here, $165 for the rest of the year, and we’ll probably use that on our flights more so around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You also get Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check. That’s also set in there, but also a $15 Uber credit. You get a ton of different bonuses with this card alone. Again, the Uber credit and the Global Entry are for Platinum, however, the 3x points are on the Business Gold card. That’s crucial for anyone trying to build up their points and organize their spending.

Here is a look at my process to rack up points. First, you want to calculate your monthly spending. Look at what you’re spending money on. Are you taking clients out? Using it for transportation? Merchandise? Business services? Organize that! Here is an example for a few weeks ago of some of our expenses.

Then use your credit card to pay everything. If you use your credit card for all that, you’re able to organize everything into one spot. You can login to AmEx and see all of your expenses in your account. Also, and I’m going to backtrack to one, remember to pay off the complete balance monthly.

The worst thing you can do is spend money that you don’t have. Only use your credit card for things you’re already going to pay for and pay that off every month, so you can get it back to zero and continue that cycle.

Number three, integrate with an accounting software. Whether QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Wave Accounting, you can combine your card or merge your card with that account. So anytime you make an expense or swipe that card, it’ll automatically push to your accounting software.

This is huge because it puts everything on autopilot. Again, you will have to go and adjust some of the categories, but otherwise all of your spending will drop in here and you don’t have to think about it. It’s all automatic.

Then review your spending and adjust accordingly. Make sure you’re always reviewing your accounting. I usually do mine at the end of the month. Only charge what you can afford.

Meaning if you have it in your debt account or business checking account to cover the cost of what you’re spending on the card, make sure you’re always under that. The worst thing you can do is be spending and spending, rack up credit card debt, and not be able to pay for it.

That’s when the interest and everything can eat you up and spit you out. Make sure you’re only charging what you can afford.

Lastly, here are some of my favorite business credit card options. One is the Chase Ink Business Preferred, an amazing card, awesome benefits. Also, the Business Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Gold Card from American Express are also.

I have the Gold for my business and the Platinum for personal. Again, you can merge those accounts and just get the points racking up. Last is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card.

Again, a lot of these cards are affordable. They might be $99 to $200 per year, which is absolutely worth it if you use it right to leverage this and do a great job.

Thank you, thank you, thank you guys for checking out our content. As always, hit the like button, comment that you loved it, and hit that subscribe button. I will see you in the next video. Peace!

How to Build a Facebook Messenger Bot for $50

 

Hey Digital Fam, my name is John D. Saunders and in today’s Digital Block I’m going to show you how to get a Facebook bot done for less than $50. Let’s do this.

Hey, everybody! Hope all is well. In today’s Digital Block I’m going to show you how to get a Facebook bot done for less than $50. The process is super simple and I’m going to walk you through it on my computer.

Also, side note, I’m going to provide a link to the Google Doc that we use to create ours as well as the process because you know I am the value-based marketer. If you have any questions, comment below. Let me dive into my computer now and show you guys the process.

To break it down in a literal sense, a Facebook Messenger bot imitates human conversations by solving various tasks. These can include customer service questions, FAQs, and more. In essence, it’s an automation tool to help pull you out of the day-to-day answering questions that can easily be answered by a bot with automated responses.

One example: This is my personal site. You see we have a bot installed here. If you hit “Chat Now” the chat will come up. I’ve got a cool little picture here of me, and as you can see the chat bubble makes it look like an organic conversation.

I ask, “Thanks for taking the time to chat. I’m uploading my brain to our chat box to answer your questions.” When things come up, you answer, and the chat bot automatically answers in response to you.

It’ll use emojis and very comfortable conversation to make it feel like an organic conversation with the person, and this bot can really take care of a lot of questions that you might not necessarily have to do in real time. The reason to use it is it’ll save you time in the future, right. A company called Gardner forecasts that by 2020 over 85 percent of customer interactions will be handled without a human.

That’s huge! You want to be ahead of the curve by starting with the Facebook Messenger bot that can do tons of different things on your website. One other example could be if you have an ecommerce store and people ask, “How long is my shipment going to take? Is this product back in stock?” You can have responses already setup that can answer a lot of these questions.

We use a platform called ChatFuel. The great thing about this process I’m going to show you is you don’t have to write any code or do the actual questions.

