There are literally dozens of ways to make money online but, for most beginners, this variety is the problem. Too many different models to choose from and no solid game plan for working any one of them.
Some marketers have their hands in two or three or four different business models. This can be done with experience, but it spells disaster for newbies.
In order to make it to your first $100 online, you need to choose just ONE money-making business model and stick to it.
In other words, you need to learn how to walk before you can run. Once you completely master one business model, then you can consider adding on different tactics.
So, the first thing to realize about the big picture is that the opportunities are out there, and you can succeed, but only if you have the discipline to focus on just one, proven business model.
The second thing to realize is that…
While the ‘rules’ of the game may change, the fundamentals never do.
What does this mean?
It means that everything you learn in terms of marketing best practices, like: how to set up a website, how to capture and market to leads on your opt-in list, how to write great pre-sell and sales copy – will always be an essential part of your skillset.
And this also means you should ignore any hype you come across that claims certain long-standing, proven models are somehow dead (e.g., internet marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing).
When you see things like that, all it really means is that some of the tactics are in flux.
For example, there is some evidence that it’s getting harder to lure in subscribers using the free content trick.
However, think about where this tactic might be losing its effectiveness. It’s mostly in the “Internet Marketing How To” Niche; not in the less saturated, non-marketing-related niches.
Further, even if everyone online suddenly became less responsive to these tactics, all that’s necessary is a change in strategy.
Let’s say you weren’t getting any good results by giving away a free report to your niche…so change that up. Try offering audio, or video or software. Work on improving your landing page copy.
Here’s another example: let’s say one of your traffic sources wasn’t performing very well. You would definitely want to look at your advertising copy before you decide that source is junk, right?
The main point I want to get across here is that the proven money-making models aren’t going anywhere. What happens is that Internet usage patterns fluctuate, and customer needs fluctuate.
All you have to do is stay on top of the emerging trends in your target market and adjust accordingly. Last but not least…
It’s important that you strive for consistency, focus and patience.
Your mindset going into business online is very important. In fact, your mindset can make or break you. What is the right mindset?
Well, let’s begin with some of the obvious principles:
- Taking your business seriously (more on this further)
- Believing in your ability to succeed.
- Being willing to put in the effort necessary for success.
- Understanding how much and what type of effort is necessary
- Commit to a business plan/strategy.
Those are the common-sense principles every business owner follows. However, there is another aspect to having the ‘right’ mindset, and its one that is often overlooked.
Do you know the real difference between short-term and long-term income? It’s not what you might think.
Short term income can be harder to generate than long term income.
Each time you want to make some quick cash, you have to set up the transaction. This might be an Ebay auction, time-sensitive report or some kind of seasonal promotion.
The problem is that once you’re done, you’re done. In order to keep making money, you have to keep coming up with ‘one-shot’ schemes to pull in the cash.
Long term income, however, relies on real business models which can run all the time, pulling in a continuous stream of profit.
They may take more effort to set up in the beginning, but you eventually have a system that runs almost totally on autopilot.
Further, long term income opportunities offer room for growth. A good example here is affiliate marketing. In that business model, you’ve got a never-ending supply of different products to promote.
You can add on product after product to build up your income. You can promote programs that offer passive or recurring commissions (e.g., membership sites, web hosting, etc.) so that you keep getting paid, even when you aren’t working.
Another facet to long-term income is that it is consistent.
It doesn’t depend on fads or trends, seasonal sales (e.g., selling toys over Christmas) or the price of tea in China.
Instead, you bank on providing products and services that are in demand year-round. People are always looking for things like cars, clothes, entertainment, how to information, health and financial information, ways to improve relationships, solve problems and increase happiness.
No matter which income opportunity you choose, you must treat this as your real business.
Some people treat online income models lightly because they’re stuck in the old, brick-and-mortar concept of what a real business should look like.
They think if they don’t have an office space or dozens of employees, that they aren’t really running a business. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The people you market to online are real people, and they are real customers. Real cash changes hands due to your involvement.
Even if you’re, say, an affiliate marketer, and not physically shipping goods to a customer, you’re still running a business. In fact, you’re running a referral business.
So, which approach do you think would make you more money?
1. Casually promoting a couple of affiliate programs in your spare time.
2. Setting a real website and opt-in list, communicating with prospects and devoting at least 10 hours per week promoting your best affiliate programs?
