Category Archives: Internet

One thing has become clear to me in the last month or so. I simply don’t own enough of the internet!

I’m just trying to realize the scope of the problem. Until you get to the Guru status where people buy whatever it is you have to sell making money online is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Whether you’re making money on Adwords, building out niche sites, creating products or anything else. It comes down to one of two factors required to get real success:

  1. Testing massive numbers of niches to find one that works through either exhaustive market research, or just putting stuff out there.
  2. Putting something good out there and then spending lots of time or money pushing traffic to it trying to get it to work.

Both are valid approaches, but both require a lot of work. There’s no way around it. To build a solid passive income stream you need to do lots of work up front.

So I’ve started down this road of doing massive amounts of work by launching 10 new websites last night.

But that got me thinking. Just how many do you think I’ll need to get enough traction and find a site that really rakes in the money? How many websites do you maintain?

Share your thoughts.

Where is the value in the the work that you do as an entrepreneur?

I think the farther you can get from the commoditized skills the more money you’ll make.  A commoditized skill is anything that you can easily and simply abstract and have done else where.  Here are some examples of commodity skills:

  • Basic accounting
  • Website design
  • Customer support
  • Writing/Research

If it’s possible to use a service like Elance to connect you to people that will do the work cheaply and quickly, why would you want to compete in that space?

The real money is to be made in the skills that deliver the competitive advantage to your business.  At the highest level that is the strategy.

Being a good business strategist and knowing how to execute the strategy is like having a license to print money.  It’s a skill that I’m beginning to learn and will continue to try and master for the rest of my life.

Currently I’m doing a lot of the grunt work in my business.  I’m writing the reports, doing the research, designing the websites, and doing the promotion.  It’s a lot of work and it reveals a lot of inefficiencies.  The things that I like to do get done quicker while other parts get delayed and hold up the progress.

As the business grows more and more of that work will be taken off my plate and I’ll get to spend more time doing the higher value things like structuring offers, inventing product ideas, and networking with partners.  Those are the things that will really accelerate your income.  They are also skills that are hard to learn from a book or course.  You really need to spend some time in the trenches, make mistakes and continue on the path to mastery.

endeavour.jpgIn my last post I mentioned that I was thinking about the difference in investing in stocks vs investing in assets you can sell online. That thinking has evolved over the last week into deciding what is the best way to bootstrap a new online business.

You see the internet business that I started last year has been languishing since the beginning of the year without making any sales. Now I’m thinking of a re-launch, but this time I want to do it right from the start. A proper start that will create not just a small number of sales, but something that will be a real business.

The problem is that I’m basically starting from scratch again. I have the website set up but it’s getting no traffic. I have no email list, no connections, and no product. I’ve found a niche that which has made me $600 and I want to explore further. My next thing to do is to plan the creation of a real business from scratch.

Different internet marketers are all selling different approaches but the one thing that is hard to find is exactly where to start. If you have an email list there are tons of good products and ideas out there that you can just drop in to quickly make a huge impact in sales. If you’re already getting good traffic to a website then there is tons of stuff out there for tips on how to increase your conversions and how to leverage that traffic into collecting emails. If you have a product then there are ways to find other people to help with selling it.

But what do you do if you don’t have any of that to start with?

There are a couple of ideas that I’ve been spinning around in my mind. I’ve been weighing the benefits of different approaches. Launching a business properly is no easy task.

I still haven’t figured out the entire approach that I’m going to use, but stay tuned to this site as I reveal my business launch plan over the next few weeks.

I’ve been thinking about investing.

With the upset in the markets over the last few months due to the credit crisis, and a looming recession in the US which has led to record low interest rates as a last ditch effort to keep the economy growing. With many stocks taking a nose dive, I’m weary about putting more money into my stock investing account until we hit the bottom.

I’ve been trying to think of good alternate places to invest. To diversify my investments to something that has the potential returns of the stock market but isn’t as susceptible to market swings.

After reading a couple of blog posts (such as Why Do So Few Bloggers Sell Their Own Products? by Yaro Starak) and doing some pondering. I’ve come to the conclusion that investing in assets which you can turn around and sell could prove far more lucrative of an investment.

One of the things that I’ve done for this website and my online business ventures is to set aside some money automatically from my bank account into a savings account. This money is to be used to get HalOtis profitable and increase the cash flow. In the past I’ve used this money to pay for Google Adwords campaigns and pay for hosting of sites.

The missing part of the picture has been lack of products and business assets that I own and can resell over and over to continue to make a profit passively.

Lets compare the potential costs and returns from an investment in product creation vs. the stock market over a one year investment period.

Case 1

$1000 could be used to outsource the creation of an ebook and marketing material that would sell for $25. If you add in about 20 hours work to do some videos for youtube, find some affiliates or jv partners, create some webpages and link to those site with the social sites. The sale of just 40 copies of the book is the break even point. Lets say you have a fairly terrible launch and over the course of the year manage to sell just 50 copies. That works out to a total income of $1250 subtract the $1000 cost gives $250 profit or 25% return on investment for the year.

