“What would I do if I had to start the internet marketing all over again?”
I have been asked this question many times over the past few years.
I have been working as an internet marketer for ten years now. It’s been a long journey.
I started out writing a blog about Robocode (the coding game) when I was in university, and tried to monetize it using Google AdSense.
Actually, it wasn’t my idea. My friend just told me to try placing the ads.
So I did it on my blog.
I even clicked the ads myself a few times!
I didn’t know about SEO or paid ads at that time.
I just blogged.
Then I learned about and did few things in Affiliate Marketing for a few years. Then I for into info products, then mobile apps, then print on demand, then eCommerce …. until now.
I have learned many things during my long journey, and now I think it’s a good time to share some good tips with the world.
Back to the question:
“What would I do if I had to start over again?”
Well, let’s assume that I’m just getting started.
What I will do first is ask myself: what’s the minimum amount I need to make to support myself?
“How much do I need to pay rent and put food on the table?”
You need to plan this when you get started.
Many people say we need to think BIG, but I don’t think this is true.
Thinking BIG is good when you have some knowledge of what you’re doing.
But if you’re just getting started, thinking BIG could make you lose focus. I think that, at first, it’s better to think small and take action to gain some knowledge.
Don’t think about making like $1M a month YET.
Start small. Just cover your monthly expenses.
What’s the minimum amount you need to live for a month?
Think about basic living expenses like food, rent, transportation, etc.
For me, I’m lucky to live in Thailand, because the cost of living is very cheap. For me, $1,000 a month is enough to get by.
How’s about you?
Think about it.
Then, let’s see how we can use the internet to make some good money to cover those monthly costs:
Working on Fiverr
Selling Digital or Physical products
There are so many interesting things you can do! Find the ones that suit you.
I’d say that there’s no need to think about the long term yet. Other people might tell you otherwise, but IMO it’s better to stay small when you’re just starting out.
Long-term work requires time to for you think, plan, learn, etc.
But when you’re just starting out and have ZERO knowledge about internet marketing, how do you know what long-term work in the internet marketing looks like?
For example, if you want to build an asset like an email list, how can you get it done? You need to set up an autoresponder, build a funnel or opt-in page, etc.
Ask your friends who are not the internet marketers. Most of them won’t know what these things are.
Same as me. When I got started, I didn’t know anything about stuff like that. What I knew was that I was placing Google AdSense in my blog and earning a little money when people clicked on the ads.
Before I wrote the blog, I didn’t know what Google AdSense was.
Many people say you need to build a brand when you do eCommerce.
But is this good advice for when you’re just getting started?
You don’t even know what products can be sold. So spending too much time on thinking about the cool domain name of your brand or what your logo should look like is useless.
Finding winning products or niches is more important when you’re getting started.
Try to launch a few products, send the traffic to them fast, and see what works. Many of my stores have long, very ugly domain names. I didn’t care about them much.
So, I think it’s better to think less and get started quickly.
Try to learn anything you can and take action, fast. I say anything, because you won’t know what kinds of internet marketing will fit your lifestyle unless you start doing something.
Pick one thing at a time to take action on. Don’t get distracted by trying to learn everything.
Learning will be useless if nothing changes.
For example, there are many good Facebook Ads courses on the internet.
You may discover something new from some courses, and find it amazing. You keep telling other people about it. But if you never implement what you learn, it means nothing. There is no change.
When I accidentally learned about Google AdSense from my friend, I just wrote content about Robocode and placed the Ads on my blog. I saw some clicks and a few bucks transfer into my account.
I started wondering why my earnings were so low.
I started learning how to make money from Google AdSense from there.
Like by finding high-paying click niches like Financial or insurance to create blog posts for. Or optimizing my landing page to get more clicks. Or learning how to build multi-niche sites. And so on and so forth.
There were some changes.
If I hadn’t started writing a blog, I wouldn’t have learned about these things. The learning process wouldn’t have started.
Okay, one more…
There are so many things to do in eCommerce (which I’ll refer to as eCom from now on).
Brand building, finding products to sell, dropshipping, print-on-demand, email marketing, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, retargeting, etc.
But when you get started, focus only on a few important things.
What’s important in eCom?
Think about it.
Products, and people who are looking for those products, right?
Forget about the brand, email marketing, retargeting, and blah blah blah.
You don’t even have any people to send emails to or to retarget yet.
Start by finding some good products to sell, and target people for that product first.
Once you’ve made some sales and found winning products or niches, move to another angle of the business.
Have some people accessed your website but not bought anything? Then learn how to retarget or write a “cart abandoned” email.
Started getting some sales, but low profits? Read more about how to upsell to increase the average order value (AOV). Or learn how to write a follow-up message to sell more products to your existing customers.
Got winning product and want to scale more? Learn about Facebook Ads Scaling or find a new traffic source, like Google or Bing ads.
Start small first, and move to something BIG later.
Learn something and take action quickly.
Fail Fast – and often.
There is no 4-hour work week when you get started.
Don’t get me wrong, I like this book (“The Four Hour Work Week”) and delegate a lot of work to other people on my team. But when you get started, you should work hard.
Working a 4-hour week with ZERO knowledge is not enough.
It takes time to become an expert at something. If you spend many hours on learning useful stuff when you get started, it will take you less time to become good at what you do.
When I started out, many people said many good things about the 4-hour work week book. I found this book, and I liked it. And for a while after that, I worked just 4 hours a week.
But I found that this was no good, because I had very little knowledge of internet marketing at that time. The learning process was very slow, and I saw little improvement in my internet marketing business.
At that time, I had just launched and optimized some affiliate marketing campaigns, and that’s it. Those four hours passed by very quickly, and I rarely found new things to learn. I didn’t think about creating a system or how to take my business to the next level.
I actually needed to grind more. Not doing it was a BIG mistake.
IMO, a 4-hour work week is actually the result of hard work. It’s not the process.
MJ Demarco, who wrote the Millionaire Fastlane, said:
“All events of wealth are preceded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work, and sacrifice. If you try to skip process, you’ll never experience events.”
I totally agree with this statement.
We need to work hard first to get some traction. When you know what you do really well and are earning a good income that covers your basic living expenses, then you can build a system, delegate work and live the 4HWW lifestyle.
But you need to work your ass off to reach that level.
Another thing I’d recommend if you’re new to the internet marketing: surround yourself with people who are better than you.
Better people will move you to the next level.
Not in a direct way – but when you see someone who can do something better in your area, you can try to move yourself to that level, or even higher.
Before I joined Don’s Mastermind in 2017, I was quite satisfied and proud of what I had achieved at that time.
But there was a session called “Hot Seat” where people talked about their business – what they were doing, how much they made a year, what they wanted to achieve this year, etc.
Don would digest our info and guide us on how we could do better.
There were many great people in the room. They made $50M a year and still wanted to learn how to achieve bigger goals.
When I heard their stories, I felt I was just an arrogant kid, and a lazy one. There was actually more room for me to improve. I needed to do something to level up.
My daily routine before the mastermind was to wake up, find something to eat, go to the gym, eat lunch, then go back home to edit some of my Facebook ad campaigns for few hours.
That’s the 4HWW lifestyle, right? I was very lazy. Although it may earn you enough for basic living, a lazy working lifestyle is not a good plan.
So I decided to move to the next level. After that mastermind, I got out of my comfort zone. I teamed up with my friends and tried to take our eCom business to a whole new level.
Not only that – after the mastermind, I kept in contact with Don and learned many things from him.
Don is a great guy, and he never stops moving to the next level.
He’s the GearBubble founder. Although he’s made a lot from his business, he still finds new things to do.
GearBubble Pro, GearBubble Dropship Integration, DOD – Dropship on Demand (a great eCom course – he made it with me. lol)
When he launched DOD, he planned the launch sequence very thoroughly. The dates for the prelaunch, the launch, closing, copywriting for each stage, etc.
I learned many things from him while he was doing that launch. It was much better than just reading a book.
I have read LAUNCH, by Jeff Walker. It’s a good book. But when it comes to the implementing phrase, there are a lot more details than he writes about.
Don never stops learning and doing new things. I always see him as a role model, one that makes me never stop reaching for more.
Last year, I attended the SSS (Start Sustain Scale), an eCom event in Las Vegas.
Even though I was one of the speakers at that event, I still learned new things from other speakers.
I had known Will Haimerl for few years on Facebook. I bought some of his courses when I started my eCom business.
Will was one of the speakers at the Las Vegas event. He shared something about Google Ads.
At that time, I had never used Google Ads in my stores. I listened to what Will taught at that event.
When I got back home, I implemented few things he’d taught in some of my stores.
It worked great. I applied his method and made good bucks during the shopping season.