Obviously, approach #2 is going to bring in the real income. That’s because you’re working from the same essential principles of all businesses: to provide education, communication and service.
Finally, if you’re going to start a serious business, then you need to have a business plan. You need to clear on your goals and on your strategy.
In other words, determine in advance:
1. Where you’re going
2. How you’ll get there
3. How long it should take you
We’ll call this your ‘master plan’…
This will be your first step (after you choose which money-making model to pursue), and one of the most important steps.
You see, the single biggest mistake made by beginners is in trying to wing it.
It is easy to understand why some people do this. It’s so simple these days to toss up a website and do some basic advertising.
The problem is that most people perform these tasks in an unfocused manner. They don’t know why they’re advertising on, say, Google Ads. They just know every guru out there is telling them to do it.
Doing things this way leaves you stranded.
A better approach is to have a detailed ‘road map’ which guides you from point A to point B.
You need to know:
- Who your target audience is?
- The best places to reach your target audience.
- What types of offers/advertising your audience responds to.
- How to leverage your efforts, so that you get more leads and more traffic for less money.
- Ways to get some leads and traffic in for free.
- How to nurture your prospects’ long-term and turn them into repeat customers.
- What the next step is in your business evolution once you’ve reached your first goal.
These are crucial points to consider before you begin, and it’s best to have a step-by-step plan for each phase of the process.
Everyone’s master plan is different because everyone approaches business differently.
One of the first steps you need to take is to sit down and write on paper what you want to do with your online business.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, however, the sheer act of putting on your thinking cap and committing your thoughts on paper has an almost magical effect – if you focus and follow through with what you plan.
Affiliate marketing is still, in my opinion, the number one way for aspiring Internet Entrepreneurs to get started.
- There’s no inventory expense.
- No hassles with payment processors.
- No extra time spent on processing refunds or returns.
- You still get to practice all the essential marketing skills that will bring success in any other business you pursue.
Think of it this way: if you’ve ever seen a product that made you say, ‘Wow, I know I could make sales if that were mine!’, then affiliate marketing is just the thing for you.
For all intents and purposes, any product you promote as an affiliate is your product. You take ‘ownership’ by promoting that product as whole-heartedly as you would if you were the merchant, or copyright holder, or whatever.
The beauty of it is that you reap a significant share of the profit on each sale, with less than half of the hassle.
Two Profitable Affiliate Marketing Models: Pay-Per-Sale and Pay-Per-Lead
The first thing to understand about affiliate marketing is that it is a ‘pay per action’ model. However, the meaning of ‘action’ is defined in a couple of different ways.
An action can be…
- The sale of a product.
- The generation of a new lead.
So, in other words, affiliates get compensated based on referring either customers or potential customers (leads). The action that the visitor takes is either to buy something or to fill out a form providing their contact information (becoming a lead).
Which type of affiliate marketing is easiest? The truth is they’re about equal, but pay-per-lead has a slight edge over pay-per-sale.
It is much easier to get a prospect to fill out information, especially if the merchant is offering them some sort of bonus in exchange for that information.
Auction Businesses Like eBay has been a huge money-maker over the years for a lot of people.
One of the best things about eBay (and an auction business, in general) is that people who would normally shy away from starting any other internet business (believing it to be too complex), are able to make serious incomes from home without a website or a list.
Not only that, but eBay is self-generating when it comes to traffic. You don’t need a huge ad budget for people to find your auctions.
If you want to go into business on eBay, you’ve got several approaches to choose from. Some are more difficult than others. Let’s take a look at what these methods are.
Physical products are what most people think of first. You can sell just about anything on eBay, from major electronics, to cars, to that rusty old wagon that’s been sitting in your garage for 10 years.
Now, the obstacle that you face here is finding products to sell and finding them at a low enough cost for you to make a profit selling them.
You can also auction digital products, like ebooks, software, special reports, etc. To be on the safe side, you’ll usually want to deliver these products on an actual, physical CD.
eBay claims that digital downloads are not permitted, but it seems to enforce that rule sporadically.
What types of digital products might you sell?
Your own ebooks, software, artwork, music, etc. Resale rights products you’ve acquired, products you’ve created from the public domain
This method, just like the e-class and teleseminar methods, allows you to create yet another high-ticket product of your very own.
