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Thrive Themes Membership Review [2020]: The Good & The Bad…

Thrive Themes Membership Review


What is Thrive Themes Membership: Thrive Themes Membership is a suite of eleven premium conversion focused plugins for WordPress. 

Each plugin has been developed for the needs of the Solopreneur in mind with advanced features for lead generation and conversion optimisation site wide.

In this review I'll be giving you a rundown of each plugin, what it's capable of, what's good, what's bad, and my honest thoughts (for what that's worth...).

Effectiveness

Extremely effective

Price

Very affordable


Ease of use

Simple and very easy to use

Support

Support offered only through tickets


  • All products available for a one time fee
  • A/B Split testing integrated into all tools
  • Regular product updates (every week or so)
  • Great documentation and tutorials
  • Very affordable subscription option
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Limited to WordPress only
  • Lacks some payment processor integrations
  • No phone or chat support
  • It's not free

Summary: Thrive Themes Membership is an all in one suite of plugins for anyone looking to optimise their website for conversions.


11 Premium WordPress Plugins in one

Thrive Themes Membership is a subscription service which gives you access to 11 premium plugins in one.

Here's what you get:

Each of these plugins can be bought separately (for a one time fee), or you can get the whole lot for just $19p/m


Thrive Theme Builder

Summary: A fully customisable, drag and drop WordPress theme built from the the ground up for conversions.​

To my knowledge, this is the first 100% completely customisable, drag and drop WordPress theme in existence.

But what does that mean in reality?

It means that every page, every section, every header, footer, EVERYTHING can be customised - and optimised - to convert traffic into paying customers.

Complete flexibility, and control over every aspect of your site.

This is the sort of stuff that in the past would have cost thousands of dollars in developer costs, yet now, even a relative novice can do it.  

No coding skills required!


A website built to convert

The purpose of a website is to get visitors to take a specific action/s.  

That might be to sign up to your mailing list, buy a product, leave a comment, share your article...

Any number of things.

And it's your job to make that process as frictionless and simple as possible.  



Here's just a quick sample of the types of customisations you can do with Thrive Theme Builder:


Homepage

Here's what my homepage looks like.  Multiple calls to action to convert new visitors into email subscribers.


homepage calls to action


Blog Pages

It's really easy to create fully optimised blog pages with multiple different calls to action, at multiple different levels.


in post links


In post links are great ways to direct visitors to high converting pages.


content upgrades


Content upgrades are a great way of converting cold traffic into new subscribers too.  And whilst you're there, why not try and increase your reach on social media too.


Footer

The footer can be optimised for conversions too. 

Simply changing this styling of the footer section as a template will display it site wide - across every page.


newsletter call to action
rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

I can't get enough of this tool.

A tool like this can take you from a dude that can throw together a pretty shitty little site, into a fully fledged website designer without writing a single line of code.

In my opinion, if you're using any other theme to build your WordPress site, you're doing it wrong.


Thrive Theme Builder Single Licence $97 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Apprentice

Summary: A highly customisable online course building plugin for WordPress that allows you to sell your online courses directly from your website - without the costly expense of third party fully-hosted alternatives.

Up until recently, building an online course on WordPress has been a woeful experience.

With complex, ugly course builders like LearnDash and LearnPress, building a slick premium online course has been virtually impossible.

That was until Thrive Apprentice came along...

Adding Thrive Apprentice to your website will turn it into a fully fledged info-product marketplace.


How it works [in a nutshell]

Thrive Apprentice is a light-weight online course creator that is designed to create beautiful online courses, FAST!

Below is an example of one of what the interface looks like under the hood inside a digital course built with Thrive Architect.


Thrive Apprentice course example


The backend interface is also pretty damn straight forward and intuitive too.


Thrive apprentice backend interface


It's not the most complex, feature rich tool for building online courses you'll ever get by a long shot, and it is missing a few key features that could be deal breakers for some.  

Things like drip fed content, in course upgrades, etc.

But, and this is a big but...

It gets the job done, and it's very, very cheap.

So, if you're already turning over upwards of $3000 per month from the sales of your digital courses then you can probably afford to invest in premium online course software like Thinkific or Teachable.

But, if you're just starting out and want to get the job done with minimum outlay then I really do think that Thrive Apprentice is a very worthy tool for the job.

*I cover it in much more detail in my in-depth review of Thrive Apprentice here

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

Hosting your own online course on WordPress doesn't come without it's complexities and limitations.  And although not perfect, I think Thrive Apprentice can be a good option for three reasons. 

  • It's incredibly flexible
  • It's ridiculously cheap
  • It's simple and easy to use
  • It works

Thrive Apprentice Single Licence $67 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Leads

Summary: A feature rich, infinitely flexible lead generation tool.

You've heard it before, but I'm going to say it again...

"Building your email list is essential to making money online".

In fact did you know that 80% of the visitors to your website will NEVER return?

That's right, 80%!

So, you've done all the hard work. You've created amazing content, you've got your hands dirty and driven traffic to your website, yet, the vast majority of you're traffic will never return.

Unless...

You capture their email addresses!

That's why it's important, and that's why I wanted to introduce you to Thrive Leads.

In my experience, Thrive Leads is the best lead generation plugin for WordPress by a country mile.


Opt-in form types - 10 High converting form types to choose from

Out of the box it comes with ten unique opt-in form types that you can customise until your hearts content.

Lets take a closer look at each of the form types.

different thrive lead form types

Different form type examples


Light-box

An un-blockable, attention-grabbing Pop-up form designed to force visitors to take an action.


lightbox

Inline forms

Opt-in forms that sit inside your content, designed to interrupt the visitors reader flow as their reading your content.


inline forms


Multi-step opt-in forms

2-Step Opt-in forms trigger a lightbox pop-up upon clicking a call to action. Great for keeping your content clutter free, yet still conversion focused.


2 step opt in form

Ribbons

Easily add "Sticky Ribbons" to any page on your site.


Sticky ribbon sign up form


Slide-in forms

An un-obtrusive way to grab your users attention.


slide in form


Opt-in widget

Create custom sidebar and footer widgets in a few clicks.


opt-in-widget


Screen filler overlay

Proven to be the highest converting of them all, the screen filler overlay literally takes over the users screen. The best way to grow your subscriber list.


Screen filler overlay


Content lock

Lock premium content behind an opt-in form. I've used content locks to great effect in the past. One of my favorites for sure.


content lock


Scroll matt

Similar to the 'screen filler/ the scroll mat populates the users entire screen.


scroll matt


Yes/No multi choice forms

Multi-choice forms add an extra step to your forms (you can actually create as many steps as you like). A great way to increase the investment from the user. The more invested they are, the more likely they are to part with their email address.


Multi choice lead gen form


Conversion metrics - Analysing the stats

Having all of these opt-in forms working their magic on your website will boost your conversion rates dramatically.

But...

That's not all.

The real power lies within the analytics suite.

From your Thrive Leads analytics dashboard you can measure specific conversion metrics for each and every opt-in form on your site.


thrive leads conversion report

Thrive Leads analytics dashboard


On top of that, Thrive Leads comes with built-in A/B split testing capabilities for every form type.

So, if you're serious about building your list and you actually utilise all of the features at your disposal with a tool like this, you'll see your conversion rates sky-rocket.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

Thrive Leads is the best lead generation plugin for WordPress by a country mile. It's not even close in my opinion.  

For where I'm at right now, I wouldn't even consider using anything else.

Thrive Leads Single Licence $67 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Architect

Summary: Drag and drop page builder for WordPress.

Squeeze pages, landing pages, sales pages, blog posts, webinar pages...

...in-fact, any page you want to build is made crazy simple with Thrive Architect.

If coding ain't your thing (it's definitely not mine), then a page builder is an essential piece of kit for making top-notch professional, mobile responsive pages.

I've used a tonne of different page builders in my time like Elementor, Divi, WP Bakery, etc. and their all good in their own right. However, what sets Thrive Architect apart from the others in this area is its ease of use, the degree of flexibility (you can literally alter every aspect of the page), and how intuitive it is.

Thrive architect backend example

With Thrive Architect you can literally build ANY style of page you want.

If you've found a page you like from another site you want to replicate, then no worries, you'll be able to build it yourself in a matter of minutes.

It really is that simple.

Oh, and one more thing...

As a bit of a side-note, a lot of the page builders for WordPress create flabby code that bloats out your website, slowing down the page load times. This ain't cool.

Thrive Architect is a bit different.

Because all of the Thrive products are built by marketers, for marketers, all these fine details seem to get addressed. That's why pages built with Thrive Architect load blazing fast and won't slow your site down to a halt.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

WordPress without a drag and drop page builder is like trying to create a piece of fine art with crayons.

The end result is crap!

Sure, there are a few competitors that give it a run for it's money in this space (most notably Elementor & Divi), but I still think it stands out as the winner.  

And, with constant (literally weekly) updates, it just keeps getting better.

Thrive Architect Single Licence $67 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Ultimatum

Summary: Time-locked scarcity marketing campaign tool for building evergreen sales funnels.

