Monthly Archives: January 2003

Why did my online business fail?

In my opinion, one of the main reasons for online businesses failing is that the owner doesn’t take the business seriously and gives up too quickly.

If you open a shop and your first few weeks or even months of trading are quiet, would you close the doors and walk away?  The answer is probably not, especially if you have made a considerable investment into the business.  You would accept that it is going to take time for people to realize that your new shop is ‘there’ and for repeat business to build up.

With an online business however, people seem happy to throw in the towel after a couple of weeks and give the whole thing up as a waste of time.  The fact that it hasn’t cost much in financial terms to start the business in the first place does nothing to help as this just makes it easier to close the website down and walk away.

The only way to build a successful Internet business is to treat it like any other offline business and that means hard work, long hours, a bit of investment and a commitment to ‘keep at it’ for a few months before you see any substantial return.

Although it does occasionally happen that people come up with an idea or product that is an overnight success, this is incredibly rare and certainly not the ‘norm’ – exactly the same as in the offline world.

The websites that you see making claims such as ‘I launched my eBook and made $25,000 in 48 hours’ usually fall into 2 categories:

1.  They are not true or
2.  They are true, but the eBook (or whatever) was launched to an existing newsletter mailing list of, say, 100,000 subscribers that the owner has spent the last 3 years building up!!

Somewhere along the line, hard work has been involved…

Something completely different!

As my regular subscribers will know, my main web businesses are based around informational eBook products that I have written and published myself.  It is my opinion that there is no better way to generate an online income than by selling info-products.  However, I would like to flex that opinion a little and give you something new to think about…

The beauty of selling info-products is that the sales/payment/delivery process can be completely automated and there are no costs in reproduction.  This concept can be applied to any ‘digital’ product.  What am I talking about?  Software of course!

Now, before you send me an email telling me that you can’t write software – I know, neither can I.  The point is that you don’t have to.  There are thousands of talented programmers out there just waiting to do the programming for you – all you have to do is come up with an idea.

I recently used a programmer to write a script (a small software program)  to help integrate my credit card payment systems.  It took the programmer about a day to deliver my script and the cost to me was just $35.

Now expand that thought a little and lets say you get a programmer to write a piece of software that would be useful to thousands of people worldwide.  Sure the programming costs will be higher, but even simple scripts can cost $50 or more to buy on the Internet.  If you get it right, you could make your money back AND a profit in no time.  Consider how many times ‘utility’ software programs such as Cute-FTP or Winzip have been downloaded…

I noticed on eBay, a software program being sold that keeps a record of your collections (of coins, cards, Beanie Babies or whatever…), the software is basically a database program and it is being sold for around $15 a time.  A simple idea and one which is appears to be making a good income for the owner.  All you need is an original idea and a bit of money to invest – in fact, you might not even need that, if your idea is good enough, you may be able to persuade a programmer to write the software and take a percentage of the sales proceeds in return.  Most programmers are not marketers…

Something to think about.

You will find programmers queuing up to write your software at www.elance.com and www.scriptlance.com.  (These are also good sites to find other professionals – web designers etc etc).

Marty Fiegl interview

I first came into contact with Marty Fiegl a couple of weeks ago when he registered as an affiliate on my website.  Nothing unusual in that – I get several new affiliates each day.  What made Marty stand out from the crowd was the fact that he started sending traffic to my site almost immediately and within 12 hours, his referrals had generated over $100 worth of sales from my site.  I decided to find out more…

Marty lives in New York, USA and runs several online businesses.  I asked him to tell me a bit more about what he does, he told me,

‘I find problems that people are having and solve them.  Whether it’s making money, saving money, saving time or both.  I like to do both and not stick to just showing people how to make money.  Basically I sell ‘How To’ information.’

He went on to tell me that whilst he worked out some years ago that people were making money selling information, most of it was about how to make money and since he didn’t know how to do this, he figured he shouldn’t be writing about it.  Marty said,

‘It took me several years to really figure it out.  I started trying a few years ago – I had gathered information about saving money when buying a house but it never went anywhere.  Looking back on it I can definitely say it wasn’t what I had but  how I was trying to sell it.  I could sell that product today but it’s not the caliber I want to deliver and I don’t enjoy writing about that subject as much.’

Marty spent time figuring out how to sell online and he made his first sale just a year and a half ago.  After making that initial sale, he started to devote the majority of his free time learning about online marketing – where it was at and where it was going.  I asked about his initial expectations of his new business, he replied,

‘I didn’t have any expectations really because I hadn’t read anything and didn’t know what I was doing.  Sure I hoped I’d make a lot of money but it wasn’t until I realized how to do it that made the difference.’

What actually happened during the first few months online was that Marty found himself learning.  He read everything he could get his hands and figured out who was successful and started to follow their path.  He told me,

‘It’s important to find someone successful because it’s very easy to copy someone who is already successful – they’ve done all the hard work for you, just listen, learn and be persistent.’

Marty also did some research that most online marketers would not have even thought about, he said,

‘I started reading a lot of psychology books, not just on selling but human behavior in general.  I wanted to learn more about why people did things.  Once you know why, it’s easier to sell to them.’

So did all the research and learning pay off?  Well, you have probably already guessed the answer, but I will let Marty tell you in his own words,

‘It’s been quite a wild ride.  In 2002 I made around $150,000 in web sales alone.  I had a job for part of the year so for a few months I wasn’t making as much as I am now. This year I plan on making $300,000 or more.  It’s a very reasonable figure once you know how to do it, you can just duplicate it and the results will blow your mind.’

That’s a pretty impressive performance and I asked Marty to let me into a few of his secrets, he told me,

‘It’s very important to meet new people and interact with other people in your market who’ve been successful.  It’s really amazing when you get to meet some of the “famous” people in the online community.

