The Parable Of The Pipeline – Burke Hedges
Cashflow Quadrant – Robert Kiyosaki
Read these years ago. Mindset changing info.
Don’t chase dollars. Invest time and money into building business systems.
If you are good at online marketing and business strategy then you will probably realize quite quickly that doing marketing for other companies can be pretty boring. If you would do a better job at running the business than your clients and the employees they’ve hired then you are better off just starting your own business instead. This isn’t to spite anyone but with the way things are moving online, if you know how to dominate the web, you should be able to build a 7-figure business in only a few short years without hundreds of thousands of dollars in upfront capital. A website and a few thousand dollars a month to hire an outsourced team should do the trick.
It is noble to want to help local business owners. I know that it is something that I wanted to do because that is where I started out. I knew I had to figure out the ‘online marketing’ puzzle and eventually did. But then going back and dealing with people who still don’t get it didn’t seem to make any sense either. My time was better spent doing other things. For instance writing an SEO optimized article which takes 10 minutes can end up ranking on page 1 in Google and generating leads and sales for my ecommerce stores over and over again. If you sell high ticket items or medium priced items in high volumes – perhaps wholesale, then you can make infinitely more money and run your lifestyle business from anywhere in the world.
Something I learned from doing volume client consulting (20+) as well as working with just 6 clients at a time is that it is far easier to work with just 6 and you make more at the same time. Dropshipping low ticket items in large volumes can be lucrative but you need to ensure that your VA customer support is very good otherwise it is a constant game of reputation management and offering refunds + dealing with scams. It takes about the same amount of time (or even less) to sell a $10,000 item than it does to sell a $10 item. The difference is you have to sell a SHITload more of the $10 items and deal with all those additional people. Sure, the upsell potential and having a bigger customer list can be nice but it is a drain on your time.
Everyone interested in ecommerce that has heard stories of people successfully dropshipping wants in on the action. Most people think that they are too late to the game but that is not true. It is easier now than ever before. Hell you can even buy an expiring domain that the owner is giving up due to retirement and revamp it up to its potential. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Leverage other people’s time and efforts by asking them how they did it. Most of them will tell you unless they feel you are incompetent or simply don’t want to waste time knowing you don’t take action on the advice anyways.
I’m convinced that even a complete beginner can get to a $10,000/month income in less than 12 months time with dropshipping or a service based business with no employees, brick and mortar, or crazy overhead expenses. The only time I would even remotely consider having overhead is if I was doing over $100k/month in profit, was passionate about what I was doing, and wanted to scale up the business to create a monopoly in the marketplace. Otherwise, being free to work from anywhere and make sales everyday makes a lot more sense.
I’ve been doing online marketing and client consulting for many years now. When I was newer in the business I would give very actionable advice to people and 9 out of 10 do nothing with the advice even though they agreed it was what they needed. This is even after I told them how to get other people to do it for them for less than the cost of groceries each month. I’ve realized since then that you can’t say the right thing to the wrong people or the wrong thing to the right people. Some just get it and run with it while others remain bound. I still believe in providing some basic pointers to at least plant the seeds in people’s minds and give them something to think about for the future.
I still enjoy client consulting when I am working with clients that have big dreams and are in a booming market. The reality however is that I would make infinitely more if I was solely focusing on building my own ecommerce brands and online assets. In all honesty, client consulting is o.k. for making some extra money on the side but only becomes a real business model when working with bigger brands that have multi-million dollar marketing budgets. Otherwise it is like building a business for someone else – not really much different than taking a remote job. When you stop working with the client, you stop getting paid. The time you put into helping another business owner is gone.
Time is something you do NOT get back. Once it is gone it is GONE. I am guilty of not managing my commitments better but that is one of the things I am working on doing. Setting a daily agenda and sticking to it is something I plan to do starting today. Otherwise I might as well continue to leave my future up to chance – hell no. The point here is that I will be setting daily goals and routines and making sure that I am doing certain things everyday that will move me closer to my goals.
For now I will continue to perform client consulting and help other people become more successful. It is after all a good learning experience (even though I could still be learning on my own). My advice to anyone doing client consulting is to work with clients who have something to teach you. If you can learn in 1 year what it took someone to learn in a lifetime isn’t that worth it? That kind of knowledge would help you to save your time from going to waste. Advice like ‘read more books’ is precious. Most people rarely read books and instead spend what little time they have watching TV. I’m not saying that is a bad thing but if you have big dreams and aspirations and want to achieve them then how is making a routine of watching TV supposed to help? It rarely ever does.
If you are a couple (boyfriend girlfriend) then find someone who is in line and understands your aspirations. The right person will push you to achieve your goals. If you are in sales and come home without making a sale then they should tell you to get back outside and not come back until you do. Most people ‘grow’ when they are outside of their comfort zone.
Back to the subject of dropshipping. I love the business model. Most of the products that I drop ship have high margins and I don’t even need to touch or see the products. There are businesses that have been around for many decades that rely on their dropshippers to make sales and will support them. If you just take action and work on building your online assets there is no limit to how big you can build your empire. Cap one and start some more – or expand to other countries. If you get big enough you might as well control your own supply or buy out your manufacturer and make it more efficient.