I'd been looking for a product like this for a couple of years before I stumbled upon it.

Let me unravel it a little for you...

Thrive Ultimatum is an incredible tool for building scarcity and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) into you all of your marketing efforts.


“Every time you promote something, you want to make sure there is urgency built in. 

We all know it's human nature to take our time and kind of stay on the fence as long as we can. You want to make sure your audience knows it's GO time!"

Amy Porterfield


With Thrive Ultimatum you can create countdown timers for all of your promotions/campaigns eg. Product launch, premium content access, product discounts, Webinar registrations. Literally, anything you can think of.

It's called 'Scarcity Marketing'.

But here's the really powerful bit.

You can actually create what's known as "Evergreen Campaigns" with Thrive Ultimatum.

Let me explain.

An "Evergreen Campaign" is a campaign/promotion that never stops, it runs continuously.

But, you probably don't want to offer a 50% discount on your products/services all the time, you might just want to offer it to your users once.

So how does that work?

That's where the 'Lockdown' feature comes in. Using this function every visitor to your site has their own customised experience with your 'Scarcity' campaigns.

Each new visitor will experience your countdowns as if they were a regular countdown with a fixed end date. And, the Lockdown feature stays true even if your user clears their cookies, uses a different browser, or even a different device altogether.

create a scarcity campaign with Thrive Ultimatum


So here's what Thrive Ultimatum can help you achieve:

  • Build your email list faster
  • Increase affiliate conversions
  • Build excitement and buzz around product launches
  • Increase up-sell conversions

Countdown timers can be displayed in a heap of different locations around your site too - Sidebar widget, floating header bar, floating footer bar, etc.

In fact, you can pretty much display your countdowns anywhere with the use of short-codes (a Shortcode is a tiny piece of code that will display your countdown timer within any page).

As with all of the Thrive Plugins it also comes with built in analytics to track your conversion metrics


thrive ultimatum analytics dashboard


I love it because it forces people to make a decision. No longer can they just be passive observers to your offers.

As the name suggests, they have an ultimatum.

Either they take your offer, or not.

And as we all know, the fear of missing out is real. And that's what makes this plugin so powerful.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

This tool is technical, advanced and extremely powerful.  

But with that, comes a technical barrier to overcome in order to get things set up perfectly.

This is not probably a tool I'd be recommending to someone just starting out (because it can be a little complicated to set up at times), but if you're relatively tech savvy you're going to have a lot of fun with this, that's for sure.


Thrive Ultimatum Single Licence $97 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Headline Optimizer

Summary: Helps to optimize the headlines of your articles to increase click through rate.​

If you didn't know how important your headlines are, check this out:


"On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."

Confessions of an Advertising Man.


Most people spend hours creating detailed 2000+ word posts, with images, quotes and links, yet only give a moments thought to their headline. This is an enormous waste.

Since 80% of people will only ever read your headline (and NEVER see your copy), this is something that you need to pay extra special attention to.

Good headlines get attention. Good headlines get clicks.

Headlines determine the success or failure of your content, more than any other factor.


What is Thrive Headline Optimzer and how can it help?

It's impossible to know what headline is going to be a winner. Simply relying on your gut feeling is simply not going to work.

You've got to use a more calculated approach.

Do you know what the guys like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed etc. do to make such compelling headlines that go viral?

They split test the heck out of them.

What does that mean?

It means they create multiple headlines for EVERY article they post, and they measure how effective each headline performs against its competition.

The only way to find real, winning headlines is to test.


headline split test

Headline test stats


This is what the top guys in the industry are doing, and it's why they are dominating. They are continually testing, and continually winning.

And that is exactly what Thrive Headline Optimiser is built to help you do.


Test, test and re-test

Thrive Headline Optimizer plugs easily into your WordPress site and lets you test against a number of crucial different metrics:

  • Click through rate
  • Time on page
  • User scrolling

In addition to this, it's also tracking click throughs on your blog posts, featured posts/recent posts etc.

Even small improvements on any of these metrics will reduce bounce rate and increase visitor engagement.

Getting set up is easy too.

Once it's installed, simply craft a selection of different competing headlines and you're ready to go.

The performance tracking will measure your results and will automatically start displaying the best performing headline.

It really is so easy, that you can set it and forget it.

When you're a time-strapped Solopreneur you need all the help you can get. And a full-time headline optimization specialist that's working 24/7, is worth its weight in gold.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

Headlines have a big impact on the click through rates of your articles, and for that reason they're super important.

But, in order to get meaningful data and really extract the full value of a headline optimisation tool like this, you need to have a steady flow of traffic.

For that reason, if you're just starting out, you can probably do without this as a tool in your arsenal, however if you're more established and have decent amount of traffic already, then this tool will likely prove very valuable.

Thrive Headline Optimizer Licence $67 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Quiz Builder

Summary: Conversion focused quiz builder plugin for WordPress.

Quiz builders are all the rage with online marketers right now.

Why?

Because they convert like crazy!

In fact, online quizzes are one of the best ways to generate leads on planet.

Let me explain.

An online quiz leads your users through a series of predefined questions. Each step of the way the user adds more information, each time increasing their investment in the outcome, making them far more likely to convert.

It's this increased investment that can sky rocket your conversion rates.

Online marketing gurus like Neil Patel and Russel Brunson are using online quizzes to great effect. Both regularly getting 10%+ conversion rates on their campaigns.

This is the power of online quizzes.

There are a few competing plugins that do a great job, one in particular LeadQuizzes which does an awesome job too. However, the biggest difference between Thrive Quiz Builder and the rest is the price. As part of the Thrive Membership it's a total steal.


Build complex quizzes [with zero coding skills]

There's a lot more to creating a good quiz than meets the eye.

Sure, if you just want to knock up a basic quiz that's fine. You can do that in a couple of seconds with any of these free quiz plugins.

However, if you're looking to introduce a bit of branching logic into your quizzes, then I think you'll be really impressed with Thrive Quiz Builder.



Branching logic is where you ask different questions based on the previous answer.


Branching Logic.


As with all the Thrive products, they make it super intuitive to use. So you'll find that you'll have all the skills necessary to create incredibly complex quizzes in a very short space of time.


The hidden power of website quizzes

Sure quizzes are fun, and they're proven to convert. But, there's something going on beneath the surface, even more powerful than lead generation.

Want to know what it is?

Customer insights and segmentation.

Let me add a little clarity...

As your users meander through the different logic branches of your quiz, each step of the way they're disclosing valuable data.

It basically gives you the opportunity to direct each of your new leads through a detailed questionnaire, uncovering all of their pain points, wants, needs and desires.

It's the perfect tool for creating an insanely optimised segmentation of your audience.

Once you've collected all the data, you just got to give them what they want.


Quiz page split testing

As you've probably come to expect by now, once again this plugin has A/B split test built in.

Thrive quiz builder A/B split testing.
Thrive Quiz Builder A/B Testing.

Split testing your quiz page designs, questions, images, colours etc. will have a direct impact on your conversion rates. A/B testing like this is definitely not an industry norm, it's a full professional grade feature which comes as standard, which is pretty crazy if you ask me.

To learn more, go check out my in depth Thrive Quiz Builder review here.

Anyway, enough about online quizzes, you've got the picture.

On the the next plugin.

rowan thinking

My verdict

I love quizzes as a lead gen tool, and so far as quiz builders go, this one is certainly up there.

It's clever, intuitive, flexible and powerful to boot, and it integrates with my favourite email marketing software Active Campaign.

For the price, you won't find better.

Thrive Quiz Builder Licence $67 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Comments

Summary: Replaces WordPress standard comments section with gamified, engagement focused alternative.

You write an epic blog post and send it out to the world, and your readers love it.

In fact, they love it so much that they want to let you know. They may even want to express their pain points and how you've helped them, or they may just want to say thanks.

Either way, these are likely some of your most engaged readers.

And what do they get in return?

"Your comment is pending approval".

That's it? Is that really the best you can do?

It sucks right? And it leaves so much value still on the table.

Thrive Comments are kind of ahead of the curve on this one and they've built an awesome commenting plugin with some killer features that'll increase engagement, conversions, and social shares.


What does Thrive Comments actually do?

Well, it replaces your ugly default WordPress comments section for starters, with an interactive comments section that's feature packed.

Thrive Comments allows for:

  • Nested Comments
  • Up-vote and Down-vote
  • Comment liking
  • Sharing directly to social media
  • Featured comments
  • Badges for commenting achievements

These are many of the features that make sites like Facebook, Reddit and Quora so popular and 'sticky'.

They make engaging fun, by 'gamifying' the whole process.

We all know what it's like to post on Facebook and anxiously wait for likes and comments. It kind of just makes you feel good.

And now, your users are starting to feel good about their interactions with your content, and they'll be more inclined to engage again in the future.


The special sauce...

Having a sexy looking interactive comments section is rad and all, but there's more...

