Monthly Archives: November 2003

C’mon Rich, tell me what to do…

I get hundreds of emails per week and as you might expect, many of the emails contain similar questions.  There are probably ten questions that I get asked most.  I will save nine of them for another time as I want to talk about just one of the top ten questions today.

The basic form of the question varies but essentially it is the same and here it is:

‘I have read everything I can about marketing online.

I understand how to get traffic to my website.

I know how to make my website appealing to customers.

I know about generating income with ‘backend’ products.

I understand everything you have taught me over the past X years…


Yup, the question is simply ‘What should my online business actually be – what should I offer – what do I do?’

Of course, this is the $64,000 question and there is no easy answer.  If I could pluck guaranteed business ideas out of the air every time someone asked for one, I would be a rich man.  Unfortunately, I can’t and neither can anyone else.  Even if someone did have a pool of surefire ideas, would they really be willing to share them with others for nothing?

However, I can try and help you come up with your own idea by making suggestions and eliminating some, almost certainly, bad ideas.

Firstly, do something that interests you and that you know about – if you are not interested in your product and don’t have the first clue what you are talking about, I can guarantee that you will not be successful.  For example, don’t try and sell products about making money on the Internet if you yourself are not making money on the Internet.

Secondly, don’t do something that is already being done by thousands of other people unless you can add a highly unique ‘twist’.  For example, you will never make any money setting up a general online auction site – there are already plenty of established sites with millions of registered members.  Why would anyone want to use a brand new auction site with no members when they can sell on eBay?

Thirdly, (and I know I keep banging on about this but it is important), find a small market that is easy to target rather than a huge, general market.  Small doesn’t have to mean ‘small’ on the Internet.  The money is in the niche markets – trust me.

I know how hard it is to come up with an original idea but it isn’t impossible and plenty of people do it everyday.  If you can’t come up with something yourself, spend time surfing the Net and ‘brainstorming’ with others in forums such as my own (link in the column on the right) to get ideas.

The fact and fiction of working online…

Fiction:  Working online is a quick way to riches.

Fact:  It is possible to earn a lot of money online, but it won’t happen quickly. Take a look at some of the most successful online marketers and websites – they have been around a long time. I started working online in 1998 and it was 3 years before I was earning enough money to go full-time.

Fiction: If you run an Internet business you only have to work an hour a day every now and then.

Fact:  Sure it is possible to automate a lot of the day to day tasks involved with an online business but to earn a consistent income it is important to continue to develop new products and services. Most of the top online marketers work longer hours than they would in any ‘real’ job.

Fiction:  You need to be a technical wizard to set up your own website.

Fact: Not so – many Internet marketers (myself included) are completely self-taught in the art of web design etc. Working online is a learning curve like any other – the more time you spend learning, the better you will get. No one knows it all and you don’t have to – you can take it one step at a time and grow at your own pace.

Fiction:  Working online is stress-free and quite possibly the most relaxing way to earn a living that there is.

Fact:  Running an Internet business brings it’s own stresses.  Remember that you are always going to be heavily reliant on other people to provide services – hosting, credit card processing, software scripts etc.  If one of these important links in the chain stops working, then so can your business.  Whilst we take technology for granted these days, it is a fact that the Internet is still fairly young and things do go wrong more often than most people realise.

Fiction:  If I buy an eBook about marketing on the Internet, it will tell me EXACTLY what I need to know to set up a $100,000 a year business.

Fact:  eBooks and other informational products will guide you and teach you the techniques of getting traffic to your website and selling to your customers etc but the ultimate idea for your website is going to have to come from you. 

Fiction:  I need to buy all of the latest eBooks and info-products in order to learn ‘everything’.

Fact:  There are plenty of online resources that won’t cost you anything and they are often full of information and advice.  Take a look at my forum (link below) – there are over 1600 posts and plenty of informational ‘gems’