INTERNET MARKETING: A Lesson Learned From Herding Goats

Mentor Mama loves Internet Marketing. She loves the excitement; she loves the learning; she loves the connections with new friends.  There is a new and different adventure every day.  She  jumps out of bed in the morning and races to her computer, to blog, facebook, tweet, and hang out with friends.

On Sunday, however, Mentor Mama awoke to something quite different!  It was a crisp, clear, country morning in California’s verdant Central Valley.  I was visiting my sister and I planned to run downstairs and check my messages before I hung out with the family.   Like a good farm girl, my sister was already up and out in the garden.

I poked my head out the door to greet her.  Instead of a pleasant, “Good morning,” as I was anticipating, she started waving her arms frantically and running down the driveway. . . .  Am I really that scary in the mornings?  Then, I heard her yelling, “The goats have jumped the fence again!  They’re eating my bushes!”   Now, this may not seem worrisome to you, especially if you don’t know much about goats, but goats eat a very wide range of plant material.  They are often “hired” to clear a field or even blackberry brambles, so  you can imagine what they could do to a meticulously landscaped garden.  Fueling the intensity of my sister’s response, is the fact that she has been working extra hard to put the garden into pristine condition for her niece’s upcoming wedding.

Mentor Mama threw on her sandals and raced out front in her pajamas to help! Well, I SAY “raced”, but it was more like “hobbled” on the rough gravel.  My sister was wearing her pajamas with farm boots and both of us had bedheads with our hair sticking out in all directions.  We were waving our arms and trying to shoo two very aggressive goats (one with really big horns) out of the bushes lining the long  drive.

I would have expected these poor animals to be scared to death as two bleary-eyed wild-women came charging  towards them.  At first, the two billy goats gruff just ignored us, as they chomped away on the apparently delicious shrubbery.  As we came closer, they peered at us with curiosity from behind the bushes and moved deeper into the foliage.  Finally, as we began yelling and clapping our hands, the escapees darted out from the bushes like we were playing tag!

As the crazy ladies advanced, attempting to accomplish the “simple” task of herding the goats  back to their own field, the two miscreants got crafty.  When we chased them down the drive, they pretended to run away, but suddenly darted to one side and circled around behind us.  When we cornered one behind a bush, hoping to keep him from getting to the rose garden, the other dashed across the lawn, straight towards the potted plants.  When we finally rounded them up and guided them close to the gate, they took a sudden hard left and headed towards the highway. . . . Now, mind you, we wanted the goats out of the yard, but we weren’t looking to make goat pancakes.  Just picture the Keystone Cops in pajamas, running after two goats who were clearly their intellectual superiors!

When the owner of the goats arrived to subdue the breakout, she calmly called her inmates by name, shook a bucket of feed in their direction, and led them straight back to the field.  HUH????  All of our well-intentioned efforts had us running in circles, acting like fools, jeopardizing our own safety as well as that of the goats.  In contrast, a skilled professional with the right information and tools was able to calm the melee in moments.

All that running around in the fresh country air cleared Mentor Mama’s brain and set her to thinking. . . . My approach to Internet Marketing is a lot like my approach to herding goats.  When I discovered this industry,  I threw on my shoes and raced (OK, OK. . . hobbled!) out to meet the challenge. I chased down pay-per-click, which darted past me, so I cornered sales funnels, which circled around behind me,  to close in on SEO and article marketing, both of which hid in the shrubs, until I finally cornered social media and blogging.

What passed me by altogether, in this wild, albeit exciting, ”goat herding” of the Internet,  is that there is a method in the madness.  Internet marketing is a BUSINESS, just like herding goats is a BUSINESS!  Before we scrambled in circles around the garden, it might have been prudent to formulate a plan and consult with a professional. . . or two.

Now, Mentor Mama knows that you have taken webinars and classes and you may have even formulated a solid marketing plan.  The question remains, however, what have you done to lay the foundation for the business of running  your business?  Many of us think that the Internet is a vast ocean where traditional rules don’t apply.  We dive headlong into the sparkling waters of Internet Marketing, without giving any consideration to steps we would have taken for a brick and mortar business!

Mentor Mama says, “You should know better!” It is easy to get caught up in this feel-good mentality, because internet marketing strategy and selling are the exciting, fun parts.  But, running a business is much more than that.  Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you have addressed the following issues.

1.  Do I have a concrete business plan that has been carefully crafted for my current business?

2.  Have I consulted with an attorney and an accountant to select a business entity?  Did we discuss taxation as well as limiting liability?

3.  Have I created a budget that takes into account the costs of running the business as well as the costs of continuing education?