You just have to provide all the information to the person that’s going to do it. I’m going to walk you through that now. You can create a messenger bot for your marketing sales and support.

ChatFuel is awesome to use and free as well. That’s the great part about that. In the process of what we’re going to do today, we’re going to get your bot made for about $50.

Step 1 will be to create your bot funnel. Be descriptive and detailed. We’ll go into that as well. You’re going to hire a bot builder on Fiverr. The only time we use Fiverr is really for smaller projects and we’ll talk a little bit more about that later.

You’ll then download the ChatFuel customer chat plugin for WordPress and make your bot live.

If you’ve seen some of my content, you know I’m about automation. We’re going to create your bot funnel. We’ve created a customized Google Doc to help you develop your bot sequence.

The bot sequence is the conversational element of your bot that will help the conversation flow organically. A few tips for doing that: Be as descriptive as possible. Use emojis.

They help breakup the content and make it feel like an organic conversation. And have fun with it!

Let’s go to the doc and check it out. This is a doc we created. You can get the link in the description for this. In red, you can change it. This is the conversation.

We put “pause” because that will cause a pause on the conversation where you have the “…” as if someone is typing. It gives it that nice, realistic feel. We then just added a few questions.

One interesting question is, “Is this your first time chatting with a bot?” They can answer “yes” or “no.” We have all these responses here that you can replaced.

Anything in red can be replaced pretty easily and efficiently. You can download this doc by visiting the link, hitting “file,” and making a copy and copying it over to your Google Drive.

This is great because you don’t have to touch any of the code on ChatFuel or any of the bot platforms that you need to use. You don’t have to touch it! You just have to create this, send it to the bot builder, and they’ll do everything for you and your bot is done.

Once you get that done, that document, you’re not going to hire a bot builder. We’re going to use Fiverr in this example. Just a side note, Fiverr can be a good platform. We only use it for very small jobs. Jobs like video transcriptions or logo animations.

I wouldn’t use it for a bigger job. If your sequence is more than $15, I would either hire us or another marketing agency to help you do that because we have to make it custom and more descriptive. That’s a side note. I’m going to jump into Fiverr really quick and walk through that process.

Just do a search for “Facebook bot.” Once you’re there, Fiverr is automatically going to filter the best at the top. This is the guy that we actually use. He’s really talented.

He uses ManyChats as the platform. As you can see, a medium bot is $50. This includes six to fifteen conversation steps and multi-language. He does everything for you! He sets it up, does the admin, and everything else. It’s amazing.

Once you go and purchase this, you’re going to send him a direct message. Once I order the job, this is actually from mine when I ordered it, he’s going to ask for some requirements.

All you need to do is provide the industry, access to the page as an admin (you can give them admin access and still be the primary admin to remove them once the job is completed), the bot name, and layout example. All you need to do for the layout example is just share the link from your bot template.

It’s super simple. You don’t have to touch and lineup code. You don’t have to do any specific labor for this project. Just another side note, the first bot that I created was a quiz one that I do for one of my ecommerce stores. I did it myself and it took me hours of work. This negates all of that. All you need to do is create the sequence, send it to them, and they get it done for you.

When you’re searching for someone on Fiverr, make sure they have good reviews. Make sure you read through their reviews to see if they seem authentic.

Look for examples of their work and then contact them directly and ask for recent examples of bots they’ve created. Once you find that perfect person, order, go through the process, and your bot is ready to go.

Your bot will be live on Facebook, so anytime someone visits your Facebook page they’ll be able to see the bot and interact with it by asking questions. If you want to have it on your website like I do, I’m going to show you how to add it on WordPress.

It’s a super simple process. All you need to do is download a plugin. It is called “ChatFuel Customer Chat.” You download the plugin, add in your Facebook account, and you’re done! Super simple.

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you’ll know exactly what to do. Once it’s done you have no code or dev. Download the plugin, activate it, and you’re all set! And that’s it. That’s the process.

I don’t know how to simplify it more than that. This is a great way to introduce your company and business to chatbots. Get familiar with it, start a sequence, send it out to your clients, and see how they like it. Keep in mind that we only use Fiverr for these smaller bots.

If you’re looking for a more custom, detailed messenger bot, you can contact us at 5FourDigital.com/contact.

