I’ve been helping great people answer that question for over a decade now. Is it working? As evidence we have over a thousand positive comments and success stories to show for our efforts.
Part of my recent approach to teaching online success is to start out telling people what NOT to do because the odds are they’ve already gotten a bunch of bad advice by the time they discover my ideas.
My students are often surprised to hear me say that they definitely should NOT start their online business efforts by:
So, where should you start?
I run three distinct and successful online businesses and have been doing so for years. The success rate is high when I teach the models to others. I suggest you start with the model below that best suits you. If you aren’t quite sure, then I suggest you start with number one from the below list.
Here are the three strategies of online success that my coaches and I teach:
1. Sell high profit physical goods through Amazon.com, eBay.com and possibly (eventually) your own website. Optionally, you are continually finding creative ways to automate and grow a huge customer following for future sales and connections. (The membership site MySilentTeam.com supports this concept)
2. Find a profitable niche market, be a leader in that niche and give your followers fantastic content while also selling them related products, services, training, or information that is of interest to them. (MySilentTeam.com also supports this concept). NOTE: This IS NOT the same thing as setting up a bunch of tiny niche websites! That model is DEAD & I’ve not liked it for nearly 5 years.
3. Get paid to help other businesses, experts, authors and organizations apply marketing that works to their business. (OfflineBiz.com supports this concept)
Read more about each of these strategies plus more about where NOT to start in the $5 SilentSalesMachine.com book.
Any questions or comments? Let’s talk about it! I’d love your feedback.
I get this sort of letter all the time. Disillusioned, confused & misled online entrepreneurs that are waking up to realize that the path they’ve been on so far has been 98% a waste of time. Typically they’ve been mislead into thinking that “affiliate marketing” is the golden ticket.
I’ve removed all names and specific websites as a professional courtesy, but you could insert any of dozens of names/websites in where you see “********”.
Check out the email I got from Allen below, and then click the “comment” button to leave Allen your best advice. I’ll pick one winner on Monday
April 30th May 7th (postponed because there was no newsletter last week.) The winner gets MySilentTeam.com or OfflineBiz.com membership for life and a signed copy of my best selling “Free Marketing” book (101FreeMarketing.com):
I just wanted to say a big ‘Thank You’ Jim for opening my eyes today. I had never heard of you before but thankfully, I was prompted to visit a video you made for anyone interested in Internet Marketing. For me, your sincerity, humility and integrity was clear to see. That’s when I clicked on a further link to 2 free chapters of Silent Sales Machine, and found out very quickly, that I have been doing a lot of things wrong for the past 16 months. This is the amount of time I have been trying to build an online business! The alarm bells are now ringing loudly thanks to you.
Sixteen months ago I began searching for internet marketing opportunities. I was determined to start a home based online business, which eventually led me to **********. I paid for ******** but I haven’t made a single penny!
• Do I have a website now? Yes. Based on the training I got I’m currently blindly trying to sell one of the ebooks they gave me from that site.
• Am I eagerly following a celebrity “Guru”? Yep, that’s me!
• Am I doing Affiliate Marketing? Absolutely – mainly links back to the website of ********** (to sell the same “system” I bought that isn’t working)
I am so grateful that I came across your site (SilentSalesMachine.com) today, it has been both a shock to the system and a huge wake – up call.
Jim, I have never doubted once that it was possible for me to make a reasonable living online but what I did not realize is just how long it takes to make any money at all. Even though 16 months have passed, I still click on what appears to be the latest or greatest system or “Guru” and have so many follow up emails in my inbox each day, I should be in the Guinness Book of Records.
Thankfully, I haven’t given up. Well not yet anyway. I’m still searching and clicking away, hoping that something will work someday. I signed up for ******** (a different program). I’ve followed the procedures and installed word press and watched the step by step videos and unsurprisingly,
nothing has happened.
Jim, I really appreciated listening to your story and for the advice in the 2 free chapters of “SilentSalesMachine”. I would be so grateful for any and all advice on how to move forward from here in as short a time scale as possible. My wife thinks I’m stupid, and yet she still is so supportive. I’m 50 something now, full of passion and still look forward to success.
