Do you remember when things were easy? A time in your life when you just knew you could do anything?
When knowing what to do, and doing it well, was something you took for granted?
When there was no doubt in your mind that you were going to be able to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish, even if it took effort and time?
For some of us, it is when we were married. The world seemed full of possibility and our new life was exhilarating to consider.
For others it was the birth of a child or their first real job.
The world seemed new. It seemed like new sunrises were around every corner. Nothing seemed impossible.
I remember those times. I remember that feeling.
And I have to say that the Internet, and especially the idea of making money online, has stolen that feeling from far too many people.
As I speak to people about working online and making money online, I hear a common set of challenges.
Here is what I have been hearing lately.
- Making money online is too hard.
- Working online is too confusing for me.
- Others can succeed online but I don’t think I can.
- I’m too old to understand how to make money online.
- The people online keep ripping me off.
- I can’t seem to get anything done.
- The technology and terminology is too confusing.
- There are just too many options.
- Things keep changing – I can’t keep up with the changes.
I have to tell you, after 12 years of working online I feel some of these things too.
It’s frustrating to work in an environment where things change all the time.
It’s downright difficult to work in an arena where you never feel you are keeping up with the current thinking.
But that is false thinking. The truth is different. The truth is, you don’t really need to keep up with anyone, embrace the latest and greatest traffic scheme or any of that.
All you need to do is to your best while following a plan of action that can work.
In fact, I will go so far as so say …
The thought that you have to “keep up” with anyone else is a lie!
I’m not going to kid you, there is no way for me to give you every answer to every problem in this one article. But what I can do, what I will do, is this.
In this article I will share two principles and six action steps that have taken me to where I am today.
These are the foundations of my entire business.
And I share them with you, freely, in hopes they are helpful to you as well.
First, the six steps.
Step 1 – Set a goal
You may be tired of hearing about “goal setting” or think it’s old school. And it is old school. But it works.
There is one inescapable truth about business, and life: you can’t hit a target you can’t see.
If that’s true then how can anyone be expected to hit a target they don’t even have?
My friend, you have to have a goal to succeed online. And it needs to be a specific goal. One you can write down and chop into bite-sized, doable pieces. This way you can do something about it every day.
The best goal setting information I’ve ever seen, and the one I use personally, come from Zig Ziglar.
One quick word about goals. Start with a reasonable goal first. While I am all in favor of the goal that makes your heart skip a beat and the music swell in your head more if you listen to music after you bought some good studio monitors, my experience has been that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
To be clear, I love the BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) but value the doable goal as well.
Start where you are.
Step 2 – A proven strategy
You know, I love new technology. Not love love it but am very interested in how things work. So I get curious. But do you want to know what really works online. I mean works almost every time and is the same thing that all the top earners use online?
Producing high quality content and using email marketing.
Not very sexy, right? But it works.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
I’m seeing a lot of people get hurt on social media today. They spend all this time getting fans and building followers and posting their hearts out and then the social media company changes the rules.
The algorithm changes and they are out of luck.
Do the social media companies care? Not so much.
How about this – instead of risking it all on the latest and greatest traffic-getting free thing why not spend time doing what is proven to work and then add in the new stuff?
Post to your blog every day … and then hook your blog to social media. A win-win.
Build your email follow up series by writing only one message a day and put time on your side. This way, when someone subscribes to your email list they will get messages day after day without your having to broadcast.
Simple things really, but so overlooked in today’s world of shiny objects.
Step 3 – A great product to sell
It doesn’t have to be your own product but it does need to be great. Why? Because promoting online is hard and costs both time and money.
Why invest your precious time and hard earned money promoting some forum thingy that has the shelf life of a twinkie floating in the ocean?
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with promoting new widgets and ”dime sales”and things like that. But that’s a way to make a few bucks, not to build a business.
Build your business first, then add on the short-term promotions.
