Do You Have to Have Money to Make Money Online?

by Mike on November 17, 2009
in Mindset

The short answer is, “No.”  You can effectively launch an Internet marketing career without a single dime.  All you need is a computer and an Internet connection, which technically does cost money, but I’m assuming you have those two components already.

Many a marketer has gotten his or her start as an affiliate marketer.  Aside from shuffling around in your attic to find something you can sell for a profit on eBay, affiliate marketing is your best bet for a zero-dollar start-up business in the Internet marketing industry.

All you need is a free ID that you can get on PayDotCom, Amazon, Commission Junction, LinkShare, or ClickBank (to name a few), and the ability to learn about free traffic sites and you can begin generating an affiliate income without investing a penny of your own money.

That said, it’s best if you save a few dollars here and there to invest in some tools that are going to make your Internet marketing efforts a whole lot easier.  For instance, you could sit around and brainstorm for five days to get a list of keywords – or, pay for Micro Niche Finder and harvest thousands of keywords in less than an hour.

You could also use nothing but web 2.0 social sites that are free, such as HubPages or Squidoo, to host your content and affiliate links.  Or, you could pony up the $9.95 one-time fee for a domain name and $6.95 a month for hosting and have your own business presence on the internet.

You can also spend days and weeks searching for information about how to do a task that will help you make money as an Internet marketer – such as how to master pay per click advertising. 

Or, you can invest in a step-by-step guide to shorten your learning curve.  What most marketers suggest is to take a look at your budget and see what you have to invest.  If you have to start out with nothing, go for it – but set aside a few of your profits to pour back into your online efforts. 

Everything you’ll invest in is built to ease your workload and hasten the procedures, so your income will increase faster and with less input from you as you learn to wield these tools in your favor.

What Scrooge McDuck Taught Me About Internet Marketing

by Mike on February 5, 2009
in Mindset, Productivity

When I was a kid there was a string of hit Disney cartoons that aired in the after-school hours on weekday afternoons. There was the Gummi Bears, Tale Spin, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers.

As a cartoon-loving kid, I was in my glory. I loved all those shows, but my favorite was Ducktales.

image source:

Ducktales revolved around Donald Duck’s nephews and his Uncle Scrooge McDuck. It was a classic cartoon and I still enjoy it today with my own kids thanks to DVD.

So what does watching Ducktales have to do with internet marketing strategies?

Let me explain.

Your feelings about money and work (and everything else for that matter) are the result of many different experiences and influences. Your parents and siblings. Your friends and their families. What you read in a book or saw on tv. All of these influences intermingle and come together to form your opinions and feelings.

And sometimes the littlest of things can have a big influence on your life. I had one such moment while watching an episode of Ducktales as a child.

The episode revolved around Uncle Scrooge in a series of flashbacks to his childhood. (I’m going on memory with this so forgive me if I get some of the details wrong).

One flashback shows Scrooge as a young duck without a lot of money (he would later go on to be the richest duck in the world so you can suspect these flashbacks will show a hint of how that happened). Scrooge found himself a job shining shoes, and wouldn’t you know a customer comes in who looks like he just walked through a patch of wet cement and let it dry.  I mean these shoes were so bad poor Scrooge’s heart must have missed a beat when he saw them!

Well good old Scrooge takes a chisel and starts chipping away at them.  He spends his entire day cleaning this guy’s shoes until you could see your face in them. By the time he’s done he’s out of breath, his back is killing him, and the store is closing.

He proudly stands up and holds out his hand expecting a mighty tip for performing such an amazing service. But instead the man simply thanks him, hands him a single coin and strolls right out the door.

Scrooge is seriously pissed! He busted his ass shining those shoes and he got paid chump change!

He stomps his way all the way home, slams the door on his way in and sulks around until his father asks him what is wrong. Scrooge tells him the story and his wise, old father simply tells him, “Scrooge my boy…you have to learn to work smarter, not harder.”

The next day Scrooge goes back to work with a brilliant idea. He creates a simple machine that allows him to use power he generates by riding a bicycle to polish shoes for several customers at a time.  He’s able to polish many more shoes while doing only a fraction of the work…and his income absolutely explodes!

Scrooge learned a valuable lesson. If you want to make enough money to achieve financial freedom, working hard isn’t enough.  There are millions of people who work themselves to the bone their whole lives and still have nothing to show for it.

