Everywhere I go, in every training that I’m in, in every sales letter that I read, I hear the call of freedom. Why do you want to have an internet business? And the answer I hear from everyone is, “I want freedom.” That’s a fantastic answer. Sometimes it’s the freedom to stay home, sometimes it’s the freedom to do whatever you want, sometimes it’s the freedom to pursue your passion, but it’s always this word freedom.
It worries me a little bit that people have this idea that there is some correlation between freedom and not working hard. All of the super successful entrepreneurs that I know that are really killing it in the online space are working hard. They may love their work and they may not be working 72 hours a day kind of hard, but they are really putting in a lot of effort to run their online business.
This quote I thought was so fantastic. I can’t quote it exactly, but it basically said, “Having freedom does not mean that you don’t have responsibility. It doesn’t mean that you’re free from responsibility. It means you are free to choose the responsibility that you desire.”
That is a really key idea. When you’re doing online business, if you want to be successful, you may be busier and working harder than you’ve ever been. I think that’s part of the reason that is so important to choose something that you actually care about when you start your online business. I think that’s the reason that I often see people who start online businesses just for the money have a lot more trouble reaching that success that they’re looking for than people who are pursuing something that they really care about.
Just something to think about. It’s not freedom from responsibility, it’s the freedom to choose your responsibility.
Late Night Listener Feedback and Reviews
Speaking of freedoms, one of the freedoms that you have right now is to pause this podcast and go leave a review on iTunes, which is what I asked you to do back at the beginning of the month. I really appreciate those reviews.
I got a great one from Chris Holdheide. Chris is a long-time listener of the podcast and he writes that he’s been following me for some time. He’s listened to every episode that I have to offer and he even got to talk to me on Skype. (I did talk to Chris on Skype, that was super cool.) He says the podcast is top notch and one of the few that he looks forward to every single week.
Chris, that means the world to me. I love the fact that people listen to the show every week.
He says, “If you’re looking for someone to learn more about internet marketing from, Mark is the go-to guy in the space.”
You can find Chris and check out what he’s working on over at SideHustleAcademy.com.
Chris, thank you so much for the review.
If you’d like to leave a review for me in iTunes and get your name shouted out on the podcast, I’d love if you did that at LateNightIM.com/itunes.
Podcast Dallas Meetup
One more thing that I wanted to mention before we get into the meat of today’s episode is that I will be speaking at Podcast Dallas about internet marketing and various things that will be tuned a little bit for the podcasters in the audience. They’ve asked me to come in and talk about making money online and other kinds of things.
Podcast Dallas is a fantastic thing, it’s a monthly meeting of podcasters around the Dallas and Fort Worth area, that I often don’t get to go to because somehow they scheduled it right in the middle of my son’s baseball practice, which is always on Tuesday night when they meet. In fact, come to think of it, that may be why they meet on Tuesday night because they know I won’t be able to be there. I hope that’s not the case.
I will be there, because they have invited me, on Tuesday June 6th. You can find information about that meet-up and signup to go at Meetup.com, we’d love to see you there.
It’s a great bunch of guys that are involved in running that. In fact, a lot of the people that are involved in running the wildly successful Podcast Movement conference are also involved in running Podcast Dallas. I’ll be looking forward to that talk and I would love to see you there on Tuesday June 6th if you’re in the Dallas area that evening.
Late Night Tech Tip: Wayback Machine
I thought I’d offer an interesting tech tip, a research tool, along with some SEO discussion.
I was reading Search Engine Journal, as I often do to keep up with SEO and other things that are going on. I saw this article, 55 Quick SEO Tips that Even Your Mother Would Love. I read through the tips and I thought, “These are pretty good tips,” but the article is dated 2008. How is that possible? They must have edited this article since 2008.
I checked, and of course if you Google SEO tips, at least for me, it comes up in the very top of the listings, so this is an article with a long history. What I was figuring is that Search Engine Journal must be updating this article on a periodic basis. If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you see that they have a link to their SEO Guide, which was published in 2016, so clearly they’ve been updating this article on a regular basis.
I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what this article looked like in 2008? I bet there are going to be some hilarious search engine recommendations that I can make fun of on the podcast.” So I went to the Wayback Machine.
This is the tech tip for you tonight. If you ever need to see what a webpage used to look like many years ago, oftentimes you can go to Internet Archive and look at the Wayback Machine. That’s at Archive.org/web and this is the famous Wayback Machine.
The internet archive has many uses. You can put stuff up there and it lasts forever. Some people even, when they’re podcasting on the cheap, they host their podcast files on Archive.org. We don’t recommend that, but that will actually work and you can do that.
The Wayback Machine you can put in any URL and, depending on what the crawling rules are for that website and so forth, you can see what the website looked like over time. In fact, you can put the URL for this Search Engine Journal article into the Wayback Machine and go back to May or April of 2008 and sure enough there’s the article on what was the Search Engine Journal, 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love. The page is hilarious looking, it’s a very 10 years ago looking website. It’s a three-column design where the left hand column is single rows of banner ads and the right hand column is double rows of ads. This is what websites looked like. When I was building websites like this back in 2008 this is what they all looked like, incredibly ugly.
