Wow… all I can say is Wow! I just read an email from Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net and was blown away. I’m letting you in on a secret. His email is always on my “must read” list. It’s powerful stuff. Oh – some days it’s just a fun read… but Darren usually gets us all to thinking in new and creative ways – even when he is just sharing a fun story.
Last year I had the pleasure of watching Darren in action at a Live Blogging Conference. I even won a chance to have dinner with him. It ended up I had dinner in the same room – not at the same table. But I did get to sit next to Jim Kukral and share my ideas with him. Let me tell you… it’s a bit un-nerving to spend a weekend working at getting to talk to the “Guru’s”… especially when they are mostly men!
Anyway… As I was reading this email I felt like I was reading some of my own story. In fact I just shared a similar story with my sister-in-law over the Thanksgiving weekend.
As you probably already know… most of our friends and family have no idea how we “internet marketers” make money on line. It looks like a mystery (and possibly shady) to them. Most of my “group” thinks I sit around on my butt all day and watch reality telivision shows.
Darren explained in his email that the majority of his income came mostly from two sources…
- Advertising Revenue
- Affiliate Promotions
It’s hard to explain to anyone who isn’t an internet marketer just how money is made by promoting other peoples products and selling advertising. It just doesn’t seem to the “average Joe” that anyone could make a living doing just that all day. Of couse we all know that it can be done… but it’s hard to explain how. Do you remember when the light bulb first went on in your brain?
Sell Your Own Products
I am a huge advocate of affiliate/advertising business model. I make about half of my monthly revenue from advertising and affiliate marketing alone. But… early on – I learned that you must have your own products to sell as well.
Of course – you can have a profitable business model without selling your own products… but why would you?
Darren explained in this email that he had finally added a few of his own products to his online efforts and they had increased his income by 6 figures over the last 12 months. Wow! He is now walking the talk. He is selling products because of his blogging efforts… people just want to learn “more” from him.
I do have several different products of my own and I admit that they provide about half of my income. It does take time and effort to produce your own products… but once they are done… they just keep selling themselves. Why? Because of my blogs… people just want to learn “more” from me!
I’ve learned over the years what works (and doesn’t work) for me. To try to “start” your online business with your own product is a bit overwhelming for most… and it’s just plain easier to blog and grow your income with affiliate sales and advertising income.
Yes… you read that right… Start a blog! Put a few blocks of Google Adsense advertising in the articles and link out to products (with your own special affiliate code) that you feel good about recomending. I set my sister-in-law up with her first blog this weekend. She is pretty excited to finally “know” how to make money on line… now she just has to start writing content… and see if she really likes the “online business” model.
You have to treat blogging as a business for it to be a business… otherwise it’s just a hobby.
Then… when you are ready (you will know when it’s time) you can start creating your own products to increase your income potential. And… don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to be some big “Guru” to sell your own products. I sell products that don’t have anything to do with “Internet Marketing” and I do quite well with them… thank you very much.
Never Stop Learning!
Several months ago… I picked up one of Darren’s products. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
I’ve been blogging for several years… and after looking over articles I wrote years ago… I know I’m a much better blogger today than I realised. But… we all have to know that we should Never Stop Learning! And… learn from those that know what they are doing is really key!
This little course is so easy to follow and it works like a charm. Every day you will find a task to perform. The task at hand is explained in detail and you are also given a link to the discussion group for that particular task. I can’t tell you how many ideas I found in just the first 5 days. I admit that I haven’t even finished all 31 days yet… because I’m still using the formulas I learned in the first 5 days to write more new blog posts and get traffic to all of my blogs.
Yes… you read that correctly… I have a ton of blogs. They are so easy to set up and of course I have my own secret ninja ways to fill them with fantastic content that draws traffic to my blogs every day. And… I don’t spend a dime on advertising! I get all my traffic organically.
How has the economy changed my business?
- I’ve had to cut back on outsourcing… which means I have to work on being a bit more creative with my marketing. Everyone is on a tighter budget… so I am learning to add more value to everything I do.
- I’m cutting out spending money on stuff I don’t need. I cleaned the decks (so to speak) and purchase only what I need right now. If I see something of value that I can learn an USE right now… I’m more than willing to spend the cash.
- I spent some time focusing on weeding out the time wasters in my business day… and am focusing on the biggest bang for my time. Analysing your business and what makes the most profit for you is a very smart use of your time.
- I have products that are half finished on my hard drive. Geesh… they can’t sell until they are finished and have a “buy button”. So I’ve created a better to-do list that focuses on finishing projects and promoting them wisely.
- I am an affiliate for products that sell themselves. I just need to ramp up my promotions of those products and my income should increase in direct porportion to my efforts.
The economy has driven many marketers to make significant changes in their online efforts. I watched Tiffany Dow explain how she reinvented her online business on her blog (she shared with a video every day for 30 days). Watching Tiff and others reinvent their business is an eye opening experience. The best lesson I learned was how they are focusing on the profitable portions of their business and letting the “time wasters” go.
I have a long way to go to get my business “focused” and easier to maintain… what about you? What are you doing now in your business now that the economy has changed?