Video tutorials are in high demand for all sorts of niches:
- Fitness and Exercise
- Computer learning
- Internet marketing
- Art and Music
- Sports, Hobbies, Recreation
Think about the types of things that people want to learn how to do like:
- Learning to build websites
- Learning how to use Photoshop
- Learning to play guitar
- Learning Karate or card tricks or new yoga poses
Any of these skills could be taught through a regular book or ebook, but the material really comes through when it is taught through video.
Live, in-motion demonstrations of what step to take, where to put your hands, what to click on… it’s the next best thing to taking an in-person class.
Let’s say you wanted to learn how to master a program like Photoshop. Photoshop goes very deep in terms of features and tools.
Would you rather learn by looking back and forth between a book and your computer screen? Or would you rather watch as someone else moves their mouse through the program, showing you exactly what to do?
A lot of people prefer the latter. It’s much easier to follow along on your computer, as things unfold. Not only that, but many people are visual and/or kinesthetic oriented in their learning.
That means they need to see and touch (or do) things in order to absorb new information efficiently.
Again, we’re working on the premise that you have some specialized knowledge or skill you can monetize. If you are proficient at any of the following:
- Graphic design
- Website design
- General or business writing
- Computer programming
…then you should consider going into business for yourself as a freelancer.
Outsourcing your own skills means that you can set the price on your time. Maybe your regular job is paying you $15/hr when you know you deserve and can pull down closer to $25-$30 per hour? If so, it’s definitely time to consider outsourcing your skills.
Why the market is hot, and you are in demand..
If you’ve read through your fair share of Internet marketing books, you’ve likely seen other marketers recommend outsourcing to you as a way of getting your products created, and generally speeding up your business development timeline.
There are hundreds of thousands of businesses looking to outsource the jobs they can’t or don’t want to do. There are marketers just like you and I who look for others to take care of things like graphics, or web scripts or handling customer support.
So, imagine turning the tables, and becoming that go-to guy who provides these services
The key with blogs is having both high-quality content and the implementation of solid monetization features. The most profitable blogs use a mix of Adsense type advertising and affiliate marketing.
This is very important because Adsense ads are contextual and culled from the keywords in the surrounding content. The more relevant the ads, the more clicks you’re going to get.
You can start a blog for just about any topic. However, you should pick a niche topic that has some solid affiliate programs and search revenue behind it.
Also, it’s important you know that blog readers, as a whole, are savvier than the average Internet user – and this is reflected in the types of blogs that are the most popular.
The hottest topics out there for blogging fall under Internet marketing, cutting edge technology and politics. Music and art related blogs also tend to draw a large audience.
Most often, you’ll find that these blogs offer a mix of news, how-to articles, reviews and opinions. Let’s go through how all this breaks down in terms of content.
- Product Review Blogs
- The Gadget Blog
- Informational Blogs
- Automated Affiliate Blogs
Now that we’ve reviewed these different models, it’s time to make a decision. Which one will you use?
The best thing to do is choose just one model and focus on it completely. Even though some of these models can be mixed and matched, it’s best to put off doing that until you’ve got your core model running and producing profit.
There are a lot of reasons for this:
- It’s easier
- It allows you to learn and master that one model completely
- It gives you a foundation on which everything else is built
In order to reach your goal, you’ll need to get started right away. Sit down with your master plan and get to work.
The key here is to focus on the phases of your business plan one at a time. For instance, during phase one when you’re doing niche market research, make sure you give your all to that process.
You might be tempted to skip steps, but don’t do it. You need to complete fully each phase in the process before moving on to the next one.
The reason is that time is of the essence here, and you need to have everything in place before you start driving traffic to your sales funnel. It’s best to be prepared for that, rather than trying to tie up the loose ends as you go along.
So, that’s step one.
The next part of the process involves getting clear on how you can best leverage your efforts.
Here, we’re talking about leveraging your initial profits in order to fund an increase in your advertising budget.
Let’s say that by your second week of business, you’ve generated $50 in profit, while spending $7.50 on advertising. Your net profit is $42.50.
The closer you come to your first $100, the closer you are to being ready for the next step: pushing past $100 to $150, $200, $300…etc.
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