When you can spend 1 hour writing out an article that generates leads and sales for as long as your website is up, why bother to work at a job for someone else? Most jobs pay somewhere around $10-$100 per hour. If you are working on the lower-end of the spectrum then 40 hours a week pays $400/week or $1600/month. If you knew how to start a drop ship website selling high ticket items you could equal your 1 month’s pay in one transaction no problem. Some drop ship niches even pay 6-figures per transaction when dealing with wholesale volumes. Build long-term assets online and they will continue to work 24/7 like your own team of salespeople continually drawing more people into your world.
Dropshipping is my preference. Some people prefer the stock market, real estate, software development, and so on. I think dropshipping is more reliable and involves less risk of ‘losing it all.’ If you have the security and back-end set up properly your website is not at a huge risk of disappearing either.
But what about losing your traffic due to algorithm changes? It can happen but if you do things properly and anticipate what is coming you can beat the system. One thing will always be true and that is if you provide value and a better user experience, your rankings will continue to increase. Look for the good examples and model after them instead of coming up with lazy excuses like pointing to all the negative examples.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, eitherway you are right” – Henry Ford
Enough ranting – time to hustle. If you stumbled on this post by some miracle (it isn’t optimized to rank) then I hope you get serious about all of the things that you said you were going to do. Good luck.
The simple answer is no – search engine submission isn’t necessary. The majority of search engines nowadays (most notably Google) crawl and index pages by following links. Using that logic, a single inbound link from any already-indexed page will identify your page to the engine. Subsequently, if that page links to other pages within your site, they will also be indexed… and so on.
For this reason, inbound linking is very important. In fact, acquiring back-links may be the most important of SEO. In theory though, a website owner shouldn’t have to ’scout’ or ‘hunt’ for links. If the presented content is of interest, useful, and/or important, there is a natural tendency among web users to link to information. This is the basis for the Google PageRank algorithm.
With all due respect, submitting your site to the search engines can’t hurt. Plus, it only entails about 5 minutes of added work assuming you only submit to the big guys. And once is enough… you don’t need to submit your site more than once. It doesn’t help or get your site crawled any quicker or more often.
It should be noted that submitting your site to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and many others doesn’t cost a fee. Many SEO companies assert that you need to pay to be indexed. This isn’t the case and I would stay away from these companies. They are money hungry and aren’t looking out for your best interest.
Would you ever consider going on a vacation across the country without bringing a map? It is hard enough to find your way in some places with a map. How hard would it be if you tried this adventure without one? Yet, this is exactly what people do every single day in the online world. They tried to build their own businesses online without having a roadmap to success. Then, after months or years of just wandering around online, they give up in frustration and quit. They walk away saying that the Internet doesn’t work for them. The reason it didn’t work is that they didn’t pick up a map and follow it!
You don’t have to end up lost in the online shuffle. Below I will give you ten steps to help you map out your course and get you started in the right direction. It isn’t everything that you need to know by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give you a basic foundation to build upon.
Consider it your beginner’s map to Internet marketing profits.
1. Choose a targeted market
The biggest mistake most people make when starting a business is that they choose a product and then try to find people who want to buy it. If that is the direction you are starting from on your journey, then you are going the opposite direction from your destination. Wise businesses operate from a different concept. They pick a market first, and then they pick a product those people are searching for. In other words, instead of trying to find leads to sell their product to, they find targeted leads and then ask them what they are wanting to buy.
Don’t even consider starting a business until you know exactly where you are going to get your leads from. Think targeted customers first. Then, you can come up with a product for those individuals. Would you rather have 1,000 hits a day at your site of a general audience OR 10 hits a day of people who are desperate and willing to pay any price to buy your products? If you are smart, you will choose the people who are ready to buy!
2. Develop a Product
Next, you need to develop a product or service for this market. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of affiliate programs when you come to this step. There are three major ways to selling a product online:
a. You create your own exclusive product.
This is the best opportunity you have. If you develop your own product, you can pick it’s price, sell reprint rights to others, set up an affiliate program, etc. Don’t tell me you can’t do this. Tens of thousands of innovative entrepreneurs have used their own information products to get their careers started. You can to.
Throughout your life, I am sure that there is something you have learned that you can share in a How-To product. Maybe you know someone else who has the right knowledge for a How-To product and you could offer to help them create a product if you both shared the rights to it. Don’t just jump past this opportunity and say it can’t be done.
b. You buy the rights to a product or you JV for an offline product.
You can buy the rights to successful products for $500 – $20,000. If someone else has created a product that you know your targeted market is interested in, offer them a large up-front fee for the rights to it. This way you can get your own product and never have to pay a penny in royalties. You can also search through magazines your targeted market reads and look for products people are selling. Then, give them a call and ask for the exclusive Internet rights to their product for a certain percentage of the profits or an up-front fee.
c. You join an affiliate program.
If you are just starting out online, this can be a good choice. You do have to keep in mind though that it doesn’t offer quite the profit potential that creating your own product or obtaining rights to one has.When choosing an affiliate program, make sure that it is something your targeted market cannot be without. They absolutely have to have it. Also pay special attention to the profits you receive from each sale.