Here's that special sauce I was talking about:

  • Re-direct users to a specific url (could be a squeeze page, sales page, sign-up page).
  • Ask for a social share (if they liked your content so much as to comment, there's a decent chance they'll share it too).
  • Open an Opt-in lightbox (whilst they're there, get them to sign up to your list).
  • Display similar posts (drive them to your money pages).
  • Display a custom message (not too sure why this is good, but hey, better than "Your comment is pending approval").

That's some special sauce right there.

And that's not all.

You can even reward new commenters with 'welcome messages' or free gifts etc.

Now you're starting to build a real community!


Comment moderation [and reporting]

Thrive Comments has two separate reporting areas. One for performance and analytics, the other for comments and moderation.

The analytics section helps you aggregate all of the different data points of each and every post on your site.

Stuff like:

  • Number of comments
  • Engagements
  • Upvotes & downvotes
  • Shares
  • Likes
  • Most popular, etc.

Thrive Comments Reporting Dashboard.

Armed with data like this, you can begin to start creating more content that your audience actually wants. That's the sign of a successful blog right there.

And, responding and moderation is made super simple, with everything within the same interface too.


Thrive Comments Response Dashboard.

In fact, when it's made nice and pretty like it is, it actually makes replying kind of fun.


Using comments for SEO and to boost affiliate opportunities

Slightly off topic, so please forgive me.

But, comments are a great way to get a little SEO boost. Each comment adds extra content to your posts (with long-tail keyword opportunities), shows Google that your content is still relevant, and also shows a high level of engagement.

And, here's a sneaky tip for you too.

If you make use of the Thirsty Affiliates Pro plugin, you can automatically convert selected keywords into affiliate links to your affiliate partners. So every comment is potentially a new affiliate opportunity.

Not bad hey :)

rowan thinking

My verdict

I like this tool, but it's one of those non-essential pieces of kit that you can easily do with out.

It's more of a luxury than anything.

If it comes free as part of the full membership (which it does) then I'm not going to complain and use the shit out of it, but I probably wouldn't be rushing out to buy it on its own any time soon.

Thrive Comments $39 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Clever Widgets

Summary: Optimises the delivery of targeted widget content.

Widgets are little snippets of information that sit in your websites sidebar or footer. They're used to promote certain content to increase engagement with your users.

A key feature of a successful blog is good user engagement.

That's stuff like:

  • Number of page views
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on your site
  • Conversion rates

Widgets are an important way of showcasing relevant content to your readers to encourage them to spend more time on your site.

More engagement = Higer conversions.

So, how does Thrive Clever Widgets fit into all this?


Dynamic widgets

What the f*&k does that mean?

Let me explain.

The sidebar on your website is currently static. That means that the information that is displayed, is global ie. It's displayed on every blog post on your site.

Lets say for example you write a travel blog, and you've written a post about "The best travel cameras".

People reading this post are obviously interested in cameras.

With a static sidebar it may be filled with links to your other posts about "How to rough it in Bangkok" or "Best travel recipes on a budget" etc.

It's not relevant at all. A totally wasted opportunity.

However, with dynamic widgets you can determine precisely which widgets and content to show your users (based on categories, tags and post types).

You can now display highly relevant content like "Best travel tripods" or "How to insure your camera on holiday" etc.

Much more relevant, and much more likely your users will consume more of your content.

Check out the below images as an example.

With a static sidebar your users will always see the same sidebar everywhere they go:


Static Sidebar Example.

And this is how your sidebar can work when it's dynamic:


Dynamic Widget Example.

And if you're concerned that it might slow your site down (which you totally should be), then you needn't worry.

Only widgets that need to be loaded on any given page are loaded. It's no slower than displaying static widgets the old way.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

I think this tool really comes into its own for websites that cover a range of very different topics.  

I'm not really in that bracket so it's use case for me is fairly limited, but I can see how it could add a tonne of value in specific use cases.

Thrive Clever Widgets Single License $39 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Optimize

Summary: Advanced site-wide A/B split testing software.

If you're trying to make money online, then you'll know all about the importance of landing pages.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a specific page on your site, designed and optimized specifically to prompt the user into a specific action. It's often one of the first stages in your sales funnels.

That action could be:

  • Email sign up
  • Buying a product
  • Product upsells
  • Booking a coaching call

Basically any page on your site that's tailored to a specific outcome could be considered a landing page.

Still with me here?

Ok.

Landing pages are like the backbone/framework for all of your sales/conversion funnels. If they convert well, you will make a lot of money. If they don't, you won't.

But how do you know if your landing pages are performing as good as they could be?

It's impossible to know unless you A/B Split test.

This is probably the biggest things that the majority of newbies fail to do, yet it could be the one thing that's separating them from success or failure.

Up until Thrive Optimize was released, it'd been a nightmare to split test pages. I'm talking really fricking expensive (upwards of $100p/m), or, some crappy WordPress plugin, full of bugs, that you need a computer science degree to operate.

I consider myself pretty good in this area, not a full geek (I have had sex at least once in the past 12 months), but pretty up there. And I haven't for the life of me been able to figure out a good cost effective way to split test my pages.

That was until Thrive Optimize came along.


Why is Thrive Optimize good?

It's very, very easy to use. It's very quick and easy. And, it's very cheap.

Very good all round :)

Here's how simple it is to start running your first split tests:

Step 1 - Create a page.

creating a page for thrive optimize plugin
Step 1.

Step 2 - Create a variation of that page (all 100% visual editing, no custom script or short code nonsense).

Step 2, create a variation of the landing page.
Step 2.

Step 3 - Pick a conversion goal.

Step 3, pick a conversion goal
Step 3.

Step 4 - Start the test.

Step 4, start the test.
Step 4.

Done.

That's basically it.

Once the test has started, Thrive Optimize will drive traffic to each of your competing pages, analyze the results and give you data-driven feedback. Helping you choose the best landing pages for your campaigns.

It's super important stuff, that has probably one of the biggest impacts on your bottom line.

Here's what else you can expect with Thrive Optimize:

  • Fast A/B Testing.
  • Unlimited Tests (run as many tests as you like)
  • Unlimited Test Variations (run test with 2,3,4,5 or however many pages you like).
  • 3 Conversion Goals (Page views, Opt-in rate or Revenue).
  • Custom Traffic Distribution (Evenly distribute traffic, or choose your own ratios).
  • Automatic Winner Feature (Chooses a winner for you automatically).
  • One-Click Cloning (Clone any existing landing page to make quick modifications).
  • 100% Visual Editing (No coding skills needed).

If you're obsessed with optimizing everything (like me :) to get the maximum 'bang for your buck' for every action you do, then you need to be A/B Split testing.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

If you're familiar with how much A/B testing software like this usually costs, then you'll understand how much of a steal this tool really is.

However, if you don't currently have a lot of traffic coming to your site then you probably won't really be able to get the most out of a tool like this.

Realistically it needs a decent bit of traffic to come into its own.

Thrive Optimize Single Licence $127 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Ovation

Summary: Automated testimonial extraction tool.

This is probably one of the least useful plugins within the Thrive Membership Suite, especially if you're a Solopreneur just starting out.

However, let me share with you what Thrive Ovation is all about, and you can make your mind up for yourself.


What does Thrive Ovation actually do?

It's built to help automate the collection process of testimonials across all the comments you get on your site. It then organizes them and helps you display them when needed, with one click.

I'm sure if you run a massive site with thousands of comments this tool would really come in handy.

But, this post is built for Solopreneurs, so I'm guessing at this point you're probably not in that bracket.

Still, I'll do my job and show you what this plugin can do for those of you that are interested.

Thrive Ovation Dashboard.

Let me run you through the feature set:


  • Transform WordPress comments into testimonials with 1-Click - Save comments to your testimonial library easily.
  • Leverage the power of social media testimonials - Thrive Ovation integrates with Facebook and Twitter so you can now easily transform comments from social media into ready to insert testimonials.
  • Finding testimonials is simples - Tag your testimonials to make them easy to find when you need them.
  • Post testimonials anywhere on your site that look amazing - Quickly insert good looking testimonials with the click of a button into landing pages, checkout pages, sales pages etc.
  • Fully customisable testimonial template designs - There are a tonne of nice testimonials templates to choose from. All fully customizable.


Fully Customizable Testimonial Templates.

After writing about Thrive Ovation, it has kind of grown on me a little. I don't think it's going to make or break your online business, or save that much time in reality, but it could be a handy little add-on I guess.

And, it's part of the Thrive Membership Suite anyway, so what the hey!

It's there if you need it, but it's optional.

rowan thinking

My verdict - for what it's worth...

This feels like one of those tools that someone built because the thought it would be a home run, only to find out that no one really cares.

Maybe that's a bit harsh.

I'm sure someone cares, it's just not me that's all.

Thrive Ovation Single Licence $39 or Free (as part of Thrive Themes Membership)


Thrive Themes Membership - Frequently asked questions

What does Thrive Themes Membership Include?

It includes all of the premium plugins in this list.  The whole lot.  And, as they roll out new products they too will be added to the membership.

Can I buy it for a one time fee?

