Are You Swimming with the Sharks?
A number of years ago an incredible businessman named Harvey Mackay wrote a book called “Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive”.
The Internet is a lot like the title of that book.
The water is certainly full of sharks, all ready to take their $37 or $97 or $2000 bite out of YOUR wallet!
Before you become some online shark’s next snack and make your credit card scream “Not again!” let’s look at the things you will really need to succeed this year and beyond.
I believe you can make a living online, pretty much without regard to your age, experience or education level. I have seen 20 year old people do well and people in their 80s do well too.
And I think that having a successful online business can be a pretty simple thing to do if you have a great plan, make a strong start and maintain focus.
Let me also add that I’m not going to recommend anyone’s product or service, even mine. 🙂
Will you need to buy products and services along the way? Probably yes. But far too many today have spent their hard-earned money on junk products that promise the moon only to deliver yet another disappointment.
It’s a cycle that needs to end, and end fast.
So what DO you really need to succeed online?
The FIRST thing you need is knowledge, and plenty of it. But the trick is getting that knowledge without falling into information overload. That can be a difficult balance to achieve.
Please notice I said knowledge and not just information. Getting information is oh so easy. Knowing what to do is a different matter.
Fortunately, there are great resources you can tap that won’t cost a dime. This blog is one of those resources. Many other people share openly on their blogs and websites and in special reports as well.
Getting this free learning can help you make a solid start.
I think that when it comes to consuming free information one key is this – is the person trying to sell something or trying to share from their experience?
Most good business people know the value of giving helpful free information so that people can get to know and trust them. This can create an excellent free education for you!
Do these people want to sell things? Yes. Nothing wrong with that. Is that why they are giving out the free information? Probably. Nothing wrong with that either. We all have to eat.
But you really can get a very good basic education by doing nothing but carefully reading and listening to the right free resources.
That’s what I did when I started online. I can’t even count how many “how to” articles I read back then. I learned a lot, including what good article writing looked like! I went on from there to end up writing over 1000 articles and even teaching a course on article marketing! Learning by doing worked well for me. I believe it can work for you too.
So with that bit of background, here are the things I would tell any person wanting to “make it” online.
1. Know the Language
Imagine being dropped by helicopter into the deepest, darkest jungle you can imagine. The natives don’t speak your language and you certainly don’t speak theirs.
Welcome to the Internet! 🙂
The first thing you must understand is the language of the Net. You must become familiar (not an expert, just familiar) with things like …
- And more!
The more you know, the more time you will save sifting through the offers you receive and the less money you will waste buying something you really didn’t want.
Here’s a tip — When you find a site that defines terms well, write down the definitions and create an “Internet Dictionary” for your own personal use. Soon you will know the language which will help you save time and avoid confusion. And that’s a good thing.
The truth is that nothing we do offline prepares us for working online. Just the language of doing business online — terms like CPM and CPA and solo ads — can be strange and confusing at first.
Note: For a good basic dictionary of online marketing terms click here.
It will open for you in a new window.
2. Avoid Confusion
Succeeding online requires some basic skills. Most people who really succeed online (and by “really” I mean they last longer than a few months) have learned how to do these things.
- Choose profitable products to promote
- Get traffic to the sites they promote
- Place ads
- Write articles to get free traffic
- Create blogs to develop a loyal following
- Build a mailing list
- Using autoresponders to follow up
The problem is that there are endless web sites and “gurus” who are all saying different things about how to do these things. No wonder most people are confused!
Here’s a great way to avoid confusion. Make a list of the things you will need to succeed. Start with is the list above if you like. Once you make your list pay careful attention to the material you find about that topic and ignore everything else!
Yes, I said ignore the rest for a while. I call this “careful neglect”.
This means reading email once a day and not once an hour. It might even mean getting a new address for email you really want to receive. It means not clicking the links in emails and reading every sales letter. Sounds like blasphemy coming from an online marketer but it works and you deserve honest advice.
YOU set the agenda. Don’t let the email you receive or the latest product launch set it for you.
It takes a laser focus to succeed online. In fact, focus might just be the #1 skill needed.
So make your list and choose what your focus will be for the next week and then let everything else wait. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you can make in one week if you focus.
Here’s a tip that works – Find one eBook, eCourse or ezine that deals with the subject you chose as your first area of focus.
Now, here’s the really hard part … you have to READ it. Read it all. From cover to cover. Pretend you are going to make a book report on it.
My best advice is this … never let yourself buy a product, book, course or webinar and then not use it. Use what you buy every time, and use it to the fullest extent possible. You will learn the skills you need and save money too. Now that’s a win-win!
3. Understand the Cost of “Cheap”
We would all like to believe that you can get everything you need for $37 and go on to make millions on the Net.
But that’s not the real world.
The fact is that you will need to spend money at some point. The real key here is to buy only those things that you really need and that have a good reputation online.
Another key is to avoid committing so much time to cheap “shortcut” methods that you end up not having time to learn what you need. If something you have been doing is supposed to work quickly but is not working for you then you are probably not the problem!
The good news on the low-cost front is that there are things that really do work and don’t cost a dime. Article marketing and social media are two great places to start. They work now and have worked well for a long time. There is no reason they won’t work for you too.
4. Avoid the Hype
If there were a magic formula, a “shortcut to success” or a way to make millions in 90 days everyone would be doing it.
The next time you get a “too good to be true” offer ask yourself if it makes sense for someone who makes a million dollars a year to be spending time sending YOU an unsolicited email. Or why they would be selling their secrets for $37.
Then hide your credit card for the next 24 hours. If you still want the product after cooling down, go for it!
5. Have a Plan
I’m NOT talking New Year’s Resolutions or time management here. I’m talking about sticking with something until you have the chance to succeed.
SO many people on the Web join a program, don’t make a dime in the first couple of months and then quit that program to do another.
No one can succeed this way.
If you opened an offline business you would not expect to succeed wildly in the first 90 days. Some offline businesses don’t make a profit in their first year!
Doing business online IS different that doing business offline.
People can and do succeed much faster online and with much less start-up cost. But the pie-in-the-sky situations where you make six figures a month just by copying what someone else is doing are not real. Never have been. Never will be.
The best advice I know is to find something that interests you, investigate it well, make sure real people (not just the super-promoters) are making real money and then make a commitment to it. How long to commit will come out as you investigate it.
Want to make this year your best year ever?
Focus on the basics of success, learn the skills we all have to learn, be persistent and I believe success will be yours!