What’s your best advice for Allen?
Note about the contest: Responses to Allen don’t have to be long or thorough, although I’m not discouraging that type of answer at all – let’s really help him out! For the purposes of the contest though, I could just as likely chose a pithy short answer over a detailed one. The only qualification is “my favorite answer wins”. I might have more than one winner as well…we’ll see what sort of advice rolls in for Allen.
UPDATE 4/30: If you view the comments left on this blog post (link is at the top of the page) you’ll see a response from Alan (his real name is spelled “Alan” - I was protecting his identity by using “Allen” in the blog post). Be sure to see what he and others have to say about the advice he’s getting from my audience.
After being a part of helping and observing thousands of people succeed (or fail) online I have detected some strong trends. Call me crazy, but you can’t prove me wrong on any of these.
1. Affiliate marketing IS NOT a business
Perhaps my most controversial point of the 7, but I’m not the one who said it first. One of the richest affiliate marketers of our time said it. Find the proof here.
2. Those of us who stuck it out with eBay are still making a lot of money. Amazon.com is full of opportunity too. It’s the “boring” stuff that really works.
I’m banking more than ever on eBay, and teaching others to do the same. Sure, it’s only a portion of my online income, but it’s steady! When in doubt head to where all the buying traffic is. I still love eBay and love Amazon more all the time as an income geneartor.
3. Yes, you have been making others rich buying all those courses, membership sites and ebooks.
The good news is, you know more than you realize. The solution? Go after some low hanging fruit. This blog post spells out where I think the low fruit is.
4. You don’t start with a website or even a “great” product. You need an audience first.
This blog post will get you thinking correctly about how to find and grow an audience as your FIRST focus.
5. Every new “marketing opportunity” that has come along since email marketing took hold has fallen in one of these three categories: 1. a fad that has (or likely will soon) pass, 2. is best used to grow your email mailing list (i.e. social media), or 3. has been a barely more than a waste of time entirely from day one. (The only possible exception to these three rules is mobile marketing)
6. Your skills don’t matter as much as you think they do.
Stop chasing skills and start building systems. Learn to outsource work to the highest performing/lowest price option. People with skills work for rich people with ideas. Possible exception: The only possible “skill” you are likely to ever need to succeed online.
7. Relationships rule (not content).
Use your real name, show your face, and help people make hard decisions with the content you create. Sure, I’m a fan of great content (what other kind is worth your effort?), but relationships earn you the right to even present your message. Here’s a video of what happens when a bunch of people trust your advice because you’ve built a relationship (watch me earn $7K in a day in that short video).
8. Over-delivering REALLY pays off. Under-delivering is death online.
I call it irrational generosity. Notice I promised 7 harsh lessons. This eighth one is important. Every customer who thinks your are amazing will tell potentially HUNDREDS of people. Amaze your customers even if it’s expensive.
Please leave me a comment using the link at the top of this article. I want to know your favorite, or if you think I’m wrong or left something off the list.
While writing this article I asked my Facebook followers to chime in their ideas. Here’s what some of them said were the hard lessons they are learning. You are NOT alone if you are thinking any of these things!
Please JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Leave a comment.
Tom J Curtis Sometimes the gold is at the very bottom of where you are looking, but most people give up either way before the gold or a quarter inch from it. They’re quick to abandon what seems to not be working when all it takes is one more punch through that last quarter inch of conflict and…JACKPOT!!! I speak of my own experience of course.
Jose Lukes Trying to roll out your online biz until it is just “perfect”. If I had waited until every online biz venture I took was perfect, I would have never had any success.
Tom J CurtisBy the way Jim, I love this post. No sugar coating from you. People deserve to know that it takes good old fashion rolling up the sleeves and going to work to make anything online or off work in this world. There’s definite glory and joy to be had on the other side of it but not after paying the price, which price is unique to each person, there’s a price to pay nonetheless. I do believe there’s an enchants life once that price is paid…until the next set of challenges of course. But that’s where real accomplishment is found.