Each of the plugins can be bought separately for a one time fee, however, Thrive Themes Membership is an ongoing subscription (paid yearly) and is not available for a one time fee.

If they raise the price in the future, will my subscription price increase?

The price you pay today, will be the price you pay in the future (regardless of any price increases).

Do they offer support?

They offer support via their inbuilt support ticketing system, but they don't offer phone or live chat support.

What happens if I want to cancel my subscription?

If you choose to cancel your subscription you'll still have access to all of the products and your site will function just fine.  But, you won't receive any product updates, new features and tools, or support.

Can I use it for writing my blog content?

Yes. In fact it's a great tool for writing blog content.  This post you are reading right now has been built with Thrive Architect.


Conclusion

When I started this post I already thought that the full Thrive Membership was pretty good value, but after writing this 4000+ word behemoth of a post I've be re-sold ten times over.

Any one of these plugins could be sold for at least the $19p/m they're charging for the entire plugin suite.

With the help of a few tools like this, you can start leveraging multiple areas of your online business so you can maximize your output as a start-up Micropreneur.

Peace out.

Rowan.

Categories
Audience Building Conversions

Revealed: The Anatomy Of A Conversion Focused Website [That converts like crazy!]

Today I’m going to teach you a little about how to build a conversion focused website.

The type of website that effortlessly converts new visitors into subscribers.

And that's what we all want right?

Ok, lets not mess around here, lets get stuck in.



What is a conversion focused website?

A conversion focused website is built from the ground up to convert website visitors into either buyers, or subscribers (in this case we're focusing on subscribers).

A website that does this effectively will generally do four things:

  • Remove distractions
  • Have very clear call to actions
  • Remove friction points
  • Make a compelling offer

Conversion focused website design is part art, part science, and often relies heavily on A/B split testing to make data driven improvements over time.


Breakdown: Anatomy of a Conversion Focused Website

I'm going to use my website as an example of what a conversion focused website could look like. 

I'm not using it because it's the best - in fact there's probably far better ones out there but I've just not seen them - instead because I think it's a good example of what can realistically be achieved by your every day side hustler.

With that out of the way, lets dive a little deeper.


A Homepage built for conversions

Your homepage will likely be the most visited page on your website, and for that reason it's important to optimise it to convert.

Typically, the best converting homepages remove the majority of clutter and distractions and centre the focus around a singular call to action - especially above the fold.

Here's an example 'above the fold' of my homepage:


homepage calls to action


On my homepage I have three separate calls to action.  

Some might argue that there is too much going on here, that the page is too cluttered that it might dilute the users attention away from my primary call to action, however, because the secondary and tertiary calls to action are subtle, and not in your face, I think this works just fine. 

The main take-away though from this is that you need to have a compelling offer for your users, and clear call to action - with minimal distractions.


Pop up forms; Love them or hate them, they work!

I know what you're probably thinking...  Everyone hates website pop-ups!

And you know what, you're kind of right.  

But here's the thing.  Pop ups convert.  And they'll generally convert better than any other lead magnet on your site.

Here's one of my pop-up forms that I've been using recently which converts at 5.06%:


Exit intent pop up

The key with pop-ups to be successful is to make them highly targeted.  In fact, if you can create the right offer, for the right audience, it's not implausible to expect a double digit conversion rate.

​​​​

Blog pages that convert

Blog pages are likely the high traffic pages on your site.  

They're the pages that are used to bring in new visitors, and for that reason it's imperative that these pages are highly optimised to convert new visitors into subscribers.

Here's an example of what my blog pages look like:


Conversion ribbon

Above the fold.


in post links


In-post links to lead generating pages.


content upgrades


Content upgrades and social channels.


newsletter call to action


As you can see, there's ample opportunity for new users to sign up. 

In addition to this, I'd recommend using a post specific pop-up too, eg. content upgrade, pdf, ebook, etc.

With all of these sign up opportunities working together, you're giving yourself the best possible chance of driving more email subscribers.


Category pages; Rarely appreciated, often overlooked

Typically, not too many people pay much attention to creating conversion centric category pages, but they're missing a trick.  

Here's an example of what can be done to a category page to convert visitors into subscribers:


category call to action


Whats more, it's possible optimise things even further by creating unique category specific opt in offers to improve the likelihood of conversions even further.

Pretty cool hey!

​​​​

Sidebars still convert [just]

The sidebar can also be a great place to convert visitors into leads:


sidebar 1


Although the sidebar isn't a huge converter, it still trickles in leads here and there. Well worth having.


Tools for building a website that converts

Well when I say tools, what I really meant was tool (it just didn't quite have the same ring to it if you know what I mean).

And that tool is Thrive Theme Builder.

I know what you're thinking already - it's a shit name - and don't worry I'm with you on that one.  But what it lacks in the 'naming' department, it sure as hell makes up for everywhere else.


What is Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Theme Builder is a premium theme/theme builder plugin for WordPress.

But here's where it's different.

To my knowledge, it's the only tool I'm aware of that gives you 100% customisation freedom over every aspect of your WordPress Theme. 

And when I say every aspect, I mean everything.

What that effectively means is that even your average Joe now has the ability to turn their basic old website, into a sleek, conversion focused machine.

Just simply drag, and drop!


How much is Thrive Theme Builder

$97 One-time fee or $19p/m for full membership.

*For what it's worth (and I'm someone that hates subscriptions), I'd go with the full membership. Why? Because you get access to all their other tools and they're well, well worth the cost.


Wrapping it up

What I really wanted to showcase to you here was the anatomy of a high converting website so that you can see first hand what's possible, and what the top internet marketers are already doing (and that you can too).

And thankfully, now that we have affordable, simple drag and drop tools that even your nan could use, there really is no excuse.

So, if you haven't already, go get yourself set up with Thrive Theme Builder and go get started straight away.

You can thank me later.

Peace out.

Rowan.

Categories
Focus

Singular Focus: The Ultimate Guide

I want to introduce you to a concept called singular focus.

It kind of is what it says on the tin - simply focusing on one thing at a time until completion.

However mastering it, and using it as a powerful productivity tool takes a little practice. 

But don't worry, you're about to learn all about it below.


What is singular focus?

Ok, first things first, what is singular focus?

Experts define singular focus as the ability to concentrate exclusively on a single task - without distraction.  Sounds simple right?

But it’s actually harder than you think (more on that later).

You see, in order to hone in your focus on just one thing, by definition you must ignore everything else.

Put another way, singular focus can only occur when you’ve committed to only one option, and said no to everything else.  

All of your focus, on a singular outcome, exclusively.


Why is it so hard to focus on a single task

Take a look around you.  

As I’m writing this article my daughter is 1ft away from my face harassing me about how many hours until her birthday, my son harassing me to make him a hot chocolate, my computer screen has eight programs open, I’ve got forty one unread emails plus the house is a mess.

And that’s just the beginning.

Top that off with a hundred other things I need to do to grow my business, it’s no wonder that singular focus is so difficult.

What happens is our days are spent being pulled from one thing to another, endlessly.  

So it’s not until we cultivate the ability to say no, even when everything else seems so alluring, that we can begin to develop a singular focus.


The myth of multitasking

Are we capable of doing two things at once?

Technically yes.

I can for instance change the radio station whilst I’m driving - albeit not very well.

But, do we have the ability to concentrate on two things at once?

NO!

Let me explain.

Whilst I’m driving my concentration switches from driving, then to changing the radio station.  Yet at no point am I concentrating on both simultaneously. 

And this is what happens in our personal/professional lives too.  And it comes at a cost.

It’s what’s known as a switching cost.

This switching cost is the reduction in performance and productivity you experience when you switch between tasks.  In fact, one study found that the time to regain focus on a task after being disrupted was 63 seconds.  

Think about that for a minute.  

Every time your focus drifts away to something else; a phone notification, an email, a phone call, a family request, etc. it takes over a minute to get back to a point of focus on what you were previously doing.

And how often do you think that happens?

A lot right.

That’s why minimising distractions is at the core of effective productivity.


A box within a box: Wrapping a single focus in the Eisenhower matrix.

Here’s a little something I’ve been trialing to some success recently.

I call it the box within a box technique and it’s helped me to remove many of the distractions that were previously present in my life.

Here’s how it works.

Using the Eisenhower Method I create two separate lists.

The first is like my master list for my business as a whole.  This list takes into account everything that I need to do to operate my business effectively and prioritise tasks effectively.

The second list I use for my weekly milestones.  This is my singular focus for the entire week.  All tasks within this list are focused exclusively on this single milestone - with all other distractions removed.

Using this technique I’ve been able to complete bigger tasks - that I would previously procrastinate about forever - consistently.  

And here’s a little tool that I built to help with this technique that you might like too.


Using Singular focus to increase output

Just understanding singular focus and how it works doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to get out there and start implementing it effectively. 

There's something else you can do to really get a grip of it.


Measure your results

First things first to maintaining a singular focus is to measure your results.

Here's why.

The things in your life that you measure, tend to improve.  And the things that you don't, fade off into the distance.