There are thousands of different ways to come up with products.  Coming up with a product is the most important part.  Not just one product will make you rich, you need more than one.  Imagine if you had one product that made $100,000 last year and it stopped.  You need to have more than one income stream to continue to drive sales of your other products.

Once you have two products that are selling it’s very easy to start cross-selling them to customers and leads.  One product recommends another; it’s really a money machine that has no ending.

Once you reach the level that can pay your bills and you can live off of, go all out, quit your job and go full steam ahead!

I would’ve made more last year if I had those few months I spent working making someone else rich to work on new products and promote my business.

Now I work whenever I want.  There’s nothing more satisfying than doing whatever you want, whenever you want, then coming home, checking your email and seeing you made $500 the day that you were out of the office.’

Obviously Marty is using various marketing techniques to drive his sales, but his most productive technique is getting affiliates.  He explains,

‘The more affiliates I get, the more money we both make.  It costs me nothing.  I’ve spent a great deal of time getting as much marketing and sales information, banners, articles etc. for my affiliates so I know if they use them we will both make money.

All my customers and leads get information on my affiliate program.  I have a few thousand right now.  When I first started for some reason this was one of the first things I did.  Hey I admit, I’m lazy…!

I place ezine advertisements for my affiliate program, pay per click listings, I get listed in any affiliate directory I can find.

When I first started I was just using Newsgroups to get affiliates, once I had a few hundred from that alone, those turned into leads for my products and a lot of my affiliates are customers too.

Another equally important tactic is building your opt-in list.

One email to 10,000 people in one of my lists has brought in $1,000 that day.  It all depends on your offer, and the quality of leads’

With most business, there is one factor that primarily contributes to making the business a success.  I wanted to know what that factor was in Marty’s case.  He said,

‘Making the customer stand above the rest. I put customer service #1.  I get people who buy everything I sell and every other product I promote.

I have people buy $400 worth of products from me in 24 hours.

And guess what?  They send me an email asking when my next product is coming out.

Another thing I do is over deliver.  Whatever I promise in the sales letter I give them more product than they expected.  With my latest ebook “The Complete Guide to Internet Marketing” I went all out.  I was going to charge $197 for it.

It took me a month to complete. It’s over 140 pages and the bonuses purchased separately go for 3 times the amount.  I spent money to get resell rights to some great products from some big names instead of offering something you can get anywhere else.

I sell it for $37…  It’s only been out a little over a month and sales are around 5 copies a day and that’s only through affiliates, I haven’t gone all out advertising yet.  I’m working on new things and it’s selling itself.

I’d rather have 2,000 satisfied customers this year from just that book than 200 if I sold it for $197.   These customers will be ecstatic once they see what they get for their money and they will buy more from me.’

You may be surprised to know that Marty’s story is not that unusual – there are thousands of ‘normal’ people worldwide making serious money online.  I can think of over 20 online colleagues that are making over $100,000 a year – ordinary people that have taken the time to learn about Internet marketing.  How about you?

Thanks to Marty for taking the time to provide the above interview.

Fancy an extra $7000 from your eBay auctions?

Dave DeMink has been selling on eBay for 4 years and in the summer of 2002 he published an eBook which revealed some of his secrets to earning ‘extra’ income from eBay auctions, he told The Online Trader,

‘My eBook outlines a dramatically effective way to earn more money from every auction you run on eBay.  I have learned many ways of increasing revenue and it is possible to turn all of your auctions into income generating vehicles.  Ebay has a hidden sales engine and all you need is a little gas to get this motor working in overdrive…’

The technique that Dave teaches in his eBook is one that can be applied to any kind of online auction and the ‘work’ required can be carried out in a couple of minutes – no extra packing or shipping.  Dave told me,

‘When I wrote the eBook, I felt that there was a lack of ‘providers’ out there that had real knowledge of how eBay worked and why it can be such a powerful place.  I have been selling on the auction site for 4 years and therefore have first hand experience of how to fully utilise the site to get the best returns.’

I asked Dave what his initial expectation was in terms of sales and what actually happened during the first few months after launching the eBook, he told me,

‘Initially I was hoping to make a few sales per month and help a few people figure out how they could use eBay to make them more money.  In actual fact, the results have been overwhelming and what I thought would be a fun part-time operation has turned into an incredibly fun operation!  To date I have sold roughly 1,200 copies of the eBook and I have therefore  helped many people increase their income just by passing on my knowledge’

The technique outlined in Dave’s eBook is a simple yet powerful one.  He told me that he estimates that using his recommended technique has earned him an extra $5,000 – $7,000 income from his eBay auctions over the past 2 years.  I can easily believe this as whilst the idea is incredibly simple, I know that it works as I have used it myself.

As with many online marketers, Dave doesn’t do any offline marketing, he says,

‘I have several partners that advertise for me and I am always looking for new partnerships.  I am also very close to agreeing a large partnership that will help to distribute the eBook around the World.  This is a very exciting time.’

Dave also went on to tell me about his plans for the coming year,

‘Volume 2 of my eBook is in the works and I am also working on some enhancements to the website.  In addition, I am putting together an eBook library which will provide my customers with an entire catalogue of eBooks, all teaching creative ways to earn money while working from home.  Existing customers will  also have access to this library.’

In closing, I asked Dave what he thought was the one thing that made his online business work, he answered,

‘The reason that my Internet business works is because it is built on my experience.  I am not someone trying to apply old marketing principals to new technology.  I have been with eBay for over 4 years and have learned exactly how to use the power of eBay to make my auction fee’s disappear and to make more money per auction every time.’

I would like to thank Dave for taking the time to provide me with the above interview.