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Rules for a Successful Online Business
“Learn fast, fail fast, correct fast, and connect fast” Linda Chandler, creator of the Core Value Training program.
Colin Powel, U.S. Secretary of State – “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
The Online Business Strategy Series is basically a snapshot of the best tips I’ve gained from 11 years running an online business. I’ve done my best to condense what I’ve learned into 9 major strategies.
I admit I’m not perfect, but you can learn a lot from me because I’m willing to share my mistakes with you.
Within this series you’ll get a glimpse of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. You’ll also see some of the successes. But I put more emphasis on the mistakes because often you can learn more from what didn’t work out than what did.
People (including myself) have made a fortune with the advice you are about to get right here for free.
My business revenues have been well into the 6-figure a year range soon after I started my first online business (in 2001). I’ve generated revenues from a lot of different online business ventures. In fact, I’ve earned over $100,000 in a single year from most everything; selling my own products, affiliate commissions, and even Adsense.
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of me before. So to let you know what I’ve done so you can decide for yourself if you’d like to take my advice or not, here are a few of my successes:
- Started a business where I created a physical training course with several parts to it (including software). The course was expensive (over $500) and I ran that business for many years, helping many people learn the material the course covered.
- Ran pay-per-click (PPC) ads like Google Adwords to affiliate sites. I made a lot of money selling stuff in the computer utility market. At one point I was near to a steady 5-figure a month profit just from running paid advertising from sites like this.
- Created several sites in the education industry and earned great money from affiliate offers through them (earning well into the 6-figure a year mark with this simple strategy).
- Built up many sites and monetized them with Adsense. I earned over $100,000 in a single year from Adsense.
- Sold sites to other business owners in the 5-figure range.
- Launched an SEO training course that’s helped teach over 1,000 people how to get high rankings. My SEO site receives tens of thousands of monthly visitors due to the free training people can get on the site.
- In 2012 I created the Authority Site Model, a course geared toward online business owners who want to develop a content strategy for getting high rankings, traffic from links on other sites, and visitor referrals.
With this mix of my online business background, I am 100% certain that it doesn’t matter if your business model is based on the creation and marketing of your own products (or services), earning from affiliate/CPA offers, or even generating advertising revenues (like Adsense). I know the advice in this series relates to your business model because I’ve tried and succeeded to a pretty good extent with all of them.
I’m confident that the business strategies I share in this series relate to most any online business model there is.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I’ve reached a time in my life where I’ve decided to pursue something highly meaningful and hopefully epic.
This online business strategies series is unique in the fact that I’ve done well with many different business models online. And I’ve successfully trained many people to grow their online business too.
I know if you take the time to review this series of articles and really think about the information contained within it, you’ll be able to short-cut the time it takes you to succeed.
I want to help you build and grow your business faster. I want to teach you what I’ve learned so you can go out and apply these fundamental rules to your business and see phenomenal growth. So we’ll get started in the next part of the series …
Part 1 – Mindset
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell
“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” – Wayne Huizenga
If you’re involved in an online business because you think it’s going to be an easy way to make money, think again.
It’s not really any easier to run an online business than a regular, traditional business.
The fact that you can reach so many more people online than any other medium is incredible, but if you’re making money online, you’re still running a business.
In all honesty, many of the strategies in this series apply to ANY type of business, not just an online business.
If you’re looking at making a quick buck or turning your computer into an ATM machine then you’ll probably not like me anymore for saying this, but dig in now because there’s a long, hard road ahead of you.
You’ll end up parting with a lot of money because many people out there are more than willing to help feed you the make money online quickly and easily fairytale, all the while taking your money by selling you secrets or push button tools (that don’t exist).
So it’s not worth it.
If this is starting to sound like you, then you’re an opportunity seeker. You don’t really have the right mindset for success (not right now at least).
But you can change this.
And you really NEED to change it.
You need to start making the shift toward the entrepreneur’s mindset. Or at least start thinking like someone who’s planning on starting a business.
So if you’re going to start a business, what do you do?
First you’d want to figure out how you officially get the business started up. How’s it legally made? How do you set up a business entity?
I know the laws and rules are different across the globe, so if you don’t have it set up yet, you really need to find out how you go about establishing a business in your country.
You also want a separate bank account so you can at least keep track of your income. That’s because depending on where you live, you’ll likely have to pay taxes on your business income.
