Monthly Archives: February 2003

A day in the life of an Internet marketer

I have been working on the Internet since 1998 and I often get emails from people that think that working online is an ‘easy ride’ and won’t involve them in much work. Don’t get me wrong, working online doesn’t have to be hard and it is possible to earn a good income for a few hours work each day. If you want the BIG rewards however, you are going to have to put a bit more effort in…

To illustrate the above point, take a moment to read the account of a typical day in my office…

7.30am Get up and turn on the computer. Grab a cup of tea while it downloads my emails. A web business is never closed, so even though I checked my emails last night at 11pm, there are still over 30 new ones (not including spam!) – mostly from US customers (I am in the UK so the time difference means that whilst I am sleeping the US is wide awake).
Spend the next hour replying to emails and deleting spam.

8.30am With the emails done, I make a start on the real work of the day – developing. I am currently building a new membership site. The content is there but I am just ironing out some of the ‘behind the scenes’ software issues. The key to a good website is to have everything running automatically so that customers don’t have to wait for their purchases and the site owner doesn’t have to deal with every single transaction that takes place.

9.00am I run into a problem with a software script that I purchased yesterday – basically it doesn’t work and I need it for the new site. Obviously it comes with support, but I purchased it from an American company which means that due to the time difference, I probably won’t be able to get any assistance until later this afternoon. I send an email anyway and hope for the best…

9.10am Wow, I get a reply back from the software developer – it must be about 2am in the US but he is still working! He agrees to fix the problem and install the script on my website right away – what fantastic service. I leave him to it and go to have some breakfast.

9.30am Ok, more problems, the software guy is telling me that the reason the script doesn’t work is because of my web host. I phone them up and they tell me that the problem is with the software – oh great, I am stuck in the middle! Unfortunately, I use one of the largest web hosts in the UK so they don’t take too much notice when I tell them that my software chap in the US thinks there is something wrong with their configuration settings!

11.30am Two hours later and I am still going back and forth between the software guy and my host. We don’t seem to be any further forward and the last telephone conversation with the host involved them telling me that they don’t offer support for third party scripts and there was nothing more they could do. I find this somewhat irritating as I am paying them well over $1000 a year for hosting and the software guy is earning a fraction of that and still hasn’t been to bed yet!

11.35am The web host phones back with a solution, I pass it on to the software guy. His opinion – it looks good and he will get back to me in 5.

11.37am Software guy is back and everything works – yippee! I thank him for his efforts and work out that it is probably around 6.30am in the US and he has been up all night. Now that’s what I call customer service. This is one of the reasons that I like to deal with small businesses – they tend to care more about your custom and make a bigger effort to keep you happy.

Happy that the script is now working satisfactorily, I check my emails again – another 25 have arrived since I last looked, so I spend 45 minutes sorting them out.

12.15pm Emails finished and I really want to get the website done so that I can launch it tomorrow. I am going away tomorrow evening and I want to launch it before I go, otherwise it will be delayed for another 5 days and it has already taken a month longer than I anticipated to complete. I make a start on the final testing.

12.30pm I have a brainwave for a new website and get sidetracked into doing a bit of research on the Web to see if anyone else has already set up a similar site…

12.45pm I can’t find anything like my idea on the search engines, so I figure that even if someone has already thought of it, if I can’t find it then no one else will be able to. I forget all about the members site that I am supposed to be working on and start designing a home page for my new idea.

2.00pm That’s the problem with the Internet – it is too easy to get sidetracked into other things! I have just wasted over an hour playing around with a new site – a new site that I have no time to build. I add the idea to the pile of post-it notes on my desk – must be at least 20 ‘great ideas for a new site’ in the pile – I will get around to them one day…

2.15pm Right, I am back on the job and the new website is ready to go. I need to draft up an announcement email to send to my subscriber list to tell them about the new site.

3.15pm After typing up a long announcement email, I bore myself reading it and decide it is just too long. I cut it down to a couple of paragraphs and upload it to my mailing list manager for sending tomorrow.

4.00pm I realise that I haven’t had anything to eat except for a couple of bits of toast first thing this morning, so I take a break and have a sandwich.

4.30pm Back at my desk (I am sure I got a full hour lunchbreak when I had a job!) Another batch of emails to reply to and a customer having a problem with opening an eBook which needs sorting out. Customer service comes before everything else, so I spend the next 30 minutes trying various things to fix the problem and eventually get things working for the customer.