Try to find a few events to attend each year . There are so many people you can learn from. If you have a chance, try to make connections with the people you meet.
Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you will definitely help you achieve bigger goals.
Once you are making enough to handle basic living expenses, let say enough for 1 or 2 years, it’s time to think about building a business that will bring in long-term income for you.
This is a good time to start a long-term project, because you have nothing to worry about. You have made enough for 2 or years, right?
You can work with no stress.
At this stage, we will focus on the essentials. Anything that earns short-term income, we won’t do.
So what kind of business can help you make long-term income?
When thinking about long-term projects, it must be a business that I don’t have to be involved with all the time.
The business must be handled by technology or other people.
For example, if you want to scale an eCom store to the next level – let’s say you have many winning products and understand your market really well – building a brand for your eCom store is a good thing to do now.
You might start by setting up email marketing automation to forge a relationship with your customers. You can also set up a retargeting campaign to bring prospects back to your website.
These things can be done by technology. You just need to set up the campaigns and let the system send the emails to your customers automatically.
You also need a team to launch new products and run ads. When it comes to a long-term project, you need a team.
I like building teams. It helps me focus on the essentials.
Speaking of teams … I really like the 1-Hour System model.
The 1-Hour System is a good example of a business that generates long-term income.
95% of the process is handled by two people on my team – the graphic designer and the product uploader.
I have operated this business for almost two years now, and it consistently generates sales for me. My team creates and uploads new products to Amazon for me every day.
I currently have more than 60,000 products in my Amazon account.
When there is a new order, the product is made and shipped by GearBubble.
The whole process is done by other people and technology, not by me.
I don’t need to do anything.
Another good thing is, because traffic from Amazon is organic, we don’t need to spend any money on ads. Even if you pay for Amazon Sponsor Ads, the cost is cheap, and targeted.
So you don’t need to worry much about your source of traffic.
The more you list new products, the more income you will earn.
This is another good business that can generate long-term income for you.
There are many other internet marketing businesses that can be handled by technology or people – such as blogs, mobile apps, selling evergreen digital products, etc.
Find the one that fits your lifestyle.
Okay, that’s almost everything I’d do if I had to start all over again.
But there is one more thing I’d do. I rarely hear people in the internet marketing space talking about it.
It’s about the stock market and mutual fund investments.
When you make a good money from an internet marketing business, you should to invest some of it into something such as the stock market or a mutual fund to maintain the wealth.
I don’t mean daily stock trading. Invest in some good stocks for the long term, like Warren Buffet does.
And, I’m not saying you should use the stock market or mutual funds to get rich. Use them to stay wealthy.
It’s just like what MJ said in the Millionaire Fastlane (and I’m paraphrasing):
Slowlaners – use mutual funds or stocks to get rich.
Fastlaners – use them to stay wealthy.
Otherwise, inflation will decrease the value of your money over time.
For retirement, I have been putting a part of my income into mutual funds every month, using the Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) method.
It’s the easiest and safest method, in my opinion. You just need to select some good funds and put the same amount of money into them every month.
I have done this since I started working as an internet marketer. It’s been 10 years now, and the numbers keep growing.
That’s the one investing method I use.
There are many other interesting investing methods that can help you stay wealthy.
This is very important for every one of you.
Take time to read about it. It’s like the end game. We can’t work until our final day, right?
Okay, let’s recap:
1.) When getting started, think about how much you need for basic living. List everything you need to pay for – food, rent, transportation, etc.
2.) Start doing something to cover those expenses for 1-2 years. Don’t think too big. It will make you lose focus. Learn ONE thing at a time and take action quickly. Learning is nothing if there is no change. Take action, and fail fast and often.
3.) Work hard and sacrifice to gain knowledge quickly. 4HWW is the result, not the process. Don’t be lazy when you get started.
4.) Surround yourself with people who are better than you. These people will help you reach the next level.
5.) When you have made enough to cover basic expenses and are expert at something, it’s time to move on your long-term project. For me, the long-term project must be able to be handled by technology or other people. It must also generate income for me in the long term.
6.) Invest in something to maintain wealth. This is very important for everyone. After you make some money, don’t spend it all. Invest it in assets like stocks or mutual funds to stay rich.
What would I do I had to start internet marketing all over again?
That’s what I would do.
Now it’s your turn! 😉
P.S. Want to know more about me? Read my short bio here.
P.P.S. My story doesn’t end here. I’m always finding new things to do in my tiny marketing lab (TML).
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