All this is just a standard part of doing business. And again, you can do all this in a single afternoon so there’s not much to it.
From there you need to figure it out what you’re doing and take some action.
If there’s something you don’t know how to do then you need to learn how to do it.
People ask me what I do and when I tell them I run an online business, they go, “oh I wish I could do that, but I don’t know how to make a website”.
I didn’t know how either at first, but I was willing to learn.
And so can you.
You’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone and learn some things.
This is especially true with an online business. There are many technical aspects you’ll have to figure out. But you can learn how to do them. Or you can PAY someone to help you do some of them.
Again, make sure you have the right mindset. That you are starting or growing a business. And that there will be some work involved.
One thing about starting and growing any type of business is that you’re in charge.
You’ll have to make decisions.
They won’t always be the right decision, but they need to be made.
Often NOT making them really holds you back because until you do something, nothing’s going to happen.
Being able to make decisions quickly is a great thing, but difficult to do.
That’s a crucial point of difference between running a business and working for someone else. If you run the business, you have to make the decisions. You can’t ask someone else. You have to figure it out.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking a business coach could help me figure out how to grow my business. I spent a few thousand dollars on an 11 week coaching program several years ago and at the end of it, I was a few thousand dollars poorer and really had no more clear idea of what I was doing.
I was waiting for the coach to tell me what to do, but she wasn’t going to.
I already had a business and I just wanted to learn how to grow it. In the end, it was something I had to figure out for myself.
Often that’s just how it works.
You can’t expect anyone else to help you figure out these difficult business decisions for you.
YOU’LL have to do it. And figuring them out quickly is the best course of action.
One thing I’ve learned is that there are usually many ways to reach success or see your business grow. So if you’ve got a lot of great ideas on how to get there, then pick one and stay on the course.
Part 2 – Matter
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” – Debbi Fields
You can’t hide behind the online part of the online business.
It’s still a business.
All successful, legitimate businesses work because they are offering something to people and selling it for a price people are willing to pay.
Even if you’re earning or trying to earn through Adsense or affiliate offers, you still have to offer value.
Even if you sell an ebook and write it with a pen name.
Even if you offer a service and try to hide behind your corporate logo.
There still has to be value for your potential clients in order for you to see success.
Whatever you create needs to matter, it needs to add value and help people.
At its core, it should make a difference.
So at the basic core of your online business strategy, you need to have the answer to this question; what are you going to offer and how will it help people?
If you’ve already got something going, how can you make it more valuable? How can you help EVEN MORE people?
These are the two questions that always result in the most growth for your business.
Make sure to revisit them often.
If ever you stray from these fundamental questions, you will likely see your business plateau or even drop off.
And if it starts dropping off, I’ve found that revisiting these questions will often put me back on the path to increasing it.
Again, the two questions are:
How can you make your product, service, or website more valuable?
How can you help more people with it?
Often you can increase your income just by thinking about these two questions when it comes to your marketing.
With an online business, you usually create content in order to keep the traffic coming.
Content for visitors, for SEO purposes, content for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and anything else. Content is like a magnet for getting visitors.
But the thing is, even that free content you give away should be valuable.
You’ll see the best results if your goal is to help people even with the content you give away for free. It’s an important strategy to keep in mind.
People go online to be entertained and to find information (some is just casual information, some is to help them make life changing decisions).
So you really need to have your head on straight with this and make sure you’re in the right place. Because people from all over the world can see your site.
They can get to your information. So you don’t want to put out garbage.
You wouldn’t do that if you were writing an article for a magazine. So you really shouldn’t do it online.
There’s so much anonymity online which is fine, but don’t take so much advantage of it that you’re churning out garbage or even just filler. If you do then you’ll eventually see a plateau or even a drop-off in your business if it ever even gets started.
Plus it’s just a bad way of doing things as far as relating to people.
Less content that is truly valuable is a better strategy than plastering content that’s low quality everywhere you can. Although it’s very tempting to do, the plaster-it-everywhere technique does not work as well (believe me, I’ve tried this and learned this the hard way).
Often if you just focus on what will help people then you can reach pretty awesome heights in your business. You can stop worrying so much about pricing, upsells, and the perfect sales copy, and spend more of your time on what can you put together that will actually help people.
Make a site for your topic and worry more about the visitors needs.
What will make them happy that they landed on your site?
Often that’s exactly what will cause your site to be shared and gain links. All that brings you traffic and that will cause your site AND your income to grow.