What struck me about this was the quality of the tips in this article is really high and most of the 55 tips hold up today. You do have to throw out the tips about don’t use Flash splash pages on your website and some old technology stuff that no longer exists.
These tips are things like content is very important, links are very important, don’t worry about PageRank, make sure you have unique keyword focused title tags for every page on your site, keep fresh content on your site, keep delivering fresh content, make sure that you’re backlink anchors use words that make sense for the thing that you’re linking to. In other words, don’t say ‘click here,’ say, ‘click here for blue widgets,’ if you’re trying to rank for blue widgets.
One thing that they don’t mention in this article is link anchor text diversification, which is something that we’ve talked about in the past, but that hadn’t happened yet. I was really struck by this article and how it has evolved over time.
There are a couple of things to take away from this discussion.
One is this article for 55 SEO Tips on Search Engine Journal is a pretty decent article and I’ll link to it. Don’t be put off by the fact that the date is 2008 on the article, because they’ve obviously been updating it. The SEO guide that they link to at the bottom of the article is also good. It’s a little bit long and wordy, but it’s a good guide and I recommend it if you’re interested in learning more about search engine optimization.
The second thing is the Wayback Machine is always a great tool to see what has been going on with a particular website or if something is removed from a webpage and you want to go find it, if it’s no longer where you thought it was going to be, a lot of times you can find that at Archive.org. That’s a super cool thing.
The third thing is this is a strategy that you can use on your own content. Once you’ve been blogging for a long time, you’re going to have hundreds of posts. Some of them are going to be outdated, but they’re going to have links to them and Google is going to like them because they’ve been around for a long time.
You can refresh that content, maybe add some length to it, add some new content, and indicate that it’s been updated for 2017. Google likes that kind of refreshed content and that’s a great way to strengthen your position when you’re trying to rank for particular keywords with a piece of content is to update the content periodically to keep it relevant. Google wants your content to be authoritative and relevant, and one way to do that is refresh it with up to date information.
I wouldn’t be shy about saying, “This content has been updated for 2017,” because that tells the reader this is being maintained, it’s safe for me to trust this and perhaps even link to it because this is a good solid piece of content.
That’s your tech tip cool thing that’s going on for the week. I thought that was really good. It tells me what I’ve always believed, that Search Engine Journal and those guys over there are really serious about the work that they’re doing, and that’s a good publication to be reading on a regular basis.
Getting Started in Online Business
I wanted to talk about a question that was posed as a potential podcast topic in the Late Night Internet Marketing Community Group over on Facebook. If you’re interested in checking us out over there, we’d love to have you.
Shawn Dormish says, “It would be really neat to have a guide for when you’re new to this online world.” You’ve been struck by lightning and suddenly you realize that there is this whole world of online business.
I’m sure that has happened to most of you, that something happened to cause you to realize that there was this thing out there called online business and you decided you were interested in it, you wanted to try and work on creating your own online business, and the question is how do you start, how do you even think about it.
If this is you, I think we’ll have a helpful conversation for you. If it’s not you and you’ve been working on an online business for awhile, I think this is also a useful conversation in case you’re stuck, or for when you need to explain what it is that you’re doing to other people maybe this will help you with that conversation and help you to turn other people’s light bulbs on to the world that is internet business.
For me, when I talk to people about how to get started online they come to me with that question, “I want to start an online business. What do I do? How do I start?” I think the first thing that you have to do if you want to start an online business is educate yourself about the different kinds of online businesses that are out there. What are the different models?
There’s the blogging model, where you write about something that you’ve decided to write about and you figure out how to monetize that blog content.
There are models where you take some existing business that you have – maybe you’re a speaker, or an accountant, or a graphics designer – and you try to virtualize that service and bring it online so that you can have virtual customers all over the world.
There’s affiliate marketing where you create content specifically for the purpose of driving traffic to affiliate offers.
There’s creating your own content by becoming an authority in your space, maybe by having a podcast, or by creating a blog, or by having a YouTube channel, and creating information and digital products for sale.
There’s creating content and collecting ad revenue. Creating an amazingly popular YouTube channel and just living off of the ads. You see this a lot in the gaming industry where you have people playing Minecraft and recording those videos, having literally millions of viewers watching them play Minecraft and other games and explaining how the games work.
There’s eBay business models, that aren’t nearly as popular as they were, but where you buy things and resell them on eBay.
Similarly, there are ecommerce models, like we’ve been talking about with Shopify where you drop-ship things from China or ship things out of your living room.
You can be an Amazon seller and sell things on Amazon.
And countless other business models…
I think the very first step when you’re getting started online is to actually identify these business models and understand them well enough to pick a few that interest you. That’s really the first step.
There are pros and cons to all of these business models.
Maybe you hate being in front of a camera. If you hate being in front of a camera, a YouTube related business model is probably not for you.
Maybe you really don’t like writing. If you don’t like writing, blogging may not be the right business model for you.
Maybe you have some brick and mortar retail sales experience where it makes a lot of sense for you to have an ecommerce website, for example.
I think the first thing to do is to identify a business model that seems to resonate with you.
The second thing I would do is to research that and become familiar with the thought leaders around that business model niche. Inside of internet marketing there are people that talk mostly about affiliate marketing. There are people that are teaching mostly about ecommerce; and inside of that ecommerce niche there are people that talk mostly about Shopify stores with drop-shipping, or they talk about Amazon, and there are all of these different kinds of areas of expertise.
I think you need to further narrow down what it is that you want to do and fundamentally you need to find a person, or at most two people, that are currently successful at doing what it is that you want to do, and you need to follow those people.
For example, if you want to create a course online and be wildly successful and promote that course using sophisticated techniques like Facebook ads and webinars, Amy Porterfield is probably for you. She is doing that incredibly successfully and she is teaching it, and she is the perfect person for you to follow. On the other hand, if you want to build an ecommerce store, Amy Porterfield is not the right person for you.
I think it’s really important that you find someone who is teaching that topic and get to know them, understand what it is that they’re teaching, and get a feeling for whether or not the way they teach things resonates with you and is something that you want to try to duplicate, and latch onto that idea. Avoid the temptation of multiple gurus, or even worse, multiple gurus across multiple business models. Find someone that you know, like, and trust, and really focus on following that person to success.
It’s important that person has courses to offer or something that is going to give you a clear path to success, but I think the second thing after you’ve identified a business model is really to identify someone that can be your primary Sherpa in this journey to building your online business.
The third thing is to invest. Now, invest means spend the resources that you have wisely to get to the place that you want to get to. Usually it also means spend those resources in the way that maximizes return on investment.
In the Amy Porterfield example, if you want to launch a course you have a couple of choices. One is you can go identify all of the free content that Amy Porterfield has ever created about online course creation, consume all of that content and maybe consume some related free content to fill in the gaps, and go set off on that journey by following Amy Porterfield and doing what she recommends in her free content.
That’s an investment of time. That is going to take you a certain amount of time, it’s going to effort to sift through the material. It’s a low dollar investment because the content is free, but it’s a high time investment. There is an emotional cost with that, of the uncertainty of always wondering whether or not you’re doing the right thing. But, if you’re trying to bootstrap a business and you don’t have a budget, that’s the option that is available to you. There have been plenty of people that have been wildly successful taking that approach. That’s fine.
Instead of investing so much time, you can trade time for money. That’s almost always possible in internet business. In this case you would buy Amy’s $2,000 course on creating courses. That’s awfully meta, I love that, a course on courses. You would save a ton of time and your probability of success and high ROI on your investment would go up. Those are the choices that you have.
Then once you’ve done those three things – you’ve identified a business model, identified a Sherpa, identified an investment that you can go make in this area – I think the fourth thing that you need to do is focus through to success.
One of the ways that I see internet marketers run into trouble is they get into what we talked about the last couple of weeks, the messy middle of these projects where they’re creating a course or doing whatever they’re doing and they get distracted by something new. As you guys know, this happens to me all the time.
I think it’s really important that once you decide what you’re working on and who you’re following that you do your very best to drive that thing to completion. It’s super critical and very important that you stay focused on whatever the task is in front of you from start to profit.
That’s a phrase that I stole from Lynn Terry over at Clicknewz.com, who is a famous affiliate marketer. She talks about starting these projects and not giving up on them after three weeks when you realize this is a lot of work. You have to push through that and drive these things from start to profit.
That’s what I would say to someone that is just getting started online. My feeling is that when you’re getting started online one of the easiest things that you can do that pays back the most dividends in terms of learning and potential is affiliate marketing. You don’t have the burden of creating your own product in spaces that you may not quite have expertise in yet. You don’t have the issue of fulfillment and all of the associated risks that go with selling products online. Basically, you’re just creating content and driving traffic.
I will say that in my experience affiliate marketing is slower to build than some of these other things, like building a Shopify store and drop-shipping items from China, but it has different risks and rewards. With the Shopify thing your problem is identifying paid traffic that works for your Shopify store. You may not have the budget to do a lot of traffic testing, you may not be able to risk that budget.
That sort of accounting based business where you’re worried about profit margins and how much you’re selling something for versus the cost of fulfillment and shipping may not appeal to you. That’s kind of a numbers game, an arbitrage play.
You may be more interested in writing about your passion. In that case, maybe blogging is the right business model for you. Whatever it is, you really need to stick with this thing until it’s done, until you have proven that you can be successful. That is really the difference that I see between people who get started online and succeed versus people who start online and give up.
I hope that’s helpful to you, Shawn. I hope that helps answer that question, whether it was for you or for somebody else, about what the big picture looks like when you’re getting started online.
Wrapping Things Up…
That wraps up for this week. I hope you can make it out to Podcast Dallas on June 6th, that’s going to be awesome. I’ll be out there and having great fun. I hope to see you there. Until then, make a lot of progress on your internet business.