Step 4 – A website of your own
In the old days we all used to say “you don’t even need a website of your own!” It was true then, not so much now.
You need a website of your own for a few basic reasons.
- You need a home base from which to work. Somewhere people can go to find all you do.
- You absolutely need to build a mailing list of your own if you want to succeed online.
- Your audience can find you, get to know and trust you, and buy from you when you have a site of your own.
I could list a dozen other reasons but they would pale in comparison. Yes, you need a site of your own. But the happy news is that technology now makes it easier than ever to have that site.
In fact, if you want me to build and host your site click here to see what I can do for you.
No matter how you do it, get a site of your own (ONE site, not 15) and make it your home base.
Step 5 – Traffic to your website
I’ve written to you many times about traffic. I know traffic is a hot topic and something everyone thinks they need more of. But there are so many misconceptions about real traffic, and how to get it, that the Internet has become like walking down the rows of a carnival.
- “Step right up and get 100 guaranteed visitors today”.
- “Upload your list to Facebook and let them do the marketing for you”
- “Post these ads to all the free sites and watch your hit counter spin!”
All these pitches miss one huge (and I mean huge) factor.
Without targeting the right audience your ad simply cannot succeed.
When it comes to traffic no amount of quantity can make up for poor quality
If you doubt that statement go buy 100,000 visitors from some traffic exchange. I did and sold nothing. And believe me, I was sending the traffic to a highly converting squeeze page when I ran the test.
If you want to know more about traffic visit my web traffic page here.
Step 6 – Email follow up marketing
I’ve written about this a lot. Read my articles about email follow up here.
Suffice to say this – email follow up marketing is the most powerful and automated way to make sales online.
Just the other day I was on a webinar for a $25,000 consulting offer. Guess what they were talking about? Email follow up marketing.
Old school, but it works.
If you want to put time on your side, gain true time and money freedom, and make money online the easiest way possible, learn as much as you can about follow up email marketing.
Of all the things I’ve ever done online, building and refining my follow up systems has been the most profitable by far.
So that’s the six steps. Now, briefly, the principles.
Principle 1 – Serve others
Zig Ziglar said it best – “You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Now that is profound in the extreme.
You really can have it all, the things money will buy and the things money won’t buy, by helping others get what they want.
Do you need to starve in the process? Nope.
Do you need to price your products so low that you barely get by? Not at all.
Helping others is not charity, although it can be. It’s a business strategy that believes in the best from mankind. It is a strategy that takes a risk by saying things like “I’m going to publish this blog free and, if I help enough people, they will buy my products”.
Does it work?
Man oh man.
Just look at Copyblogger or Chris Brogan, Ray Edwards or Seth Godin for examples. There are less famous examples too, of course, but those four alone have proven beyond a doubt that giving your best gets you far more than you are giving.
Principle 2 – Be yourself
I see so many people trying to write like this person or have a social media presence like this other person. Don’t get me wrong, emulating success is a good thing. But trying to sound like someone else who is successful is a mistake.
I agree 100% with Brendon Burchard, who says that everyone has a message to bring, a story to tell, and that their story can become their living.
Can we all be New York Times Best Selling authors like him? Probably not. But we can all share our stories. We can all shine our light.
One of the most amazing things in my life has been the idea that there are people who want to hear from me. They value what I have to say and share. And they buy my products. They become friends.
You have an audience of folks, just like I do and others do, that can benefit from what you have to share. They need your experience, your wisdom.
This is why having your own site matters so much.
If you will identify your message, create a platform from which you can share, and share openly as often as you can, your audience will find you. They will like you. They will trust you. And, yes, they will buy from you.
As I write this we are ending one year and preparing for another. I hope this message, this overview, from my heart, will help you chart a path that makes the coming weeks, months and years the very best of your life.
Remember when things were easy? They can be again. Never give up, keep your plans simple and workable, and, above all, keep your eyes on the prize.
The rewards of the “Internet lifestyle” are a beautiful thing indeed!