An Internet Entrepreneur's Recipe for a Great Business and a Great Life

Too many entrepreneurs are imprisoned by their own companies and need to make the transition to falling back in love with the firms they started.

So says Eelco de Boer, a Netherlands-based Internet entrepreneur who got his start back in 2000 selling hip hop records online. From that humble beginning, Eelco has launched hundreds of websites and numerous businesses in his country--including a merchant processing company, an e-commerce platform, an e-mail marketing company, a hosting company and a web-design company.

In addition to all this, Eelco launched his own coaching-business to help entrepreneurs grow their profits while also 'freeing' them from their businesses.

He recently shared with me some of his best advice for building both a great business and a great life.

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1. Amplify through social media and webinars. Facebook and LinkedIn can become huge wastes of time if we use them simply as social tools. Instead, harness social media's ability to get you in front of huge numbers of prospective clients--ideal ones, at that. With great content creation, you can reach hundreds and even thousands of people at once and really amplify your brand and your message.

One great amplification strategy de Boer recommends is webinars, which--in conjunction with ads he runs on Facebook--helps him grow his presence exponentially. "If we used just our organic list, we might have 300 people online watching our webinars. Not bad. But adding Facebook ads to the equations gets us maybe 1,000 people at a time," he says.

Webinar presentations are obviously much more cost effective than renting out physical space in which to make presentations and hold seminars. de Boer estimates he can save about $60,000 per presentation in some cases by going the webinar route. But they're also more effective overall, because they make it easy for people to engage--and therefore to commit quickly. "We closed three times more in a one-hour webinar setting than we did during an entire three-day event we held," marvels de Boer.

Another big bonus: You can pre-record webinars to run anytime you like--or anytime that works best for your target clients. I recently ran three successful webinars during a week when I was skiing with my firm's top clients, and I was nowhere near the computer during those times.

2. Go on an Internet "fast." When not amplifying your business message via the Internet, take a well-deserved break. Internet fasting is a great way to avoid surfing the Net and spending countless unproductive hours online. It also helps you recharge by reconnecting with family and friends. Says de Boer: "The time you spend online directly takes away from time you can spend engaging with people around you who you value."

The message: Accelerate your success by serving your clients well and being less distracted. Turn your internet off for hours at a time for focus on other areas of life.

One of de Boer's more interesting strategies for getting and staying offline to recharge involves the help of his spouse. "I ask my wife to change the password of my Facebook profile. Whenever I want to access Facebook, just for personal use, I have to ask her to log in to it," he says.

The result? "For the last month, I haven't logged into Facebook at all--partly because I don't want to keep bugging my wife to log me in!"

3. Surround yourself with others like you. As entrepreneurs, we're on a journey together. So make a point to learn from others who have walked the path before you, to enhance yourself and grow your business.

de Boer and I agree that the best way to learn from other like-minded, successful entrepreneurs is to join a mastermind group. Unlike informal networking, mastermind groups are highly focused on helping entrepreneurs share ways to improve all aspects of their businesses--from high-level vision to nitty-gritty execution issues.

It's also the best resource I've found for getting re-energized through connections with other people just like us. de Boer agrees: "Running a business is not always fun. There are a lot of challenges and struggles and a lot of people we work with maybe don't really understand us," he says. "To really be with likeminded people and connect with them is something that you really can't put a price tag on, in my opinion."

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