Its been two years that we’ve been based in Perth, two years since I got my partner to agree to support me while I developed my online passive income business – he asked how long – I said Christmas…
In fact this was the blog post on my long-defunct blog of the time:
I think it just hit me that we’ve signed a 6-month lease on the flat! It seems a bit odd being in one place, but it feels even odder not going out and looking for a job. Although I have done the odd bit of travel in fact since I left uni I have either been employed or travelling. So its a little strange to be sitting here on a laptop trying to develop a self-employed online income without actually having an employer! It does have some benefits, like no starting time, but also some disadvantages, like no finishing time. Its weird to be honest – but I do “know” (in the virtual sense) people who are making over US$1000 month doing this so I think its worth a try. I seem to be able to write but at the moment I having problems with the technology setting up another blog.
Its been an “interesting” two years- in fact just after “that” Christmas, I quit thanks to dodgy programs like Teaching Sells and got myself a part-time job – two for a while. But the dream wouldn’t go away – and although I am somewhat of the school of “if you don’t succeed – walk away and don’t look back” – this dream of an online income really seemed like a much better lifestyle than working for real!
So what have I learned in two years? Well I can tell you I rarely have technical problems setting up sites anymore 🙂 And yes I can write – but I prefer to write on topics I like – not necessarily topics that pay me! Also I learned that neither of those skills are very important – better to learn how to do it yourself – but outsource if you really don’t want to.
There are well known phases of learning which you’ve probably heard before:
- not knowing what you don’t know
- knowing that you don’t know
- knowing but having to consciously think about it
- automatic knowledge
When I started online – I thought that I would write some great content and I would make some money – seriously – those are the only blogs I found – you wrote about stuff you were an expert on and then figured out how to make money later. I don’t even think I realised what search traffic was, I certainly didn’t know what a backlink was!
Here’s all stuff I’ve now learnt:
- how to chose keywords which are profitable and not too competitive
- how to set up websites
- how to find/write/outsource content
- how to build links
But that’s still the technical stuff – its easy enough to learn if you are of even average intelligence.
I wasted probably about 18 months learning that stuff – you can save yourself the time by either buying Janet’s Nomad’s Guide e-Book or enrolling in The Keyword Academy.
Neither program will guarantee to make you money though – no legitimate online businesses do. But given the cost of wasting 18 months of frustration learning this stuff the hard way they are well worth the price.
But they actually don’t teach you the most important thing that I’ve learnt in the last two years:
You Must Learn How to Sell Online
You can learn all that technical stuff and still not make money though. And I had an incident on the TKA forum today which made me reflect on that. Someone reviewed a product that I use and am an affiliate for – he didn’t include an affiliate link. Someone else on the thread asked for an affiliate link – I jumped on and provided the link, called myself a shameless whore and also included a link to a hub which was my fairly long review of the product – I went to bed – its a timezone thing. Someone else seeing my link thought that was pretty spammy of me – others waded in with views ranging from only the bold win and whores make good money. I saw where the thread went this morning and really did laugh out loud. It was really funny – because two years ago I would never have added my affiliate link. It didn’t seem nice somehow – you know – a bit commercial. I would have felt uncomfortable about asking for money.
And that people is the key – if you are going to be successful in any business – and certainly in an online business you have to be able to close the sale – how do you close a sale ? You ASK! Seriously – its really that simple! Don’t laugh that was a huge light bulb moment for me!
I come from an English/New Zealand background where in general talking about money and making money in a “in your face” way is not really considered “nice” – its changed a lot in the 1980’s but still the majority of people would find it hard to ask for money up front. I certainly did. I had to get over that – and if its an issue for you – you need to get over it too.
Does that make you the same as every other spammer marketer on the Internet? Well I hope not – I have a clean conscience – and this is how I do it:
- I only sell products that I use and that I like. If you see my name on it here, on HubPages or on my new blog – I’ve used the product or at least bought it and read it if its informational;
- I try to explain which people a product will work well for – and who will be wasting their money because they either know the information already, or don’t have enough knowledge to effectively use it ;
- I try to recommend products which either have a free trial period or a money-back guarantee – this is not always possible but I try.
Think of it this way – if you find a great new restaurant do you tell people to do there? if you have a fantastic holiday do you recommend the destination to your friends? Would you do the same if you got a commission? Would your friends follow your advice? Would they be happy for you to earn a commission?
Now don’t get me wrong there are heaps of commission salesmen out there who are close to being crooks – some Mortgage Brokers spring to mind. But I use a Mortgage Broker and I am happy for him to earn the commission from the banks (you don’t pay a broker direct in my country) – I know which institutions he can’t represent, therefore I know the limits of his advice. But he saves me time and money – I’m a happy repeat customer. He provides me with a service – sure I could get a the loan from the bank without him – but he makes it easier.
So seriously if you are going to do affiliate sales you have to figure out how to provide value to your customers so they will buy from you – in fact nothing has really changed in the whole history of commerce – its just a different media these days!
And I still can’t believe I wrote a post about how to sell online LOL