5.00pm By this time of the day, my eyes are usually getting pretty tired from staring at a computer screen for hours, so I don’t normally do anything too ‘important’. It is a good time to have a general surf around and see what other people are doing online.

6.00pm Have just remembered that I promised to review an eBook for a colleague and get back to him today with my opinion – I haven’t even opened it yet! I hope it isn’t too long…

7.00pm Phew, it was only 30 pages, so I read it and send off an email with my comments. Just a few more emails to deal with and then I am turning the computer off for a couple of hours.

7.30pm – 10.00pm Dinner and slump in front of the television time.

10.00pm Quickly check my emails again before going to bed. I don’t like to leave anyone waiting for longer than 8 hours without a response – I know how frustrating it can be waiting for a reply.

11.00pm Bed and I am ready for it too!

Ok so some of you are making it but it isn’t enough!

I received a couple of emails this week that reminded me of one of the main reasons why I started writing the Online Trader newsletter – to help others make money online. The two emails were from people that have been subscribing for a while now and who had grabbed the ‘Internet opportunity’ with both hands. Both had recently given up their full-time jobs to concentrate on working online and both wrote to say ‘thanks’ for helping them make the break.

I know exactly what it feels like to be in this situation, as I have been there myself.  Two years ago I had a ‘normal’ job and whilst I dabbled online, selling on eBay etc, I was not convinced that it was possible to earn as much money online as I was earning in Corporate Finance (my real job – yawn!). Around this time, I came across a website that had been set up by an ‘ordinary’ man who was claiming to earn over $100,000 a year from his Internet businesses. Now, many people would have ignored this claim and decided that it was some sort of scam to get you to part with your money, but I didn’t, I took notice and from there, started to build my own, very successful, portfolio of online businesses. I am forever grateful to the individual whose website inspired me and when I gave up my job, I wrote my own message of thanks to him.

One website made me realise that it was possible for a normal person, with no specific technical ability, to make a living online, so I know exactly what the senders of the above 2 emails were feeling when they wrote to me.

But you know what? Two people writing to me telling me that they have ‘made it’ online isn’t enough!! This newsletter goes out to over 11,000 subscribers and my websites get over 60,000 unique visitors a month, so surely I should be getting emails like those above every week?

I know that at times it can seem an impossible task, but the Internet is the only place that you can set up a business for next to nothing and start earning serious money in just a few months.  Regardless of the tips, hints and advice that I or others like me may pass on, the only person that can actually make it happen is YOU. I know what a great feeling it is to be able to give up a job that you hate in order to work for yourself and it is also superb to hear from others that are doing the same, but it would be so much better to have 100 or 500 of you emailing me to say you have ‘done it’, instead of just 1 or 2.

Ok, folks, that’s your motivational lecture over!

Would a joint venture help your business?

The ‘thing’ of the moment in Internet marketing is Joint Ventures (JV’s).  A JV is a method of marketing that will cost you nothing, but can reap huge rewards.  There are two main ways that a JV can work:

Firstly, if you have a high traffic website or a large ezine mailing list, you simply offer a similar sized site, with a related, but not competitive product, a link on your website or an ad in your ezine in return for the same.  This way, both websites are exposed to a whole new potential customer base.  Also, the link to your website will help improve your link popularity and thus your search engine rankings.

The second way of running a JV can be used regardless of whether you have lots of traffic or an ezine list to use as a ‘trade’.  Instead, you approach another website owner (in the same way as above), but this time you offer a commission on any sale that results from a customer that he/her sends you – just like a ‘normal’ affiliate program.

One of the main benefits of JV’s is that you can benefit from top search engine positions without having to optimize your site.  All you do is search for keywords that are relevant to your own website or product and see which websites are being shown in the top positions.  You then email those sites and see if they will either trade links or accept a commission to promote your product/service on their site.  Obviously this method works best if you are offering a product that compliments the other website rather than competes with it.

I have used this method of joint venturing on several occasions and I have several top ranking websites currently displaying links to one of my websites.  I can get several hundred hits PER DAY from this method of marketing and it doesn’t cost me a thing unless someone actually buys something from me!

Remember most websites do not generate much income and if you contact one and make the owner a good JV offer, the majority will grab it with both hands.

It is a great way of marketing and I strongly recommend it – take a look at Google right now and see which sites you could be joint venturing with this time next week…