When I started measuring how long I could hold my breath for, my hold time improved.

When I recorded how many blog articles I published, the amount of content I created increased.

When I began evaluating the work I'd done at the end of each week, my business improved.

But here's the thing.

Most people measure things that they have no control over.

  • How much money you make each month.
  • How much traffic you get to your website.
  • How many leads your website generates.

What do all of these metrics have in common?

All of them are out of your control.  They're lagging indicators.

What you could measure instead is:

  • How many outreach emails have you sent.
  • How many blog articles have you published.
  • How many products have you launched, etc.

These are the types of key performance indicators that you can track, and have complete control over at the same time.


How to become a ‘singular focused’ person

Becoming a singular focused person means becoming a person that says no -  often.

A singular focused person must become comfortable with ignoring the multitude of bright shiny objects that seem so alluring in the present, in favour of remaining steadfastly focused on a single task with a delayed gratification at some point in the future.

Instead what so many of us do is chase the quick wins.

And don't get me wrong chasing the quick wins is a great way to look busy.

But, a lazor-like singular focus - whereby you start and complete a task before moving on - is the key to being genuinely productive.

And productive kicks ass over being busy every day of the week.


Moving forward

I hope you found this short guide on singular focus helpful.

I liken the effects of a singular focus to the effects of compound interest which in the word's of Albert Einstien is "the 8th wonder of the world."

And by using singular focus as a tool to complete tasks consistently - rather than starting a hundred things and never completing them - you can compound the effects of your labour over time.

Which as you can imagine can lead to some pretty staggering results.

Peace out.

Rowan.

Categories
Productivity For Micropreneurs Tools

Free Tool: Eisenhower Principle Matrix App

I want to introduce you to a new free tool I've been developing over the past few months behind the scenes...

It's called the Eisenhower Matrix App and I think it's pretty damn cool (even if I do say so myself).

If you're not too familiar with the Eisenhower method, or the inner workings of using the urgent/important matrix to categorise and prioritise your tasks, then you can read more about it here.

However for this post, I wanted to give you a detailed breakdown of how to use the new app effectively to get the most out of this tool


The App

If you can't wait and you just want to get stuck in and have a play around yourself, you can access the web app here: Eisenhower Matrix App.

But for those of you that'd like to dig a little deeper and see what this new tool can do, read on...


Getting started

Getting started is super easy, just shoot over to https://rowanclifford.io/eisenhower-app/ and create your free account.


Eisenhower principle matrix

Start by creating a free account.


Once you've created your free account, and confirmed your email address you're ready to go.


Inside the App

Here's what your dashboard inside the app will look like.


dashboard


Just bare in mind that I'm using the dark mode for this illustration, but there's also a light mode if you prefer.


How it works

Each of the squares represent one of the four quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix:

  • Quadrant 1: Do First - Urgent and important.
  • Quadrant 2: Schedule - Less urgent but important.
  • Quadrant 3: Delegate - Urgent but less important.
  • Quadrant 4: Eliminate - Neither urgent nor important.

All of the tasks on your To-Do list should be entered into the appropriate quadrant inside the app, then worked through in order.

In other words you always start with quadrant one tasks and work your way through the quadrants from there.

But here's the thing.

The Eisenhower method isn't just a To-Do list - far from it.

Instead it's structured in a way for you to do more work on the things that align with your values and goals, and less work on everything else.


Creating tasks in the App

Ok, so now it's time for you to add your first task to the app.  

Simply click into the text area where it says 'Create new task', write it down and click the button to save it.


Create new task


Follow the same process for all of your tasks until they are all in their designated quadrants.


task options


Then, once all of your tasks are in the system you also have the ability to choose whether to:

  • Mark Completed
  • Focus Mode (more on that in a minute)
  • Delegate - Select this function to email a task to a co-worker
  • Delete

Your job is to work through, delegate or delete all of the tasks on your board in order of priority.

Oh, and one more thing.  

You can also move tasks from one quadrant to another.  Just use the drag and drop feature.


drag and drop tasks

Drag and drop.


Focus mode

The focus mode feature is pretty cool, in fact it's kind of an adaptation of the Pomodoro technique.


Focus mode

Focus mode.


Simply put, you set the timer, and your goal is to complete the task at hand before the timer stops out - distraction free.


Completed tasks

As you complete tasks, mark them as complete by simply clicking the tick, and the system will store them for you.


click to mark as complete


You can then check out all of the tasks you've completed and give yourself a pat on the back for all your good work.


hide completed tasks


And now it's over to you...

If you haven't already, go create yourself an account, take it for a spin, and see what you think.

Just remember, building new habits takes time, so don't expect overnight success.

However, if you keep at it, the Eisenhower method will keep all of the work you do aligned with your values and goals heading on your own True North.  You've just got to keep at it that's all.

Oh, and if you're a pen and paper kind of guy/gal, then you can download a pdf copy of the Eisenhower matrix below.

Peace out.

Rowan.

Eisenhower Matrix Template 

[Free Download]

Eisenhower method pdf

Before you go, If you want something you can print off and start using now, download the Eisenhower Matrix Template PDF here >>

Categories
Focus Habits

Personal Mantra; & The Art of self-persuasion

You’ve probably heard of a mantra before, but what about a personal mantra?

I know what you’re thinking, enough of that hippy shit already.

I know, I know.  But stay with me.  You’re really going to like this.

You see, traditional goal setting is just so lame lets be fair.  

Sure, you’re all inspired and full of motivation at the outset, but that soon dwindles away and you’re back where you started.

If that sounds like you (it sure as hell sounds like me), then you’re going to love this article.


What is a personal mantra?

A personal mantra is a document you read to yourself daily.  This document is written in such a way as to evoke a response within you, to trigger you into taking action, and to continually remind you of your goals, and what’s really important to you.


How does a personal mantra work?

A personal mantra works by serving as a constant reminder, or anchor, to align the work you do with your personal mission, values and goals.

Your personal mantra is like a compass, keeping you on your own true North, steering you there without deviation.


How to create a personal mantra

The key to creating an effective personal mantra is to make it hit home hard.  That means brutal honesty.  Your personal mantra is for you, and you only, so fuck whatever anyone else thinks or any judgements they might have.

This is time to be selfish.

Here’s how to create a personal mantra that really fucking works:


Complete honesty

I mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it here again.  Complete, radical honesty is essential.

Let me explain.

Some of our goals can be, you know, a bit crass, vulgar and selfish, so we often try and sugar coat them to avoid looking like a dick to others.  

But here’s the thing…

When we do this we’re effectively changing our goals to suit those around us to avoid criticism, and that just plain sucks.

Striving to make other people happy at the cost of living life on your terms is a losing strategy that’ll end up in disappointment. 

For that reason, stay honest - brutally honest - at all times.


Market to yourself

You know when you read a good sales page, or read a really good article and the words really move you.  They hit a nerve.

That’s called copywriting - Copywriting is the act of writing text that persuades a person to take a particular action. 

And we can use this same skill to “persuade ourselves” to take action.

Here’s what I mean.

Lets say your goal might be to make $50k by the end of the year.

A typical goal might look like this: “Make $50k by end of year.”

Now that’s cool and all, but it’s hardly very persuasive.  Let's compare it to something with a little copywriting spice added into the mix.

“As we speak I’m doing whatever it takes to turn this blog into a $50,000 per year business, making £274 per/day.  The value of the products and services I create makes this a no brainer.”

This is something from one of my personal personal mantras, and it used to give me shivers in my spine when I read it.  

That’s what you want your mantra to do.  You want it to be moving, you want it to evoke action.


Get specific

With your personal mantra, you’ve got to get specific, like real specific.

If you want to make money, how much do you want to make exactly?  How much is that broken down by the day, or even by the hour?

You see, breaking things down and getting specific makes your goals more tangible.  And if it’s tangible, and you believe it, you’ll do it.


Don't be a sheep

This kind of goes without saying, but make sure that the goals you set for yourself are genuinely aligned with your values.  

Here’s what I mean.

Let's say one of your goals is to produce more video content on your website.  

You want to create the video content because you know it’ll be good for your website traffic and growing your audience.

But…

  1. You don’t really like making video content.
  2. You’re not really very good at making video content.

When broken down, really what you want is more traffic, and a bigger audience, NOT to create more video content.

So you know what, DON’T FUCKING DO IT!

Do it in a different way.

If you like writing, write blog content to drive traffic.  If you like talking, use podcasting to drive traffic.  If you like social media, use social media to drive traffic.

At the end of the day, just align what you want to achieve with what you actually enjoy doing, otherwise, what’s the fucking point?


Examples of personal mantras

Here’s an example of my own personal mantra from a few years back.  It's a little embarrassing I know, but here it is:

Example of my own personal mantra

"My blog is being built to become the absolute best resource worldwide for digital Micropreneurs to cultivate their skills, productising themselves and their talents to make money online.

As we speak I’m doing whatever it takes to turn this blog into a £100,000 per year business, making £274 per/day.  The value of the products and services I create makes this a no brainer.