Working hard is important, but working smart is more so. You see, there’s a limit to how much any one person can accomplish no matter how hard they work. And working yourself ragged will only leave you frustrated and burnt out.

If you want to take the next step toward financial freedom, you have to learn to delegate or outsource tedious tasks to others.  Automate time-consuming processes and leverage the work of others wherever possible.

Automation and Outsourcing

Let’s brainstorm a few ways you can automate/outsource tasks so you can concentrate your time on other projects that are more profitable (or have more time to spend with your family).

Autoresponders help you build a mailing list of targeted customers and prospects so you can keep in touch with them.  Once someone signs up for your list you can send them helpful tips and articles and build a relationship with them.  When you have a responsive list at your command all you have to do is send out an email promotion and wait for the money to come rolling in.

There are plenty of autoresponders to choose from but I recommend Aweber.  They’ve got a great track record and their delivery rates are the best.  I use Aweber myself so I have no problem recommending them.

What else can we automate or outsource? 

How about graphic design?  I don’t know a thing about designing and creating logos or ecovers and my attempts have always looked rather amateurish.  But why spend hours tinkering with a logo that’s just going to look like crap anyway…instead ask around the Warrior Forum and you’ll find graphic wizards who can do a smashing job for around $50. 

Have trouble writing?  You’re not alone…the demand for private label rights content is booming.  When you buy plr articles you can edit them as much or as little as you want and then add your name is author.  You can post them to your blog, create your own info-product, and more. 

If you don’t want to do any writing at all, just outsource the work.  Its not that hard to find ghost writers who will write quality content for as little as $5 an article.

I know what you’re thinking…I can hear it now…

“Mike, all those ideas for automating and outsourcing cost money and I’m on a budget!”

Yes, unfortunately if you want to build your business the smart way you’re going to have to open up your wallet and spend a few dollars.  That doesn’t mean you have to drop $1000 a month…start slowly and then increase your budget as your revenue increases.  Build slowly and you’ll see that your increased revenue more than makes up for the added expenses.

Be a Scrooge…Scrooge McDuck that is.  ;)

Ever Wonder Why You’re Not Making Any Money?

by Mike on January 21, 2009
in Making Money Online, Mindset

Whoa…I just read one of the best blog posts ever!

If you’re struggling to earn a living online and can’t figure out where you’ve gone wrong you need to read Leo Dimilo’s 114 Things I Wished I Knew as an Internet Marketer When I First Started.

Leo is absolutely spot on in this post and if you’re smart you’ll read it again and again until it all sinks in.  Seriously, Leo could have easily packaged this post into a report and sold it for $47…but instead he gives it all to you completely free.  :)

Read it now…you won’t be sorry.

Your Blog Is Doomed To Failure

by Mike on December 9, 2008
in Mindset

I absolutely marvel at the mindset of some people.  They’ve obviously never heard of the old saying “Penny wise, pound foolish”.

Perhaps the best way to describe this type of person is by giving an example.

Link building expert Danny Cooper recently released a report called the Blog Comment Blueprint in which he reveals his methods for building links via blog commenting.  It’s a powerful yet easy to use strategy that can quickly bring you thousands of free backlinks and a steady stream of traffic (which is exactly what so many of you are struggling with!)

Now I’ve seen at least a half dozen positive reviews of Blog Comment Blueprint and when I read through the comments after the review I see the same thing again and again…

“Sounds great!  It’s just not in my budget right now or I’d pick it up right away.”

“I really can’t afford to splurge on it.”

Now, I can understand that reaction if you’re talking about SpeedPPC which costs $397.  But Danny’s report costs just $9

Seriously.  You want to build a blog or website that earns thousands of dollars a month but you’re not willing to cough up a couple dollars for a report that can get you there a whole lot faster? 

If this is you then you have a shortsighted attitude and I boldly predict you will never be a success until you accept the fact that it takes money to spend money.  Your blog is doomed to failure. 

And I’m not telling you to go out and buy every ebook, script, and program you can find.  I don’t think its smart to waste your money…but you should be willing to invest a bit to increase your own knowledge and efficiency. 

Educational reports and tools that make you more productive will pay for themselves many times over if you take action.

So skip lunch at McDonalds one day this week and splurge on a copy of the Blog Comment Blueprint…you just might find that opening your wallet a bit helps you reach your goals faster than trying to go the freebie route.