4.  Do I have a bookkeeping system that tracks income and expenses, regularly generates a profit and loss statement, and maintains a record of deductible expenses for taxation?

5.  Have I checked out local licensing and permit laws?  Do I need to file for a fictitious name?

6.  Have I consulted an attorney on any of the following issues:

a.  Federal Trade Commission Rules(FTC) for internet marketing.

b.  Violations of copyright or trademark laws.

c.   Filing for copyrights for intellectual property.

d.   Filing for a trademark.

If you have no idea why Items a-d matter, then you are seriously out chasing the goats.   :)

It’s OK!  I am here to tell you that EVERYONE, even Mentor Mama, a lawyer for 25 years, has their goat chasing moments.   Did you not read about my weekend activities?  This is the first in an ongoing series of articles where I will address business issues in more detail and heighten your awareness about these critical matters.

Start following Mentor Mama on this blog,,  as she chronicles her business adventures and gets all  her “goats” in a row!

5 people like this post.

21 Responses to “INTERNET MARKETING: A Lesson Learned From Herding Goats”

  1. Beth Allen Says:

    You are such a fabulous story teller, Nancy! You really painted quite a visual there! :) Glad to hear that it all worked out before any goat pancakes were made, yikes!

    And I must say, I am anxious for your business series ~ because clearly I am out chasing goats. I definitely have a plan, and feel like so far so good, but in regards to legal stuff, well, that’s why I’ll be stopping in frequently to my mentor mama’s blog! :)

    Thanks for helping us get our goats in a row….hee hee. As always, you crack me up!
    .-= Beth Allen´s last blog ..Is Your Attention on Your Intention? =-.


  2. Don Enck Says:

    I have to say the visual of you and your sister chasing down goats is pretty amusing. You painted a very good picture. You also painted a very clear picture of the needs of many of us in the online community.

    I have given some of your points consideration. I’ve even taken care of doing what had to be done. However, I feel like it’s just the tip of the iceberg and there are things I’ve yet to do.

    I look forward to your upcoming posts that I’m sure will enlighten in an entertaining way the things we need to do to protect ourselves and get where we want to get in this ocean of the internet.
    .-= Don Enck´s last blog ..Do You Love Your Competition? =-.


  3. David Merrill Says:

    Well Mama, I didn’t think I was chasing goats, but after going down your checklist… I guess I’m rethinking just what I am and am not doing with my business.

    Thanks for setting me straight. I’ll be coming back to find out more about the nitty gritty details I’ve casually glossed over in setting up my online business.

    I’ll also be coming back for the continuing adventures of>>> Mentor Mama!
    .-= David Merrill´s last blog ..Cash For Blogging: How To Monetize Your Blog & Social Media =-.


  4. Garth Says:

    Nancy, I am always happy when I can read about Internet Marketing in a way that I can understand. Being a Relationship Coach I felt that was all I needed to know. Well many months ago I realized that there is a whole lot more I need to know in order to be successful.
    Thanks for sharing and adding such value.
    .-= Garth´s last blog ..Dating Tips – Men, Not Getting That Second Date, and Want It? =-.


  5. Edward Says:

    Hey Nancy,

    Thanks for this wonderful story and great tips on the fact that if you are in Business you better be in Business. The rules do apply and I believe that they good planning and focus is needed for an online marketing business that for a traditional one these days since there are so many distractions. Look forward to more in your series.

    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,


  6. YourNetBiz Ana Hoffman Says:

    My first time here, Nancy – love your style of writing; very engaging and entertaining.

    You had me a bit concerned in the beginning though that the whole post will be in the third person:).

    Great story-telling; I could absolutely picture you running around chasing the goats…

    See you on Twitter,
    Ana Hoffman/Here are my YouTube video marketing secrets, let me know what you think!
    .-= YourNetBiz Ana Hoffman´s last blog ..YourNetBiz Point of View: Let Them Quit? =-.


  7. Karin Says:

    My take away from your story is that it is easier to run an online business than it is to chase down goats…lol. Great story. The parallels are striking. You have to have a plan and know what you are doing. And even if we know this, it is good to read it again and think what we can do better in our businesses.
    .-= Karin´s last blog ..7 Factors that Contribute to Link Popularity =-.


  8. Steve Vernon Says:

    Oh…how much we can learn from the natural world of animals! Thanks! You’ve provided a perfect example of attraction marketing. Put what the goats are looking for in a nice, compact, easily acquired and attractive package, set yourself in place, gently and casually get their attention, and guess what — out of the bushes they come.


  9. Krista Abbott Says:

    Mentor Mama,
    I love you!! Seriously. You are so amazing writer, storyteller and savvy attorney. So glad to know you and share a tribe community with you. I for one have been “found guilty” of herding goats (and cats too) so I for one am THRILLED that you are going to be providing us with some awesome business tips. Looking forward to the next post already!