Case 2

$1000 invested in the market during an average year should return about 8% if invested in a market wide ETF. Of course, you’re at the mercy of the market the only thing you have control over is when you buy and when you sell. Market timing is notoriously difficult. Still, lets assume you had an average year and you’ve made your 8%. That’s $80 minus trading costs.

What’s the biggest difference between these two scenarios? In case one, you’re in control you decide what the ebook will be about after testing the market, you build the anticipation, you control the quality of the product and can do what ever it takes to create something that people want and then convince them to buy it. In case two you’re at the whim of the market, and of macro economic trends. There’s very little if anything you can do to influence your chances of beating the market.

Furthermore, it’s possible to leverage the exposure you get with this first product in case 1 for subsequent products. There’s the chance to create an email list, build authority, make connections to other sites, get more exposure in the search engines etc which can be leveraged time after time to get a bigger and bigger return each time. Not to mention that you can sell other peoples stuff at no cost for even more income!

When looking at these two scenarios side by side it’s easy to see that investing in your own product creation is a very effective way to invest your money.

As you might have been able to tell from the last couple of posts, I’m doing a lot more research about Internet marketing. I’m keeping my ear to the ground to keep on top of this dynamic business.

I’ve developed a short term project plan to help get some good quality content for my various websites.  I’m hoping that with some more good content matched with some time spent promoting the sites I should get back on track for my 2008 goals.

With the money that I’ve been putting aside to invest in my business I’m considering outsourcing some of the work to a virtual assistant. I need to jump start one of my websites with the creation of a mini-course or e-book that I can use to start an email list.

The more I read, the more important I realize the value of creating an email list. Websites can die very quickly if Google removes it from the index, or if it looses ranking. But having direct contact with customers gives you control, and adds an asset to the business.

One of my goals for this month is to open an aweber account and start creating mailing lists for my niche sites.  I’ll let you know how it goes, and continue to post interesting things that I find to this blog.

Over the past month I’ve been working on building out my content network, and doing a Google adwords campaign to help drive more traffic and generate sales from my websites. The end result was a significant increase over October’s income.

Due to a decrease in the number of posts I’ve been putting on this blog my Google Adsense income dropped down to just $1 for the entire month.

December is generally a slow month in the niche that I’m in, so I’m expecting a slow month; perhaps even a decrease over November’s numbers.

The plan for December is to spend even more time building out the content network and to dive into Facebook with some Facebook Pages, and perhaps an advertising campaign. If everything works out, that should hopefully power me through the year end slump. While I’m home for the holidays it might be hard to find time to keep up with everything. But if the chance comes up I’m going to try to explore some new niche ideas.

I’m pretty pleased with the way things have been going on my site. As I continue to build out and get more traffic the sales increase as well. The main site is still getting less than 200 people per day so there’s definitely room to grow.

Over the past four or five years I’ve tried to run websites monetized with advertising. In all of those years my biggest pay day was probably the one day that I made almost $4 from advertising clicks. At the time I was pretty ecstatic about the $4 payday. If I could just double the traffic to the site I could be making $4 everyday and maybe have a couple of $8 or $10 days. That would start to add up and I’d be able to put the money towards a new computer or something.

That never happened.

After years and years of having various websites my total income from Google Adsense is currently just $55. All those many hours of work over the years I was effectively making just pennies per hour. I don’t want to knock the idea of writing for a passion and you just happen to make money on the side. But the only way I can see to start really making some serious money online is to actually get closer to the actual sales part.

Affiliate Marketing is really a step closer to the business. Rather than just offering some space for a business to advertise you’re actively help make that business some income. They’ll reward you for that extra effort.

If you have a website right now consider adding a real product to the site to sell. Here’s how:

  1. Open a ClickBank account and find some products that are related to your niche in the marketplace.
  2. Get the hoplink for anything that might be of interest to your readers.
  3. Do up some advertisements and display them prominently on your site, like you would with Google Ads.
  4. Test test test.

Some more advanced things you might consider is to split test different ads or different products. That’s possible with something like OpenAds or just do some click counting with my url re-direction code.

Consider that for many Clickbank products you’ll make more on one sale than you’d make in a year with Google Ads. Give it a try!

Note I realize that this I use Google Ads, but that’s just because I want to hit the payout threshold so I can finally get paid for all those clicks over the years.

Earlier this week wrote a small PHP application to provide me with a self-hosted service like tinyurl with the addition of a traffic count. It is pretty rudimentary but allows me to have my own url-redirection without the complexity of HTML files with a META refresh.

The program I did has a simple interface that shows all my links and the current hit count for each one. There’s an add URL field that allows me to quickly add a new link. It’s all driven by a MySQL database.

With it I’m able to create links such as http://www.halotis.com/go/rss that quickly re-direct to the appropriate site.

NOTICE:
Nov 06, 2007 – Made some updates to the code to use smaller hashes, and fix some bugs
Nov 18, 2007 – Allow user to optionally specify the tag for more friendly urls.
Nov 30, 2007 – Bunch of new features. Added login security, updated mootools library, added version check notification, and cleaned up the settings code to make it easier to install and setup.

Download it here