That’s it guys! Thank you for checking out the content. If you haven’t yet, make sure you subscribe because we do this on a consistent basis. If you have any questions, sound off in the comments and I’ll talk to you soon. Peace!

 

Facebook Chatbot Training – HERE
Chatbot Template – HERE

[FREE TOOL] How I Hacked My Calendar and Took Back Massive Time

Transcription:

What is going on everybody? It’s your boy, John D. Saunders. I’m here with a new remix. The Digital Block is back, baby!

I’m super excited to provide you guys with some really high-quality content. As you can see, I’m in the new digs. The new home office is definitely coming along.

Today, I want to talk about taking back your time and using this free tool to actually automate your calendar so you don’t have to worry about anything. To start, if you’re like me you probably go back and forth with clients or prospects when locking in the time to email or correspond with them.

You’re like, “Does 1 o’clock work on Tuesday? Does 3 o’clock work on Wednesday?” They’re like, “No, I have to pick up my kid,” or “No, I have to do this.” It’s a constant back and forth.

About a year and a half ago I found a tool called Calendly. This tool automates your entire calendar. You can block off times that you’re not available so people can’t book that time and then it automates the process where all you do is send the link and it gets taken care of.

I’m going to jump on my computer, show you guys how this works, and we’ll go through the process together. Let’s do this.

Okay, guys. First thing you want to do is actually go to Calendly.com. This is the platform where you can schedule meetings without the back and forth email. To add, it’s free for one type of event. In most cases, especially for us, we usually do meetings in 30-minute increments.

We only need the free option and we use it on a daily basis. You can scroll through all the options to learn more about it. You’re then going to hit “Sign Up.”

Once you get in, and I’ll login to my account so you can get an idea, you can have different types of events. Once you’re in here you’re going to go to “Event Types.” You can then create different types of events. You want to “Add a New Event Type.”

Is it going to be a one-on-one or a group setting? Let’s do one-on-one. The event name, let’s say we’re going to do “1 Hour Consultation.” We then add a location. You can either put a link to your go-to meeting, a link to Uber Conference, or whatever platform you use.

Then go to “Description/Instructions.” You want to keep this pretty consistent across the board. For “1 Hour Consultation,” we’ll just say, “Hey! Glad you signed up. You can join the meeting here.”

For us, since we use Uber Conference, another free tool – I’m all about free by the way – you can go in, copy the information, exit, and put the link here. Now anytime someone signs up for an event it’s logged into their calendar this automatically goes into the description/instructions.

You then have your Calendly link and just hit “Next.” This is the super dope part. You can create the event duration here. You can pick the general amount of how long it’s going to take. Data range, I usually have it infinitely.

You can then choose a time zone. You now need to setup your availability. This is probably the best part of it. For me, I usually work from about 8:00 AM to about 3:00 PM. I take a break and then might work that night from 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM. I usually only take calls between around 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM on specific days because I like to block out time to really grind.

Let’s do Monday. My availability will be 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Let’s just do this for one day so you can see. I’m then going to hit “Apply to all Mondays.” Now on Mondays you can only book me for that time.

If I were you, I’d go through each day and kind of set yourself up so you’re not always available, but you’re available in certain increments so you can allocate time towards other things.

Once you set that up, you’re going to hit next once more. All my information is in here. You can actually do additional options. You can have invitee questions asking specific questions before they get on the call. You can do notifications where they get text notifications or email reminders.

Some of these features are in the paid version. You can then also add custom links and collect payments. For right now we’re going to keep it super simple. I’m now going to view the live event page, but let me make it live first. Click “Save & Close.”

Let’s go back to my “Event Types.” I’m going to turn this off momentarily and turn-on “1 Hour Consultation.” Now what you do is keep this link right here and share it with anyone that you want to correspond with. For example, if I send this link to a prospect they’ll go, see this calendar, and say, “I want to talk to him on Monday.” As you can see, it’s 9:30 AM.

That’s the only time I’m available. The reason why is because you can sync this with your Google Calendar. Because I blocked out 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Mondays, there is a conflict on my Google Calendar that makes it so I’m only available at 9:30 AM. To do that, you actually go to the Calendly app.

You go to “Calendar Connection” and then you can actually add in the specific calendars that you want to tie into Calendly. That’s what makes this platform so amazing. Again, I’m not getting paid for this. This is just a tool I use on a daily basis that I love. You actually sync it with your calendar. It’s synced with my Google Calendar.