    .-= Krista Abbott´s last blog ..GoDaddy: WordPress Incompatibility with Windows Platform =-.


  10. Val Wilcox Says:

    Mentor Mama,
    What a great story to point out pitfalls of not taking your business seriously. There can be issues if everything is not set up correctly.

    Thanks for sharing these timely tips/reminders to stop chasing the goats and focus on what’s really important,
    .-= Val Wilcox´s last blog ..A Journey into Self- Discovery =-.


  11. Admin Says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and helping me get my goats in a row.

    @Beth, you always encourage me so much and it makes me want to write more and more to keep you laughing! @Don and David, I appreciate that you are seriously considering these points! These are critical issues!
    @Garth, You are so right! There is much more to an internet business!

    @Karin, Val and Ed, Glad that I’ve got your support that business is business and a plan is needed on many levels!

    @Ana and Krista. . . So glad that you enjoyed my story! Wish I had video! Krista, thank you. What wonderful comments. They mean a lot.

    @Steve, Didn’t see the attraction marketing piece until you mentioned it! I guess every story has several morals.

    I appreciate you all and look forward to sharing with you again!

    Mentor Mama


  12. Darlene Davis Says:

    Great story! I can just see you and your sister in your early morning disheveled attire chasing the stubborn goats. Your analogy to our online work is so fitting. I often feel like I’m running after that goat. Thanks for the 6 steps of business planning. What a fun article!
    .-= Darlene Davis´s last blog ..Spice Girl Revelations =-.


  13. Mark Hiatt Says:

    Good analogy Nancy – I am a fan of analogies. Sometimes I think running around like a chicken with our head cut off is a necessary beginning for new ventures. The goal is to not let it also become an ending. Seeking out the wisdom of people like yourself can help the new entrepreneur or social media enthusiast not burn themselves out and give up on it.
    .-= Mark Hiatt´s last blog ..Networking Lessons Learned From Leads Groups-Part 2 =-.


  14. Adam Sheck Says:

    Great story, great metaphor, thanks so much! I certainly have felt that overwhelm in needing to update facebook and twitter, write a blogpost, do a video, prepare for a teleseminar, interview someone, comment on someone else’s blogpost, etc., etc., etc. !!!

    There is a method or many methods and it is probably best to pick one and pursue it for awhile and see if it takes you where you want to go. I’m doing my best and looking forward to learning more from you and the so many others of the Tribe.

    .-= Adam Sheck´s last blog ..Do You Share A Relationship Vision? =-.


  15. Angela Says:

    Hey Nancy! What an awesome post! You had me laughing very hard. I was just picturing this in my head. You share some great information too. So thanks for making both an informative and funny blog post.
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..How to Manage Your Time Effectively =-.


  16. Michael Feil Says:


    You really break down how to set up a proper business! I really like this post and it is very valuable information for people that are just starting out as well as people that have been in the industry for a while. Thanks for sharing this!
    .-= Michael Feil´s last blog ..Six Steps To Initiate Success =-.


  17. Aidan Gibson Says:

    Great blog Nancy! I love the way you tell your stories.

    Goats are cute and I can relate to your story chasing them! :)
    Aidan Gibson´s last [type] ..TSA Tribe Syndication Association Overview


  18. Arlan Murata Says:

    Hey Nancy:

    Thanks for turning on the light. Your points are right on when I look at what I’ve been doing with internet marketing. Now, its time to focus on build a business first, then marketing it. Not market without a business. Appreciate your “PROFESSIONAL” insight. Thx.

    Your friend,



  19. Julieanne van Zyl Says:

    Great story Mentor Mama! I know what goats are like – my daughter has 2, kept inside an electric wire fence ( they know not to go near the fence ). It amazes me the way they eat all the prunings and prickles of the rose bushes! Before my daughter had her 2 children (they’re both still toddlers), she used to let the goats out to “mow” the grass, but not anymore. They scare me with their big horns!

    And, yes, I agree, most of us approach internet marketing the same way as herding goats:-) have a great weekend! Julieanne
    Julieanne van Zyl´s last [type] ..Network Marketing Training using Relationship Marketing


  20. Mike Sweeney Legitimate Home Business Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    Another compelling post! You sure have a way with your stories and getting your points across. People take note, this is what business is all about and learning from those that have been there certainly helps. Thanks again Nance for sharing some of yours.

    Mike Sweeney – TSA



  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by BethNelsonAllen: INTERNET MARKETING: A Lesson Learned From Herding Goats (via @nancyburkebarr) #tribetuesday…

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge