The Best Advice I Ever Received by Charlie Page

The Best Advice I Ever Received

Over the years I’ve been blessed to meet and work with some top performers in business. I won’t drop names but these are names you would know.

When I get to know these outstanding performers I always ask for some advice, if it seems appropriate.

Personal note: When doing work for high performers sometimes the best thing to do is do your work very well and ask for nothing extra in return. But there are times when the working relationship is very comfortable so I ask away.

Here is what I generally asked.

  • What do they think I can do to serve customers better?
  • How can I grow my business?
  • Do they see ways to do things better?
  • Am I leaving profits on the table?
  • What would you do differently if you were me?

Over those years (more than 12 years as I write this) I’ve received some great advice.

From working with others to product development to email marketing, I am thankful for the help I have received.

But there is one piece of advice so powerful, yet so simple, that it rises above all the rest.

This one piece of counsel helped clarify my priorities and makes choosing what to do next simple and fun.

That advice …

That advice came from my friend Jimmy Brown.

If you don’t know Jimmy you should.

Jimmy is a man who walks the walk, not just talks the talk.

Jimmy is about a far removed from the “gurus” as you can get. He lives and works in a no-hype zone and actually does what he teaches.

If you watch how Jimmy runs his business you will notice a pattern. Jimmy will learn how to do something, then do it well and then teach it.

Now to the advice

The background — There was a period of time when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. I was trying to do too much (19 projects) and nothing was getting done.

So I reached out to Jimmy for advice.

His reply came in an email and it literally set me free.

So simple, yet, to me, profound.

Here’s what he said.

Focus on three types of activities only. If something does not fit one of these three categories either eliminate it or outsource it.

The three categories are development, marketing and support.

What a profoundly simple way to look at your day!

Three things matter most – DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING AND SUPPORT – and all others can wait, be eliminated or be outsourced.

In the spirit of transparency I will tell you that I outsourced only a few tasks. I’m not a big believer in outsourcing casually because the quality of what I provide matters to me.

While I did hire a few tasks done, 90% of what had been weighing me down was eliminated.

It simply did not need to be done at all.

What I found was that I was over-thinking my business.

I was thinking about my business from my side of the table, not the customers.

When I focused exclusively on thinking from the customer’s point of view everything improved.

Please bear in mind that my business was very strong at this point. Jimmy’s advice helped me make it stronger.

That said, I truly believe that if I had that type of clarity and focus from day one it would have saved me literally years of trial and error.

Let’s dig a little deeper into Jimmy’s advice and see how it might apply to you.

What is development?

To succeed online long term you really need a product of your own. History has proven this true.

What well-known marketer can you think of that does not sell his or her own products?

But in the beginning you will likely choose affiliate marketing.

The good news is this …

Both product owners and product promoters can benefit from this advice!

Development means creating your own unique approach to either creating a product or promoting a product.

For the product owner it can mean:

  • Writing a book
  • Programming software
  • Recording a webinar
  • Creating a video
  • And more

For the product promoter it can mean:

  • Setting up a squeeze page to capture leads and build your list
  • Writing follow up emails (or having them written) to make the sale
  • Finding products (like reports) you can give away as a subscriber magnet
  • Recording a webinar (yes, as an affiliate!)
  • And more

Whether you are a product owner (or want to be one) or an affiliate marketer, spending time working on YOUR unique offer matters … a lot.

The sure path to frustration and failure is to try to promote a super-hot product using the same methods and materials that all other affiliates are using.

When it comes to affiliate marketing the phrase “differentiate or die” is true indeed.

What is marketing?

To my way of thinking marketing is anything you do, and everything you do, to earn the business of new customers.

When it comes to marketing I like Stephen Covey’s advice.

“Begin with the end in mind” is what he suggested.

But what does that mean in marketing terms?

It means finding the customers you want, not trying to make a quick buck.

It means building a list the quality way, not doing some ad swap with a questionable list owner.

It means driving traffic using proven methods first and then trying the latest and greatest methods.

We can see this in action by looking at Jimmy Brown as an example once more.

Jimmy is a super-successful online marketer … but he does not (as of this writing) do Twitter or Facebook.

What, no Facebook or Twitter and he stills earns in a year what it takes most people 10 years to earn?

Yep. Want to know why?

It’s because (according to him) he can’t do Facebook or Twitter well so he does not do them at all.

That type of commitment to quality shows in his development, in his marketing and his support.