Are You Ready To Quit Your Job?

by Mike on September 17, 2008
in Mindset

So your online business is really picking up steam and the checks keep getting bigger and bigger.  You’re thinking about ditching your full time job for good so you can focus 100% on your online empire.

photo credit: ted.sali

Not so fast!

Before you tell your boss what he can do with his job…make sure you’ve thought things out clearly.  A miscalculation could have dire results.

Most internet marketers start their online business in their spare time while keeping their day job until their business reaches a certain point.  But how do you know when its time to cut the cord?  Here’s a couple of factors to consider:

Salary.  Are you willing to give up the security that comes with a regular paycheck?  What if your business income suddenly drops?  Do you have a stockpile of cash reserves put aside to cover personal expenses?

Benefits.  When you quit your day job you’ll be giving up more than your salary.  Your company probably pays for a portion of your health insurance, retirement fund, life insurance, and other fringe benefits that you’d be solely responsible for once you quit.

Track record.  So you’re finally turning a profit…but is that going to be the norm?  One good month could be followed by a year of bad luck.

For me, there’s a number of reasons I still have my full time job.  My job is relatively low stress, the hours are somewhat flexible, and I’m used to the cash cushion it provides.  If you follow real estate at all, you know New Jersey isn’t cheap.  We went pretty deep into debt to buy our modest little home so I might as well pay as much off as possible before quitting.  Plus, I kinda like the social aspect of working.  Working from home is a big adjustment.

In the end, only you can decide if you’re really ready to quit.  Just be sure to consider it carefully before you actually go through with it.

Discover the Secret to Success…

by Mike on September 8, 2008
in Mindset

Do you want to be a success and make serious money online?  Then you need to sit back and read this post in its entirety.  Read it twice.  Print it out and post it on your wall if necessary, but for god’s sake make sure you understand it because it might just change your life…

Go to any internet marketing forum and start reading some of the questions posted.  I guarantee you’ll see a whole group of people who post the same types of questions over and over again:

“Does this system really work?”

“Can I really make money online?”

“What’s the easiest way to…”

If you pay attention over time you’ll see the same exact people asking the same exact questions.  These people are caught in a trap and they will NEVER be successful.  You see, they’re stuck in this cycle of ”inaction”. 

They’re simply spinning their wheels at 120 miles per hour and getting nowhere fast.  While they keep asking the same basic questions and searching for the golden goose that will give them a passive income with zero work…the rest of the world passes them by.

I used to be like them.  When I first started out I had no idea which direction to head in.  Should I write an ebook?  On what subject?  Should I build AdSense sites?  Should I try affiliate marketing?  Which way should I go?

Finally a light bulb went off in my head and I realized I had spent months lurking around in forums and reading various ebooks and blogs trying to figure out the best plan of action. 

But here’s the secret to success…having a solid plan is great, but it means nothing without ACTION.

At some point you have to take action.  Just pick a direction and start moving.  What’s the worst that can happen?  If you fail…great!  That means you learned something new. Don’t fear failure because that’s how we learn.  Talk to any successful marketer and they’ll tell you about the spectacular failures they suffered before they finally hit on the right formula for success.

Take action.

You want to be a blogger?  Start blogging.  Don’t spend days trying to find just the right theme or creating the perfect logo.  Just start churning out quality content and worry about design later.

Want to be a Bum Marketer?  Then start writing and don’t stop until your fingers fall off. 

There are a million different ways to make money online and what works best for me may not work at all for you.  The only way to find out what works for you is to try…take action.

Avoiding Information Overload

One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a successful online marketer is the sheer number of distractions that pull our attention away from what really matters.

Take me for example.  I love to read.  I read lots of books about business and marketing.  And I love history.  And science.  Plus I spend time in marketing forums and reading other blogs.  There’s always a new report being released with a new technique for generating traffic or increasing revenue.

But at some point you have to say “Enough is enough!”

It’s easy to spend your whole day reading other people’s blogs and posting in forums…and you’ll never make any real money doing that!

For me the key was getting organized and scheduling my time more effectively.  Instead of popping into forums at all times of the day I try to block out a chunk of time each day for that.  Same thing with reading other blogs.  I generally try to avoid any new information until AFTER I’ve gotten some work done that day. 

By forcing myself to limit the amount of information I take in each day it gives me more time to actually get some work done.  As soon as I made that adjustment my productivity skyrocketed and I finally saw some results.