I only build products, and offer services that fill me with pride.  These products are so good, that they sell themselves and my customers can’t stop talking about them.

Everything I do is dripping with integrity, honesty and authenticity.  You can fucking taste it!

I express myself freely at all times, from sunrise to sunset, and I’m always in the right place at the right time, to meet the right people.  In fact, I go out of my way to find people in my niche to surround myself with.

I’m doing all of this because if I don’t, I’ll still be working in cafe’s when I’m forty.  And that just can’t happen."

These words speak to me.  They give me tingles in my spine, and they trigger me emotionally to take action.

And they work.

Use this example as a guide only because obviously your goals and your values will be much different to mine, but I hope it'll help in some way.


Conclusion

I want you to take what you’ve learned here and go apply it right now.  

Not tonight, not tomorrow…

Now.

Go do it now, and do it EVERY SINGLE MORNING without fail, and never skip a day.

Then, report back to me in twelve months time and tell me how much of a difference it’s made.  I guarantee it’ll change your life.

Peace out.

Rowan.

Categories
Productivity For Micropreneurs

Urgent Important Matrix; What is it, and how does it work?

Productivity is not just about time management, it’s about doing the right tasks at the right time.

That’s the key.

And that’s where Dwight Eisenhower's Urgent Important Matrix comes in - more on that in a minute.

Popularised by Chris Covey in his bestselling book '7 Habit’s of highly effective people', the Eisenhower Matrix (as it’s also known) is one of the most effective productivity systems out there.

Sure, it’s super simple, but all the best things are simple right?


What is the Urgent Important Priority Matrix?

Eisenhower’s Urgent Important Priority Matrix is a grid-like structure made up of four quadrants used for organising tasks in order of importance and urgency.  

Example of Eisenhower's urgent important matrix

Example of Eisenhower's urgent important matrix

Tasks are then placed into their corresponding quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent, but still important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not important
  • Quadrant 4: Neither urgent, or important

How does the Urgent Important Matrix work?

It works by sorting and categorising tasks into quadrants related to their level of urgency, and more importantly, their level of importance.


Do it NOW! Quadrant one.

Quadrant one is for tasks that are both urgent and important.  These tasks should be prioritised above everything else, no matter what.

You should effectively never be working on tasks in any of the other quadrants unless all of quadrant one is complete.


Highly effective people work from here: Quadrant two.

The tasks that sit inside quadrant two are the easiest to put off as there's no urgency attached to them.

And that's what makes them a magnet for procrastination.

It's these tasks that require internal motivation, and high levels of self discipline to complete, because often the fruits of completing these tasks won’t be tasted for months if not years to come.

But it's these types of tasks that have the most significant effect on your life overall, and can paradoxically get you where you want to be faster.

Quadrant two tasks form the backbone of highly effective people, and are one of the notable differences between the Eisenhower Method and the other productivity systems out there.

These tasks are things like:

  • Giving your car a service
  • Connecting with family regularly
  • Taking time off work to watch your kids soccer game
  • Networking with people in your niche
  • Long Term business strategy
  • Reading

Completing and prioritising these tasks ahead of things that are simply urgent, but not important sets you up for long-term sustained happiness and success.

Go you!


The graveyard of productivity; Quadrant three

Quadrant three tasks are the hidden killers to your productivity.  It’s here where most people spend the majority of their time and effort - which is why they rarely achieve anything great.

Dwight Eisenhower's key to success was in delegating/automating away as many of these tasks as possible.  Every task that is delegated away, means more time to focus on high priority task in quadrant two - the types of things that ultimately help you achieve your goals.

Here are some example of quadrant three tasks:

  • Replying to emails
  • Answering phone calls
  • Business meetings

All of these tasks feel urgent, however their value towards you achieving your goals is low.  

This is the graveyard of productivity you’ve got to avoid.  

People who spend too much time in this quadrant are those who always look busy, yet rarely get anything valuable done.


Search and destroy; Quadrant four

You’ve probably guessed it already, but quadrant four is home to those low value, pesky tasks that just seem to take up so much of your damned time.

The biggest culprit (as always) is the smartphone.

What has so much potential as a device for mass productivity, all too often leads to it’s antithesis.

Examples of quadrant four tasks:

  • Checking social media updates
  • Checking google analytics
  •  Watching edutainment videos on YouTube

So, if you want to be a productive machine like our mate Dwight Eisenhower, do as Dwight would do, and send these time sucking vampires to their death.

You can thank me for it later.


Why is this method so effective?

The urgent important matrix isn’t a quick fix solution, and it isn’t going to transform your life overnight.  

In fact, this system is almost more of a way of life.  A way of life where you make the decision to live life on your terms, focusing only on the things that align with your values that help you achieve your goals.  

Everything else gets delegated, automated or deleted away.

The byproduct of this leads to compounding increased time to focus on doing what you love, and being a productive badass along the way.


Conclusion

Charles Duhigg author of the book 'Smarter Faster Better' defines productivity as “making certain choices in certain ways that moves us from being merely busy, to genuinely productive”.

And that's what what the urgent important matrix is all about.

​It's not about just being busy for the sake of it​, far from it.

Instead it's a long-term strategy for keeping the work you do aligned with your values and goals.

Steering on a straight line to your own True-North.

Peace out.

Rowan.

P.S. You're going to love this...

I've only gone and bloody built an app - it's called The Eisenhower Matrix app - it's pretty cool, and you can create a free account here.

Urgent Important Matrix PDF 

[Free Download]

Eisenhower method pdf

Before you go, if you want something you can print off and start using now, download the Urgent and Important Matrix Template here >>

Categories
Productivity For Micropreneurs

Eisenhower Matrix: Here’s Everything You Need To Know…

The Eisenhower Matrix is the productivity framework created by arguably one of the most productive humans ever to have stepped foot on this planet - Dwight Eisenhower.

Dwight’s legendary list of accolades include serving two terms as President of the United States, launching NASA, Supreme Commander of NATO and even operating as a Commander in World War II.

The guy was a productivity machine!

The Eisenhower Method is simple, but it’s damn effective.

So let’s do as Dwight would do - let's not waste any time and let’s get stuck in.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

The Eisenhower Matrix is a task management system consisting of four quadrants that organise tasks into categories depending on their level of urgency and importance:

Eisenhower matrix example

The four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent, but important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not important
  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent, or important

How to use the Eisenhower Matrix

To use the Eisenhower Matrix effectively you need organise your tasks into each of their corresponding quadrants.

For example:

- Checking social media: Probably a quadrant four task.

- Exercising each day: This would go in quadrant two as it's important to your overall health, but not urgent.

- Responding to emails: There's often an urgency to reply to emails, however they're rarely tasks that help you achieve your goals.  For that reason they should live in quadrant three.

- Filing a tax return on time: This is both urgent, and important.  So this would live in quadrant one.

Let me break that down and elaborate on that a little:


1

Step 1 - Get your to do list out of your head and onto a piece of paper. 

2

Step 2 - Organise your tasks by placing them into the Eisenhower Matrix in order of urgency and importance.

3

Step 3 - Work through each of the tasks in the list starting with quadrant one tasks first, and moving through each quadrant.

In it's simplest form this is all there is to it, but as you'll see in a second, there's a few extra things you can do to really get the most out of it.


Eisenhower Matrix for time management; Delegate, Automate, Delete

The Eisenhower Matrix can be a very effective tool for time management, but probably not in a way you'd expect.

Let me explain.

The Eisenhower method works in a very different way to a traditional to do list.  

The reason?

Because a big part of the Eisenhower technique is about either delegating, automating, or deleting tasks all together.  In fact quadrants three and four (which makes up half of the Matrix) are dedicated to the removal of these tasks from your workload - forever.

There's no productivity hack more effective than not doing the task at all, right?

With that being said, lets look into how to use quadrants three and four.


Quadrant three: Delegate/Automate

Eisenhower Matrix for time management quadrant three

Quadrant three is the home to tasks that aren't really aligned with your values, or helping you achieve your goals, yet still have a level of urgency attached to them.

Things like:

  • Paying council tax bill
  • Replying to Emails
  • Shopping for groceries

These are some great examples of tasks that can be either delegated or automated away, leaving you more time to focus on quadrant two tasks that are aligned with your values, and help you to accomplish your goals.

Lets see what that might look like in real life:

Paying a council tax bill - This can be automated away.  Rather than manually logging into your bank each month to pay, instead set up a direct debit/recurring payment. 

Replying to Emails - Hire a personal assistant to do this for you.  There's plenty of services like this available on sites freelance hiring platforms like Upwork.

Shopping for groceries - Why not try ordering online.

These are just a few of examples, but you get the picture.  

Over time, as more and more of your tasks are automated away, you'll have more time to focus on what's important to you.


Quadrant four; Delete

Eisenhowe Matrix for time management quadrant four

As you've probably guessed already, quadrant four tasks are set for the chopping board.  These tasks you want to consciously delete from your life.