Part 3 – Money
“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.” – Zig Ziglar
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am Old I know it is.” – Oscar Wilde
You’ve got to watch your money. My grandparents used to say, “Money isn’t everything, but try living without it.” And they were right.
It’s not fun.
I can remember living in a one bedroom apartment after college and feeling the strain of barely making it each month. When you don’t have enough money, you find yourself thinking about it all the time.
So the best way to keep yourself out of a problem situation is to plan ahead and watch your finances.
I’m not a financial advisor, but saving money is a huge deal. It’s fantastic to have a lot of money saved away. But it’s hard to do. Every day you have a choice in that you can spend the money or you can keep saving it.
But, you never really know what’s going to happen.
A competitor can pop up who’s got a better product or solution. Or one that has something different about it that a lot of people find more attractive.
Traffic sources can and do come and go. Differences in lifestyle and the economy can have a negative impact on your business.
And this isn’t just limited to running your own business. If you’ve got a job, then jobs can come and go too. So although we all fall into the trap of feeling secure, often it’s false security.
The thing is, if you’re making $10,000 a month, even if you’ve been earning that for several years, you’re not guaranteed that same level of income the next month.
Bad stuff happens.
So planning for it can help alleviate some of the stress if it ever does.
If I could take all the things I’ve made profitable and make ALL that money, each year over the last 10 years, I’d have at least a couple million dollars sitting in a bank somewhere.
But there were several things I did that were only profitable for a while. Most of them I thought would be profitable forever.
But nothing lasts forever.
With business you have to keep adapting and if you have a small vision then it seems you have to be willing to adapt even more.
As an example, at one point I was running Adwords and other pay-per-click ads to a few sites selling computer utilities like registry cleaners and spyware removers.
All I had were a couple of sites, a small newsletter, and the ads (which if you aren’t familiar, are very short and easy to create). So there wasn’t much to this online business venture.
I was making just about $10,000 a month running those ads to my sites. I thought, wow, I can just keep cranking out sites like this and after a short while, I’ll never have to work again.
Except then doomsday came.
Adwords started checking the ads and the landing pages and decided they didn’t like what people like me were doing.
People searched for registry cleaners, they were taken to a site like mine (which was actually pretty decent) and if they wanted to buy a product they could and I’d earn a commission for it. There were no fake reviews or anything.
I was PAYING Adwords and other pay-per-click engines money for Pete’s sake.
Who would have thought they’d decide NOT to take my money anymore?
But that’s kind of what they did.
At least that’s what Google did.
Overnight the ads that were costing me a dime were now $5 or more.
That’s for the exact same ad I was running just the day before.
It became pretty unprofitable to run the ads and I stopped.
So I guess they didn’t exactly stop taking my money, they just made it so I couldn’t give it to them anymore.
I was able to salvage some of that business because I had been getting traffic from other sources too, but it’s just random stuff like that that catches you off guard.
It was pretty crazy because no one really expected the so-called Adwords Slap and fortunes were lost overnight (way more than what I was making).
Not a fun story, but things like this happen and you usually can’t predict them.
So making sure you’ve got some money saved away is important. At the very least, realize that nothing everything you do is going to last forever. You’re going to have to adapt and watch out for what’s around the corner.
It’s common sense, but with any type of business there’s always stuff that can come out of nowhere and throw a big wrench into things.
Also do make sure you’re only spending what you really need to.
Although you may not need a storefront when you’re running an online business, there are many tools you can get sucked into buying.
Some you need, but others you really don’t.
So just make sure you revisit your spending every year or even every quarter and get rid of what you’re not using.
I recently did this and was able to let go of a couple thousand dollars of tools I was paying for each month. That’s the same as earning a couple thousand extra dollars every month.
Part 4 – Management
“I think a lot of developments start with the desire of the developer to get what he really wants so that he can use it. It’s not just the technical fascination of the business opportunity”. – Ray Dolby.
“I am definitely going to take a course on time management … just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” – Louis E. Boone
This strategy involves doing the stuff that makes a difference in your business.
You’ve got to watch how you spend your time AND how others working for you spend their time.
If you have a job then you’ll get paid no matter what you do (well unless you’re slacking off so much that you get yourself fired).
But it’s not like that with business. Only certain activities will wind up earning you money. So you’ve got to make sure you figure out what those tasks are and do more of them.