So what’s the moral of the story?  If you want to be a success you need focus.  Put on your blinders and ignore all distractions.  Choose a direction and take action.

Do it now.

What Batman Taught Me About Internet Marketing

by Mike on August 26, 2008
in Inspiration, Mindset

Batman has always been my favorite superhero. Don’t get me wrong…Spiderman and Superman are cool and all, but they pale in comparison to the ultimate crime-fighter…Batman.

photo credit: Hot Rod Homepage

Do you know why I love Batman?

Because he’s just like you and me. Sure he’s got lots of money and cool gadgets…but underneath the mask he’s just a guy. He can’t fly. He can’t see through walls. He can’t shoot spiderwebs from his wrists…

He’s just a complete bad-ass who succeeds through the sheer force of his will. You can’t help but admire him.

Batman displays a lot of qualities that internet marketers like you and me can learn from. Below I’ve listed 3 that I find particularly important.

An incredible work ethic. Batman/Bruce Wayne busts his butt day in and day out to achieve his goal. He trains himself and hones his skills until he is the absolute best at what he does. And he never takes a night off. He’s consistent and reliable.

This is an important lesson for you to learn. Many internet marketing strategies can be easy to maintain, but it does take some work to get them rolling. You’ll achieve your goals a lot faster if you take your work seriously and treat it like a business. Put time in every day in the beginning and you’ll soon see the results you’re looking for.

Discipline. Batman’s self-discipline is legendary. Not only does he take a physical beating without giving in but the emotional toll of living two lives must be just as brutal. And he always stays focused on the task at hand. To Batman…being distracted for an instant could mean death.

Focus and discipline are absolutely essential for any online business owner. Time and time again I see bright entrepreneurs undone by their inability to stay focused. They jump around from one “system” or “method” to the next. They become a jack of all trades..but a master of none.

There are 8 billion different ways to make money online. Pick one and go with it. Once you master it and are producing steady income you can look to diversify and open new streams of income. But if you are constantly distracted by the latest “sure-thing” then as Seven of Nine would say…

You will fail…

You must stay focused. Constantly ask yourself “Is this moving me toward my goal?” If the answer is no then stop and get yourself back on track.

Perseverance. Batman knows all about failure and pain. As a child he saw his parents murdered right in front of him. As Bruce Wayne he is forced to keep everyone at a distance. As Batman he regularly takes crow bars to his rib cage and sees criminals like the Joker escape his clutches. Yet he never, ever gives up. No matter how many setbacks he faces, he always come back stronger.

In the 2005 movie Batman Begins, there’s a line that is repeated several times to Bruce Wayne:

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

As a fellow entrepreneur, let me tell you right now that failure is part of the game. Get used to it. The idea of being an overnight success story is a myth.

The person interested in success has to learn to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top.
Dr. Joyce Brothers

I failed many times before I really learned how to make money online. My first website was about wine, which is an insanely competitive keyword. I built a site of about 20 pages or so with the idea of monetizing it with AdSense units and affiliate links. It was a solid plan…but my execution was horrible.

I targeted all the wrong keywords. I knew little about [tag-tec]SEO[/tag-tec] tactics. My promotion and link building was almost non-existent. In the end I was lucky if I brought in $10 a month in AdSense.

Next I tried building a simple site to promote Site Build It. I basically took their sales pages, made a few adjustments, and quickly wasted a few hundred dollars using AdWords. The product was great but I had no clue how to run a successful PPC campaign and my sales copy flat out sucked.

My next project was a 10 page site about mesothelioma. I had read an article about keywords that earned between $50 and $100 per click from Adsense and jumped at the chance to make big money. But I never had a chance. Mesothelioma is an incredibly competitive niche and it would take a lot more work than slapping together a few crappy pages.

Next I decided to create my own ebook and sell it on Clickbank. It was a short but full of useful tips for saving money on just about everything. Unfortunately I knew almost nothing about copywriting and I positioned the ebook poorly. I targeted the wrong market and never recovered.

I sold exactly one copy.

But I learned from my mistakes and converted that site from a one page sales letter into a portal for people trying to save money or make extra money from home. I still earn AdSense and affiliate commissions from that site even though I haven’t really updated it in over 2 years.

I don’t fear failure anymore and neither should you. Failure is how we learn what works and what doesn’t. If you try something and it doesn’t work out as planned, don’t just give up. Analyze what went wrong, learn from your mistakes, and try again.

It’s what Batman would do.