Here are a few examples to give you an idea:

  • Checking social media
  • Watching the news
  • WhatsApp group chats

It's these types of tasks that you should endeavour to delete wherever possible.  The more you delete, the more free time you'll have to focus on what's important to you.


Eisenhower Matrix examples

To give you a better idea, let me show you an example.

Here's what my own personal Eisenhower Matrix looks like in real life (you can get a free account with the Eisenhower Matrix app here):

Eisenhower matrix example one

As you can see from my example there are a number of tasks that I can either remove altogether, or delegate away.

Delegate

- Edit new video: I'm pretty average and slow when it comes to video editing.  For a minimal investment I can employ someone to do this for me.

- Social media posts: I hate social media in general, but it's still an important part of my business.  I'll outsource this work to a freelancer on Upwork.

Delete

- Checking Bitcoin price and Twitter: I know these things don't add any real value to my life and ultimately are a massive distraction.  I'll be working towards deleting these actions altogether.

- Tinder: I'm a little confused whether to put this in quadrant one, or quadrant four 🤔 


Conclusion

The Eisenhower Matrix is simple, but damn effective.

In fact I think it's its simplicity that is it's biggest feature.

But don't expect miracles overnight, instead use this productivity system a new way of working altogether.

Over time, as you focus more and more of your time and energy on the tasks that truly align with your values and goals, you'll begin to see massive shifts in the quantity of the work you're able to accomplish, and the quality of your life.

Peace out,

Rowan.

P.S. Don't forget to check out the new Eisenhower app here.  You're going to love it.

Eisenhower Matrix Template 

[Free Download]

Eisenhower method pdf

Before you go, If you want something you can print off and start using now, download the Eisenhower Matrix Template PDF here >>

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Productivity For Micropreneurs Tools

Eisenhower Method: A Surprisingly Simple Way To Increase Productivity

The Eisenhower Method.

Named after none other than the man himself - Dwight Eisenhower - widely known as one of the most productive humans ever.

His list of accolades and achievements dwarf that of even the highest achievers:

  • Served two terms as president of the USA from 1953 - 1961
  • Led programs that contributed to the launch of the internet (DARPA)
  • Launched NASA
  • Was a Commander in World War II
  • President of Columbia University
  • Supreme Commander of NATO

His efforts and extreme productivity have attracted a lot of attention over the years, leading to studies on time management, task management and more.

But his most effective strategy is extremely simple.

It's simple, yet as you can probably see already, it's damn effective.  So lets dive a little deeper.


What is the Eisenhower Method?

The Eisenhower Method is as strategy for managing your time by organising your tasks into four simple categories:

  • Urgent and important
  • Important but not urgent
  • Urgent but not important
  • Not urgent, and not important

These categories are organised into different quadrants which come together to create the Eisenhower Matrix (more on that later).

By using the Eisenhower Method to organise all of the tasks in your to do list, you can prioritise them in order of importance and urgency, with the goal being only to work on tasks that are important to you, that align with your values and goals.


How does the Eisenhower Method work?

The Eisenhower Method works by categorising any/all of your tasks into separate quadrants depending on their urgency and importance. 

Important and urgent tasks always come first, and unimportant and non-urgent tasks always come last (if not at all).

One of the key features of the Eisenhower Method is the importance it places on quadrant two activities that are not urgent, yet are still important. 

These are tasks such as:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Long term business strategy
  • Networking with people in your niche
  • Spending time with your kids

Unlike many other productivity systems The Eisenhower Method places a high value on these types of tasks, notably above any quadrant three tasks that are urgent, but not important.

Although these types of tasks don't offer immediate gratification, their results far outweigh their short-sighted counterparts.

This forms the basis of the Eisenhower Method and it's approach to time-management and prioritisation.


But before we go any further, what’s the difference between important and urgent?

At face value it's easy to mistake something that is urgent as important, and non-urgent as not important.  However, as you'll see there're some big differences, and perhaps this is why so many people are constantly busy, yet aren't very productive.

Lets take a closer look.


Important tasks

Important tasks are any tasks that align with your values and your goals.  

These might be things like:

  • Learning new skills
  • Writing blog articles for your website
  • Watching your kids soccer games on the weekends
  • Exercising every day


Urgent tasks

Urgent tasks are any tasks that require an immediate action to be taken.  However, these tasks aren't necessarily aligned with your values, or taking you closer to your goals.

Urgent tasks are things like:

  • Responding to emails
  • Answering the phone
  • Mowing the lawns
  • Washing the dishes
  • Answering blog comments

How to use the Eisenhower Method

So, now that you know how the Eisenhower Method works, I'm now going to explain how to use it effectively.

Now, as mentioned earlier, the Eisenhower Method consists of four quadrants.  And it's these four quadrants that go into creating the important/urgent matrix, or what's often referred to simply as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a grid of four squares.  The vertical axis represents the level of importance, and the horizontal axis represents the level of urgency.

Eisenhower matrix example


Lets take a look into each of the quadrants and see how to effectively organise and prioritise all of your tasks.


Quadrant One. Urgent & important

quadrant 1 important and urgent tasks

Quadrant one is the home of tasks that are both important and urgent. Tasks in this quadrant should be done immediately.

Examples of urgent and important tasks:

  • Filing a tax return
  • Meeting a deadline on a project
  • Paying rent/mortgage on time


Quadrant Two. Important but not urgent

quadrant 2 less urgent but still important

Quadrant two tasks are where you assign tasks that aren't urgent yet are still very important.  

These are the types of tasks that we often overlook - due to their lack of urgency - yet they're the types of tasks that have the biggest impact on our lives over the long run. 

Examples of quadrant two tasks:

  • Reading to kids at night
  • Writing blog content
  • Customer nurturing
  • SEO
  • Spending quality time with your parter


Quadrant Three. Urgent but not important

quadrant 3 not important but urgent

Quadrant three is where non-important yet still urgent tasks live, and this is where the majority of people spend their time.

Tasks in this quadrant should be delegated or automated wherever possible.  The less time you spend working on tasks in this quadrant the better.

Examples of quadrant three tasks:

  • Replying to email's
  • Answering phone calls
  • Social media posting
  • Checking Google Analytics
  • Checking how many likes your last Insta post got


Quadrant Four. Not urgent & not important

quadrant 4 not important and not urgent

Quadrant four tasks are both not important and not urgent.

The aim of quadrant four tasks is to eliminate them from your agenda altogether.

Examples of quadrant four tasks:

  • Checking follower count on social media
  • Responding to phone notifications
  • Watching the news

How to actually start using the Eisenhower Method in your life

By now you should have a good grasp of the Eisenhower Method and how it works, now lets take a practical look at how to start using this strategy in your every day life.

Here's what I recommend.


1. Start categorising your tasks

To begin with, start by categorising your tasks into each of the four quadrants.  Over time you will begin to recognise which quadrants your tasks should sit in intuitively.  


2. Start doing tasks based on their quadrant

Get into the habit of completing tasks based on their quadrant.  For example, don't start on quadrant two tasks until all of quadrant one tasks are complete.  Also, begin to delegate/automate any quadrant three tasks, and start removing quadrant four tasks entirely.


3. Ruthlessly carve out time for quadrant two tasks at the expense of everything else

Quadrant two tasks are the things that are ultimately going to get you what you want in your life.  So, begin ruthlessly carving out time for these tasks at the expense of everything else.  These tasks align the work you do with your values and goals. 


Conclusion

The Eisenhower Method is a simple, yet powerful productivity system with a proven track record.

It's not without its flaws (what isn't), but if used correctly, it can wield some pretty incredible results.

Peace out.

Rowan.

P.S. Don't forget your free download below.

Eisenhower Matrix Template 

[Free Download]

Eisenhower method pdf

Before you go, If you want something you can print off and start using now, download the Eisenhower Matrix Template PDF here >>

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Focus Productivity For Micropreneurs

The Blind Swimmer Effect

How I inadvertently uncovered my biggest (if not the biggest productivity hack)...

A few years ago I entered a Biathlon in my hometown of St Ives, Cornwall. The race consisted of roughly a 5km run, followed by about a 2km swim so nothing too crazy.

On the day of the race the wind was up and so was the swell, making the swim aspect of the race that much more challenging.


Nonetheless, the race was on.

I got out of the blocks pretty quickly and felt good on the run, passing a few people who were obviously much fitter than I was (this was short lived but hey, I’ll take what I can).

And then came the swim.

You see, I’m not the best swimmer - I couldn’t even swim until I was 14 - and the furthest I had ever swam in my life up until that point was about 400m.  So my goal was never to win the race, instead it was just not to come last.

Now here’s the thing with swimming, it’s must faster to swim with your head underwater rather than your head up as it helps your body to plain through the water.  It’s much more streamlined.


Swimming blind


So that’s what I did.

Head down, one stroke followed by the next for what seemed like an eternity.

I poked my head up every now and again to make sure I was still swimming in the right direction, and eventually I got to the finish line.


But it wasn’t until later that night that I noticed something.

My friend and I went to the event website to find out our times.  We found our times (his was far better than mine, but hey), but we also found something else too.