Roy Pickens Do not accept a set back as failure. Quitters never win and winners never quit.
Tom J Curtis That’s why you’re the real deal and I’ve always enjoyed that about you. I think that’s the only way people can build genuine relationships life. Especially with list building…the more authentic the person building it, the more quality the list.
I’ve learned so much over the last year. I’ve learned it’s not the size of the list, but the quality. It’s a matter of creating raving fans from genuine, personalized content. You are the front runner Jim.
Roy Pickens That it takes more than a big pretty website. One of my first misconceptions.
Amitav BorahThe biggest point & one of the most common… Stop jumping from one project to another…and just concentrating on One and only One….and finish it up!! & Also..Never Quit!!..even if you fail the first second or third time….. Keep moving until you get it ! Be Stubborn…Be Persistent!
Marlo J McCarthy It’s easy to spend every dime you have learning from brilliant “gurus” but if you never take the jump and apply what you’ve learned it is all time and money wasted.
Marlo J McCarthy….incidentally – an excellent program can set you on the right path – I’ve just known too many wantrepreneurs that keep buying different programs but when it’s time to apply and work, they buy the next shiny program.
Martin Hurley ability to focus on one set goal until achieved
Andrew J Titcombe Even if you believe the claims that the “gurus” make it is absolutely no good to you financially unless you are prepared to work. 10% inspiration 90% perspiration comes to mind. THEIR money is safe in THEIR bank Their claims don’t make YOU rich!
Win Thomas A lot of it has already been mentioned. I would agree that keeping focused on one project and not being ‘seduced’ by the next life changing programme to come along, until you’ve completed it. Stay focused. Listen to people like yourself Jim who have integrity and practice what they preach.
Nikki Stephens FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful.
Follows on from what some above have said – perseverance is key, & you won’t find success simply by buying into lots of different courses.
Dave Stevens When you wake up asking how can you help people rather than asking how I can make some money .
Michael Markuson Focus and Perseverance! Never Give up!
Jamie Smith Don’t believe the hype or the squeeze pages with “who else wants to put $25,987 in their bank account tonight with my black ops super secret CIA affiliate mega bomb success course that literally shoots thousands of dollars into your account effortlessly”. “click below to buy it for the limited time price of $1497″ and p.s. blah blah blah and p.p.s. blah blah blah
Todd Fetters You absolutely have to have a mentor who has succeeded online with a business that doesn’t sell how to be successful in an online biz. Find someone who is proven to succeed on their own before they became a teacher. I have taken the last 6 months away from this business just to clear my thoughts and regroup. It would be great to have a pool of resources to utilize so an idea can become a reality. Jim-you are definitely one of the few who has an amazing reputation in a business full of not so honest people. Then again, every business where money can be made is no different. Thanks for holding to your core values!
Doug Kramer You will be distracted before you are successful.
Joseph Carducci I think the biggest lessons are: 1) Be very very selective in who you follow and listen to (and keep this to a short list, at least in the beginning to avoid distractions) 2) Concentrate on something that you have passion for so that you will actually enjoy doing it (although be careful to do solid research ensuring it is a viable market) 3) While following a few selected “mentors” or trainers, still learn to think and decide for yourself (just because Frank Kern is doing something does not mean it is the right thing, tip or tactic for YOUR business)….this last one took me the longest to really get (and I still need to constantly remind myself)!
Perhaps the greatest myth of online income is that there are “secret formulas” and “step by step” processes that ANYONE can use to earn money online.
I’ll address that insanity in a moment. But first…it’s story time class…
Hi Class! I’m Mr. Silent Jim and I’ll be helping you learn a valuable lesson about Internet business that you all should know by now, but I’ve been hearing some “not so good” stories!
When I was in high school I worked 70 hours per week on average during the two summers between my sophomore, junior and senior years. I was saving up for college. The college education I went on to get consisted of “book knowledge” that I rarely if ever use today, but the lessons of those summers were far more valuable to my current success.