If you are only be paid 5% commissions on the sales of $10 books, you will only be making 50 cents per customer. It would take 2,000 customers just to product $1,000 in profits. You cannot make money like this online! Look for higher priced products and higher commissions…especially commissions in the 25% or higher range.
3. Create a USP
Create a Unique Selling Position for your product or service. Too many companies are just trying to be me-too companies online. You cannot be just like the next guy and expect to make a profit in a global economy. Just going to the next guy’s web site to order is too easy for your customers.
You have to create a Uniqueness to your product or offer. What can you offer that no one else can? Can you offer better guarantees, better customer service, more technical support, faster shipping, or lower prices. Think of something that will set you apart from all of your online competitors and tell in complete detail what it is.
4. Pick a Domain Name and Hosting Service
The next step is to pick a domain name that describes your company, USP, and offer. Try to keep them as short and descriptive about your business as possible. Avoid using dashes or misspellings of your product. Both of these things will cause people to leave out part of your domain if they type it in. Someone else will be getting free traffic that you worked hard to obtain.
For hosting, I personally choose to use Virtualis since they have the Fastest customer service and technical support in the industry. Test them out. They will respond to you within the hour…anytime 24 hours a day. No other company I have ever been with has even come close!
5. Develop a Customer Friendly Site
The next step in the process is to develop your web site and put it up for the world to see. If you are planning to own a full-time Internet business, I recommend that you learn how to design the site yourself using one of dozens of programs which are readily available at any software store.
You will save so much money if you can do the work yourself on just the editing alone as your site grows. If your main business is offline and you are just adding a secondary income, then you may want to consider having a professional do your site for you.
When designing your site, keep the customer in mind always. Provide order forms for online credit card orders. Make all of the links easy to understand. Try to keep your site simple. Think like a customer, not the business owner.
Your customers are not nearly as interested in your business as you are. Make sure to put the benefits of your site and your USP right on top of the site. More than half of the web surfers never drop down past the first screen full of information. So, you have to give them the information they need as quickly as possible. The rules for any type of business are Benefits, Benefits, and more Benefits.
6. Offer a Freebie
One of the major keys to developing traffic and sales at your site is to always offer some type of freebie as a drawing factor. For example, I offer dozens of free reports, weather reports, news, and more. My greatest drawing factor throughout the past 8 months though has been the two free e-books which we offer on our site to people who subscribe to this newsletter.
You need to come up with a freebie no matter what type of business you are in. Create a free report and give it away. Add in a message board or some other type of CGI program on your site. Give a free demo of your software. Create something that you can give away for free on your site to draw in the visitors.
7. Start Your Own Opt-In List
Almost every full-time Internet marketer I know has developed their own Opt-in email list of some type. For most of them, it is a weekly newsletter they send out by email. For others, it may be a Tip of the Day. Other people might just have a list that they send out important updates to.
No matter what you choose to do, odds will be on your side if you concentrate on building a list of loyal email subscribers. Very rarely do customers purchase from you the first time they visit your site. Most of them will get on your list, hang out for a few weeks or months, and then they buy from you. They have to get to know you before they are willing to spend their money with you.
I have found that the most effective leads come from offline advertising. For example, you could purchase ads in a popular targeted magazine for your business. You could also purchase a postcard in one of the card decks. Start up a co-op and get 10 other people to advertise with you and run your own ads for free. Offline leads which come to your site often turn out to contain a much higher percentage of buyers than any of the online advertising methods.
Once you put our short 10 step outline together you have a basic map to creating your own Internet success story. You wouldn’t consider going on a trip without a map. So don’t try to go it alone online without a map.
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The debate between absolute links and relative links continues to live on in the SEO world. The individual significance of each has been contested, but it is widely regarded that absolute links provide better SEO value on the whole than relative links.
Many believe that absolute links have less potential for getting messed up when search engines index your page. It shouldn’t really make a difference, but many conclude that this is reason enough.
Furthermore, content scrapers and RSS services may ‘repurpose’ your content legitimately (or not). In either case, shouldn’t a proper back-link be attributed to your site? This situation favours absolute links. Although this is a minor argument, it’s still worth considering.
For a long time, reciprocal links have remained at the forefront of most inbound linking strategies. This is going to have to change. Google now discounts all reciprocal links. The algorithm has been altered to identify the exchange of links by two parties for the purpose of increasing their number of inbound links.
The concept of reciprocal linking defies Google’s original intention with the algorithm. Quality content should attract links. The exchange of links is nothing more than a mutual agreement to unjustifiably promote others’ content with the end goal of promoting your own. Google doesn’t particularly like this (see Link Schemes).
Some even claim that Google is now able to identify three-way linking schemes (i.e. website A links to website B, who links to website C, who links back to A). Whether this is true or not is hard to say. One thing is for certain though: inbound linking strategies should NOT be centered around reciprocal linking. This manufactured form of link creation is not well-received and is ultimately a waste of time. Instead, focus on creating unique, high-quality content in a given niche. The links will ensue.