Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

In the New Year tradition, I've made one of my resolutions to post to this blog more frequently.

In keeping with the overall theme of this blog, I'd have to say the question posed to me the most lately is actually a "multi-parter" - "Where have you been?" and "What have you been doing?"

The simplest answer is that on October 17 I underwent surgery on my back to relieve a compressed disc (definitely not on my top ten list of fun physical conditions to have, and neither is the surgery for that matter). The surgery was on a Friday, and I was discharged from the hospital on the following Monday.

The 200-mile drive home from San Francisco to Anderson was relatively uneventful, other than the fact that I seemed to feel every single bump, rumble strip, and construction zone irregularity along the way home - and there seemed to be far more of them (and much bigger) than there seemed to be when we were headed towards the surgery.

Recovery progressed for a while, but after 2 weeks (stitches came out at 10 days), things just didn't "feel right." Pain in my lower back was increasing, and I had developed a fever. Finally, despite my protests, on Saturday November 1 my dear wife Debbie dragged me to the local hospital emergency room. (At that point I was too delerious from the 103-degree fever to put up much of a fight).

Diagnosis: The surgery site had become infected - not just on the surface, but deep down inside.

Next thing I know, I'm being whisked away to the Redding Airport, loaded onto a twin-engine air ambulance, and on my way back to the VA Hospital in San Francisco (via Oakland). After some head-scratching by people in white lab coats, it was back to the operating room for me to "clean things out."

In the time since, I've been "recovering" - such as it is. The surgery seems to have had little or no effect on my chronic back pain (in fact it appears the surgery may have aggravated things and made them slightly worse than they were before the first surgery). As a result, much of my time has been spent in the mental fog created by the pain-killers I've been prescribed. Not wishing to face the problems experienced by Rush Limbaugh or TV's fictional doctor "House," I've been regulating the amount of pain killers I take, taking them at a level far less than the prescription instructions allow.

The result is more pain, but also more lucidity, mental alertness, and continuity of thought. It's a trade-off, but I'm learning to live with it.

That's taken a lot of the wind out of my sails. I'm still not fully back up to speed, but at least thing have gotten to the point where I'm able to write somewhat cohesively. As I adapt to my "new normal" physical condition, I'll be ramping things up. I've been working on a new project. I've had the basic concept rattling around in my head for quite some time, and assuming I can complete it on schedule it should be quite popular (and also profitable).

I've decided to follow some advice that I've often heard from some of the more reputable "gurus" I've encountered over the years.

I've decided to create my own "product." Actually it's a combination of a product and a service, and it will have a residual income component. I can't really give you very much in the way of details about it at the moment - it's still in the early stages of development (but progressing smoothly). I'm hoping to reach the beta testing stage by the beginning of February, with a tentative launch date of March 1 (barring any major setbacks).

This project will also include a membership site and an affiliate program, so I'll be sure to give you (my loyal readers) first crack at it. The current plan is to make it a 2-tier affiliate program.

The target market for this product/service is HUGE, and there is definitely a real demand for it. The best part is that nobody is really going after this market - even though they probably have everything they need to really capitalize from it. (When I share the details with you, you're apt to have one of those forehead-slapping moments yourself.) Knowing what I know about the target market and the price I intend to assign to this product/service, it should be a very easy "sell," and affiliates shouldn't have to resort to hype and exaggeration to convince people to buy it. It won't sell itself, but when people learn what it is and what it can do, they won't run for the nearest exit either.

Once again, my humblest apologies for the 6-month drought of information and posts on this blog. My goal is to post at least once per week, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to post much more frequently as things develop. Thanks for stopping by - it's great to be back with you again, and I look forward to sharing a very prosperous 2009 with you!

See you again in a few days - right back here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Guy With The Solar-Powered Flashlight

I just got done watching a video blog by the founders of Kiosk, the web hosting company that provides infrastructure for a lot of online businesses, and I must say that I like what I saw – a couple of guys just having some light-hearted fun. It made me stop and realize something really important that I think often gets forgotten in the daily shoulder-to-the-wheel-nose-to-the-grindstone things of working and building a business.

Sometimes you’ve just got to take a break and have a few laughs. Stop taking things so seriously and just let your hair down a little!

As time passes and things change – they always do, that’s just part of the package – I’m realizing more and more that if you’re not too careful you can focus so hard on making a living that you can forget to make a life for yourself.

In the world of business, we’re led to believe that we have to be dead serious about everything all the time. And of course, sometimes the things we have to do in the course of making a living aren’t all that much fun. They have to be done, and so we do them. But I’ve always found that if you can find some way to make a tedious task fun it always seems like it takes less time to get it done. It may not shorten the actual amount of time to do it – it just makes it seem that way.

One good example of this is our My VM Team Blog Talk Radio broadcast on Friday June 27th. Now I’m not saying that doing the radio show is tedious or unpleasant – far from it. But there can be a certain degree of anxiety and self-imposed pressure in figuring out what to talk about for a one-hour broadcast 3 times a week. But the good Lord always seems to provide us with things to talk about. But this show was different.

Jim, Steph and I were well into our planned program when we got a call from a fellow who said he needed help with his business. He told us he was really excited about the product he was promoting, but he told us he faced a lot of ridicule from people he talked to about his product and he wasn’t seeing a whole lot of results - he was getting discouraged.

Of course all 3 of us immediately went into “detective mode” to see if we could find out what the source of his problem was, and in the course of our questions the fellow revealed that his product was a solar-powered flashlight. Very environmentally-friendly, he said, long-lasting, and worked wonderfully – as long as there was enough sunlight available to power it! It wouldn’t work at all in the dark!

He did a great job of making it sound like he was dead serious – so well that it took us some time to understand what was really going on. We got so wrapped up in trying to solve his “problem” that it took a while for us to realize that there was really no problem at all! The guy was just having some fun with us, and we fell into his “trap” of taking things – ourselves included – perhaps just a little too seriously.

Then along comes the video blog from the Kiosk guys. Like I said, it really got me to thinking about how seriously we take ourselves and our businesses – maybe too seriously sometimes. We were enjoying doing our radio show that Friday so much that we extended it by a half hour – something we’ve never done before.

And I think one of the reasons that it “felt so good” is that all of us sort of climbed down off of our “expert” soapboxes and just started having a conversation with each other and with our audience. The guy with the solar-powered flashlight had injected something into our show that it needed.


As you go about building your business, meeting and talking with new people and building relationships with them, please try to remember not to take things too seriously. Try to keep the door open to letting a little humor into the conversation. It can go a long way.

When you get someone to smile it means you’ve made them happy somehow - even if it’s only for only a moment or two. It shows them that you’re a real person and not just a walking talking robot spouting business all the time. It helps to “break the ice” and make people more comfortable – on both sides of the conversation, yourself included. It will attract people to you, because people want to smile and have an occasional laugh. It’s a very valuable part of the human condition, and can have an amazing effect on not just your business, but on your whole outlook on life.

And if the guy selling solar-powered flashlights happens to read this - please get in touch with me...

I want to buy one from you!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Keys to Networking Success

The Keys to Networking Success

There seems to be a notion going around that networking as a means to expand a business is dead – that it’s just not a viable way to accomplish significant business growth. I constantly hear people complain about how much time they put into “networking” with nothing to show for it but a desk drawer full of business cards and no sales or recruits.

“Networking is just a waste of time,” they tell me. “Everyone I try to network with is just trying to sell me on their deal and don’t care about what I offer at all!”

When they say that, they’re telling me a lot about how much they actually understand about networking – which, based on comments like that, would appear to be little or nothing!

People who voice such complaints about networking not being effective are obviously under the impression that networking is a sales process.

It isn’t!

While more sales and subscriptions can definitely be accomplished as a by-product of effective networking, selling directly to the person you’re networking with is not the core purpose of networking. When people focus only on that, to the exclusion of all else, they’re not networking…

They’re just “selling!”

Networking is really all about expanding your sphere of influence.

Each individual has a sphere of influence – a group of people who they know, and who value their opinions and relationship with them. In some cases, these spheres of influence overlap with those of other people, such as within church, professional, and civic organizations. But in many other instances, each person within your sphere of influence has their own individual sphere of influence which may not overlap yours at all – or at most, only very little.

What is at the very core of, and the driving force behind, effective networking is the expansion of your own personal sphere of influence into that of others you are networking with – and theirs into yours as well. It’s a 2-way street, with both parties realizing some type of benefit.

If you’ve been involved in internet marketing for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard about those $10,000 seminars that the “big guns” hold fairly regularly. While the information that’s presented at those events is valuable, more often than not the real reason people pony up that sort of money to attend is to gain access to, and to network with the other attendees!

That isn't just my opinion - I’ve heard many of them come right out and admit it in their emails.

Bear in mind that each of those people who pay ten grand to attend has a sphere of influence (their email subscriber lists) which extends to tens of thousands of people. (Some actually have subscriber lists numbering in the hundreds of thousands!)

Now I ask you - what would it be worth to you to be able to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and talk with someone who has an opt-in list of over 100,000 people, and they are also open to listening to new business ideas?

(And they all are, or they wouldn’t be there. They would just wait for the course to be released and buy it.)

Most of those people don’t bat an eye about writing out a check for ten grand, because they know how to effectively network with the other attendees. In the process, they often work out a joint venture with other attendees that ends up netting them ten times that amount (conservatively)!

They understand the power of real networking – by leveraging the spheres of influence of other people! It’s really about the sharing of ideas and strategies that are mutually beneficial.

You don’t have to have a list of tens of thousands to network effectively. In fact, it's often the other way around. Building a larger contact list is one of the natural by-products of effective networking. If you’re a member of any online social networks, consider your “friends list” there.

We all network every day – we just don’t consciously realize we’re doing it most of the time. Every time you meet someone you haven't met before, and try to get to know them, you're networking. There may not be an obvious immediate benefit for either of you, but by becoming acquainted with new people you're expanding your sphere of influence.

But remember that networking is not selling – it’s sharing. Share yourself, your knowledge, and your expertise with others so that they will be willing to introduce you to their spheres of influence. That makes the sort of impression which is both lasting and profitable for all concerned, through the leveraging of overlapping spheres of influence.

At My VM Team, each member has developed a considerably-sized sphere of influence, and the leverage it provides all of our members grows as correspondingly! With a wide diversity of people of all levels of experience and expertise, and representing an equally diverse field of business interests, My VM Team has only just begun sending ripples across the internet that are welling up into waves of change as our collective spheres of influence increase.

We’re accomplishing that through networking, which is indeed very far from dead – in fact, it’s really only beginning to come into its own on the internet, and you can expect to see it become an ever-growing trend as we continue to share our knowledge with anyone and everyone who wishes to learn how we do it – all at no charge.

To learn more, (especially how to really start networking effectively with an energetic and motivated group of people) I invite you visit

And when you understand how to really network, you can put that knowledge to work for you in a big way at as well.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Google Me Talk Radio and Jim Killeen

When Jim Killeen tried to find out about himself on the internet, his search ultimately ended up literally taking him around the world, where he had the opportunity to meet face to face with many of his namesakes. He shares that experience with us in his documentary, "Google Me - The Movie."

While once relegated to the basement and the bedroom, the personal computer now occupies a central point in most households - in many cases even displacing the exalted television as the central point of leisure time entertainment and recreational activity. It's become not only a source of information, but a portal to the world at large, connecting people in ways we're only beginning to understand and exploit as we search for - and ultimately find other people, and as Jim Killeen intimates, perhaps even ourselves as well.

Now Jim Killeen's documentary, "Google Me - The Movie," - premiering on Friday - and Blog Talk Radio are coming together for a very special one-night event on Google Me Talk Radio on Thursday, April 24 at 8PM Eastern time. You won't want to miss host Jim Cobb's exclusive interview with the "Google Me Man" himself, Jim Killeen in this very special broadcast at

If you're unable to listen to the show live, a replay of the broadcast will be available in the archive at the same address after the show. Be sure to listen in and see how an online search engine completely changed the life of one man, and his journey of discovery to "find himself online."

And be sure to listen in to Google Me Talk Radio at the same address every Saturday at its regular time, 3PM Eastern time, where Jim Cobb explores the possibilities for everyone to discover something about themselves with Google.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"How Are You Doing?"

Since the title of this blog is "Ask Don Hill Anything," I feel obligated to answer all questions put to me the best I can.

One question I've had asked of me quite a bit lately is "How are you doing - are you OK?"