I have different calendars on my list. I only have “5Four” and “Personal” highlighted. I can then actually choose which calendar the Calendly events go into. Again, this tool is just phenomenal and super easy to use, extremely user-friendly.

That’s it! Thank you, guys, for watching The Digital Block. I’m super excited to be back. I took an eight-month hiatus, but I’m back to provide you guys with quality content. I’m going to be doing this on a biweekly basis so make sure you subscribe and let’s do this thing. Peace!

How to Analyze Your Online Competition for Free

Owning a Business is Hard Work.
Lets just be honest.  Brutally honest.

It’s a ton of late night’s, direct responsibility and difficult decisions.

However, the awards and opportunity are endless. Especially if you’re willing to work for it.

millennial-tech-1

I understand how entrepreneurs can’t dedicate a ton of time to certain aspects of their business.  So, we’re here to help.It’s easy to see, especially from a digital standpoint, what your competitors are doing. Now, you might not want to emulate them, but, you could be wondering how they’re performing in certain digital aspects like:

• Social Media Presence & Engagement

• Website Traffic Estimates

• Organic Keywords

• Overall Web Rankings


By uncovering these few items, you can get a solid grasp on the competition that’s performing better than you, and learn to utilize these tools to your advantage for future marketing endeavors.

With just a few FREE tools we’ve uncovered, you can setup a competitive report in a few minutes.   We know your time is limited.

Yes, it can be done over that morning coffee.

google-search

1. Find Your Big Competitors
The first thing you want to do is isolate your competition.  Choose 3-4 solid competitors as a benchmark of comparison.  Don’t be afraid to aim high.  Perform a Google Search for specific keywords related to your industry.  We’ll use the keyword “mens shaving subscriptions” as an example.

The three we highlighted above rank #1,2 & 3 in organic search out of about 2.2 million SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).  This tells us that these competitors are powerhouses in the industry and receive tons of traffic daily.  So, you’re probably thinking: “As a small business owner, how can I even compete?”  Don’t worry.  When there’s a will, there’s a way to reverse engineer it.

SEM Rush

2. Collect Information About Your Competition’s Web Presence
Yeah, this is the fun part.  One very versatile tool is SEM Rush.  We’re going to uncover a plethora of information about your competition within seconds.  Keep in mind, this tool offers a free, limited version.  It will do just fine for a simple competitor audit, but for more in-depth analytical work, click the link above.  First, visit SEMRush.com.  This website provides competitive data for websites.

Once you type in your competitor URL, you’re taken to the Domain Overview.

Understand Competitors Estimated Traffic
• Find Out How Much They Spend on Adwords (PPC)
• Where Their Backlinks are Coming From
• Competitor Top Searched Keywords
• Competitor Top Paid Keywords
• Top 5 Competitors (Level of Competition)

3. Collect Info on Competitor Social Engagement
Now that you have a solid overview of your competition web presence and ad spend, it’s time to take it Social.  Using Facebook Insights we can collect information about your competitors in a simple, yet intuitive, dashboard.  As a Facebook Page owner, visit your Facebook Page.  Once there, hit INSIGHTS like below:

facebook-insights-posts-tab

Once on the overview page, scroll down to the bottom to the Pages to Watch area.  Facebook’s algorithm does a GREAT job at pulling in example competitors based on factors like similar engagement, services and targeted demographics.  This area  helps you compare the performance of your Page and posts with similar Pages on Facebook. Just click Add Pages to get started.

Once completed, take a look at the aggregated data provided by Facebook.

Here, you can see how you stack up against the competition.  For example, if their engagement was higher during the week, visit their Facebook Page, to see what messages and content they posted that leveraged their fanbase effectively.  Also, take a look at their post consistency and how their Total Page Likes stack up against yours.  By monitoring this data, especially those high level competitors that use Social to their advantage, you can start to understand and develop original content you know will perform well on social.

4. Leverage Your New Found Data Dominance
Now that you have a ton of useful data, it’s time to put it to use.

Download Our Quick Competitor Profile Doc HERE.  This will provide your team with a very useful stream of data to leverage for your company’s success.  This competitive analysis blueprint will help you maintain and improve your position by understanding and tactfully using your competition’s data.