Monthly Archives: April 2006

Is Internet marketing just another JOB?

There was a thread on my forum this week in which a few members were discussing how many hours they spent working on their online businesses. 

A handful of members admitted to putting in over 40 hours per week working online and I have to say, this is not uncommon.  When I first started my Internet businesses, it was normal for me to work into the early hours and then grab a couple of hours sleep before getting up to squeeze another hour in before I went to my real job.  When I left my job and went full-time, my hours online increased dramatically.

Even today (when so many of my day to day tasks are automated) I still work a minimum of 35 hours a week and this can rise to over 100 hours if I have a specific project on the go.  It’s not just me – you will find that most successful online marketers work some serious hours, probably many more than they ever did in any ‘proper’ job.

So is this online business thing just a big con?  By setting up a successful Internet business are you merely committing yourself to a different type of job?  Possibly yes but at least you get to do things on your own terms.

By pure coincidence, I noticed another thread in a completely different forum this week in which someone was asking a very similar question but in a slightly different way.  The lady in question had given herself a target of earning (from memory) $2000 a month from her online business efforts.  The last couple of months she had hit this target one or two days before the end of the month.  This month however, she had already made the $2000 by the 18th.  Her question was simply this, ‘What do I do now?  Do I continue working/promoting in order to earn more money or do I take the rest of the month off?’  It’s a fair question – whenever anyone talks about working online, they nearly always state that they can take as much time off as they want and the ‘Internet lifestyle’ dictates that once you have earned your salary for the month, you should spend the rest of the month lying on a beach somewhere.

Of course, it doesn’t happen like this and although it would be nice to stop working on the 18th each month, it makes more sense to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and continue pulling in the money.  At the end of the day, every penny that you earn today puts you closer to complete retirement (as long as you are doing sensible things with some of your money such as saving and investing!)

One of the responses to the above post was a great little story which I have heard before and I thought I would share with you.  It will give you something to think about and will help focus your mind as you set goals and targets in respect of your business and your life in general…

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

“You aren’t going to catch many fish that way” said the businessman to the fisherman, “you should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”

Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said…

“And what do you think I’m doing right now ?”

One of the key ingredients to a successful online business…

Of course, there are many different factors that go into making an online business successful but there is one thing that is absolutely key if you want your Internet business to be a hit.

If you remember this one thing, it can be enough to pull customers to your website (not just once but numerous times) with their wallets open!

If you get it wrong, you will see your visitors disappearing into cyberspace faster than an 8Mb Broadband connection!

So what is this great secret?  Well, it’s no secret (although plenty of businesses don’t seem to be aware of it!) – quite simply make it easier for your customers to buy from you than elsewhere.  That’s it – nothing more, nothing less.

It seems obvious but so many site owners miss this basic point and I am not just referring to having a straight-forward purchase/payment process.  If you make the whole experience of using your site quick, easy and almost enjoyable, buyers will come back and purchase from you again and again even if they can get the goods/services you sell at a cheaper price elsewhere.

Let’s look at a couple of examples based on my own online spending habits this week…

Many of you know that I have been refurbishing my house for the past year or so and in that time, I have lost count of how much money I have spent at the local DIY superstores.  But in the past two or three months, my expenditure at these stores has been exactly zero.  Why?  Because I have been buying everything I need online.

Tools, screws, fittings, even wood and other bulky objects – it has all been purchased over the Internet and for one reason.  It was easier.  I can sit in front of a computer, browse through the products I am interested in, click a few buttons and the next day my entire order rolls up and is carried to my front door.  Even though my local superstores will deliver, I have to either go to the store to place my order (hassle) or pick up the phone to tell them what I want (this means I need to know exactly what I am after and this isn’t always the case).  Alternatively, I could just jump in my 45 year old Land Rover and pick up the stuff myself but when you have driven in a vehicle as old as this, you will appreciate that it isn’t the most comfortable way to travel and I tend to have to build myself up to it!

I know that I could have saved myself a few quid by venturing into the outside world myself but quite frankly, I have better things to do with my time and would rather pay someone else £5 or £10 to do the driving around for me.  And of course, I am not the only one that thinks like this…

Next example – I have purchased a couple of items on eBay this week.  Again, items that I could have obtained by going to the shops in the local town.  But again, buying online was easier so that is where I spent my money.

Let’s look at my own websites for a moment – take the UK and US wholesale sites.  Why do people join them?  Well usually it is because they are looking for wholesale suppliers to buy from.  Could they find details of these suppliers without joining my site?  Sure if they were happy to spend a few hours/days/weeks trawling websites and offline sources.  So why do people pay for access to my websites everyday?  Because it is easier.

If your website can make something easier for a potential customer, you are halfway to having a successful business.  We are all busy people and the fast pace of life that we currently experience shows no signs of slowing down.  If you can make things easier for a customer, if you can save them time or hassle, you may well find that they choose to buy from your site rather than a competitor even if you are more expensive.

If you are trying to think of the type of online business you could start, just think about the kind of things we all do everyday.  The tasks we need to perform, the products we need to buy, the services we need to use.  How can any of these tasks/purchases/services be made easier for the consumer?

Keep things easy – make your customers actually want to come and spend money with you because it is a ‘no-hassle’ experience.  It works and there must be a million new and different ways to make life easier for people.

All you have to do is think of one of them…