One of my summer jobs was at a fast food restaurant where I learned what it meant to “work hard” for every dollar, and the other job was with a local one man auto mechanic shop where steady hands, attention to the smallest detail, and the ability to FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS were the keys to keeping my boss from getting red faced and stomping about like a meanie.
When I applied for the “mechanic’s helper” job my future boss only wanted to know ONE thing (the fine art of the one question interview). His one question, as it turns out, contained a great lesson for anyone that is hoping to learn about online business.
(That’s you and me class!)
“Do you have experience working on cars?”, he asked.
THIS was the interview. The truth was I had very little knowledge of cars and I was sure the interview was over as soon as I answered honestly.
Had I said “yes”, which is what I THOUGHT he was hoping to hear, I would NOT have gotten the job. Instead I was honest and said, “no – very little experience” and was surprise with his response back.
“Good”, he said. “That means I don’t have to make you unlearn a bunch of crap. You’re hired. How much do you want per hour?” (Sorry class, I said “crap”!)
Let’s get back to the point of this story.
If you are hoping to earn money online there are a lot of programs, gurus, courses and ebooks out there to chose from. The EASIEST thing to do it fall for the most hyped, step-by-step, funloving expert and plop down your cash.
If you’ve actually bought several of these hyped courses or books because of the great sales letters full of “shiny stuff” and psychological triggers and promises that you KNEW were too good to be true, then you actually have a DISADVANTAGE over the newbies with NO experience.
In other words, a BRAND NEW student with only basic Internet skills armed with ONE SIMPLE QUESTION is better off than you are. My soon to be 12 year old has a HUGE advantage over you in all honesty!
You have the disadvantage of having “learned” a bunch of junk, you have the additional disadvantage of thinking your head knowledge puts you a step ahead (which it doesn’t), and worst of all you likely think that the fault is inside you somehow for not having succeeded already (because your “guru teacher” is so cool, popular and influential that it CAN’T be their fault!)
The reality is though, it’s quite likely that you’ll have to UNLEARN a bunch of garbage before you can get started succeeding in business (online or offline).
If I sound confident about all of this it’s because I’ve been a part of teaching literally THOUSANDS of people how to think the right way about online business and then how to succeed online. I recognize the “junk thinking” a mile away because I see it literally EVERY DAY.
Here are a few examples of the “junk” that is usually in the heads of my students:
That’s all GARBAGE, JUNK and rotten thinking that is actually CLOUDING your judgement and keeping you from the real opportunities online. I often call myself the bubble buster. It’s my duty to you to play that role if necessary.
The one question you SHOULD have been asking of your teachers all along is this:
“How many people have you taught to earn a lot of money, and WHERE IS THE PROOF?”
Perhaps I should have asked my college profs that question before taking their courses! (Imagine that for a moment as a way to fix our business education problems!)
The fact is, if ANY of this online income stuff were easy then EVERYONE would be doing it. Simple logic tells you that if EVERYONE starts doing something then the magic is quickly gone. The opportunity is tapped out.
Why? Because EVERYONE is doing it and the MAGIC is gone (or soon will be).
Story time is over. Neatly stack your carpet squares in the corner and I’ll take any questions now.
Click the comment button
Check out what one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL affiliate marketers in the world just said a couple of days ago:
“Affiliate marketing is NOT a business.
As an Affiliate you:
- Spend all your time in hopes of making money for other companies.
- Spend your money testing various items in hopes of getting a positive return.
- Do all the dirty work for them.
The companies who have the offers you are promoting sit back and love it because YOU are taking all of the risk to build their businesses!”
That sounds a lot like the stuff I’ve been saying for the last 3 years right? I’ve been called “crazy”, “out of touch”, and even “irresponsible” for saying it in past posts right on this blog! After all, some of the biggest celebrity names in Internet marketing have fan bases of tens of thousands…all learning “affiliate marketing”.