The secret to Jimmy’s success, in part, is that he does what he does very well. Very well indeed.

Here are just three examples.

  1. Jimmy invented the idea of a Fixed Term Membership – and no one does it better.
  2. Jimmy teaches outsourcing – and he does it very well.
  3. Jimmy teaches how to make money with short reports – and his short reports are both helpful and some of the best subscriber magnets on the market.

Bottom line; Jimmy is not a jack of all trades, he is a master of those he chooses and will create the best return on investment.

And that is a great example to follow.

What is support?

Most people look at providing support like a trip to the dentist for a dental surgery. A “necessary evil.”

But the facts are different.

In my view giving great support is not only the right thing to do but it’s the most profitable thing you can do as well.

Very few people who market online (and especially “newbies”) understand the lifetime value of a customer.

So many people want to spend $60, make $400 from that $60 and “reinvest” their profits to “keep it rolling” that they end up chasing the next shiny object and going broke buying everything out there.

There is a better way.

The better way is to create happy customers with products (development) and promises (marketing) that make support easy.

When you under-promise and over-deliver you will find that customers love you and are loyal to you.

And loyal customers buy again and again.

So how can you provide great support?

Here are three ways to get started.

1. Be Available

You don’t have to spend hours a day on Skype or the phone to be available. A great support desk or email will do quite well.

2Be Helpful

The key to great support is answering people’s questions in a way that is actionable.

If someone asks how to do something either point them to a resource you trust or provide the step-by-step answer.

You don’t have to know everything under the sun – you just need to know enough to help your customers get the answers they need.

3. Think Ahead

One key to great support is to think like your customer and plan to meet their needs in advance.

One of the best examples of this is a robust and helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource.

This can be as simple as an email or as complex as a Wiki, depending on your offerings.

Tim Ferriss of the 4 Hour Workweek famously used an email FAQ to cut his customer support time down by 80% while still providing actual help to customers.

How did he do it?

He thought like his customer and pre-answered every question he could think of and then put those on a FAQ page on his site.

He then answered customer email with and autoresponder message that basically said “Most questions can be answered here. If your specific question is not answered on my FAQ page here’s what to do to get ahold of me personally.”

Helpful, and highly effective.

When it comes to working online, especially if you are trying to make money online, keeping things simple but effective is the key.

This “simple but effective” approach cures many of today’s problems, including being tempted to buy too much and suffering from information overload.

You can use the “Develop, Market and Support” model many ways.

You can divide your day in three parts to achieve incredible focus.

You can take one full day each week for each area and watch your productivity literally skyrocket.

No matter how you approach it, using a simple and effective approach such as Jimmy shared with me will help you get more done in less time, help you have more peace of mind and help you get out of the buying trap too.

And THAT is a beautiful thing indeed!

79 thoughts on “The Best Advice I Ever Received”

  1. Pingback: How Many Sites Should I Have - CHARLIE PAGE

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  3. Thanks, Charlie. Loved this article.
    I’m stuck on the basic-
    development. I’m passionate about my chronic pain niche. My sites and
    blogs are mostly informational and educational. So’… how do I make
    I AM an affiliate for a pain cream and some devises, but is
    showing in my side bar all I should do? I wrote 2 ebooks and could write
    short reports promoting the products, but most people expect them as
    give- a-ways.I know to use them for list building. But should i develop
    THEM and that be my ‘own product’. Is there anything else you
    suggest I do? I do love to educate, but it would be nice to earn some
    money too (-:
    PS-I’m just in the creating stage of what will
    be my main site/blog on pain, but i have another on a specific
    autoimmune disease . i’d apply these principles to both.

    1. Linda,

      Being an affiliate is fine but it sounds very much as though you could develop your own information products and sell them for income.

      At a minimum, I would not worry so much about what you see as visitor’s expectations and focus instead on the fact that you deserve to be paid for your expertise.

      Please understand, I am not trying to be critical. I’m just pointing out that other’s expectations can never be fully met and you deserve to create value for yourself, as well as your readers, from your information.

      That can take several forms, including writing books and selling them (I suggest Amazon) creating a membership site where you share deeper insights or actually coaching people who have chronic pain and want a solution.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Gordon Appleby

    Excellent advice, Charlie. A simple way to stay organized, focused and productive (but “simple” is usually best, right?). I’m afraid that today’s definition of productivity is getting a lot of stuff done. You reminded us that productuctvity is getting the right things done – right. Very profound. Thanks, Charlie.

  5. Yes, I’m an over thinker too and I believe that’s why I don’t get anything done.
    Thank you very much for your post.
    I will be online very soon. Also I is one of your lifetime members and will keep in touch

  6. Jimmy is the grandfather of internet marketing, the right way.

    Charlie I respect you so much for you for the way you do business. Your writings have me sittting on the edge of my chair.

    My takeaways:

    Customer service is a right not afforded by many marketers. To change the perception of internet marketers (and thr industry for that fact) we have to keep the customer experience at the forefront of our minds.

    I WILL work with you one day!

    And I say that with as much assurance as Henry Ford had when he demanded of his team, in his authorative voice,

    “You WILL build that engine.”

    Until then my friend…

    ~Jamaul Finley

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Your takeaway is right on the money – customers come first. Zig Ziglar was right “you can get everything you want by helping enough other people get what they want.”

      I know we will work together as well.

      Thank you again,


  7. Charlie thank you for sharing, this post.
    I’ve been chasing shiny new things forever, and have been information overloaded more time than I can remember…
    But; development, marketing and support.
    Simplifies the objective to making money online..
    Make it, Sell it, provide support to your customer.
    I think I’m going to be going threw some PLR’s, and making a new product,
    Thanks Charlie

  8. I just want to ask a very humble question Charlie,how can I make money from an adsense niche site like my site.I am not selling anything.
    I have been a member for many years and I enjoy your articles but they do not make me make money.I am just frank and simple.

    1. I have visited your site and will be candid – you have work to do for this site to be profitable. There are broken links, ads that have no context (ads for a split testing tool on a debt relief site) and not enough content. In addition, you are not building a list on the site.

      This site can be salvaged but, as it sits now, I don’t see it earning much. You have made a good enough start to stick with it, and I hope you do.


  9. Charlie:
    This is the best post that I have read from you so far and you have written a bunch of good ones. For me, it was right on time. I have one question and one request – which model did you choose to implement and why (i.e. divide your day or take one full day each week)? And could you please add a print button so that we can print our some of your best articles (without the comments) so that we can read or study when we are not online? Many thanks.

    1. GREAT question. Great! I do the one full day method because my time is totally my own and I can use it as I see fit. I find that splitting the first half of the day on creative tasks, then taking a nice break and coming back to more mundane tasks works very well for my personality.

      I have added the print button as you requested. You can print or make a PDF of the articles you want now. Just don’t publish them! Just kidding. I know you would not do that. 🙂


      1. Charlie … I’m so glad Barry asked about a “print” option. I’ve been copying your articles into Word docs. I usually read and/or print them later. A “print” button would be great. Where is that button for the article above? Thanks a bunch! Shalom!

      2. I’ll get on that. When we changed themes the built in button went away. I’ll find and add another one.

  10. Wow, so many comments to an excellent post and I got hit with this funny thought. It would be kind of cool, but far too expensive I am sure, if you had sought of a convention of your membership subscribers where we would get to meet you in person, like a day long party where we would get to meet and greet everybody. I am sure as much as you are admired, and we are all in it for the same thing it would be a great time together. Kind of silly I know but that is what crossed my mind reading all of these comments. What you wrote was great and a lot to learn from it, and appreciated too.

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  12. These are some really great tips, Charlie. I need to start outsourcing more and focus only on the most important tasks. This would definitely free up a lot of my time to do the most important things. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It does take discipline to focus, no doubt there. But I have found that the encouragement I get from getting so much done in less time helps drive the discipline.

  13. ‘Under promise – over deliver’! Whenever talking with others about building good relationships with those on your list, I’ve never thought about mentioning this important point. As with most of your articles, you ‘over deliver’. Thanks for the email that brought me here. You’re really good to follow.

  14. Hi Charlie,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us — it is great information — yes,
    I am guilty of ‘jumping all over, and really must try to sett down and
    get my business in good shape’!!!

    Keep up the great work. Again thank you…

    Bona 🙂

  15. Thank you for the advice and and this article. We just need to yield, and get professional help.

    I am guilty too, of going all over the place. I want to take action and start sticking to it.

    again, ty charlie.

  16. Mark Wizzer Wilson

    Hi Charlie
    That’s really good advice. I genuinely believe that deep down we already “knew” that we need to narrow down what we do and focus on a few strategic tasks but we all need a sharp shock from time to time!
    Like you I’m not convinced about outsourcing (indeed I’m not over sure about many employees either based on years of experience) and believe passionately that service (not written mission statements or “service standards”) is the key to real lasting success.
    I find it very strange yet interesting that in the “real” world people wouldn’t dream of setting up a business as a plumber and a hairdresser and a business consultant and a graphic designer all at once. Nor are they likely to start one, get bored/distracted and move on to one of the others. But, probably due to the relatively low barriers to entry do just that online. Far too many people start a “business” online but have no idea what market to serve and are NOT therefore committed to any thing in particular. That adds to the number of potential profitable ideas, shiny objection syndrome and lack of focus and completion of anything.

    1. Mark,

      Good points. What you pointed out also leads to millions of websites that are abandoned, clogging up the system for everyone. I have long maintained that there is a huge difference between trying to make money online and truly starting an online business. Worlds apart those two.

      Thanks for your comment.

  17. Excellent advice Charlie! I can use that in my Farmers insurance business where I find myself overwhelmed nearly everyday.

    1. So easy to do too! I have found that brainstorming for a great FAQ page (or support knowledge base) can often be the inspiration for a new product or new slant on an existing product. Thank you for your comment.

  18. Yet another post from Charlie Page that hits the right spot -and on just the right day as well!
    Bring focus and consistent action to these three categories and you’re on a winner!

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  20. Quite the eye opening post Charlie. I think every internet marketer has gone through the phase of over complicating their business, myself included. But hey, there’s a great lesson to be learned from doing so!

  21. Thank you very much as usual Charlie.
    These are “WORDS of WISDOM”. Extremely valuable.
    Thank you, thank you and thank you.


  22. Hi Charlie:

    I found this post very helpful as a way of organizing my marketing mind.
    Is there anyway you could delve into each area in more depth?

    For example, sharing some of the successes and failures you have had with different modes of customer support services, examining the pros and cons of hiring a service for it or finding a customer service rep online and the costs involved.
    I guess the cost of support goes way up if you have your own product so I’d like to know the rough dollar/time trade offs involved.

    As for the marketing phase I suppose it can be broken down into “actionable daily activities”. If so, then let’s create a color coded chart for this so people can stay on track either under an affiliate model or a product business model.
    Finally, I guess there are a series of detective like check list steps to take to increase the chances of success as a product promoter.
    Not just checking the gravity of a CB product but more detailed steps under the differentiation category, for example, product e book cover to personalized ebook cover.
    I’m having a lot of trouble with this even though I know Fiverr is out there.
    Perhaps these sort of things are covered in the DOE Forum. I will head over there to see.
    The thing is I don’t see how I can take advantage of the DOE & Solo Ads until I have my ducks in a row and there are not enough ducks or they are in a circle at the moment.


    1. Michael,

      I plan on doing a Quick Course on product creation soon. My entire blog is about marketing so there is plenty there to choose from. As to the customer support part of the equation; I doubt that is something I’m going to teach about. Sorry.

      I can say that using ZenDesk has been the best move I’ve ever made. But my business and yours sound like they are in different places so what’s working for me might not work as well.

      There is plenty of information inside the DOE member area about how to do solo ads. I’m sure you will find what you need easily.

  23. Millicent Brandow

    Charlie: You are someone that everybody loves! You always have good advice to give to us and some sound ideas, things to keep us going on the right track and to keep us thinking. Many thanks

    1. Thank you for your kind words. My goal is to share helpful information. The kind of feedback you leave always lets me know I’m no the right track. I appreciate you.

  24. I not only teach but I’m a student 🙂 Thanks for this post it was great. And I think it’s an important reminder that you can’t do everything well so focus on what you can and make that amazing.

    1. Amen to that. I have found over the years that the best teachers are avid students. LOVE you site by the way. Well done.

  25. Charlie,
    As always, great advice. I respect and admire you so much as an expert in the internet marketing business. Thank you always for the great content and willingness to help the underdogs who are just struggling to make things work! You are a kind and generous person and I appreciate all you do.
    Thanks again – Melody

    1. Melody – you made my day! Thank you so much for your kind words. I promised 12 years ago to “pay it forward” if I made it big online and try every day to fulfill that promise. Thank you again.

  26. Hi Charlie,
    I just wanted to let you know that I think you have some of the best content that I have ever read online. There’s a lot of people online with good content but yours just comes from a different level of service. Thanks for sharing. God Bless

    1. Thank you for saying that! When people who love to write write things they often wonder if it will resonate with people and be of help. I’m so happy to know you feel that my material is helping you. Thanks again.

  27. Thanks so much for this Charlie, I’m working very hard these days to launch my own business and your advice couldn’t come at a better time to help keep me focused.


  28. Charlie,
    I swear you wrote this article specifically for me. Although I subscribe to the saying, “Every master was once a disaster”, it’s still hard for me to imagine my heroes like you and Jimmy EVER struggling… and even harder for me to imagine that THIS disaster (a.k.a. myself) will EVER be a master.
    And yet, because of your great leadership with helpful articles like this, I have hope! I, too will have a great story some day and I will pass along the legacy begun by the pioneers of IM.
    Thank you so much for sharing your light!

    1. There is no better feeling for a writer that to get the comment “you must have read my mind and written this for me”. I appreciate your comment so much!

      Believe me, there were struggles. I remember driving through an ATM one Sunday after church to get money for lunch. I had $15 to my name! Not good. And then there were the days when I was so ill but had to write 5 to 10 articles every day. Not fun but thank God I got it done and fed the family.

      I know Jimmy has stories too.

      I know you well enough to say without hesitation that you are in fact going to be a master and are going to help thousands and thousands of people with what you have to share.

    1. So true. I speak with people all the time who have 40,000 Twitter followers but are making no money tweeting. Not surprising when you consider they build their list by follow backs and have no real relationship with the people.

      It’s time to measure what we do and carefully choose those tasks that help people most and bring the best results.

      Thank you for your comment.

  29. Jimmy Brown is one of my favorite Internet marketers. I especially love is mastery philosophy. I am more and more simplifying my marketing and he gives me courage and knowledge as a product developer!

    Thanks for this great reminder! Time to simplify and dream big!

  30. Hello Charlie, once again a very informative Article, with some great advice for all who reads it ! You and Jimmy Brown have been very helpful in my Marketing concerns. Thanks again- Charliej

  31. Another awesome article Charlie! It’s amazing how usually the simplest things can be of major help in your business. I had someone tell me to track every task I did every day and record it for one week. What a list! Then I was able to group all my activities to specific times during the day, like make all my calls in the morning, place ads after that, do my email responses before lunch, etc. It was amazing how much I was getting accomplished daily and how much my business grew after that one exercise! Simple and effective! Thanks again for a wonderful post.

    1. Thanks Patty. Grouping like tasks together is so helpful. Especially when it comes to email.

      SO many people struggle online because they just can’t not click the links in the many emails they receive. Batching email processing, and setting a time limit, really helps with that.

  32. Richard Meredith

    Great post Charlie, never told you before that I have benefited so much from you and my membership in DOE over the years.

    I’ve got a website in the prepper niche, do you have any ideas for any lists in that niche or any other ad sources? Seem to be hard to find… thought I’d ask an expert!

    Thanks for everything

  33. I noticed that in your article you wrote, “It means building a list the quality way, not doing some ad swap with a questionable list owner.”

    Yet you own the membership site “The Directory of Ezines”. How is this directory different than ad-swaps and which niches is it best suited for.

    I really want to build lists in the niches I am in since I have been marketing for 3 years now and relying on seo is getting old fast. I was contemplating ad-swaps but now I am not sure.

    In general, what way do you see to build quality lists fast.

    P.S. I usually avoid the “make money” niche.


    1. Paul,

      Please notice I said “with a questionable list owner”. I think ad swaps are very powerful when done well. But unless you know the list owner, or have some evidence of their quality, you are rolling the dice.

      Another thing that goes wrong with list swaps is this – many people who have lists, and are actively and aggressively trying to do swaps, built that list by giving away lots and lots of freebies. This leads to a list of freebie seekers who will never buy but will happily join your list in order to get your free offer.

      Then YOU end up with a list of freebie seekers, who don’t buy. At the end of the day you’ve got a list of 840 people but are making no money.

      That IS list building but not list building the quality way.

      By the way, the Directory of Ezines (DOE) is NOT a list of ad swaps lists. We are a directory of ezines, most of which publish real ezines (with real articles and real readers) who also sell advertising or accept articles.

      We do list some ad swap sources, and some “guaranteed hits” sources too (like you find on forums) but the vast majority of our listings are true ezine publishers, not just list owners.

      There is a big difference there.

      Thank you for your comment.

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