If you’re in the position to outsource or hire, one of the best uses of your time will be to tell your assistants how you want something done. The better you explain to them what you want, the more likely you will be to get it.
If you want a logo, show them examples of logos you like. Explain what you like about those examples. What is your company trying to convey? Who are you helping?
You can write up a quick couple of paragraphs with examples. I know it’s just a logo, but if you want it done well that’s what you have to do.
If you don’t do this and instead just say, “I want a logo”, you’re probably not going to get what you want.
A lot of small business owners like to do everything themselves, but it’s often because they don’t get what they want when they outsource. That can usually be alleviated if you spend a little more time explaining what you want.
Everyone tells you to outsource this and outsource that.
But outsourcing can be dangerous.
Pay attention to the details. Never assume your outsourcers know what you mean.
You need to spell it out.
You need to see if your outsourcers are on the right track by looking at what they’re doing.
And if they do a good job, the next time you have a similar project don’t just start all over and find a new outsourcer.
Use the same person.
Build a relationship with experts; graphic designers, writers, software developers, marketing people. Even if they’re just doing tasks like data entry, you need to build a relationship with them and use the same people so you save time.
So just be nice to them and pay them on time. Simple stuff like that will make it so they WANT to work with you again and they’ll WANT to do a good job for you next time too.
Try to spend the most time on what brings in profit which is usually what makes your stuff, like your product, or whatever it is you offer cooler. This makes what you offer more valuable (again, this works even if all you offer is a website with advertising on it).
Part 5 – Momentum
“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“Every day that goes by without you launching your latest project is a day that you could be using to test and IMPROVE upon what that project produces.” Your project will never be perfect. You could have always made it better. You could have always done this or done that. “The biggest mistake we entrepreneurs make is trying to make our little projects PERFECT before we are willing to launch them and see what they will do.” John Reese
If you’re working and seeing no results then it’s hard to keep going.
And sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you give up and go find something else to work hard at.
It’s easy to do. I’ve given up too quickly on projects just like I’ve seen many other people throw in the towel way too quickly.
Often you really don’t know if something’s going to ever be profitable when you start.
But you’ve got to take a chance.
My very first business revolved around selling a test prep product. If you can believe it, I spent 14 months creating that product. That was crazy!
I did have a full-time job at the time so I couldn’t work on my product that much.
Plus the course I was working on was huge.
So it was slow going.
Even though it took me that long I still only launched the first version of my product. I was able to add a lot more to it later and make it better.
So it’s not like I spent all that time trying to make the perfect product.
I added so much to that product that I was able to go from selling a lot at a $200 price tag up to still selling a lot at a $700 price tag.
And even though it took me so long to get that product completed and ready, starting with a smaller version of the product sped things up.
The point is, it’s OK to release version 1 and have plans to release version 2 later on. It’s simple, but that’s a smart strategy that will help you build momentum.
Make the second version better and as you do charge more if you want. Just get it out there to begin with and then make adjustments.
Every day you don’t have it out there you’re losing money.
With a website, it’s never truly done. You can always add to it. You can always adjust what you already have. It gets better and grows over time.
In order to get the most momentum come up with the bare minimum of what you need to do.
I did this very activity with the BusinessBolts.com site you’re reading this article on.
I thought about the bare minimum I needed to start promoting the site.
Most of my time was spend on an SEO report and a few articles.
I had plans for loads of content on the site, but I only started with maybe 10 pieces of content at the time of the launch.
The graphics on the site were OK. I figured I could always change them later on, but they are good enough for a launch so that I can get started promoting the site faster.
A solid strategy is to try to get something out and done within 1 to 2 months. If it’s not done by then you may never finish it.
That’s how you’ll gain the most momentum.
For most sane people, sticking with something that’s not going anywhere after 6 months is going to cause them to give up.
It’s kind of only natural.
Thinking about small achievements also helps you stick with it.
If you’re working on your product, break it up into sections. If it’s software make it do one thing first and then add in other features.
Information products can be broken up into chapters or training modules.
Even traffic can be broken up into small achievements.
Once you launch your site you might make it a goal to get just 10 visitors a day.
When that’s steady move up to an average of 100 visitors per day.
Keep moving up.
Once you start getting decent steady traffic, then you’ll get people signing up to your newsletter.
At some point you’ll see money coming in.
But don’t expect to go from zero to $xx,xxx a month immediately. If you can that’s great, but you’ll have to have a good plan in place for that to happen.