Our GPS.

Little did we know that GPS had tracked not only our times, but also our movement.  And this was especially interesting when mapping our swims.

Looking at my swim path I could see something very interesting indeed.

Unlike my friend who’s swim path was direct from A to B in a straight line, mine was like a zig zag.  Put a different way, I'd swam nearly twice as far as him!


zigzagging


Fuck! was what first came to my head, and I asked him what I was doing wrong...

He said “did you swim with your head under water the entire way?”.

And I was like “ummmmmm, yeah pretty much”.  

He then told me about the proper way to do ocean swimming.


And here’s what he said... 

There’s a big difference between swimming in the ocean and swimming in a pool.  In the pool you can put your down and never look up, but in the ocean it’s entirely different.  

Even though you can swim much faster with your head underwater, you can’t see where you’re going.  

To get from A to B fast in the ocean you must frequently bring your head above water to stay on path, on track to your destination.

Swimming even just a few degrees off course - no matter how fast you're going - is just a waste of energy"

Just like being busy, yet un-productive.


And that’s when it hit me.

I’d been doing the exact same thing, but with my life.  

I had goals I wanted to achieve, things I wanted to do, targets I wanted to hit, but I was too busy swimming with my head underwater to even look up to see if I was still on the right track.

I was too busy to even come up for air and even see if I was swimming in the right direction.  I was swimming blind.

You see it’s better to be swimming slow and steady towards your destination, rather than frantically zigzagging miles off course.


I call this the Blind Swimmer Effect.

It’s up there as one of the best, if not the only productivity hack. 

If you want to get from A to B quickly, then it’s important to stop regularly, come up for air often and stay on a straight line towards your target.

Nothing is worse than swimming full-speed in the wrong direction. 

Peace out.

Rowan.

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Productivity For Micropreneurs

How to be productive at home: 7 Killer Tips. No filler.

Why is it so damn hard to be productive from home...

Is it because you’re lazy? Because you just can’t work without someone telling you what to do? Or is it just you?

Are you doomed to fail?

My guess is none of the above.  In fact I think, no, I know you can be a productive beast at home. 

It just takes a little for-thought and preparation that’s all.

And this article is going to show you exactly how to do it.  Simple, actionable advice on how to be productive from home.

Are you ready?

1. Remove Distractions


Your home is a hot-bed for distractions.

Even the smallest things can cause you to lose concentration completely and snap you out of any deep work.  In fact a recent study by Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine found that it takes on average 23:15 minutes to get back into a state of deep work!

Here’s some of the major causes of distractions around the home:

  • Mobile phone
  • TV
  • Netflix
  • The fridge (this one gets me every time)
  • Washing the dishes
  • Tidying the house
  • Kids
  • Partner
  • Beer...

It’s no wonder we find it so hard to be productive from home.  

So what’s the answer?

The best antidote to negate the impacts of all of these distractions is to create what I call a deep-work sanctuary.  A dedicated place in your home where you can work, free of distractions.

Here’s what I recommend.

First up you want to scour your home for a new deep work area that you can lay claim to.  It doesn’t need to be a fancy office or even an entire room, in fact it could even just be a corner of a room. 

But what it does need to be is a space that's used solely for deep work, and nothing else. EVER!

So, before you decide, here’s a couple of things to consider:

  • Try and choose an area that has a door so that you can shut out any kids/people disturbing you.
  • Having a workspace with a view is nice don’t get me wrong, but it’s not always a good idea if the view is full of distractions eg. people walking by, cars driving past etc. So bare this in mind when choosing your new deep work sanctuary.
  • Treat yourself to some nice lighting, it’ll help you concentrate.
  • Ear plugs - get yourself a set of noise cancelling earplugs.  They’re cheap and damn effective.

2. Bad Habits


How often do you go to open the fridge door each day?  Go on be honest.

That’s an example of a bad habit right there.

Here’s how it works when it’s broken down.

If I go in the kitchen > Open fridge.

Likewise, if I hear a notification on my phone > pick it up (and then spend 20 minutes scrolling through instagram).

You see, habits are subconscious ‘if this, then that’ decisions and all too often they put us on auto-pilot even when it isn’t in our best interests.

But there are ways to use these subconscious ‘if this, then that’ decisions to create good habits too.

Here’s an example.

When I open my computer to work > Close all open tabs, turn off email, put earplugs in.

Notice how the good habit isn’t necessarily to be more productive, instead it’s focusing on a few simple, painless actions.  The byproduct of these actions will be more productive work.

Think about what bad habits you’ve picked up over the years and see if there’s anything you can do to stop them. And search for ways you can introduce new good habits into your life to increase your productivity whilst working from home.

3. Clutter


Have you ever tried to be productive when the room around you is an absolute mess?

Does it drive you nuts?

If yes then you’re not alone. 

Clutter and mess in your home is like kryptonite for deep work.  No matter what you do, there’s always this lingering, pestering, nagging need to clear it up.

So you know what the answer is?  Just fucking clear it up.

But, here’s the trick…

Do it before you sit down for a deep work session.

This alone will transform your ability to get shit done from home.

Tip: Why not create a good habit to address this problem.  When you finish working > clear up your workspace and leave it immaculate and clutter free ready for your next session. Simples.

4. Environmental Cues


Environmental cues are triggers within your environment that can lead to specific actions (preferably good ones).

Here's a few environmental cues that I use to stimulate myself into a productive mindset at home.

  • Work only browser - I have a browser that's specifically set up for my work.  All my bookmarks, all my passwords, etc. I use the Brave browser for this.
  • Ambient background music - I use ambient background music as a cue to enter a deep work state.  I use the free Noisli Chrome extension.
  • Shutting the world out - I always make sure I close the door to my workspace.  The door closed is a cue for me to stop procrastinating and get shit done.

These are just a few examples that I've been using as part of my personal deep work system from home and it's by no means complete.  

But why not try out some of the above, and experiment in your own working environment to see if there's any environmental cues you can benefit from in your workspace.

5. Obligations


If you want to be productive from home, with all of the distractions and everything that goes along with it, you’ve got to remove the guilt of obligations around the house.

Let me explain.

If you’re living with other people - wife, kids, friends - then you’ll inevitably feel obligated to break your work to give help elsewhere.

But here’s the thing.  

Until you value the work you’re doing and place it at the top of your list of values, you’ll constantly be drawn away to obligations elsewhere.  

Here’s what I recommend.

Whatever you feel obligated to/for get it out of the way before you sit down to work.  Now that might be playing with the kids, doing the washing up, hanging the clothes out etc. But if you can free up these things from your consciousness before you hit your work desk, you’ll be able to work deeper for longer.

6. Guilt


For some reason there’s often a guilt that’s associated with working from home - especially if you have family. 

Here’s what I mean.

It’s weird I know, but when you leave the home to a normal job you get kind of a free pass.  It’s kind of like everyone understands that when you’re at work, not to disturb you.

Working from home on the other hand…

It’s crazy.  If your friends know you’re working from home they’ll pop by and expect a chat.  Your buddies will expect you to return calls or messages. Your family will think it’s ok to interrupt your work to ask a menial question.

The result?

You constantly break away from your work.  You get pissed off.  And then you try and shut these interruptions out.

All of this leads to a bucket load of guilt.

And that’s got to change.

To remove the guilt you first need to reframe the work that you’re doing.  The work you’re doing is important. If you don’t do it, no-one will.  

Think of all the people you’ll be letting down if you don’t fulfil your mission.

Think how many people will be harmed without the help you’re able to give.

Aligning your work with your mission will eradicate guilt and allow you to work guilt free in the knowledge that you’re serving the world in a bigger way.

If your friends and family don't see it this way, then hey, that's on them not you.

7. Batch The Shit Outa Everything...

I love batching.  I batch everything I can.  It just makes sense.

Here’s what I mean by batching.  

Batching is the act of grouping tasks so you can do them all at once, instead of constantly switching between tasks.

I try to batch as many things as possible, and I suggest you try it too.

For example:

  • Cooking - If I’m going to cook a meal, I’ll cook a massive batch, put it in containers and freeze it.  This reduces prep time and washing up.
  • Video - When I record video I won’t just record one single clip, instead I’ll record multiple videos at the same time.  This saves time with setting up equipment, and also allows me to bulk edit too.
  • Emails - I batch the answering of all emails at the end of the day.  This saves me from constantly checking my emails and breaking my workflow throughout the day.

You get the picture.

By batching tasks together you create efficiencies along the way.  

You can thank me later!

Conclusion

Having the freedom to work from home can be one of the most liberating feelings ever, however, it doesn’t come without its pitfalls.

Procrastination, lack of self discipline, overwhelm… you name it.

And as you can see there’s a lot more to being productive at home than first meets the eye.  Let alone staying productive.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

The first step is acknowledging where you’re going wrong, and the next step is fixing it.

With all of that being said these are just my top tips on how to be productive at home, but I’d love to hear from you!

What steps have you taken to increase productivity at home?

Let me know in the comments below.