To be clear, the above quote validates some things I’ve been saying steadily for two YEARS:
This is quite a contradiction though isn’t it? Let’s clear this up…
So, who is the “big dog” in the above box quote?
Meet Jeremy (aka ShoeMoney). Jeremey is the guy that I’m quoting above from just a few days ago. He has been the “main attraction” at nearly all major affiliate marketing conventions of the past two years! He has been the #1 affiliate marketer for eBay (millions monthly), he was brought in to help build Facebook’s affiliate marketing program, and he’s been on the cover of “Fast Company” magazine as the most influential guy on the Internet.
And he’s just said (and I quote), “Affiliate marketing IS NOT A BUSINESS“.
Good for you SHOEMONEY! I agree with you 100% and I thank you for making me feel VERY validated! I want MORE of the online “gurus” to follow suit with some honesty!
ShoeMoney is now telling us all that a good use of any “traffic generation” skills you acquire is to grow YOUR OWN business – not someone elses! Capture the leads for YOURSELF, and THEN, ONCE YOU’VE EARNED TRUST and ENGAGED your audience, and ONLY then…sell something! (check out this blog post from a few months ago to get the full scoop on how I feel about affiliate marketing)
1. Are you a “newbie” or feel burned by how you’ve spent your time and money learning online business?
Learn what actually works before spinning your wheels any more!
Not convinced yet? It’s probably because you are too vested and have been drinking the “affiliate income” kool-aid for too long. I STRONGLY urge you to take a time out and jump over to SilentSalesMachine.com and grab my $5 book about what works and what doesn’t – because my instincts just got MAJOR validation from one of the biggest dogs in the game and I’ve been teaching this for YEARS. Don’t ignore BOTH of us!
If you don’t want to spend $5 on my book, then just grab the the two free chapters <-click here. One of the free chapters (chapter five) will wake you up to the truth of affiliate marketing! This blog you are now reading has plenty of good content as well on the topic in the “affiliate marketing” category. I’ve taught thousands how to build legitimate online businesses, and YES, there is a right way to do affiliate marketing, but you haven’t learned it yet (that’s why you aren’t making any money at it!)
2. Been around awhile?
If you’ve got some basic knowledge of affiliate marketing, but your average check is somewhere between $0.00 – $1.78 per month (like 99% of all other affiliate marketers), then you NEED OfflineBiz.com! We’ve got over 10,000 happy members and numerous success stories of people ACTUALLY MAKING MONEY. To be blunt, unlike your current affiliate marketing “guru”, I’ve got a stack of success stories on my desk as opposed to the “pseudo-testimonials” that celebrity-gurus get from followers that think they are “cool”, “funny”, kind or even educational. There’s nothing wrong with those things of course, but the point is, I don’t have any edu-tainment for you – just results.
The fact is “Local Traffic Generation” is FAR easier to conquer than what you’ve been trying to do. You could be using your online “traffic” skills to help some of the millions of online and offline “clueless” businesses capture new business WITHOUT you needing any new “techie” skills! This includes “Real World” businesses like restaurants, tattoo parlors, real estate agents etc. You’ve got the knowledge already to hit a quick home run using simple strategies we’ll show you on OfflineBiz.com in just a few hours from right now! ANYONE can do this – I truly believe that!
SIDE NOTE: The huge trend involving working with “real world” businesses is why I launched OfflineBiz.com THREE YEARS ago with a bunch of MEGA SMART online rock stars. At OfflineBiz we are now turning even “newbie” online marketers (like you and me) into HIGHLY PAID, in demand “offline experts”. Members of OfflineBiz.com can help ANY traditional “offline” business with their online marketing needs and they get paid VERY WELL to do it. The fact is, there is no course, training, approach, expert or coaching that is cranking out ANYWHERE NEAR as many success stories as we already have at OfflineBiz.com! I’ll repeat – NOTHING COMES CLOSE! Our forums are STUFFED with insanely successful people just like you that openly share their success every day with other members.
“Affiliate marketing (the way you’ve been taught it) IS NOT A BUSINESS!!”
Leave me any comments or questions – I’m here for you!