The same with the growth of your business. If you can double your earnings in 30 days that’s fantastic, but don’t give up just because it doesn’t happen. Build off the momentum, even if it’s small at first.
Part 6 – Mining
“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.” – Mark Twain
“Websites don’t link to other websites. People point to other people’s work.” – Lyndon Antcliff
The internet is big and the way it’s organized is through keywords. If you want to find out about something, then you need to figure out what keywords people will use to describe it.
This is vastly important.
The internet is not like TV where you just sit there and get spoon-fed things.
There’s a program with every TV channel.
Someone else planned out what you’re going to watch.
You can either sit there and watch it or flip the channels, but each one is all programmed out for you.
The cooking channel is going to show you healthy cooking, then vegetarian dishes, and then commercials for stuff they think you might buy in between.
You don’t have a whole lot of control.
In contrast, the internet puts you in complete control.
And keywords allow you to navigate it.
So figuring out what keywords people use to find your stuff and the topics it’s related to is crucial.
And this is a skill you can develop that will help you in many areas online.
It’s not just for the search engines.
Pretty much any way you plan to generate traffic online starts with keywords. You’ve got to figure out what keywords people use to search for your stuff.
It’s how people with a problem search for the solution. How they articulate what they’re looking for.
You need to anticipate what keywords they’re using to find information like yours and you need to be right there when they search.
So where are they going to go? If you’ve got drinks, where are the thirsty people? What time of the day are they out?
It’s the same thing online.
You figure it out and then you’ve got to be there.
But how do you get there?
By writing about those keywords. Become the trusted authority for that specific type of information.
That’s one thing I see more than anything else. People start a blog for their business and they just write about random stuff.
But to see better results, you need to incorporate keywords people want to know about into the content. Not just write about random stuff.
Think about the keywords before you spend the time to write anything you hope will attract people. If you can incorporate them in there then that’s going to be well worth your time.
As an example, when I first started out SEO was one of the main ways to get traffic to a site. So naturally that’s where I started learning how to get visitors.
But I did not pay as much attention to keyword research at first. I didn’t understand how to use the tools and I thought it was all very boring.
So I just wrote stuff that I THOUGHT people visiting my site would want to know. I did OK and ranked high for a few keywords, but it wasn’t until I had a breakthrough moment that I saw a traffic explosion.
That breakthrough moment was to find all the keyphrases people searched for related to my topic.
Every last one of them.
Then I organized them in a way that a group of them went together.
And then I’d write content around that group.
Basically, I would just insert each keyphrase from the group into the content one time.
And that’s all it took.
My pages would now rank high for 5, 10 or even more keyphrases just because I took this extra step to plan all this out.
So I started getting 5, 10 times as much traffic. All from very little extra effort.
The work wasn’t all that fun, but I’ve been doing it this way ever since.
And that’s one the main strategies to my high traffic volumes.
Even if SEO isn’t your thing, pretty much all online traffic generation strategies start with keywords. For pay-per-click, media buys, and pay-per-view traffic, you need to round up your keywords and then bid on them.
Even if you’re optimizing a video for YouTube.com you should think about the keywords people use to search for information like yours.
The whole internet is at your fingertips if you know how to use a search box.
So figuring out what your potential customers are going to type into that search box is crucial.
No matter if you’re trying to market from Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or most any paid methods.
Pretty much every site has a search box.
You need to find your crowd and keywords are often the way right to them.
So gathering up a big list of keyphrases people related to your topic use is very important.
Once you’ve got that list, figure out how you’re going to get in front of them.
Part 7 – Message
“The written word is the strongest source of power in the entire universe.” – Gary Halbert
“All lasting business is built on friendship.” – Alfred A. Montapert
For all the copywriting stuff out there, the one thing that’s worked the best for me is to just be genuine.
Think about who you’re trying to help with your solution and then convey the aspects of your solution to that one person.
There’s no a bigger turn-off when you’re shopping then to have Joe the high pressure used car salesman follow you around the car dealership telling you what a great buy all his cars are.
Don’t be that car salesman.
Just be genuine.
I’ve hired copywriters and then never felt comfortable using what they wrote for me. It had too much hype in it. And I just didn’t feel good using it.
You can be different. You can break copywriting rules. You can just be yourself.