The reason people ask me that, if you're not aware, is that my extended family recently experienced a tragic and untimely loss of one of its younger members. I won't go into the heartbreaking details, but needless to say it has had quite an emotional impact on everyone in our family.

It's not uncommon these days for such a thing to happen, and we're often reminded of our own mortality every time we look at a newspaper or watch the evening news. But when it hits so close to home it wears a completely different face. It's sort of like getting sucker-punched in the solar plexus - totally unexpected and world-changing.

It knocks the wind out of you. Your mind struggles to deal with the reality of it and to digest how your overall perception of reality has suddenly changed because of this event. At the same time, your heart is torn in so many directions as you begin to understand the impact such a thing has on so many others who you love and care for.

If you've never experienced such an event in your life, it's almost impossible to describe. There is an overwhelming sense of numbness, coupled with a vague realization that life will not be the same from that point forward. Your mind tends to wander, touching on memories that you thought you had forgotten long ago, but now as fresh as the day they were made.

And as is the case with all wounds, the healing process begins.

The gathering of the extended family for the funeral services played a huge part in the process of putting things in perspective. There were many family members present who had experienced a "falling out" with other family members, angry and "not on speaking terms" because of some long-ago disagreement or perceived wrong between them. Many of the family members present had not seen each other for many years, having all gone their separate ways.

But there everyone was, gathered together for a single purpose - to mourn the loss of one of our own, so untimely and so senselessly. It was as if each person in the entire gathering had this single event to use as an anchor point, which they could compare to everything else in their lives - better or worse - and make up their own minds about how this would affect them. And most importantly, how to move forward in their own individual lives.

I should mention that before departing to attend the services (a 3-hour drive), I was told by a few close friends that they would remember us and our family in their prayers. That goes a great distance towards explaining what I saw take place - which was really quite unexpected - especially if you know my extended family as well as I do.

It was as if the petty arguments that everyone had previously had with one another were not only forgiven, but forgotten as well. Everyone started communicating and becoming a family again - something that hadn't taken place for a good number of years. Old acquaintances were renewed, and new ones were made. (New spouses, new children, new jobs, new lives since last we met.)

And tragic though the circumstances may have been which brought us all together at that place and time, I can't help but believe that in spite of all of the sorrow and grief there was a tremendous positive force that moved through everyone, and that we had each experienced the presence of a loving God that reached out to heal those who were hurting the most - through the people they love the most.

If my reference to God makes you uncomfortable, that's not my intent. Feel free to substitute whatever name you choose to address the universal and omnipotent entity which is responsible for both the creation and maintenance of the universe. Whatever - or whoever - you wish to call it, it was present there on that day we said our farewells to a troubled young man who found life too overwhelming to face anymore. I watched as it moved people that were apart together again, bound by that sometimes very thin thread called "family."

We talked with one another, we remembered happy and sad times together, we laughed together, and of course we also cried together. Bottom line - we shared ourselves with each other once again, and each of us left with the realization that we are still collectively a family, and how foolish it can be to allow petty disagreements to destroy that.

More laughing, crying, and lots of hugging each other (even from some of the more "macho" type men who often scoff at such open show of affection). And then we all departed to our respective little corners of the universe, to resume our lives, feeling not only a loss, but some gain as well.

So that's a pretty long answer to a fairly simple question, "How are you doing?"

But I didn't think the short answer, "I'm doing fine, and better every day" would really tell the full story. Like I said in my first post on this blog, sometimes answers bring up more questions. But those are answers better left for another day. For now, I'll continue to accept the answers I've found, and will rely on my faith to provide still more, as it has many times so far in my life.

My profoundest thanks to those of you who offered your support though this whole experience. It has had more effect than you may realize - I honestly felt your presence there, and you have our heartfelt gratitude for that.

And thanks for bearing with me as I write about this, but it was something that I felt moved to share. That's what friends do, and I realize that I have many more friends than I thought I did just a very short time ago.

Footnote: The cycle of life continues! We were just informed by our son that we are going to become grandparents again in September (this will be our 4th)!

Life is a wild ride! There are "ups" that are worth riding thru the "downs" to get to. Just hang on and enjoy the ride while it lasts - it'll be over soon enough, and there's lots to do between now and then!

My next post should be in a much lighter vein, and maybe just a tiny bit more business-oriented.

See you next time!