A lot of times you can educate people more than trying so hard to sell them stuff. If you have an information product you can give part of it away. All you need to do is say, “here’s this free stuff and if you liked that, I’ve got this other thing here (that you can buy)”.
Your product, service or website is your solution. It’s what you have to offer.
But there should really be something about your solution that makes it different from all the other products, services or websites in its category. If not you need to re-work what you’ve done and get some kind of difference in there.
Is it easier to use? Faster? Does it give you better benefits?
If so that’s what you can spend the most time talking about in your sales copy.
That difference is often your best angle.
Why is your product better? How is it more elegant? Why should people buy your stuff instead of someone else’s?
Even if you’ve just got a website you should spell this stuff out.
Or else why should they keep coming back to your site? If you don’t spell it out, next time they may go somewhere else.
You need to have a reason why and then you need to spell that out very clearly.
You may even want to just flat out say … ‘here is the reason why our weight loss ebook is different’. A good strategy is to have a page on your site that says ‘Our Difference’ and goes into what your differences are.
Just spell it out and spend a lot of time thinking about this if you haven’t already.
It makes writing your sales copy much easier.
And it’s nice if your difference is easy to understand and remember. Usually with effort on your part it will be.
Who is your stuff for?
Find out who those people are.
I hear a lot of copywriters say you need to figure out your ideal client.
That can be hard.
If you can do it then that’s great, but sometimes you have more than one type of person and I think it’s OK to figure them all out.
This has been a point I’ve struggled with, trying to figure out that one ideal client.
Are they really a man or woman? How old? I mean, I could have either a man or a woman as the ideal client for my SEO products. I could have a 20 something or a 50 something. So that kind of stuff is powerful, but in some ways too limiting for me.
It’s kept me from doing anything at all before. Because I don’t know.
I think more about what are their problems? How does my thing fit in as the solution?
And then I get to work.
There’s always going to be something you can say that will make your conversion rate go up. But you’re not going to find it during your first try. It’s just better to put something out there and then if you want to test it against something else later on go for it.
There’s always going to be a way to twist the truth a little about your solution to make more people buy it. I DON’T recommend that.
Some copywriters will try to make you happy and they’ll start leaning toward that path. Be careful you don’t put marketing materials out there that’s too over the top.
Make sure to be genuine when writing your sales copy and your marketing materials. Although I’m not an expert copywriter or anywhere close to it, this is a good business strategy to use. People are attracted to others who care about them and when you’re genuine you care.
Part 8 – Method
“Anyone who’s had a tattoo knows once you get your first one, as you’re walking out the door, you’re planning the next.” – Chris Evans
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein
If they buy this thing, what should they buy next? You really need to be strategic about that. It’s better to have a product suite and not a one-hit wonder.
This works even if you’re trying to earn with affiliate offers or advertising revenues. You want there to be lots of options. You need to have a number of different solutions to tell your visitors about.
I know with my registry cleaner stuff, I’d tell people about spyware remover too. I already knew they had a computer and they were probably concerned or having problems with it, so they needed both.
And antivirus software.
It wasn’t just about one thing, but the whole product suite. And you can do this in a way that’s helpful, and not just bombard people with offers they need to buy. Take the time to explain what each type of problem is and then tell your visitors about a product they might be interested in.
With the products I’ve personally created, I’ve had many one-hit wonders. There are some markets where you really can’t expand on a product, you only have one.
Those are not the best markets to be in.
You’ll know it when you get yourself into a market like that.
You should use them as learning experiences and then move on.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking having just one product is enough. And then I’ve thrown all my time and energy into that one product. It actually works better if you have a suite of products or solutions.
This is especially true with information products. You end up looking like more of an expert when you have a suite of products. And really, it’s the same if you have a suite of software applications or anything else.
Your company looks bigger. You have the solution to many more problems so that’s pretty cool. People are more likely to buy from you than your competitors if you look like you can solve more problems.
Having a plan or strategy in place for how to expand is very important.
But this is in contrast to the whole multiple streams of income thing. You’ve probably heard people try to talk you into this and it sounds great.
The thing is, if you have 5 things going on and you’re in 5 different markets, you’re going to run around in circles. It’s just too much to manage.
I suggest sticking with one market and finding all the solutions you can for that one market. Whether you create the products or offer the services, or find people to partner with (for affiliate commission or advertising fees). You can stick with that one market and offer different solutions to your visitors.
I’ve made the mistake of being in several different markets and businesses at the same time and it really makes things hard. You can’t focus and you can’t be the best at any of them.
Again, instead of doing that I feel the best business strategy is sticking with one market and providing several solutions in that market. Then you can take the time to diversify where your traffic comes from, which is really smart and will help you grow and stabilize your business.
Part 9 – Mobility
“Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” – Roger Tory Peterson
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” – Peter Drucker
This last online business strategy is important. Sometimes a business idea works out, but you just don’t want to do it anymore.
The great thing is you DON’T have to.
If you’ve got a business that you’ve made profitable, you can sell it. And if you’re thinking about moving on, you SHOULD sell it.
This is probably the strategy I still have the most trouble with because the idea of selling a business has been a scary thing to me. But it’s not really any different than anything else.
You’re allowed to part ways with it.
Here are a few signs that you’re getting close to moving on…
You can’t seem to grow your business anymore, but you really want to achieve more.
You’re tired of it.
It’s not fun anymore.
If you’re starting to feel this way take the risk and sell it.
You’ll have to figure out if it makes the most sense to you, but there have been MANY times I wished I would have just sold a business.
Unfortunately when you can start checking off the points above you’re probably on the edge of ruining your business anyway. So it’s really probably better to get rid of it and give it a chance to flourish through someone else who thinks it’s exciting and new.
That way you get the money for the sale and you can start something new.
Some people love what they do and would never part with it.
And that’s fine too.
I know I am not that way.
You’ll have to figure out how it works for you.
But starting up lots of different things is a big drain of your energy. I’ve found I would have been better off getting rid of the old business before I started up a new one many times.
And taking a cash payout for your business will help you start something new. It’s often worth the risk, especially if you’re not happy with what you’re doing.
And having different websites often count as different businesses.
Luckily there are many people who are happy to buy online businesses. If you’ve been earning through affiliate or CPA offers it’s possible to approach the company who you were earning from. Often those people are the best fit for you.
Wrapping It Up
In this Online Business Strategies Series, I’ve attempted to get you thinking about your business differently than you may have before.
This stuff is incredibly important.
I keep the strategies in mind for everything I do.
Some of the online strategies aren’t exactly shocking. We all run around looking for secrets but it’s usually the basic, less glamorous stuff that moves us ahead by leaps and bounds.
Here’s a quick recap of the Online Business Strategies I shared with you in the tutorial:
- Work on your business. It’s not a hobby.
- Make decisions.
- Provide value in EVERYTHING you do.
- Think about the person reading your marketing materials, your content, using your products or getting your service. Give them content that will truly help.
- Let the quest to provide value guide you when you’re not sure what to do next.
- Realize that you never know what tomorrow may bring. You’re income can disappear.
- Not having money sucks so you should save when you can and watch what you’re spending.
- Figure out what tasks are making you money. Do more of that.
- Manage your outsourcers carefully.
- Break things down and build momentum anywhere you can.
- Celebrate the small successes to keep moving forward.
- Mine all the keyphrases you can.
- Work them into your marketing messages and your traffic generation strategies.
- Be genuine. Don’t worry too much about putting together the perfect marketing campaign the first (or even second try) because that will only slow you down.
- Fortunes have been made with genuine copywriting and genuine sales processes.
- Have more than one solution.
- You don’t have to have the same business your whole life.
- You’re allowed to change things up. If you’re feeling like moving on sell your current business and use the money to start something new.
Here are a few final thoughts …
Running an online business is hard. Often it’s harder because we have so many choices. There are so many tactics and strategies.
Options are great, but they can really take a toll on your productivity.
Please keep these 9 strategies in mind. If you follow them your business will grow.
They’ll serve you as a framework for moving forward.
If you let these strategies guide you then you’ll know exactly what your next step should be. That alone is very powerful.
I want to tell you that I really appreciate you taking the time to read this series.
Please don’t overlook the simplicity of some of these strategies. What’s contained in this series can greatly increase your business.
I love the fact that I can give you this valuable information for free.
I’m not going to ask you to buy something of mine now that you’ve reached the end.
But in order to help me reach my goal of serving as many online business owners as I can, please spread the word about this series and my BusinessBolts.com site.
It’ll only take you a minute, but it would mean the world to me.
If you’ve got Facebook or Twitter do something as simple as liking it or tweeting about it.
Help me spread the word about my site so that I can help more people grow their business by making a difference in the lives they touch.
I really appreciate your support and wish you all the best.